Bad News for Deniers: Grown-ups Weigh in on Email Leftovers

November 23, 2011

The Journalistic first-stringers are starting to react, and climate denialists don’t like it – note the title of the snippet from BBC above, posted on youtube, apparently by a disgruntled climate-conspiracy crank – “AlJaBeeba Does Climategate 2”.
Hmmm, I’m guessing the anti-muslim slur is a clue, once again, as to the intellectual strata we are dealing with…..

24 hours in, one thing that’s different from round one, 2 years ago, is that scientists, bloggers and journalists on the side of reason have become organized and ready to respond to these guerilla attacks, and within hours of the first release, there was a major, organized push-back on the web, with top level scientists weighing in and putting out-of-context material in perspective.
It appears that the rapidly-jelling mainstream perspective will indeed be guided by the maxim “Fool me once…”

OK, now I can go pick up my turkey.

NYTimes:

The new e-mails appeared remarkably similar to the ones released two years ago just ahead of a similar conference in Copenhagen. They involved the same scientists and many of the same issues, and some of them carried a similar tone: catty remarks by the scientists, often about papers written by others in the field.

A string of investigations following the 2009 release all came to the conclusion that scientists had not manipulated data to support their findings, though some of the reports did criticize them on minor points, such as failing to share their data or to respond properly to freedom of information requests.

Michael E. Mann, a Pennsylvania State University scientist who wrote or received some of the e-mails, said they showed the opposite of any conspiracy, demonstrating instead that climate science is a vigorous enterprise where scientists were free to argue over conclusions. “Scientists rely on the ability to have frank, sometimes even contentious discussions with each other,” Dr. Mann said in an interview Tuesday. “Science requires that.”

In one of the e-mails, Raymond S. Bradley, director of the Climate System Research Center at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, criticized a paper that Dr. Mann wrote with the climate scientist Phil Jones, which used tree rings and similar markers to find that today’s climatic warming had no precedent in recent natural history. Dr. Bradley, who has often collaborated with Dr. Mann, wrote that the 2003 paper “was truly pathetic and should never have been published.”

Dr. Bradley confirmed in an interview that the e-mail was his, but said his comment had no bearing on whether global warming was really happening. “I did not like that paper at all, and I stand by that, and I am sure that I told Mike that” at the time, he said. But he added that a disagreement over a single paper had little to do with the overall validity of climate science. “There is no doubt we have a big problem with human-induced warming,” Dr. Bradley said. “Mike’s paper has no bearing on the fundamental physics of the problem that we are facing.”

Some of the other e-mails involved comments about problems with the computer programs used to forecast future climate, known as climate models. For instance, a cryptic e-mail apparently sent by Dr. Jones, a researcher at East Anglia, said, “Basic problem is that all models are wrong — not got enough middle and low level clouds.”

Gavin A. Schmidt, a climate modeler at NASA, said he found such exchanges unremarkable. He noted that difficulties in modeling were widely acknowledged and disclosed in the literature. Indeed, such problems are often discussed at scientific meetings in front of hundreds of people.

Of the new release of e-mails, Dr. Schmidt said, “It smacks of desperation.”

Washington Post – Capital Weather Gang:

The “new” emails (not new in that they are from 2009 and earlier) – while trumpeted by some climate skeptics as “spectacular” and draining life from the manmade global warming movement – mean little substantively from a scientific standpoint, just like the set that preceded them.

The climate skeptic blogosphere has been quick to cherry pick certain snippets from the emails they claim show dissension within the climate science ranks, perhaps to demonstrate scientists may express more doubt about their confidence in the science in private than they do in public.

Time – “Climategate 2.0: A Weak Sequel” –

Otherwise the new batch of emails seem to add little to what was raised two years ago. Climate scientists—especially when you quote selectively from emails they think are not for public viewing—can be hypersensitive to criticism and clannish. Within the climate science world, there are clearly differences of opinions on aspects of climate science, on the certainty of models and on the confidence we can have in any sweeping assessment of global warming. Those differences come out in the emails, sometimes very bluntly—but that to me isn’t evidence of some kind of international conspiracy, but rather the not always pretty process of science and collective decision-making happening in real time.

Here’s an example: in the Washington Post, Juliet Eilperin quotes one of  the hacked emails:

An official from the U.K. Met Office [Peter Thorne], a scientific organization which analyzes the climate, writes to the Climate Research Unit’s then-director Phil Jones at one point: “Observations do not show rising temperatures throughout the tropical troposphere unless you accept one single study and approach and discount a wealth of others. This is just downright dangerous. We need to communicate the uncertainty and be honest. Phil, hopefully we can find time to discuss these further if necessary […]”

Later, the official adds, “I also think the science is being manipulated to put a political spin on it which for all our sakes might not be too clever in the long run.”

That might sound bad, although again, this appears to be part of a back-and-forth. But as Jocelyn Fong of the liberal press watchdog group Media Matters writes, these emails were sent in February 2005 and were discussing a first draft of what would become part of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessment. The final version of the chapter the two scientists were quarreling about seemed to reflect Thorne’s concerns, and cited his research several times. Isn’t that what this process supposed to be about?

Politico -“Scientists Scoff at Stolen Emails”:

Climate skeptics see gold in the latest batch of stolen emails from a British university server, purportedly showing that scientists colluded and propped up their data to demonstrate that greenhouse gases are changing the planet.

But just as a similar 2009 document dump mattered little in unraveling the scientific consensus on global warming, the 5,300 new emails and other files that surfaced on a Russian computer server Tuesday inspired little worry among researchers that the fact of human-caused climate change is in danger of being undermined.

Advertisements

108 Responses to “Bad News for Deniers: Grown-ups Weigh in on Email Leftovers”


  1. I guess you should leave it to the grownups then. However too many of them made the childish mistake of reaching conclusions before reading what they were commenting on.

    They’d discovered the one “skeptic gold” has been to find out that mainstream climate scientists have been harboring for years many of the doubts raised by skeptical blogs. It’s the True Believers the ones who are being left out “in the cold”.

    • greenman3610 Says:

      what rings false is the denialist claim that climate science is all some kind of lockstep left-wing plot, with a group of insiders conspiring to distort and steer the science in some direction.
      As these emails reveal, things have been thrashed out contentiously from the get go, sort of like any scientific enterprise over the last 2 hundred years.
      Now, as the illustration above, and the link below, show, denialists are left with calling it all a muslim plot….
      http://frontpagemag.com/2011/11/23/the-islamist-environmentalist-alliance/

      at what point do deniers find their sense of shame?
      just curious.


      • Nice. But I have never ever described climate science as “all some kind of lockstep left-wing plot, with a group of insiders conspiring to distort and steer the science in some direction“.

        Do you have anything to reply to people that don’t believe in conspiracies?

        • greenman3610 Says:

          You don’t believe in conspiracies?
          who are these “True Believers” of whom you speak?


          • True Believers are those “strongly attached to a particular belief” (from Wikipedia). The fact that solutions to CAGW strongly align with socialist dreams of the past for example, of course means many dreaming socialists will lap up anything that remotely resembles CAGW.

            But just as obviously, that fact has no bearing on the science of GW, AGW and CAGW.

            Let’s not confuse randomly-occurring communion of intent with active conspiracy (=”breathing together”, in the original Latin).

        • Martin_Lack Says:

          Let’s face it, Maurizio, you like to think of yourself as a free thinker, but you have been duped by the same people that fooled the world into thinking smoking cigarettes was not dangerous for nearly 50 years. Is it little wonder that they have managed to deny that we are changing our climate for little more than half that time?

          Now, however, we will see how grown-up you are: How will you deal with the fact that you have been led astray by those whose only concern is that their fossil fuel based business model should not be challenged?

          Before answering, please consider that the situation I describe is not conspiracy theory, it is well-documented historical fact.

      • paulbaer Says:

        I followed the link to “Frontpagemag.com” and was interested to find their link to discoverthenetworks.org, “a guide to the political left”. I’m looking forward to reading their map!

        –Paul


  2. […] Bad News for Deniers: Grown-ups Weigh in on Email Leftovers « Climate Denial Crock of the Week Share and Enjoy:Written by: Jerrald Hayes on November 23, 2011. […]


  3. Daniel Greenfield’s writings are more about smiting Canaanites than about science. More specialized climate science denial sites are already high fiving.

    Fox News broke the story in a “fair and balanced” tone – which they will follow and intensify until the plot no longer fits their narrative. Fox’s closing sentence in the last story that mentioned ClimateGate 1 (June 2010) – “They’ve got computer model projections, Leonardo DiCaprio and the Cute Beatle. In the other corner are observations proving the models wrong, ClimateGate, NASA-Gate and the host of IPCC-Gates. I’m comfortable with the balance of authorities here.”


  4. “The fact that solutions to CAGW strongly align with socialist dreams of the past for example, of course means many dreaming socialists will lap up anything that remotely resembles CAGW.”

    Don’t let the British right-wing Conservative Foreign Sec., hear you calling him a socialist!!!

    http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2010/09/29/206789/william-hague-speech-climate-security/


  5. […] Bad News for Deniers: Grown-ups Weigh in on Email Leftovers […]


  6. True Believers are those “strongly attached to a particular belief” (from Wikipedia).

    Exactly. They will adhere to a point of view despite all the evidence that contradicts it. Scientists on the other hand will change their viewpoint as evidence dictates. Those who think the world is 6000 years old, that people didn’t land on the moon, that cigarettes don’t cause cancer, that HIV doesn’t cause AIDS, that the climate is not warming (or if it is, it stopped; or if it is, it’s not us; is actually cooling; was never warming; hasn’t changed), that emissions cause acid rain, that asbestos doesn’t cause cancer, are all true believers because they have to maintain their belief against contradictory facts based on basic physics, basic chemistry, basic immunology, basic geology, basic biology. They have to maintain their beliefs despite their own contradictory statements.

    It isn’t one group of scientists in one or two countries that support the science that contradicts all of those items above–it is almost every single publishing expert around the world, and every national scientific academy in every developed country supporting the science. You don’t get that kind of consensus with uncertain science.

    So are the world’s experts lying? Are they suddenly and collectively incompetent? Are communists, socialists, marxists, capitalists, pick-an-ist, all agreed that they need to put aside their political differences, and promote weak science/fabrication for some perceive greater good at the expense of their reputations as scientists?

    I just don’t see how you can deny the world is warming, and deny that it is our emissions, without having to follow your conclusion to either a conspiracy of world scientists, or collective incompetence of world scientists—who are shown to be incompetent by people with no actual expertise; and whose former work consists of thinking scientists have overlooked something basic (like UHI effect, the sun, Milankovitch cycles) in their calculations.

    But may as well have a rational discussion with a creationist for all the good it will do to change his/her mind. True Believers indeed.


    • So are the world’s experts lying?

      No, they are saying one thing in private and a different thing in public. I presume that happens in many fields. Nobody builds a successful career in public employment by always speaking the truth.

      I just don’t see how you can deny the world is warming, and deny that it is our emissions, without having to follow your conclusion to either a conspiracy of world scientists

      You’re denying the discussions that have been going on among scientists. You are the believer in a worldwide conspiracy of Big Oil to destroy humanity and the planet for the sake of profit.

      You’re also making silly assumptions about me, since I am positive that the world is warming, and that emissions have been contributing to that. It’s a matter of how much warming, then a matter of what policies to deal with that warming and at what costs.

      Anybody using the world “denier” at that level, is dangerously close to fascism, and definitely antiscientific.

      • hengistmcstone Says:

        Maurizio, Im surprised to read such reason as we find in your penultimate paragraph because your tweets indicate a view that climate change is hard to believe in until we see a different set of weather patterns such as rain in the Sahara.

        I suppose it’s progress that you don’t deny the greenhouse effect but by your yardstick it can just keep getting hotter and hotter and you will argue that it’s ‘more of the same’


  7. One of the major “Climategate-I” issues was the claim that the CRU was “hiding” its raw temperature data in order to avoid skeptical scrutiny. At the time, the CRU made available only the processed, gridded data. Much of the raw data was encumbered by “license agreements” limiting the distribution of that raw data to third parties. The CRU couldn’t legally release it all, and deniers were having a field day accusing the CRU of hiding the raw data from them.

    Well, fast-forward to July of 2011 — the CRU, after having obtained permission to redistribute all the raw data, made the entire raw data-set publicly available on its web-site. That entire data-set has been available on-line for something like four months now.

    Given that the Muir Russel commission was able to conduct an analysis of the CRU raw data-set in just two days, you’d think that the deniers who were screaming for that data would have some results to show us by now. But then you’d be wrong. Four months later, and not a single denier anywhere has published any analysis results from the CRU data. This after hounding the CRU for that data for *years*, filing harrassing FOI demands, etc.

    The bottom line is, if you give any data to deniers who have been screaming for it, don’t expect too much. Most deniers wouldn’t have a clue as to what to do with the data. The few who do are too lazy to anything with it. And as for the vanishingly-small number of deniers who might have actually analyzed the data? If any such deniers do exist, they are obviously not honest enough to publicize their results (which would simply confirm that the CRU has been right all along).

    So folks, any time you hear a denier going on about climategate and “hidden” data, here is how to respond: “The CRU released all of its climategate raw temperature data XXX months ago so that you skeptics/deniers could analyze it — do you have any results to show us yet?”


    • caerbannog666: assuming what you say is true, all attempts at hiding date or making it difficult in any way for people to find them, is doubly idiotic. As I have already said in another comment, NASA has dealt a deadly blow to UFO conspiracists exactly by publishing RAW images as soon as they arrive from the probes, on the web.

      Bob Ashworth: I was making an example. There are many different kinds of people who for one reason or another, have jumped onto the AGW/CAGW bandwagon. That’s what makes it even less likely to be a conspiracy.

      Martin Lack: please contact me when back on Planet Earth.

      • hengistmcstone Says:

        I’ve just found this post on a blog entitled “Why AGW Is Logically Impossible” written by one Maurizio Morabito . Is that the same Maurizio Morabito who writes above :
        ” You’re also making silly assumptions about me, since I am positive that the world is warming, and that emissions have been contributing to that.” ????

    • daveburton Says:

      Interesting claim, caerbannog666. Can you provide a link? I can’t find the raw data on the CRU web site. All I find is gridded data.

      If the CRU really has released all the raw station-by-station temperature data, as you claim, then it means they were lying to one another when they said the data no longer existed.

      Here’s David Palmer, writing to Phil Jones about Willis Eschenbach’s FoIA request for the raw temperature data:

      Gents,

      My head is beginning to spin here but I read this as meaning that he wants the raw station data; we don’t know which data belongs to which station, correct? Our letter stated:

      “We can, however, send a list of all stations used, but without sources. This would include locations, names and lengths of record, although the latter are no guide as to the completeness of the series.”

      Can we put this on the web? Perhaps I am being really thick here but I’m not sure if putting this on the web will actually satisfy Mr. Eschenbach – we’ve said we don’t have data sources, he says the external websites don’t have them, so who does? Are we back to the NMS’s? [National Meteorological Services -w.e.] I am happy to give this one more go, stating exactly what we are putting on the web and seeing if that suffices. Should Mr. Eschenbach still insist that we actually possess the information in the form he requests, I can then only give the file to Kitty Inglis for review and then we move on formally….

      Cheers, Dave

      And here’s Phil Jones replying to David Palmer:

      I do not want to make the raw data available… We make the gridded data available and that should be enough.

      See:
      http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/11/23/mr-david-palmer-explains-the-problem/

      • daveburton Says:

        The silence is deafening. What do you folks think of the CRU claiming for years that the data (which they’ve now apparently released, under court order) was lost. Does that sort of institutionalized lying bother you at all? Do you still trust the UEA-CRU, after that?

      • daveburton Says:

        (A link to story about the data’s release, which the UEA-CRU fought to the end:
        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-14315747 )

        • greenman3610 Says:

          I would encourage anyone to read this story and judge whether dburton accurately describes what it says.
          It’s a good look inside the magic mirror of the denialist mind.

        • daveburton Says:

          I brought up this matter at WUWT, and got a couple of interesting answers from one of the participants there:

          A. C. Osborn says:
          November 27, 2011 at 8:22 am

          The data that was posted was not actually the “Raw data” as it was
          Station data file

          Header file – as above
          Year followed by 12 monthly temperatures in degrees and tenths (with -999 being missing)
          So they had already computed the monthly averages rather than the daily average, plus what ever else they had decided to do with it.
           

          A. C. Osborn says:
          November 27, 2011 at 9:02 am & November 27, 2011 at 9:16 am

          Here is a comparison between Hadcrut and BEST for Gatwick Airport for 1975

          Hadcrut
          1975 7.0 5.1 5.0 8.1 10.1 14.6 17.5 18.5 13.7 9.8 5.7 4.0
          BEST
          1975 12.2 10.5 9.3 9.6 8.2 9.9 10.6 11.6 9.7 9.4 8.3 8.2

          Interestingly hadcrut data for gatwick stops at July 1998 and best continues to March 2010.
           

          Not so “raw,” it seems.


          • Dave,

            Do you need the thermometer’s raw time-stamped data to check the averaging algorithm or do you want to analyze temperature trends with higher resolution than monthly?

            The database included 8 Polish stations! 🙂


  8. I’m a little disappointed in the video, as it seems, again, to give the ‘skeptic’ point of view quite a bit more credence than it deserves. I’ll recommend a couple of other pieces, one by Richard Black of BBC News – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-15846886 – and the other by Stephan Lewandowsky in the Australian series The Conversation: http://theconversation.edu.au/there-is-a-real-climategate-out-there-4428 .

    In two other recent pieces of news, oysters are dying off in the U.S. Pacific Northwest due to increasing ocean acidification – http://e360.yale.edu/feature/massive_oyster_die-offs_show_ocean_acidification_has_arrived/2466/ – and birds are changing their migration patterns: http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2011/11/21/Global-warming-affecting-bird-migrations/UPI-85961321923613/ . I look forward to seeing the hacked e-mails of these warmist, alarmist conspirators.

    • daveburton Says:

      W/r/t acidification frets, note that the ocean contains about 50x as much CO2 as does the atmosphere, so if we add enough CO2 to the atmosphere to double the atmospheric CO2 level, as it dissolves into the ocean it will still have very little effect on the oceans’ acidity.

      Read what else is wrong with that Grossman piece here.


  9. daveburton said,

    Interesting claim, caerbannog666. Can you provide a link? I can’t find the raw data on the CRU web site. All I find is gridded data.

    Raw station-data link here: http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/temperature/station-data/ — scroll down to the bottom of the page for station data and metadata.

    And just to let you know, not only did I download the CRU station data, I “rolled my own” temperature-anomaly program (a very simplified version) and processed both the CRU and GHCN raw temperature data sets.

    Here is a plot of my results (with the NASA/GISS land-temperature results for comparison): http://img35.imageshack.us/img35/2210/mycrumyghcnnasaghcn.jpg

    Also computed GHCN rural vs. urban results (virtually identical), and evaluated the impact of the “dropped stations” that Watts and Co had been hollering about the last couple of years — found that it didn’t matter whether or not the “dropped”stations” were included in the computations. Also conducted a bunch of runs where I threw out 90 percent of the dataions at random for each run. Got consistent warming results every time.

    I did all this over a period of a few days in my spare time — IOW, I performed more real analysis work in a few days than Watts and his followers have managed to do in *years*.

    And as for the Jones and the other CRU folks not wanting to cater to deniers’ wishes, I don’t blame him — I wouldn’t be all that eager to waste my time with a bunch of incompetent, loudmouthed a**holes either.

    BTW, the Watts and his followers have known about the CRU data release for months — the fact that they haven’t done anything with the CRU data is a testament to their laziness and incompetence.
    ~
    ~


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: