“Climategate”: The scandal that wasn’t and the scandal that was

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It’s a year ago now that email correspondence of the British CRU was illegally released (*) on the internet. Over the course of heated discussions that followed, this became known as “climategate”, implying some sort of scandal.

The scandal that wasn’t

The emails were spun as if they uncovered some massive conspiracy to hide the truth. For example, some “skeptical” people and articles were badmouthed in the emails. But not because they didn’t toe “the party line” (whatever that may be); rather because some papers were deeply flawed (as is also apparent from the reviewer comments) and the behavior of some people was strongly disliked (I wonder why). Scientists in general voice their criticism without sugar on it (sorry, Willard). Steve Easterbrook gave some good insights back then into how scientists are used to communicate with other.

Of course, some unwise and some not-so-nice things were said. Haven’t you over the course of 13 years of emailing? If you had worked in a field about which there is a heated public and political debate, would people who are very hostile to your views be able to find something that they could shame you with in all those emails?

The scandal that was

The real scandal was that some people, for whatever reason, are so hostile to the science that they took this illegal step of breaking into an institute’s computer system and released private email correspondence. This was a day that the attack on science (and on scientists) arrived at a new low. Such an attack has nothing to do with sincere skepticism. Those who did this –and those who celebrate it- follow the adage of the end justifying the means, where the end apparently is to bring science on its knees. Needless to say, I hold science to be an important part of a healthy, modern society, and ignoring its insights is not a good strategy. Attacking it in ways as was done in “climategate” is scandalous.

Nature did not read the hacked emails.

(*) A recent Nature News feature about the event and how it influenced Phil Jones sais it was most likely an outside hack rather than a leak from inside:

Although the police and the university say only that the investigation is continuing, Nature understands that evidence has emerged effectively ruling out a leak from inside the CRU, as some have claimed. And other climate-research organizations are believed to have told police that their systems survived hack attempts at the same time.

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144 Responses to ““Climategate”: The scandal that wasn’t and the scandal that was”

  1. climatesight Says:

    Great job, Bart. My Google Reader list is fantastic today, lots of people are doing posts like this.

  2. Rocco Says:

    The leak “theory” was obviously bogus from the beginning, but what about the other hacks? Does anyone have more info?

  3. trccurtin Says:

    Bart you are seriously wrong when you say “The real scandal was that some people, for whatever reason, are so hostile to the science that they took this illegal step of breaking into an institute’s computer system and released private email correspondence.”

    1. The episode would never have arisen if Phil Jones on behalf of CRU and UEA had complied with the entirely legal FOI requests originated by David Holland.

    2. What did Jones have to hide that he so frantically sought to destroy the paper trail betwen hismelf and his team?

    3. It was UEA that broke the FOI Law by refusing to comply.

    4. In my whole working career, in both private and public sectors, all work that I did in office hours belonged to my employers, and emails sent during those hours from office equipment are not and can never be “private”.

    5. Get real! None of the CRU emails were “private”. They were paid for by us taxpayers, hence FOI.

  4. Steve Fitzpatrick Says:

    Bart,

    There was a troubling pattern of behaviors evident over the many years of email messages. Those on the ‘inside’ worked jointly to frustrate, discredit, intimidate, mislead, and/or silence anyone who threatened their objective of reducing CO2 emissions. Most any reasoning person who looks at the UEA email messages understands that there was a great deal of inappropriate and/or unscrupulous behavior disclosed. I have worked in science and engineering for 35 years, and I found the content of the email messages absolutely appalling.

    I think it is a sad commentary that a whole year after the fact many people (including you) are unable to admit, or even understand, what was so damaging in the email messages: it was a blatant hostility to any question or doubt about the CO2 catastrophe meme, and a terrible lack of awareness among those involved that they might in fact be less than 100% correct. The behaviors shown in those messages was the exact opposite of the rational behavior we expect a scientist to display; it was (and is) obvious that this was politics masquerading as science.

    Bart, you might as well try to push toothpaste back into the tube. The damage to the credibility of the scientists involved is already done; there is no need for you to offer endless and unquestioning defense (as you have for the last 12 months).

    That you and many others who advocate immediate action to reduce CO2 emissions can’t appreciate the damaging impact of the UEA email messages suggests that you are unable to rationally adjust strategy and move effectively towards the policy goals you desire. Continuing on this path will never work. It is really very sad. I urge you to rethink your approach.

  5. dhogaza Says:

    Steve Fitzpatrick: what a load of hooey.

    I urge you to rethink your approach.

    Whose e-mails should we steal? Who should we quote-mine? Who should we try to get fired? Who should we slander and libel?

    We’re not good at this stuff, we need the likes of you to point the way.

  6. dhogaza Says:

    Also, Fitzpatrick, the science has not changed. Nature has the only vote that counts.

    I hope you enjoy the ride … it’s going to be an interesting one. You and people like you have effectively managed to forestall any meaningful action, most likely for another decade at least, do to the fairy-tales you folks tell.

    Well, we have books being sold in the National Park Service’s welcome center at the Grand Canyon claiming that the world is only 6,000 years old and the canyon formed by Noah’s flood, too.

    That doesn’t change reality.

  7. Tom Fuller Says:

    Just sneaking in from the cold to say you got this one wrong, Bart–big time. What they did was really, really wrong–it doesn’t change the science, but that fact that it doesn’t change the science does not excuse their behaviour. Phil Jones broke the law. He told others to delete emails after receiving an FOI request.

    What he was trying to hide was how The Hockey Team (as they named themselves) concealed the level of uncertainty in a presentation to policy makers and the grubby, sleazy lengths they had gone to to suppress or deligitimize opponents who were correct on the facts.

    They didn’t change the science. They brought shame upon it. And everybody knows it–this is beneath you Bart, although not beneath some of the commenters here.

  8. climacs Says:

    Of course. Why bother with the demonstrated dead-end of trying to claim the science is disproved when you can just claim a scientist is disgraced? The latter just as easily allows for calls for inaction but without having to possibly deal with pesky facts and actual evidence.

  9. Rocco Says:

    Oh, there goes another thread. People, do not feed the trolls, keep it sensible. Bart, please moderate.

  10. Marco Says:

    Tom, please provide evidence that they tried to hide the uncertainty.
    (chirp, chirp).

    And “deligitimizing opponents who were correct on the facts” ?
    You may want to read Deepcliimate’s latest exposé of the Wegman report and McIntyre’s code. Cherry picking much, are we, Mr McIntyre? Claiming to have checked the methodology, while just using the same code and examples, are we, Dr. Wegman? Of course, Huybers already showed McIntyre (and McKitrick) did something wrong, and so did Von Storch and Zorita, but this does not bother the climateaudit-audience (and definately not the Wattsians) much. It’s all about obfuscating.

  11. Bart Says:

    Tim Curtin,

    Your first point reads a bit as blaming the victim, as in ‘it would never have happened if she hadn’t dressed so scantilly’. That does not negate responsibility from an evil act.

    Emails from government employees are not public knowledge, just as Unilever emails don’t come attached to the soap you buy.

    Steve F, Tom F,

    Yes, there were indeed signs of inappropriate behavior in the emails (the request to delete emails ranks number 1 imo). But that does not negate the scandalous nature of stealing 13 years of emails to go though other people’s dirty laundry. Too much attention has been paid to the former at the expense of the latter.

  12. trccurtin Says:

    Bart, not for the first time I fear we have to agree to differ. You say: “Emails from government employees are not public knowledge”, oh yes they are under FOI legislation. Unilever can claim “commercial in confidence” and are not covered by FOI. Jones’ emails were mostly between public sector employees, and none of his own can be deemed private unless sent from his home computer out of office hours, and clearly none of them were (had they been they would not have appeared in the cache). He had no more right than UEA to withhold them.

    In Australia, “whistleblowers” like whoever released the Jones cache are getting protection; they are not criminals and perform a public service, unlike public servants and politicians who like Jones spend most of their time covering up their own misdeeds – e.g. in his case using false data to pretend there was no UHI in China (1990), and inability to explain how he “homogenised” and “value-added” to the raw data to create the dubious Hadley-CRUT series – which is what David Holland wanted to know via FOI. Had he come clean from day 1 of that request there would have been no Climategate (just as with Nixon after Watergate). Honesty is the best policy, don’t you agree?

  13. Bart Says:

    Tim Curtin,

    I don’t know the ins and outs of FOIA legislation, but I’m quite sure that it’s not as black and white as you suggest. See e.g. Gavin’s in-line comment at RC:

    Emails written prior to FOIA legislation even existing, written on university computers that do not belong to the government are not ‘public’. Even emails existing on government computers with FOIA legislation are not ‘public’. There are multiple filters that need to be operated before an email held by a government entity can be released (…)

    Nevermind the fact that there are numerous nonsensical (imho of course) rules and regulations, or sensible ones that are open to being misused. Being charitable, there are strong signs that the latter is what occurred here. Somehow I don’t think that FOIA legislation was meant as a tool to harass scientists.

  14. Bishop Hill Says:

    Bart

    Neither the UK FOI Act nor the Environmental Information Regulations are framed in the manner that Gavin describes. The criteria applied are (a) Is the information held and (b) Are there exemptions that apply?

    When the information was created is not one of the available exemptions.

  15. Sou Says:

    As some of the comments here illustrate, there are still a few sad souls who are desperate to avoid reality. They would rather applaud criminal acts and libel good people than admit that the greenhouse gases we emit and the forests we cut down are changing earth as we know it. They want to stop people taking action to prevent harm.

    Just goes to show that humans are not necessarily good. There is a lot of wickedness in the world. Some born of ignorance. Some from deliberate acts. Some from deliberate inaction.

    Bart is one of the good ones :) (I don’t always agree with him, but he is definitely on the side of the angels.)

  16. Bart Says:

    Bishop,

    Leaves my point unchanged that the intent of the law was not followed in this sequence of events. (Though I suspect we may differ in our view of the intent of this law and its application to this case)

  17. Sou Says:

    Am I correct in the assumption that many of the posts here pretending the emails were anything but a deliberate attempt to distract (and cause further harm to the earth), are from those who tried to make a quid (dollar/euro/pound) out of the stolen emails?

    I guess they have a google alert for ‘climategate’ – they were so quick off the mark!

  18. trccurtin Says:

    Bart how can you say this as a scientist yourself? “Somehow I don’t think that FOIA legislation was meant as a tool to harass scientists”.

    Of course it was not, but scientists should be the very last to complain about being subject to FOI when employed by the public (i.e. government) as almost all of them are. What do they need to hide?

    Only last week I finally submitted the paper I have previously sent you, the publisher is Wiley & Sons, and they asked in their pro forma whether I was willing to make available ALL of my data and models etc. I said YES. Why do Jones et al still say NO?

  19. Deech56 Says:

    Also worth mentioning is Gavin’s remarkable effort responding to the various points and comment at RC.

    The story of how the e-mails were stolen should prove to be an interesting one, if we ever find out.

  20. Bart Says:

    Deech56,

    Entirely agree, Gavin answered loads of questions over at RealClimate about the affair as it unfolded, providing highly needed context and information to the public. Loads of questions and assertions, the latter of which would normally not have survived moderation, were answered with patience.

  21. Roddy Campbell Says:

    Fred Pearce’s latest: http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/2010/11/now-we-are-not-so-sure/

    Bother, I see it’s pay-walled. He has some strongish things to say about CRU.

  22. RickA Says:

    Marco Says November 18, 2010 at 08:45:

    Marco – hiding the decline was an attempt to hide the uncertainty! The uncertainty created by the proxy declining when the scientists thought it should go up!

  23. Marco Says:

    RickA:
    “hide the decline” was not an attempt to hide the uncertainty, but to prevent confusion, and all that in a hardly read WMO report (extremely unlikely that any policy makers read that report, which was the supposed deceived group according to Tom Fuller).

    Next you tell us that the left-censoring common in medical data are attempts to hide the uncertainty…(while we have really good explanations as to why the newest data is not following the trend).

  24. Steve Fitzpatrick Says:

    dhogaza,

    I am not surprised that you choose to attack me instead of my arguments; politically motivated raging in place of a reasoned response is one of the main reasons no significant political action has yet taken place. (See the UEA email messages for some other good examples.)

    Lest anybody believe your nonsensical accusations, I want to state some things I actually do believe. I believe the Grand Canyon is many millions of years old, that life evolves based on selective pressure combined with genetic mutations (AKA evolution), and that process has be going on since shortly after the Earth’s surface cooled ~4 billion years ago. I believe radiative physics is correct, I am quite certain that greenhouse gases (CO2 and others) warm the Earth’s surface, and also certain that increases in the concentrations of these gases will cause additional warming in the future. I believe it is very likely that a large fraction, if not all, of the observed warming since the middle of the 20th century is due to increases in green house gases, and that much of the measured rise in sea level since that time is due to a combination of loss of glacial mass and thermal expansion.

    But I am quite skeptical of the IPCC projections of the rate of future warming, and especially skeptical of predicted catastrophes resulting from that warming. I find model projections of future warming unconvincing because they ALL rely on high and essentially arbitrary levels of aerosol off-sets of radiative forcing to match historical warming, and use ocean models with heat accumulation which conflicts with measured ocean heat accumulation. I very strongly suspect that the climate models overstate future warming (probably by a factor of two). The environmental consequences of mankind’s “age of carbon energy” while substantial, will not be catastrophic, and will gradually decline as fossil fuel usage declines, probably starting late in this century.

    The real challenges humanity faces are twofold:

    1. Develop an energy infrastructure which is not dependent on fossil fuels, because these are in fact physically limited, and the inevitable change from fossil fuels to other energy sources will require considerable time and huge investment. I think that nuclear power production, expanded 100-fold or more compared to today, represents the most economical path forward, but I support continued publicly funded research on other technologies to see if economically competitive alternatives can be developed. Failure to develop non-fossil energy supplies in a timely manner could cause catastrophic economic damage as fossil fuel begin to run out.

    2. Expand energy availability to the 1.5 billion poor people who do not have it today. This is both morally correct and in everyone’s interest, since it is very poor people who drive rapid worldwide population growth and who will never rise out of poverty without access to inexpensive energy.

    Many people who resist draconian public action (like forced rapid reductions in fuel usage) are neither evil nor stupid, much as you would like to imagine otherwise. Your insistence on attacking those who disagree with you politically is self-defeating. Your insistence on politically impossible approaches is self defeating. Your refusal to consider the economically possible and demand the economically impossible is self defeating. Your efforts are hurting rather than helping. I suggest you reconsider your approach, even though I suspect you never will. Truly sad.

  25. JMurphy Says:

    Steve Fitzpatrick, could you provide the scientific evidence you used to come to the conclusions that :

    “…the IPCC projections of the rate of future warming are wrong”,

    “…model projections of future warming are unconvincing”

    “…that the climate models overstate future warming (probably by a factor of two)”.

    Could you also point out where you have seen scientific statements that “predicted catastrophes resulting from that warming”.

  26. Steve Fitzpatrick Says:

    JMurphy,

    The IPCC projections are all based on models that use (I repeat) arbitrary aerosol off-sets to have high climate sensitivity match historical temperatures. The chosen amount of aerosol off-set for each model has been shown to be roughly proportional to the diagnosed sensitivity; that is, higher sensitivity models used higher aerosol off-sets, lower sensitivity models use lower off-sets. The presence of of such an obvious kludge cast doubt on the robustness/validity of all the models. See for example:

    Atmospheric Aerosol Properties and Climate Impacts
    Authors: Lorraine A. Remer, NASA GSFC; Mian Chin,
    NASA GSFC; Philip DeCola, NASA HQ; Graham Feingold,
    NOAA ERSL; Rangasayi Halthore, NASA HQ/NRL;
    Ralph A. Kahn, NASA GSFC; Patricia K. Quinn, NOAA
    PMEL; David Rind, NASA GISS; Stephen E. Schwartz,
    DOE BNL; David G. Streets, DOE ANL; Hongbin Yu,
    NASA GSFC/UMBC

    “Despite a wide range of climate sensitivity (i.e. the amount of
    surface temperature increase due to a change
    in radiative forcing, such as an increase of CO2)
    exhibited by the models, they all yield a global
    average temperature change very similar to that
    observed over the past century. This agreement
    across models appears to be a consequence of
    the use of very different aerosol forcing values,
    which compensates for the range of climate sensitivity.
    For example, the direct cooling effect of
    sulfate aerosol varied by a factor of six among
    the models. An even greater disparity was seen
    in the model treatment of black carbon and
    organic carbon. Some models ignored aerosol
    indirect effects whereas others included large
    indirect effects. In addition, for those models
    that included the indirect effect, the aerosol
    effect on cloud brightness (reflectivity) varied
    by up to a factor of nine. Therefore, the fact that
    models have reproduced the global temperature
    change in the past does not imply that their future
    forecasts are accurate. This state of affairs
    will remain until a firmer estimate of radiative
    forcing by aerosols, as well as climate sensitivity,
    is available.”

    There are other published reports that say essentially the same. As I said, aerosol are an obvious kludge, and cast doubt on the validity of all model projections.

    WRT why I think the true warming will be lower: 1) the actual warming to date is modest, 2) the actual radiative forcing (from all GHG’s not only CO2) is high, very close to 3 watts per square meter compared to 100 years ago, and 3) the measured ocean heat uptake appears inconsistent with very long ocean lags, which are required for high climate sensitivity to be correct.

    WRT predicted catastrophes: I am not sure you are serious about this. “Could”, “may”, “might”, and similar words have been used endlessly in discussions of dire consequences. The most glaring examples have been related to projections of sea level rise. AR4 is relatively careful about sea level projections; I wish all of climate science were so careful.

  27. Bishop Hill Says:

    Bart

    If I understand you correctly, you are saying that you think the intent of the law was different to the way the law is actually worded. Is that right? I don’t know how you arrived at such a conclusion. And if it really were true that the intent was different, then still wouldn’t absolve CRU in any way. They have to obey the law as it is written.

    Incidentally, David Holland’s request related to emails sent in 2006, a year after the advent of FOI.

  28. RickA Says:

    Marco:
    “hide the decline” was not an attempt to hide the uncertainty . . .

    I don’t agree.

    The “trick” to “hide the decline” was very clearly spin to make the graph as compelling as possible.

    Clearly, they were trying to hide the uncertainty created by their proxy not performing as it was supposed to – so they didn’t use it – instead substituting actual temperature data for the proxy.

    However, this was very clearly an attempt to hide the uncertainty as to why their proxy was declining instead of inclining (as the actual temperature was).

    You can tell me your point of view as many times as you like – but I simply do not agree.

  29. MarkB Says:

    “Of course, some unwise and some not-so-nice things were said. Haven’t you over the course of 13 years of emailing? If you had worked in a field about which there is a heated public and political debate, would people who are very hostile to your views be able to find something that they could shame you with in all those emails?”

    Thanks for asking this. These are not questions brought up very often and one various hacks never seem to directly answer. The obvious answer any honest person would give to these questions is Yes.

    Private correspondence also inherently lacks context – more so the case when it involves interaction on complex topics. So scientists were accused of stifling dissent, erasing the Medieval Warm Period, “hiding the decline”, etc, based on selective out-of-context quotations. Examples:

    http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2009/11/20/climate-cuttings-33.html

    To me, the biggest scandal is the media almost always taking what the accusers said at face value, because such compelling stories get them attention.

  30. dhogaza Says:

    I am not surprised that you choose to attack me instead of my arguments; politically motivated raging in place of a reasoned response is one of the main reasons no significant political action has yet taken place.

    Significant political action clearing CRU has taken place. You only claim it’s insignificant because only one possible outcome is acceptable to you, regardless of the facts. You won’t accept exoneration under any circumstance.

    Which is why the actions of folks like you, bishop hill, fuller, moshpit, watts, and others fall under the category of “witch hunt” rather than “objective seeking of truth and justice”.

    The witch hunt has been satisfactorily answered by the official investigations. Case closed.

    Meanwhile, again, your side has won a political victory. Bask in glory, dude.

  31. Marco Says:

    RickA: of course I cannot convince you otherwise. Pointing out that the figure in question was on a hardly read WMO report? No impact on RickA. Pointing out that AR4 extensively discussed the divergence problem, despite the fact that it only affected one reconstruction? No impact on RickA. RickA has taken a position, and he will not be swayed!

  32. Neven Says:

    You can tell me your point of view as many times as you like – but I simply do not agree.

    You could even tell him the truth, and he simply wouldn’t agree.

  33. MarkB Says:

    Steve Fitzpatrick,

    You might benefit from this excellent review article on climate sensitivity.

    http://www.iac.ethz.ch/people/knuttir/papers/knutti08natgeo.pdf

    Estimates of climate sensitivity are not restricted to the instrumental record (with mean estimates being a little lower than 3 C), but extend to a variety of source. And they all arrive at roughly the same conclusion.

    It’s true that there’s a fair amount of uncertainty in each estimate, the instrumental period isn’t nailed down enough to reach firm conclusions, and “skeptics” try to argue the low-end as much as possible. But to do so, they have to make separate cases for each method of CS estimate, which are unlikely to all be off significantly in the same direction.

    Other estimates involve estimating each known fast feedback independently. Water vapor positivie feedback has been confirmed by observations.

    http://agwobserver.wordpress.com/2009/10/13/papers-on-water-vapor-feedback-observations/

    Cloud feedback is the primary area of uncertainty, and some limited recent observations on the cloud feedback imply a very high sensitivity.

    “The HadGEM1 model from the U.K. Met Office’s Hadley Center in Exeter produced patterns of warming and circulation changes during greenhouse warming that resembled those of all 18 models averaged together—the best guide available. The group also concluded that HadGEM1’s simulation of meteorological processes in the lowermost kilometer or two of the atmosphere—where the key low-lying clouds reside—is particularly realistic.

    As it happens, the HadGEM1 model is among the most sensitive of the 18 models to added greenhouse gases. When carbon dioxide is doubled, the model warms the world by 4.4°C; the median of the models for a doubling is 3.1°C. That gap raises a red flag for Clement. “We tend to focus on the middle of the range of model projections and ignore the extremes,” she says. “I think it does suggest serious consideration should be given to the upper end of the range.””

    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/325/5939/376.full

    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/325/5939/376.summary

    Where does that leave us? Those who claim very low climate sensitivity as a mean estimate (< 1.5 C) are standing on very shaky ground, and requires they ignore a preponderance of evidence in favor of a few claims from their favorite contrarians.

    As far as "ClimateGate" goes, the CRU hack has zero effect on the above. I do agree in some sense with your statement:

    "politically motivated raging in place of a reasoned response is one of the main reasons no significant political action has yet taken place."

    Although the latter makes an assumption on what consistutes "significant", politically-motivated raging, as seen on sites like WUWT, politicians declaring "hoax", faux concern over stolen email contents, etc., plays at least a small role in confusing the public. Congrats.

  34. MartinM Says:

    However, this was very clearly an attempt to hide the uncertainty as to why their proxy was declining instead of inclining (as the actual temperature was).

    Uncertainty which was cunningly hidden away in…err, the peer-reviewed literature. No wonder the climate ‘sceptics’ couldn’t find it.

  35. Steve Fitzpatrick Says:

    dhozaga:
    “You won’t accept exoneration under any circumstance.”

    I can’t speak for Bishop Hill, Tom Fuller, Steve Mosher, or Anthony Watts, but for me, this is not at all true. Had the investigations actually been careful and complete, I think most people would accept the findings. Certainly I would.

    The problem here is that people can actually read the emails, and they are pretty damning, no matter what the various investigating committees say. OJ Simpson was declared “not guilty” of murdering his ex-wife and her friend. That didn’t have much influence on most people’s opinion of what actually happened, even though OJ was “exonerated” by a jury. The trial was televised, and people knew what the evidence was.

    I am reminded of the old joke about the wife who discovers her husband in bed with another woman, which he later completely denies ever happened. When she says, “What do you mean, I saw you and her in bed with my own eyes!”, he replies “Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?”

    “Meanwhile, again, your side has won a political victory. Bask in glory, dude.”

    Well, I won’t be doing any basking, dude, since I do not have a “side”. I want to avoid costly errors in public policy, and find a way to provide inexpensive energy to the world’s poorest. I do think it is prudent public policy to find the most cost effective means to change from fossil to non-fossil energy sources long before fossil fuels become scarce and expensive. This will in fact reduce CO2 emissions, and has the distinct advantage of being politically possible. Maybe that is my “side”.

  36. Bart Says:

    Bishop Hill,

    No, that’s not what I’m saying. What happened had all the marks of the FOI law being abused to harass scientists (see e.g. the Times or my commentary at the time). Plus the government’s role here is a bit double, in that “The problems with data availability from CRU stem *from* the government – not from the scientists.“.

  37. Paul Kelly Says:

    MarkB,

    Without commenting on the substance of the Emails or climategate in general, neither the law nor employers consider Emails sent and received by employees on company computers as private. Employers, by law and practice, have free access to them and usually set limits on use and content.

  38. Bishop Hill Says:

    OK, thanks, I see now.

    There is an exemption in the FOI law if the recipient is being harassed. The fact that CRU didn’t try to use this exemption suggests that they were not, in fact, being harassed. The former information commissioner told the Parliamentary Select Committee that the number of requests was not excessive.

    The other point, on intellectual property, is interesting. As James Annan suggests, probably the different arms of government don’t understand what the other is doing. It’s a problem with big government. It’s still irrelevant though because a departmental policy on IP is still subject to the law.

  39. Steve Fitzpatrick Says:

    MarkB,

    “Those who claim very low climate sensitivity as a mean estimate (< 1.5 C) are standing on very shaky ground, and requires they ignore a preponderance of evidence in favor of a few claims from their favorite contrarians."

    I disagree. I think it is just the opposite. It is the models that are on extremely shaky ground. The obvious kludge of arbitrary aerosols in the climate models casts very serious doubt not only on the specific projections of the individual models, but on the physical accuracy of the models in general. How is it possible that theoretically founded, physically accurate models can yield a broad range of diagnosed climate sensitivities that must be "fixed up" with various aerosol offsets to match the temperature history? Most models in the IPCC ensemble are already (since 2000) predicting much more warming than has taken place. All models project ocean heat accumulation that lags well behind surface temperature… and that is not happening either.

    I have taken the time to read a bunch of the "paleo" based estimates of high climate sensitivity. I think they are extremely weak. I would not say they are rubbish, but highly speculative is I think fair.

    The data is telling a very different story from the models: Even if you assume 20%-25% of the existing forcing is canceled by aerosols, the relationship between forcing and temperatures over the last 10+ years suggests a sensitivity of under 1.6C per doubling. Now many (and probably you) will say that you have to look at 25 years or 30 years to see the "true sensitivity". Fair enough, we have 10+ years with very modest temperature change. Let's wait another 15 and see what happens. In the mean time, lets look at ways to change from fossil to non-fossil fuels in the least costly manner.

  40. MartinM Says:

    Now many (and probably you) will say that you have to look at 25 years or 30 years to see the “true sensitivity”. Fair enough, we have 10+ years with very modest temperature change. Let’s wait another 15 and see what happens.

    …is there something wrong with the last 25-30 years?

  41. Steve Fitzpatrick Says:

    MartinM,

    Nope. The last 31 years suggests a sensitivity well below the IPCC best estimate. But I would add, the the rapid rise in temperatures from the early 1980’s to 2000 represents most all of the warming, and indicates there may be more than a little of influence from pseudo-cyclical processes like PDO, NAO, etc (just as these probably forced temperatures downward from 1945 to 1975). What the heck, let’s wait 10 more years and then look at all the data from 1980 to 2020; 40 years would give a better estimate than 30. An besides, with Argo collecting data, we will have lots better information on ocean lag in 10 years… another robust method to determine climate sensitivity.

  42. MarkB Says:

    Paul Kelly writes:

    “Without commenting on the substance of the Emails or climategate in general, neither the law nor employers consider Emails sent and received by employees on company computers as private. Employers, by law and practice, have free access to them and usually set limits on use and content.”

    As far as I know, employers aren’t in the practice of propagating emails of their employees to the general public. Employees are under the general assumption that their personal emails will remain confined to a few administrators/managers within their company (at most…many don’t even go that far), and subject to public scrutiny only in the event of an extraordinary lawsuit, or of course if a criminal stole them.

    Steve Fitzpatrick writes:

    “I have taken the time to read a bunch of the “paleo” based estimates of high climate sensitivity. I think they are extremely weak. I would not say they are rubbish, but highly speculative is I think fair.”

    I haven’t seen evidence that you’ve taken the time to read or understand them, but feel free to demonstrate otherwise, in your own words.

    “Even if you assume 20%-25% of the existing forcing is canceled by aerosols, the relationship between forcing and temperatures over the last 10+ years suggests a sensitivity of under 1.6C per doubling. ”

    This is the difference between amateur contrarians rambling on a blog and scientists. Gavin Schmidt provides a climate sensitivity estimate based on the last 26 years of a model-data comparison below. Although much longer than 10 years, yielding a sensitivity of 3.4 C, he notes how limited this technique is:

    “…assuming (a little recklessly) that the 26 yr trend scales linearly with the sensitivity and the forcing, we could use this mismatch to estimate a sensitivity for the real world. That would give us 4.2/(0.26*0.9) * 0.19=~ 3.4 ºC. Of course, the error bars are quite large (I estimate about +/-1ºC due to uncertainty in the true underlying trends and the true forcings), but it’s interesting to note that the best estimate sensitivity deduced from this projection, is very close to what we think in any case. For reference, the trends in the AR4 models for the same period have a range 0.21+/-0.16 ºC/dec (95%). Note too, that the Hansen et al projection had very clear skill compared to a null hypothesis of no further warming.”

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/12/updates-to-model-data-comparisons/

    Actually trying to estimate it based on a 10 year chunk isn’t very useful. Then again, we have the full 100+ year instrumental record, the many paleo studies, volcanic events, observations of feedbacks, etc. that tell us roughly the same thing. How does one ignore all that with a straight face? Then again, there’s a cult of individuals who seem very adept at doing just that, the way a lawyer is dealt a weak case and needs to ignore a preponderance of evidence in favor of some poor selective arguments.

  43. Neven Says:

    Actually trying to estimate it based on a 10 year chunk isn’t very useful.

    You misread. Steve Fitzpatrick actually said 10+ years (the + referring to super El Niño outlier 1998, I suppose).

  44. trccurtin Says:

    MarkB: I think you have got to work a lot harder to confute Steve Fitzpatrick when you say “we have the full 100+ year instrumental record”. It is not “full”. Instrumental coverage of the NH reached 80% only as late as 1930, and the SH has never reached 80%, and got to 50% only around 1950. Not only that, from 1850 to 1920 most of the hotter areas of the globe were not covered at all. That means statements of GMT before c1950 are based on far from random sampling, as we only have a moderately “full” record for 60 years.

    Indeed, “How does one ignore all that with a straight face?”

    You end with a general ad homs (unlike Steve, who never does):

    “…there’s a cult of individuals who seem very adept at doing just that, the way a lawyer is dealt a weak case and needs to ignore a preponderance of evidence in favor of some poor selective arguments.”

    That cap fits you, wear it.

    But if you and Steve would like a copy of my submitted regressions paper that confirm Steve in spades, write me: tcurtin bigblue.net.au

  45. Steve Fitzpatrick Says:

    MarkB,

    “This is the difference between amateur contrarians rambling on a blog and scientists. ”

    I have no idea who you are sir, but I am in fact a working scientist, and have been one for a very long time. Appeals to authority are no substitute for a reasoned argument; they simply make you look weak. Sarcastic comments about people you do not know reflect poorly on you as an individual.

    Gavin’s post is both less than completely accurate (the ensemble mean calls for about 0.2C per decade temperature increase for the early part of the 20th century, check the AR4), and out of date. If you look at the current NOAA ocean heat content (http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/) you will see that they have revised the graph to correct for known errors in the earlier data, especially in the 2001 to 2004 period. The up to date graph shows the models projected much more heat accumulation in the ocean than has taken place. This revision did not surprise me (nor a lot of other scientists!); the drastic jump in ocean heat at the transition between earlier instruments and Argo fairly well screamed a problem with merging of the data sets.

    The suggestion that an average of models which are individually unable to match historical data without the use of an obvious kludge somehow make better predictions is both comical and illogical: the models are individual rational constructs which, if correctly formed, should all point to about the same level of aerosol off-sets and which should all individually follow the historical trend with the same assumed aerosol forcing. The averaging of models proves absolutely nothing about the veracity of their predictions.

    For what it is worth, like Gavin. He is obviously smart and knows a lot about the atmosphere and about climate models. Gavin and I have several times agreed in blog discussions on things that are clearly nonsense. That does not make him infallible; like the rest of us, he is sometimes mistaken, even if he is more often right.

  46. Eli Rabett Says:

    Speaking of things that do not exist, the good Bishop appears to be jumping up and down on Phil Jones for not following a rule that did not exist when he didn’t follow it.

    Eli is shocked.

  47. trccurtin Says:

    Eki: you are wrong yet again when you say “Speaking of things that do not exist, the good Bishop appears to be jumping up and down on Phil Jones for not following a rule that did not exist when he didn’t follow it”.

    The UK’s FOI became law in 2005; David Holland’s FOI to Jones’ CRU was made in 2006.

  48. Alex Heyworth Says:

    Bart, why did you do it? You must have known that such a post would simply lead to people trotting out the same old arguments and the same old entrenched positions. Lots of heat and very little light.

  49. dhogaza Says:

    Eli is shocked.

    Like hell you are, Eli :)

  50. dhogaza Says:

    The other point, on intellectual property, is interesting. As James Annan suggests, probably the different arms of government don’t understand what the other is doing. It’s a problem with big government. It’s still irrelevant though because a departmental policy on IP is still subject to the law.

    Given that the “different arms of government” holding rights to relevant intellectual property that CRU argued they couldn’t violate are actually sovereign nations, is Bishop Hill arguing that the UK FOIA law applies to all nations, and that he believes that the One World Order has already come to pass?

  51. John Mashey Says:

    Since Bishop Hill is here, maybe he can talk about basing a key proposition of The Hockey Stick Illusion on quotes from a journal that publishes dog astrology, and follows that up in HSI with a statement that is either:

    a) Total inability to read simple text of a cited reference.
    OR
    b) Falsification /fabrication, in any case a clear, 100% direct untruth

    The net effect was to make Jonathan Overpeck look bad, perhaps a liar, which certainly fit the proposition.

    See Long-past Wikipedia talk page.

  52. Susan Anderson Says:

    It is tricky about those FOI requests. As I understand it, the CRU staff was quite small, and the requests quite large and comprehensive. And a lot of people seem to buy the idea that someone is hiding the data. Inasmuch as it is possible, the data are not hidden, and as much as possible they are being made more public. In many cases it’s a question of who actually “owns” the data and what their rules are. It was interesting that in one case some people simply took 2 days to reproduce the results using public data. That seemed pretty telling, but the shouting about hidden data is not getting less, it is being amplified.

    If one may use the word deposition rather than FOI request to create a little cognitive dissonance, though the “law” is perfectly clear that a legal request must be complied with, large entities can bury small ones (in most cases, absent the occasional principled sticker) with requests for information. Moral law is in this case different from legal law. We face instances, each of us, quite often, where we have to distinguish between letter of the law compliance and what actually works in human situations.

    In any case, the timing and source of the carefully edited and published emails and the way it was rolled out is highly suspicious, and it is becoming clearer that it was a deliberate tool for propaganda.

    Steve Fitzpatrick, if you are the guy I used to know, people should not typecast you, I agree, but a lot of your work was managerial. If you have not yet had time to look carefully at the patient arguments you have been presented with, I wish you would. I find a lot of top scientists won’t pronounce outside their fields, and a lot of others do, but sometimes a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing (though I say it as shouldn’t, lord knows).

  53. Neven Says:

    And a lot of people seem to buy the idea that someone is hiding the data. Inasmuch as it is possible, the data are not hidden, and as much as possible they are being made more public.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t like 95% of the weather station data already publicly available? Or were the vexatious FOI requests about something else?

  54. Bart Says:

    Alex,

    Fair question. It’s indeed no surprise that this causes a rehash of old arguments. But face it, those same old arguments do come up time and again (“but climategate” is still the most popular skeptic argument). So I may as well have a dedicated thread to this issue rather than that it derails other discussions. Putting on my cynical hat, don’t most blog discussions (both here and elsewhere) contain more heat than light? Most people who actively engage in climate blog discussions have pretty entrenched positions on everything that they opine on (not just on these emails).
    But the more important reason to me is to show what imo the real scandal was about, since that seems lost in most public discourse about this topic. I realize though that this post contains more emotional tension and frustration than most of my other posts, where I try to minimize that (even though it decreases readership).

    Susan Anderson, good points.

    Steve Fitzpatrick,

    Some relevant articles to your point of aerosol forcing and sensitivity are Knutti 2008 and
    Knutti and Hegerl, 2008. Quoting from the latter (figure 4 caption):

    The observed global warming provides only a weak constraint on climate
    sensitivity.
    A climate model of intermediate complexity, forced with anthropogenic
    and natural radiative forcing, is used to simulate global temperature with a low
    climate sensitivity and a high total forcing over the twentieth century (2 °C, 2.5 W m−2
    in the year 2000; blue line) and with a high climate sensitivity and low total
    forcing (6 °C, 1.4 W m−2; red line).

    My bold, which echoes what other people have said as well: There are stronger constraints on climate sensitivity than the instrumental period (e.g. last glacial maximum; volcanoes), which, when taken together point to the sensitivity probably not being much different from 3 deg per doubling of CO2.

    I also note that you seem to focus on the high forcing – low sensitivity (still a significant 2 deg per doubling btw) end of the scale, whereas there would be an approximate equal probability of the other end of the scale (a whopping 6 deg per doubling) being correct (when only taking this simplistic picture into account).

  55. Bishop Hill Says:

    I’m away from my desk for the rest of the day, but will try to pick up questions when I get back. There’s a new post on my blog about Nature’s data policy in response to Eli.

    In the meantime, could Bart perhaps let us know if he’s happy for us to have the conversation here. Don’t want to bore the punters.

  56. Bishop Hill Says:

    Oops I see Bart has just Okayed this. I’ll come back tonight.

  57. Bart Says:

    Bishop Hill et al, feel free.

  58. trccurtin Says:

    Neven asked “Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t like 95% of the weather station data already publicly available? Or were the vexatious FOI requests about something else?”

    Yes, they were. Of course weather data are usually readily accessible from wherever they are collected. The issue raised by David Holland’s 2006 FOI request to Jones’ CRU was not to how get hold of such easily accessible data, but HOW did he “homogenise” and “add value” (Jones’ terms) to those data, as clearly the Hadley-CRUT has almost zero correlations with the original freely available source data?

    For example, Ken Stewart has shown how Jones’ CRU data for Australia have more relevance to Timbuctoo than to anywhere in Australia.

    So to repeat, Jones’ denial of FOI was NOT about protecting intellectual property of national meteorological stations, but ONLY about his intellectual property in manipulating the data therefrom to increase his research grants from his already impressive £20 million (more than most of us have ever earned in ourt lifetimes).

    Holland is not a fool, he did of course know the ORIGINAL data were readily available from the respective sources, what he wanted to know was how Jones’ CRU changed the data so as to tell a completely different story. It is quite easy to document (I have done it) how Hansen’s Gistemp ex post keeps lowering its reading for GMT in 1998 to make readings for GMT post 2000 seem hotter.

    That is why Jones fended off FOI, as he was playing the same game, in alliance with Hansen’s Schmidt and Mann.

  59. J Bowers Says:

    Tom Fuller — “Phil Jones broke the law. He told others to delete emails after receiving an FOI request.”

    But did Phil Jones know he was breaking the law? There’s a difference between someone who smashes up their cheating spouse’s car with a bulldozer, and the kid who crushes a flower in someone’s front garden when retrieving a football. They can both be arrested and charged with the same offence of criminal damage (or they could in the days when I almost fell foul of the latter in my late teens).

    Given that the emails are a redacted set and incomplete, another correspondent may have simply pointed out that it could be illegal to do so.

    Bit I must ask, if the request to delete emails was done in bad faith and Jones knew it would be illegal, then why didn’t he request that his email asking to delete emails be deleted as well? Surely if he knew that what he was asking was illegal then he’d know that his sinister plot could be uncovered even by further FOIA requests?

    I’d most likely accept that Jones thought there was a loophole, but that would condemn everyone whose accountant used a loophole to pay as little tax as possible.

    One thing that never happens with the Climategate fiasco is Hanlon’s Razor is never applied by those who gain from them. As Muir Russell said, “There seems clear incitement to delete e- mails, although we have seen no evidence of any attempt to delete information in respect of a request already made.”

  60. Alex Heyworth Says:

    Bart, a fair rejoinder. You did seem to need to get it off your chest. And perhaps it is better to have people let of steam on a dedicated thread.

  61. trccurtin Says:

    J Bowers asks “did Phil Jones know he was breaking the law?”

    Yes he did, that’s why he asked for all his emails to/from to be deleted.

    All of you who defend Jones are as guilty a posteriori as Bernie Madoff, and even more lovely.

  62. J Bowers Says:

    trccurtin — “Yes he did, that’s why he asked for all his emails to/from to be deleted.”

    But now you must be saying that the actual content of the emails which Jones asked to be deleted was illegal, not only the act of asking for them to be deleted.

    “All of you who defend Jones are as guilty a posteriori as Bernie Madoff, and even more lovely.”

    And there you appear to be saying…

    * Jones asking for the emails to be deleted was a criminal act
    * Therefore the content of emails themselves were somehow illegal
    * Therefore again, anyone defending Jones is complicit in a criminal act.

    I fear your assertions become more ludicrous and surreal with each passing sentence. In other words you appear to be making it up as you go along.

  63. Roddy Campbell Says:

    Bart – OT (as usual).

    I watched Glenn Beck this morning for the first time ever (I live in UK).

    It opened my eyes to the extent of the madness possible in the US. My favourite sentence this morning (remember I’ve watched 15 minutes of this man ever) was ‘Obama’s father was a Communist, well, an anti-colonialist, ……..’ as if they were the same thing? And lots of pictures of Soros, who I remember breaking the Bank of England in the early nineties with the power of his capital.

    So I now see why people might complain about the right-wing Republican fossil-fuel big oil media AGW denier conspiracy.

    I have no idea whether it exists, but I see that it is possible in a way I hadn’t before! Apologies for my doubts.

  64. J Bowers Says:

    Roddy Campbell — “‘Obama’s father was a Communist, well, an anti-colonialist, ……..’ “

    Roddy, that’s the way it works in the wider debate.

    “Environmental regulation harms corporate profit, therefore environmentalism must be anti-capitalist, therefore environmentalism is communist.”

  65. trccurtin Says:

    J Bowers; you said “But now you must be saying that the actual content of the emails which Jones asked to be deleted was illegal, not only the act of asking for them to be deleted”.

    Not at all. The content of the emails was never at issue.

    You went on: “And there you appear to be saying…

    * Jones asking for the emails to be deleted was a criminal act”

    Yes it was, and he has escaped only because of the absurd time limitations of the Act

    * Therefore the content of emails themselves were somehow illegal

    Not at all, that is a non sequitur. The contents were and are irrelevant.

    * Therefore again, anyone defending Jones is complicit in a criminal act.

    Yes indeed, as even some of the Inquiries admitted.

  66. J Bowers Says:

    trcurtin — “Not at all. The content of the emails was never at issue.”

    But you said it was – you seem to be backpedalling. I asked, … “did Phil Jones know he was breaking the law?” To which you responded, … “Yes he did, that’s why he asked for all his emails to/from to be deleted.”

    That means the reason he asked for the emails to be deleted was because he had already broken the law (so I can only conclude that you believe the content of the emails were somehow criminal), and the asking could be a further offence. Or did you just phrase it poorly?

    You then say… “…and he has escaped only because of the absurd time limitations of the Act”

    Well, no, not really. There has been no investigation by the ICO and no prosecution. The matter hasn’t been investigated and no criminality has been found. Are you actually saying that he escaped investigation by the ICO? To put it into perspective: Someone accuses you of a criminal act but there is a statute of limitations and the time for prosecution has passed nad there has been neither an ivestigation nor a prosecution, nor even a conviction. Is it then okay for me to go around blogs saying that you committed a criminal act?

    The one I really must take to task, though, is on complicity by others defending Jones… “Yes indeed, as even some of the Inquiries admitted.”

    Could you specifically cite and quote the inquiries which said that, please, and name who you say is complicit? Am I, for instance?

  67. Steve Fitzpatrick Says:

    Bart,
    “There are stronger constraints on climate sensitivity than the instrumental period (e.g. last glacial maximum; volcanoes), which, when taken together point to the sensitivity probably not being much different from 3 deg per doubling of CO2.”

    How strong one believes those constraints are depends a bit on how credible one thinks the data is; I do not find the glacial maximum/minimum analyses very credible. Nobody was taking measurements you know. Lots of assumptions go into these kinds of estimates, and there is really no good way to assign uncertainty to most of them. One thing that does seem clear from ocean sediments is cyclical ice ages began to take place only at relatively low CO2 levels (low in a geological average sense), and that the period of 10 million years prior to the start of recent glacial cycles was remarkably stable in temperature, over a range of CO2 concentrations.

    The last major volcanic eruption took place before there was good data for ocean heat accumulation, so it is not possible to do a reasonable accounting of the net heat flows, even though there were good measurements of stratospheric aerosols (via limb obscuration measurements). Were there a similar eruption today, I believe Argo data on ocean heat changes would yield a much better constraint on climate sensitivity.

    Barring a major volcanic event, I think the strongest constraint will come from the gradually accumulating Argo data for how ocean heat accumulation responds to increased GHG forcing/changes and sea surface temperatures. My guess is that 10 years more data from Argo will provide much better constraints on ocean lag constants, and as a consequence, better constraints on overall climate sensitivity. I am quite ready to wait and see what happens.

    In the mean time, I hope that governments come to their senses and focus funding on research into lower cost non-fossil energy, which would be hugely beneficial in the long term, no matter what the climate sensitivity turns out to be.

  68. Steve Fitzpatrick Says:

    Susan Anderson,
    “Steve Fitzpatrick, if you are the guy I used to know, people should not typecast you, I agree, but a lot of your work was managerial.”

    I have done some management work, but not too much. Unless you have changed you name, I do not think we know each other.

  69. Steve Fitzpatrick Says:

    Roddy Campbell,

    Glenn Beck is indeed more than a little nuts, but that does not mean he represents most people (or even many people) the the USA. Beck appeals to maybe 10%-15% on the far right. The “confiscate-all-the-rich-guys’-money” far left probably represents about 10%, though these days they do not get as much air time as folks like Beck. Neither is representative of broader public opinion. For sure, people in the USA are on average a little to the right of Europeans, but the differences are not that large.

  70. Roddy Campbell Says:

    Steve – My American friend in Colorado disagrees: ‘The right wing in this country is nothing like the Right in the UK. They are total nutjobs over here. Unbelievable. When Sarah Palin becomes President, I might have to consider a move back to Europe.’

    Sorry Bart, I’ll shut up now.

  71. Steve Fitzpatrick Says:

    Roddy Campbell,
    “When Sarah Palin becomes President” Not going to happen; more than half the people think she is very stupid…. and she is!

  72. Bart Says:

    Leave the American politics out of this discussion please, unless it relates to climate change.

  73. Bart Says:

    Steve F,

    I think a wait and see approach is not smart in this circumstance; we better be pro-active. Even if climate sensitivity is smaller than expected (but within the range deemed reasonable by most studies), we better step up our efforts (but that of course is a personal opinion which depends on more than just the science). If climate sensitivity is higher than expected (but with the same reasonable range), we better get cracking real hard real soon.

  74. JMurphy Says:

    Steve Fitzpatrick, you keep going on about what you believe and what you think (especially while dismissing papers/studies that you don’t agree with), seemingly based on a few studies, one of which (from NASA) you highlighted previously. Have you published anything in this field which shows your evidence, etc. or are you just relying on a minority scientific opinion as being more correct than the majority ? Why ? Is it for political reasons or do you have proof that you are correct and just about everyone else is wrong ?

    The report you quoted from states :

    “Therefore, the fact that models have reproduced the global temperature change in the past does not imply that their future forecasts are accurate.”

    But it also does not imply that they are not accurate, does it ?
    And it seems that groups like NASA can be criticised for being part of the supposed conspiracy against so-called skeptics and also criticised for publishing work that seeks to further our knowledge about all effects on climate – which can then be used to imply that we don’t know enough, so we shouldn’t do anything ?

    By the way, you mentioned “other published reports that say essentially the same [about aerosols]” – can you list them ?

  75. MarkB Says:

    Steve Fitzpatrick writes:

    “I have no idea who you are sir, but I am in fact a working scientist, and have been one for a very long time. Appeals to authority are no substitute for a reasoned argument; they simply make you look weak. Sarcastic comments about people you do not know reflect poorly on you as an individual. ”

    Amateur contrarians include some people with science degrees and various biases. Your implication that 10 years of the instrumental record can result in a reasonable estimate of climate sensitivity, along with your comment here is what prompts me to call BS:

    “I have taken the time to read a bunch of the “paleo” based estimates of high climate sensitivity. I think they are extremely weak. I would not say they are rubbish, but highly speculative is I think fair.”

    Anyone can make claims. Failure to back them up (such as is the case with the rest of your post) makes you look weak and silly.

  76. Steve Fitzpatrick Says:

    JMurphy,

    The easy question first:

    “But it also does not imply that they are not accurate, does it ?”

    It mostly implies that the models are very suspect, in multiple ways. It means ALL their predictions are highly uncertain, and that all may be far from correct. Solid models of a process do not use kludges to match data. I appreciate that the system being modeled is very complex, and that complexity makes it very difficult to come up with a model that is a good representation of reality. This difficulty is obvious, based on both the need for a range of aerosol kludges, and the range of diagnosed sensitivity. Fair enough, it is a difficult task, but that does not mean it is prudent to invest a huge amount of money based on model projections when we know the models making the projections have serious problems.

    Now the more difficult questions. You seem appalled that I “dismiss” published papers; I am not really sure why this appalls you. A significant fraction of what is published in science (and not just in climate science!) is not worth the paper it is written on. If you want a good hoot some time, read over some papers (or patents) in a technical field that you know very well. Much of what you will see is comically bad, and often simply wrong. (If you want a current example, read over the several threads on the recent paper by A. Marakeiva et al at The Air Vent and at Lucia’s Blackboard. This is a serious scientific paper that is so wrong that I did not have to read past the first few pages to see that is was pure rubbish. FWIW, Gavin agreed.)

    My two biggest problems with climate science are:

    1) There is an endless reliance on the use of climate models to “analyze” what if scenarios… when I know already that the models are all (at best) suspect. How exactly does one ‘confirm’ the accuracy of high climate sensitivity by modeling an ice-age/interglacial transition using a climate model you already know is suspect? This is to me simply bad science. Crazy, really.

    2) The science is CONSTANTLY used for political purposes. No paper along the “it’s worse than we thought” meme can be published without a press release and a breathless live Q&A by the authors. No paper even remotely related to climate science can seem to be published without some orthogonal statement included about the need for immediate and drastic cuts in CO2 emissions, regardless of the results of the study! I read a paper on the influence of high (560 PPM and higher) CO2 concentrations on the calcification of the shells of crustaceans. Much to the surprise of the researchers, high CO2 concentrations actually helped with calcification of the shells. There was no evidence of danger to crustaceans. To which the authors felt they needed to add (I paraphrase) ‘but we STILL need to make drastic and rapid reductions in CO2 emissions’. There is so much political content in climate science papers that I have become jaded by the onslaught.

    I do not think politics ever belongs in science, and climate science is no exception. The political content calls into doubt the validity of the science.

    “By the way, you mentioned “other published reports that say essentially the same [about aerosols]” – can you list them ?”

    Here are two more that address the same issues:

    Why Hasn’t Earth Warmed as Much as Expected? Journal of climate 2010
    “The current best estimate and uncertainty range of
    the earth’s climate sensitivity suggest an equilibrium
    increase in the earth’s global mean surface temperature
    for forcing by anthropogenic long-lived greenhouse
    gases of 2.1 K (range 1.5–3.2 K, roughly 1 standard deviation),
    well in excess of the observed increase relative
    to preindustrial times, about 0.8 K. The discrepancy is
    attributed mainly to uncertainty in climate sensitivity
    and/or cooling forcing by anthropogenic aerosols, also
    highly uncertain; countervailing natural cooling and
    thermal lag in climate response seem to be relatively
    small.”

    Limits on climate sensitivity derived from recent satellite and surface
    observations (2007)
    Petr Chylek,1 Ulrike Lohmann,2 Manvendra Dubey,3 Michael Mishchenko,4 Ralph Kahn,5
    and Atsumu Ohmura2
    “An analysis of satellite and surface measurements of aerosol optical depth suggests that global average of aerosol optical depth has been recently decreasing at the rate of around 0.0014/a. This decrease is nonuniform with the fastest decrease observed over the United States and Europe. The observed rate of decreasing aerosol optical depth
    produces the top of the atmosphere radiative forcing that is comparable to forcing due to the current rate of increasing atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Consequently, both increasing atmospheric concentration of greenhouse
    gases and decreasing loading of atmospheric aerosols are major contributors to the top-ofatmosphere radiative forcing. We find that the climate sensitivity is reduced by at least a factor of 2 when direct and indirect effects of decreasing aerosols are included, compared
    to the case where the radiative forcing is ascribed only to increases in atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide. We find the empirical climate sensitivity to be between 0.29 and 0.48 K/Wm2 when aerosol direct and indirect radiative forcing is included.”

    If you want more that this, you can find them. ;-)

    I am not suggesting that the above papers are the last word, but I am suggesting that there is plenty of reason to be ‘rationally skeptical’ of claimed high climate sensitivity.

  77. Steve Fitzpatrick Says:

    MarkB,

    You are not interested in a technical discussion. OK, that is all right with me. I am not interested a political discussion. Sorry.

  78. Tom Fuller Says:

    JBowers, it was the act of asking others to delete their emails that broke the law. It seems evident that Jones also deleted his emails in an act of what he called ‘bravado.’ That broke the law.

    Doesn’t really matter if he was prosecuted or not. The law is public and available for scrutiny. His actions are public and available for scrutiny. He has admitted his actions and chalked them up to ‘bravado.’ I personally would attribute his actions to an understandable fear of the revulsion his actions would inspire in anyone who cares about the scientific process and the future of efforts to deal with climate change.

    But that apparently is not important to CAGW political activists. But doesn’t it bother you that some conservatives can now discredit people like our host here because of what Jones did, in fact, do? Obviously they would find another reason if this wasn’t available, but Jones brought dishonor and discredit upon a wide swathe of working scientists.

    What he did was not only illegal, it was wrong. It was also not only wrong, it was stupid.

  79. Bishop Hill Says:

    John Mashey

    I’m not sure the Deming allegation is a key proposition of the book. It’s interesting background to be sure, but key? Regardless, the proposition is that Deming said that he was sent the “get rid of the MWP” email. Lindzen reports that it was Overpeck that sent it – although I was aware of the rumoured identity, Lindzen’s was the first credible identification I found to confirm those rumours. If you feel you want to get upset about the use of the word “confirm”, feel free.

    Re the JSE, your argument is fallacious. The question at issue is whether Deming said what he did.

    Do I assume that you are happy with the chapters about the Hockey Stick?

  80. Bishop Hill Says:

    Tom

    I think it’s also likely that taking emails subject to FOI home for “safekeeping” also broke the law.

  81. M Says:

    trccurtin says: “as clearly the Hadley-CRUT has almost zero correlations with the original freely available source data?”

    Really? Didn’t the Independent Climate Change Emails Review manage, in two days, to replicate the HadCRUT analysis with freely available data, and find basically the same global mean average temperature? http://www.cce-review.org/

    (not to mention, a half dozen independent bloggers in the last few months)

    “therefrom to increase his research grants from his already impressive £20 million (more than most of us have ever earned in ourt lifetimes)”

    Um. You do know that research grants pay a lot more than just the PI salary, don’t you? Or are you being deliberately obtuse? It is kind of hard to tell…

    “It is quite easy to document (I have done it) how Hansen’s Gistemp ex post keeps lowering its reading for GMT in 1998 to make readings for GMT post 2000 seem hotter.”

    Um. The GISS code is publicly available, and the Clear Climate Code reconstruction has managed to duplicate it in Python. Pray tell how Hansen is deliberately futzing with Gistemp to change the temperature of 1998, and how he has managed to keep his futzing invisible to the programmer’s who translated his code into a new language?

    And for Steve Fitzpatrick: “As I said, aerosol are an obvious kludge”: You do realize that there are a lot of researchers out there with no direct connection to climate models who work on estimated aerosol forcing from measurements and understanding of physical mechanisms? While there are certainly a number of historical climate sensitivity/aerosol forcing/ocean heat uptake pairings that are consistent with the 20th century record (given its uncertainty, and uncertainty in solar and natural variability), that doesn’t mean that our best estimate of aerosol forcing is a hand-waving “20-25%”. Perhaps you should take your best estimate from the experts in the field, not from your fevered imagination…

    -M

  82. MapleLeaf Says:

    JMurphy,

    The attacking the models is a straw man (it is the same convenient crutch used by Lindzen)– because one does not necessarily need a model to estimate climate sensitivity. For example,

    Gregory et al. (2002):

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2005/2004JD005557.shtml

    Foster et al. (2006):

    http://homepages.see.leeds.ac.uk/%7Eearpmf/papers/ForsterandGregory2006.pdf

    Also, see Fig. 3 in Knutti and Hegerl (2008). So, multiple, independent lines of evidence point towards the same range.

    Regardless, I find it odd that “skeptics” seem to have no problem believing said models when they think they are telling them what they want. For example, them getting all excited over Latif’s projections and using them to claim that the planet is about to enter 10-30 years of cooling.

  83. MapleLeaf Says:

    Bart,

    So when can we expect the ‘Wegman Illusion” to hit the shelves (penned by BH of course)?

    Maybe it will fare better than the HSI has. Then again, Anthony has had quite a bit of success getting his fan base to co-opt polls, so I’m sure he is happy to help BH continue his misinform campaign.

  84. Tom Fuller Says:

    Maple Leaf, that is totally uncalled for. I’ve read the book, so I can say so with confidence.

  85. Steve Fitzpatrick Says:

    M,

    “You do realize that there are a lot of researchers out there with no direct connection to climate models who work on estimated aerosol forcing from measurements and understanding of physical mechanisms?”

    Sure, like most all of the aerosol researchers listed as authors of the several papers I referenced above. I have no idea what the point of this comment is.

    “While there are certainly a number of historical climate sensitivity/aerosol forcing/ocean heat uptake pairings that are consistent with the 20th century record (given its uncertainty, and uncertainty in solar and natural variability), that doesn’t mean that our best estimate of aerosol forcing is a hand-waving “20-25%”.”

    Of course. And I hope you realize that while there are certainly a number of historical climate sensitivity/aerosol forcing/ocean heat uptake pairings (maybe ‘combinations’ would be better than ‘pairings’) that are consistent with the 20th century record, there are the additional constraints of the measured ocean heat uptake since the 1950’s and the measured ocean heat uptake data from Argo, both of which seem inconsistent with huge aerosol offsets and very high climate sensitivity. 20%-25% of radiative forcing offset by aerosols (currently ~0.65 to ~0.8 watt per square meter) is well within the IPCC AR4 range of aerosol offsets.

    Perhaps you should be a good deal more open to critically think about the data, and not simply accept what ‘experts’ say. Fevered imaginations are not needed to think critically. ‘Experts’ may be a good deal less expert than you imagine.

  86. M Says:

    -.65 to -0.8 is “within” the IPCC AR4 range, but the central estimate of the IPCC range is -1.2, with distribution skewed to the more negative end. Yes, there is plenty of uncertainty, but that is a lot larger than your (tiny) range. It is odd: you are able to come down from the mountain and declare that “experts” are less “expert” than I imagine… of course, the experts that _I_ listen to are willing to discuss the uncertainty in their estimates, whereas you, apparently, have been blessed from above with the ability to constrain the best guess aerosol forcing to a range of 0.15 W/m2… pray tell, how can you be so certain? What is your special source of knowledge? Why is Chylek et al. the end-all-be-all of the aerosol literature, ignoring everything from Ramanathan to Doherty to the IPCC to… well, the vast majority of the experts.

    -M

  87. Steve Fitzpatrick Says:

    M,
    “how can you be so certain?”

    I am not ‘so certain’, but I have given it some thought. That range (aerosol off-set of 20% – 25% of GHG forcing, or even a bit lower) seems the best fit to the ocean heat accumulation since 1955. Much higher aerosol off-sets are consistent with the ocean heat accumulation between 1955 and present only if you assume quite long (~10 years or more) effective ocean lag periods. The problem with long ocean lags is that these are inconsistent with the recent ocean heat history…. fairly flat since about 2003. Were the effective ocean lags really in the range needed for high aerosol effects to be correct (~10 years or more), then the recent (post 2003) fairly flat ocean heat content combined with fairly flat ocean surface temperatures would never have taken place; we would have seen a long rise in ocean heat all through the decade, as the lagging ocean “caught up with” the already warmed surface.

    “Why is Chylek et al. the end-all-be-all of the aerosol literature?”

    I never said they were. I said:
    “I am not suggesting that the above papers are the last word, but I am suggesting that there is plenty of reason to be ‘rationally skeptical’”.

  88. Climategate anniversary « The Standard Says:

    [...] other climate bloggers are doing Climategate anniversary pieces. Two great ones I read today were Bart Verheggen’s article and the transcript of John Cook’s radio broadcast. Be sure to check them [...]

  89. adelady Says:

    Steve, are you saying that you think that the Argo system, which _cannot_ go deeper than 2 km, has already told us conclusively everything there is to know about ocena heat content?

    http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/people/gjohnson/Recent_AABW_Warming_v3.pdf tells us that there’s a whole heap of info about ocean heating yet to be collected about the regions of the ocean below 2 km. Have a look at http://www.skepticalscience.com/billions-of-blow-dryers.html for an overview.

  90. Bart Says:

    Steve F,

    Regarding those two papers you cite, see e.g. Ramanathan and Feng (2009), based on which the picture looks a bit different:

    Global average surface temperatures have increased by about 0.75 degrees Celsius since the beginning of the industrial revolution, of which ~0.6 °C is attributable to human activities. The total radiative forcing by greenhouse gases is around 3 W/m2, with which we have ‘committed’ the planet to warm up by 2.4 °C (1.6-3.6 °C), according to a climate sensitivity of 3 °C (2-4.5 °C) for a doubling of CO2. The observed amount of warming thus far has been less than this, because part of the excess energy is stored in the oceans (amounting to ~0.5 °C), and the remainder (~1.3 °C) has been masked by the cooling effect of anthropogenic aerosols.

    The uncertainties in both sensitivity and aerosol forcing are quite large, such that one cannot with confidence use one to constrain the other. Within the uncertainties, earth has warmed up as much as expected. Only if you ignore aerosols alltogether would you arrive at the conclusion that Schwartz’s (an aerosol scientist!) title suggests.

    Regarding Chylek et al, see eg James Annan’s critique.

  91. trccurtin Says:

    M said: “Didn’t the Independent Climate Change Emails Review manage, in two days, to replicate the HadCRUT analysis with freely available data, and find basically the same global mean average temperature?” http://www.cce-review.org/

    M: that is not an accurate statement. What the so-called Independent Review Team did in 2 days was write some code. It would take me much less than an hour to write a simple formula in Excel that summed and then averaged the station data. The CRU’s code was actually pathetic, and the Review Team’s probably no better.

    The Review Team’s comparison of HadCrut, with GCHN & co is also pathetic (Fig.6.2), as there is a huge and widening divergence, with GISS at 0.55, Crutem 0.7, and NCDC 0.8 by 2009. Those are very large discrepancies, but then the Review Team no more than any other climate scientits can do percentages, when they think that CRU-GISS = 0.15 and NCDC-GISS = 0.25 (NCDC nearly 50% higher than GISS) are effectively the same

    You then said: “…Pray tell how Hansen is deliberately futzing with Gistemp to change the temperature of 1998, and how he has managed to keep his futzing invisible to the programmer’s who translated his code into a new language?”

    Dude, just look at the output, GMT for 1998 changes almost daily. For example in September 2008 the anomaly was 0.72; by today it was 0.55 (both are available from Gistemp as I write). I wonder why? I confidently predict that Gistemps prior to this year will be adjusted down to make this the hottest year ever (in fact they already have).

  92. Bart Says:

    Tim Curtin,

    Your thinly veiled accusations of fraud on the part of climate science start to get on my nerves. Tone it down.

  93. J Bowers Says:

    Trcurtin — “. What the so-called Independent Review Team did in 2 days was write some code. It would take me much less than an hour to write a simple formula in Excel that summed and then averaged the station data. The CRU’s code was actually pathetic, and the Review Team’s probably no better.”

    But they wrote their own code in two days. Just a simple matter of fact. A feat seemingly beyond 99.999% of those who like to hijack the title of “sceptic” and “expert on code”.

    So Tim, would you like to do the deed and share the fruit of one hour’s labour for all to see?

  94. trccurtin Says:

    J. Bowers: you said “So Tim, would you like to do the deed and share the fruit of one hour’s labour for all to see?”

    No problem, send me the station data (in Excel readable format), and I will return GMT within one hour (allowing for your and my time zones).

    Bart: you said: “Your thinly veiled accusations of fraud on the part of climate science start to get on my nerves. Tone it down”.

    OK, if Gistemp says 1998 was 0.72 in 2008, and now says it was 0.55, why am I at fault for pointing this out? Check it yourself!

  95. TrueSceptic Says:

    Bart,

    It’s good that this thread is open to all, but I really think you need to moderate some of the comments. Once again, we see the “sceptics” displaying their usual behaviour, namely their inability to stay on-topic and instead going off on their usual delusional rants about how climate science is all some huge fraud.

  96. TrueSceptic Says:

    Bart,

    PS the accusations of fraud are not thinly veiled at all: they are clear and obvious. Let’s face it, this belief underlies the world view of most “sceptics”.

  97. Steve Fitzpatrick Says:

    adelady,
    “are you saying that you think that the Argo system, which _cannot_ go deeper than 2 km, has already told us conclusively everything there is to know about ocena heat content?”

    No, but most estimates of deep ocean warming represent a very modest fraction of the total; heat accumulation is dominated by the upper 700 meters, and even 700 meters to 2000 meters appears to make only a small contribution to the total. There is an extreme paucity of data below 2 Km, but the very slow turnover of the deepest portions of the ocean (multiple hundreds of years to 1,000+ years) suggests a large unaccounted heat accumulation is not likely. This view is consistent with studies of ocean mass, which have estimated a majority (>75% if I remember right) of recent sea level increase has been due to glacial melting, and only a small fraction due to heat accumulation. Very large deep ocean heat accumulation seems much less likely in light of the modest estimates of recent thermal expansion.

    The Argo system was designed to monitor ocean heat accumulation. The expectation (based on many years of ship-board measurements of temperature profiles) was that nearly all heat accumulation would take place in the the top 2000 meters, and that the accumulation would be dominated by the surface to 700 meter region. Josh Willis (oceanographer at NASA JPL who works with Argo data) has suggested that a regularly (monthly?) calculated heat content for just the top 500 meters would provide a reasonably accurate estimate of heat fluxes on up to multi-decade time scales.

    This is a case where a lot of data seem to conflict with a lot of theory. My personal experience is that in cases like the this, the data is most often correct.

  98. Steve Fitzpatrick Says:

    Bart,
    “The uncertainties in both sensitivity and aerosol forcing are quite large, such that one cannot with confidence use one to constrain the other. Within the uncertainties, earth has warmed up as much as expected. Only if you ignore aerosols alltogether would you arrive at the conclusion that Schwartz’s (an aerosol scientist!) title suggests.”

    I think you are being a little unfair to Schwartz. He does not say that there is no aerosol effect, he says that whatever it is, it is very uncertain, and that uncertainty precludes a confident estimate of climate sensitivity by comparing GHG forcing to temperature change…. which is exactly your position (if I understand you correctly).

    I think that reasonable constrains on climate sensitivity can come from accurate measures of ocean heat accumulation *combined with* information about GHG forcing and surface temperature changes. The Glory mission data (should the satellite ever get launched!) will also help with much better aerosol data, since it will be able (say those in charge of the program) to differentiate between natural and man-made aerosols.

  99. Bart Says:

    Steve F,

    I did find the title of Schwartz’s paper a little odd to put it mildly, since nobody (esp not him) at this time expects there to be no climate effect of aerosols. I think the title was chosen to be catchy and provocative, but it is in that sense also misleading. He’s a good scientist overall though; “the whitehouse effect” (referring to the direct aerosol effect) is a classic for example.

  100. Steve Fitzpatrick Says:

    adelady,

    I forgot one thing: I had already read the paper you referenced (Sarah G. Purkey and Gregory C. Johnson, 2010). It looks like very reasonable work. They estimate a net heat flux worldwide to depths below 2 Km of ~ 0.095 watt per square meter, and a net contribution of ~ 0.145 mm per year rise in average sea level (that is, a rate of 1.45 cm per century) over the last 20 years. These values suggest that an increase of ~0.6C in ocean surface temperature (pre-industrial versus recent) leads to some deep ocean heating, with a rate of about 0.16 watt per square meter per degree of ocean surface temperature increase.

  101. J Bowers Says:

    Tim Curtin, send the data in Excel format!? Are you serious?

  102. M Says:

    trccurtin: “It would take me much less than an hour to write a simple formula in Excel that summed and then averaged the station data.”

    From that description, it sounds like you would be doing it wrong. Summing and averaging the station data does NOT give you a global mean temperature anomaly. There’s something called “spatial interpolation” which is kind of key.

    -M

  103. TrueSceptic Says:

    J Bowers,

    He did say “Excel readable”, so that includes CSV, fixed width, DIF, and all the rest. It should be sufficient to point him to the raw data, which he can then (in, oh, a few minutes or even seconds), edit into an Excel friendly format.

    But this is all off-topic, of course.

  104. One year later | Louo.net Says:

    [...] The Yale Forum has some interesting discussions from scientists, and there are a couple of good overviews available. Inevitably perhaps, the emails have been used to support and reinforce all sorts of [...]

  105. One year later « Global Warming Blog Says:

    [...] The Yale Forum has some interesting discussions from scientists, and there are a couple of good overviews available. Inevitably perhaps, the emails have been used to support and reinforce all sorts of [...]

  106. J Bowers Says:

    @ TrueSceptic, I think it’s relevant to the topic. If this is an illustration of expertise amongst “sceptics” with data, consider also the number of FOIA data requests which claimed academic justification and legitimacy.

  107. Eli Rabett Says:

    tcurtin said: weather data are usually readily accessible from wherever they are collected.

    Sadly no. First of all sometime access costs, but more importantly a large fraction of the data is still paper and stored in some cabinet somewhere in the same warehouse as the ark of the covenant. Much of it may only be notationally available in the sense of yes, we have an index card that says that we have it, but it does not appear to be on the shelf.

    As Sarcasto would say, obviously Phil Jones has been a busy guy.

  108. Eli Rabett Says:

    Schwartz pulled the same crap with acid rain, which was used by the Reagan/Bush administrations to delay action on acid rain. Enough was known then (~1983) to justify regulation of SO2 emissions, but action was delayed several years. The first was a tragedy, this attempt is a farce.

  109. Climategate.nl» Blog Archive » Vele analyses van eerste jaar na climategate Says:

    [...] Verheggen met “Climategate”: The scandal that wasn’t and the scandal that was [...]

  110. Hans Erren Says:

    Bart the real scandal is that the scientific community didn’t react to the deletion of adverse data (“the trick”). Imagine that in pharmaceutics: “Oh I don’t like the tail in my data that invalidates my test, better not show it.”

  111. Eli Rabett Says:

    Hans, you are dissembling. It is quite common to not use data that you know to be misleading for instrumental or physical reasons. The reasons for not using data after 1960 in a few proxy tree ring records was clearly discussed in several publications. The only discussion to be had is whether to use that proxy at all. Opinions differ. Pay attention.

  112. Marco Says:

    Hans Erren, look up “censoring”. Then try “left-censoring” and “autism”.

  113. Bart Says:

    Turris,

    Please read the comment policy and feel free to submit a comment again, without the smear and accusations. Thanks!

  114. Turris Says:

    I stipulate:

    I am not accusing Phil Jones, let me be clear!!

    My question : Isn’t the true mind of Phil Jones exposed in his emails and responces?

    I do THINK so, and lots of climate scientist do think also accordingly!

    The answer and proof lays in the CRU and Phil Jones himself!

    Still the CRU climate data sets are not available for pear review and auditing!

  115. Marco Says:

    A pear a day keeps the doctor away?

    Anyway, what “climate data sets” from CRU would you like, Turris? And how will you audit those climate data sets? What is the methodology you will use, and how will you communicate the results?

    Auditors are impartial people who dispassionately look at the data and methodology, and inform the original data holder when he believes something is amiss. They do so dispassionately. Please point me to any such dispassionate auditor.

  116. J Bowers Says:

    Turris — “The CRU climate data sets are not available for pear review and auditing!”

    They are. You just have to replicate Jones and CRU’s methodology and go get them. Sorry if that sounds like hard work, but no pain no gain I guess. It was good enough for Roy Spencer, so many would guess it would be good enough for anyone but the most logically challenged and climate trophy hunters.

  117. willard Says:

    There are two ways to get data:

    The fastest one is:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/data-sources/

    A slowest one is:

    http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/1648786661/realclimate-data-sources

    Both lead to the same place, but the first one offers a more panoramic view.

  118. Turris Says:

    @ Marco: The the CRU climate source data are not available for review. Not last year, not this year! See also Erren’s insert

    For sake of objective science : Let the CRU/Jones make source climate data available, be transparent in applied data smoothing, and in the data modelling. Be open regarding forecasting method, forecast model parameters, presumptions and the in the model applied computer code.

    Do not damage the scientific integrity by denying access from reviewers and auditors. Lay off political injected science!

  119. trccurtin Says:

    M (20 Nov 2010 2300): “…Summing and averaging the station data does NOT give you a global mean temperature anomaly. There’s something called “spatial interpolation” which is kind of key”.

    Of course, but I prefer to do my own gridding, as I simply do not trust either CRUT or Gistemp.

    The code used by Giss temp is biassed, in the sense that it says seek out nearest place with a warming trend greater than that at place in question.

    For example, Gistemp GNT Anomalies:

    Annual J-D 250km 1200km
    1998 0.52 0.55
    2005 0.56 0.62
    2009 0.51 0.56

    Guess which series is used to produce “hottest ever” claims?

    Do locate your own habitat by Lat and Long and see how Gistemp unerringly exaggerates its temperature trend.

    For example:
    Cape Bruny, Tasmania: actual (BoM) base 1951-1980: 11.8 oC
    HadleyCRUT: 11.95 oC
    Gistemp Anomalies (Gistemp) Cape Bruny 2009: 250 km: .6041
    1200 km: .8713;

    A huge difference, surely?

    So from BoM base 1951-1980 for 2009, annual mean temperature at Cape Bruny was EITHER 12.6713 oC (Gistemp 1200 km grid) OR 12.401 at 250 km. Grid. Now that really is pure science!

    Yet Cape Bruny has one of the longest Australian time series and is a non-urban location, so why given the very different values shown for it in the 250 km and 1200 grids, is it not used for the gridding? Surely the anomaly reported for Cape Bruny should be the same in both the 250 and the 1200 km Gistemp series?

    Perhaps you can now see why Phil Jones at CRU is so secretive about his homogenising, and GISS appears no better.

  120. J Bowers Says:

    Looks like the latest meme justifying heads on walls is to make out the target trophies spoil the herd. A bit slicker than usual but still smells of jackal.

  121. willard Says:

    Bart,

    I forgot to tell you that you don’t owe me any apology regarding the “pretty please with sugar on it.” That line was stolen from Steve:

    http://climateaudit.org/2010/07/08/bps-analysis-of-cru-emails/

  122. Bart Says:

    Tim Curtin,

    Check out the different reconstructions of global avg temp out there, including those from “skeptical” bloggers (e.g. figs 3 and 4). Would yours be radically different? If so, why? If not, would you apologize? Thanks in advance.

  123. Marco Says:

    Turris, it appears you are conflating a lot of things. Forecasting? CRUtem doesn’t do forecasting. Data smoothing? Described in the literature. Source data availability? As noted by others: contact the original data holders and get the data yourself. Peer reviewers have seen how Jones et al did and do the analysis.

    If you want to lay off of politically injected science, stay away from the self-styled auditors. They are not unbiased auditors, they are people who WANT to find errors, and try to make the Himalayas out of the Vaalserberg whenever they find something that could be constructed as an error.

  124. trccurtin Says:

    Bart: Yes I would, but those reconstructions are to a large extent coordinated.

    What I asked, and you have not responded, is why does the GISS code result in two very widely different anomalies for Cape Bruny in Tasmania, a gold standard temperature station for the whole planet if there is such a thing, when clearly neither of the two Gistemp series actually uses Cape Bruny. If GISS did, the anomalies should be the same whether using 250 km or 1200 km (which is merely a Hansenite scientit trick – oops, code – for choosing not to use raw data for the lat/long in question if it does not show the required trend). As at Cape Bruny real data do exist, the code successfully suppresses it, merely because it wickedly shows no anomaly. No doubt nearby Hobart is preferred because as the biggest town in Tasmania it has an obvious and convenient UHI.

    Thanks in advance for your comments on the strange treatment of raw data from Cape Bruny by the Gistemp code.

    But at least GISS does show its lat/long grids, CRUT never has nor ever will in a format accessible by lesser mortals like me.

  125. Bart Says:

    Tim,

    Are you suggesting that Jeff Id is coordinating his efforts with Tamino and NASA? Really?

    I’m not interested in Cape Brun or Pt Barrow or whichever point on earth you’re looking at. I’m interested in *global* change.

    If you insist on discussing local temp changes here, I’ll open an open thread “local change” for that purpose. But don’t hijack every second thread here with the same stuff.

  126. trccurtin Says:

    Bart: I know nothing of Jeff Id “coordinating his efforts with Tamino & NASA”. What is all that about?

    OK, you are the baas, but the “Global” is the ensemble of the local. Not so?

    Here we have a “global” that is demonstrably an artefact. Each and every Gistemp reading for 250 km and 1200 km is different, proving that its code contrives (1) to produce “global” warming when there is none, and (2) to yield different anomalies for every site where there are real data that have completely different anomalies.

    Prove me wrong for say Amsterdam – but I know you are not up to it.

    Totsiens!

    Tim

  127. Bart Says:

    Tim, you wrote in your earlier comment:

    those reconstructions are to a large extent coordinated.

    in reply to me bringing up several official and blogospheric temperature reconstructions, spanning the spectrum from Jeff Id, Roman M, Nick Stokes, Zeke Hausfather and Tamino. Hence my question at clarification of what is being coordinated amongst who? These efforts are largely independent.

  128. trccurtin Says:

    Bart: they are not uncordinated.

    Show me INDEPENDENT data for Cape Bruny from EACH OF THOSE sources.

  129. J Bowers Says:

    But Tim Curtin, you can get your own station data from the primary sources. Or does that seem too much like hard work and the only head you could put on your wall would be your own should the results be incorrect? Easier to pull apart the hard work of others, etc…

  130. MarkB Says:

    Steve Fitzpatrick writes:

    “You are not interested in a technical discussion.”

    Funny. I present detailed technical analysis in direct response to your assertions on climate sensitivity. You dismiss the analysis off hand, throw out a red herring or two, and make claims that you fail to support. Sadly, this is how most climate contrarians debate.

  131. MarkB Says:

    MapleLeaf writes:

    “For example, them getting all excited over Latif’s projections and using them to claim that the planet is about to enter 10-30 years of cooling.”

    RC has a new post on the study Latif was co-author of:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/11/so-how-did-that-global-cooling-bet-work-out/

    Keep in mind the study didn’t project 10-30 years of cooling, although I’m sure contrarians spun it that way. They did project the 2000-2010 average to be notably lower than 1995-2005, which didn’t happen. I posed the question of why they’d want to publish a study that didn’t show past skill and was very likely to be wrong. The study did happen to come out during the 2007-2008 la Nina peak. Commenter “M” has a reasoned response.

  132. MarkB Says:

    On Annan’s response to Chylek, here’s his formal comment with Hargreaves. It’s a classic case of cherry-picking unrepresentative data points.

    “Abstract. In a recent paper, Chylek and Lohmann (2008)
    used data from the Vostok ice core together with simple energy
    balance arguments to simultaneously estimate both the
    dust radiative forcing effect and the climate sensitivity, generating
    surprisingly high and low values for these respective
    parameters. However, their results depend critically on their
    selection of single unrepresentative data points from time series
    which exhibit a large amount of short-term variability,
    and are highly unstable with respect to other arbitrarily selected
    data points. When temporal averages are used in accordance
    with accepted norms within the paleoclimate community,
    the results obtained are entirely unremarkable and in
    line with previous analyses.”

    http://www.jamstec.go.jp/frcgc/research/d5/jdannan/chylek_comment.pdf

    http://julesandjames.blogspot.com/2008/03/more-chylek-on-sensitivity.html

    http://julesandjames.blogspot.com/2009/04/comment-on-aerosol-radiative-forcing.html

    This is pretty common when we see notably lower estimates of climate sensitivity speculated (in this case, 1.3-2.3 wasn’t that anomalous of an estimate, although still based on anomalous data points).

    Looking again at the full range of estimates…

    http://www.iac.ethz.ch/people/knuttir/papers/knutti08natgeo.pdf

  133. Steve Fitzpatrick Says:

    MarkB,

    Nice to see you return to address a number of posts, even if very badly.

    You presented nothing like a technical analysis. You also failed to address, or even acknowledge, that climate models diagnose a broad range of climate sensitivities, and reproduce the historical record by using a wide range of assumed aerosol offsets, which can only be regarded as gross kludges that ‘fix-up’ the models. I will reply to you about the reminder of your comments when you can bring yourself to acknowledge and address this glaring shortfall.

  134. MarkB Says:

    “Nice to see you return to address a number of posts”

    Predictable to see that you haven’t.

  135. MarkB Says:

    On the higher-than-mean estimates of climate sensitivity, a new study is out on cloud feedback, the primary source of uncertainty in climate sensitivity estimates:

    “Co-author Kevin Hamilton concludes, “If our model results prove to be representative of the real global climate, then climate is actually more sensitive to perturbations by greenhouse gases than current global models predict, and even the highest warming predictions would underestimate the real change we could see.””

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101122172010.htm

    The important caveat here is that the region studied may not be indicative of the global feedback, but note the correlation in the abstract:

    “The cloud–climate feedback averaged over the same east Pacific region was also calculated from the Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES) A1B simulations for each of the 16 GCMs with results that varied from −1.0 to +1.3 W m−2 K−1, all less than the values obtained in the comparable iRAM simulations. The iRAM results by themselves cannot be connected definitively to global climate feedbacks; however, among the global GCMs the cloud feedback in the full tropical–subtropical zone is correlated strongly with the east Pacific cloud feedback, and the cloud feedback largely determines the global climate sensitivity. The present iRAM results for cloud feedbacks in the east Pacific provide some support for the high end of current estimates of global climate sensitivity.”

    http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/2010JCLI3666.1

    I find high-end estimates of climate sensitivity (much greater than 3 C) to be more convincing than the low-end estimates, but 3 C is still what I’d bank on, given the broad range of evidence. Blindly accepting the results of one or two anomalous studies is always hazardous.

  136. Steve Fitzpatrick Says:

    MarkB,
    Like I said before, I am not very interested in a political discussion. Seems you have neither the courage nor interest in a technical discussion. OK.
    .

  137. Susan Anderson Says:

    Wad God the giftie’d gie us
    To see oorselves as ithers see us

    In the department of fluffing and fudging, I’m seeing an awful lot of this from the fake skeptic and delayer camp. They like to accuse the questioner of evading the issues in order to avoid answering specific questions.

    People tend to filter their perceptions of others through their experience of themselves. I see a lot of technical questions above that are not being answered. These questions are being labeled political. It seems the bias is so strong the filter is failing to identify the specific and technical nature of the questions and automatically evading answering them. I hope so, because the other possible reason is that the evader is dishonest which I do not wish to believe.

    However, in many other cases around the blogosphere, this technique is in such common use it is hard not to believe this is being disseminated as a political tactic. So the person being political is the evader/accuser, not the person wishing specific answers to scientific questions.

    SF, if you did not work at Abt, my apologies. However, physics is physics, a broad discipline with many specialties, and it is important not to pronounce on things unless you really understand the study them. Hence the likes of Hal Lewis, Freeman Dyson, Motl, et al. sad deterioration of fine brains as they become political and let their so-called science lack follow-through and logic.

  138. Toby Thaler Says:

    Steve Frederick said: “Failure to develop non-fossil energy supplies in a timely manner could cause catastrophic economic damage as fossil fuel begin to run out.” and “I want to avoid costly errors in public policy, and find a way to provide inexpensive energy to the world’s poorest.”

    Your statements evidence an assumption that “inexpensive energy” is technologically available. In light of the known available sources, and their impacts, and in light of world populations and the distribution of wealth under the present world economic/political system, what sources of energy do you propose? At what environmental and economic cost? My understanding is that there is no current technology that can support historic per capita consumption rates into the foreseeable future. What do you suggest as the “public policy” solution(s) to this problem?

  139. Turris Says:

    I am finishing reading Marcel Crok’s new book “The state of the climate”.

    Marcel succeeded to unravel the climate email-scam at the CRU, by analysing and interviewing key-role players in the emails that were published.

    As an conclusion (out of Marcel’s book) you could honestly state, that the CRU took lengthy effort to cover up that, their climate data series were a selection, a composition, a fabric and a manipulation of alarmistic favourable data series with political intentions.

    The question of Marcel is : What is an unreliable IPCC worth, while all involved in the cover up and in the political biased conclusions are restored or continued in function at the IPCC?

  140. james freeman Says:

    Umm, refusing to reveal raw data is not good scientist. Scientific claims based on hidden date that can not be verified by those skeptical of your assertions is, well, not science. Bullshit perhaps, but not science.

  141. Bart Says:

    Feel free.

  142. Toby Thaler Says:

    Bart: Re: James, Turris, etc. Don’t confuse them with the facts.

  143. General Robert Dowson Says:

    trccurtain, Fitzpatrick:
    Those who broke into the emails and committed this terroristic act of espionage against scientists, the IPCC, NASA, will almost certainly be prosecuted and sent to prison. They will face heavy civil charges, too, for the illegal slander of scientists and for interfering with this critical international effort to fight anthropogenic global warming (AGW).

    The irony is that the same people who are behind this crime and who encourage and advocate these crimes are the same one, hypocritically, who call an international hero and reporter, Julian Assange, a “terrorist”. Julian Assange does his job. He has shown light on the criminal interference by certain foreign agents, working ostensibly for the United States, who have interfered with and harrassed the rest of the members at the climate conferences in Copenhagen and Cancun, to slow down and stall their critical work. These criminal agents must be rooted and sent to prison. I conjecture most of them work for the coal, gas, nuclear, and oil industries.

    The climate scientists (Phil Jones, Richard Santer) have the legal right to sue and to charge the purveyors of the non-existent climategate scandal with terroristic threats.

    I will make one more somewhat related comment: the 911truthers, who collectively believe in many alternate theories for 911, would stop hurting their cause if they would stop foolishly denying the proven fact of AGW. The US military and my unit, in particular, take AGW very seriously.

  144. trccurtin Says:

    General Dowson, you appear to be confused. Julian Assange has claimed repeatedly to have been the first to release so-caleld Climategate emails. Hurling terrorism allegations at all you disagree with does not advance the war against the real terrorists at all, if fact it gives them comfort.

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