tagged w/ Climategate
LONDON — An independent report into the leak of hundreds of e-mails from one of the world's leading climate research centers on Wednesday largely vindicated the scientists involved, saying they acted honestly and that their research was reliable.
But the panel of inquiry, led by former U.K. civil servant Muir Russell, did chide scientists at the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit for failing to share their data with critics.
"We find that their rigor and honesty as scientists are not in doubt," Russell said. "But we do find that there has been a consistent pattern of failing to display the proper degree of openness."
Russell's inquiry is the third major investigation into the theft and dissemination of more than 1,000 e-mails taken from a back-up server at the university.
They caused a sensation when they were published online in November: They captured researchers speaking in scathing terms about their critics, discussing ways to stonewall skeptics of man-made climate change, and talking about how to freeze opponents out of peer-reviewed journals.
The ensuing scandal energized skeptics and destabilized the U.N. climate change conference at Copenhagen. The research center's chief, Phil Jones, stepped down while Russell, a former vice-chancellor of the University of Glasgow in Scotland, was brought in to investigate.
Russell's carefully worded report said there was no evidence Jones had destroyed evidence that he knew critics were seeking under the Freedom of Information Act. But it did say he had pushed colleagues to delete e-mails that he thought might provide ammunition to skeptics.
It also criticized the university for being "unhelpful" in dealing with Freedom of Information Act requests – an issue Britain's data-protection watchdog has already flagged.
The inquiry also revisited the now infamous e-mail exchange between Jones and a colleague in which the climatologist refers to a "trick" used to "hide the decline" in a variable used to track global temperatures.LONDON — An independent report into the leak of hundreds of e-mails from one of... more
Apparently the conspiracy runs deeper than anyone could have imagined. Dozens, if not hundreds of presumably reputable news agencies have now joined in the whitewash.Apparently the conspiracy runs deeper than anyone could have imagined. Dozens, if not... more
An independent report into leaked e-mails that appeared to question climate change data is due to be published Wednesday.
The review began work in December after e-mails from the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit (CRU) were hacked into and published online. Skeptics claimed the e-mails showed scientists had been hiding and manipulating climate data.
The Climate Change E-mail Review has been examining whether there is any evidence of manipulation or suppression of data which is at odds with acceptable scientific practice, and may therefore call any research into question.
It has also been looking at the CRU itself, examining how it acquires and assembles data and research findings and what its practices are for subjecting the information to peer review.
A British parliamentary committee looked at the so-called "climategate" controversy earlier this year and said climate scientists must publish all their raw data and methods to ensure the research is "irreproachable."
The committee cleared the British scientist at the center of the scandal, CRU head Phil Jones, of hiding or manipulating data.
A separate independent panel found in April there was no evidence of impropriety, but said the scientists involved in the e-mails had been disorganized.
http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/europe/07/07/uk.climategate.report/index.html?eref=igoogle_cnnAn independent report into leaked e-mails that appeared to question climate change... more
When the CRU emails were published, Pennsylvania State University (PSU) received many emails and letters accusing paleoclimate researcher Dr. Michael Mann of various types of research misconduct. PSU assembled the various informal accusations into a set of four allegations and began an internal investigation into Mann’s activities. Three of the four allegations were dismissed by the preliminary inquiry on February 3, but the inquiry concluded that the existing panel lacked the expertise to make a judgment on the last allegation and empaneled a faculty investigation. That investigation released its conclusions yesterday, finding unanimously that:
Dr. Michael Mann did not engage in, nor did he participate in, directly or indirectly, any actions that seriously deviated from accepted practices within the academic community for proposing, conducting, or reporting research, or other scholarly activities.When the CRU emails were published, Pennsylvania State University (PSU) received many... more
A lie can get halfway around the world while the truth is still putting its boots on, as Mark Twain said (or “before the truth gets a chance to put its pants on,” in Winston Churchill’s version), and nowhere has that been more true than in "climategate." In that highly orchestrated, manufactured scandal, e-mails hacked from computers at the University of East Anglia’s climate-research group were spread around the Web by activists who deny that human activity is altering the world’s climate in a dangerous way, and spun so as to suggest that the scientists had been lying, cheating, and generally cooking the books.
But not only did British investigators clear the East Anglia scientist at the center of it all, Phil Jones, of scientific impropriety and dishonesty in April, an investigation at Penn State cleared PSU climatologist Michael Mann of “falsifying or suppressing data, intending to delete or conceal e-mails and information, and misusing privileged or confidential information” in February. In perhaps the biggest backpedaling, The Sunday Times of London, which led the media pack in charging that IPCC reports were full of egregious (and probably intentional) errors, retracted its central claim—namely, that the IPCC statement that up to 40 percent of the Amazonian rainforest could be vulnerable to climate change was “unsubstantiated.” The Times also admitted that it had totally twisted the remarks of one forest expert to make it sound as if he agreed that the IPCC had screwed up, when he said no such thing.
It’s worth quoting the retraction at some length:
The article "UN climate panel shamed by bogus rainforest claim" (News, Jan 31) stated that the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report had included an “unsubstantiated claim” that up to 40% of the Amazon rainforest could be sensitive to future changes in rainfall. The IPCC had referenced the claim to a report prepared for the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) by Andrew Rowell and Peter Moore, whom the article described as “green campaigners” with “little scientific expertise.” The article also stated that the authors’ research had been based on a scientific paper that dealt with the impact of human activity rather than climate change.
In fact, the IPCC’s Amazon statement is supported by peer-reviewed scientific evidence. In the case of the WWF report, the figure . . . was based on research by the respected Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM) which did relate to the impact of climate change. We also understand and accept that . . . Dr Moore is an expert in forest management, and apologise for any suggestion to the contrary.
The article also quoted criticism of the IPCC’s use of the WWF report by Dr Simon Lewis, a Royal Society research fellow at the University of Leeds and leading specialist in tropical forest ecology. We accept that, in his quoted remarks, Dr Lewis was making the general point that both the IPCC and WWF should have cited the appropriate peer-reviewed scientific research literature. As he made clear to us at the time, including by sending us some of the research literature, Dr Lewis does not dispute the scientific basis for both the IPCC and the WWF reports’ statements on the potential vulnerability of the Amazon rainforest to droughts caused by climate change. . . . A version of our article that had been checked with Dr Lewis underwent significant late editing and so did not give a fair or accurate account of his views on these points. We apologise for this.
In another retraction you never heard of, a paper in Frankfurt took back (apologies; the article is available only in German) its reporting that the IPCC had erred in its assessment of climate impacts in Africa.
The Times's criticism of the IPCC—look, its reports are full of mistakes and shoddy scholarship!—was widely picked up at the time it ran, and has been an important factor in turning British public opinion sharply against the established science of climate change. Don’t expect the recent retractions and exonerations to change that. One of the strongest, most-repeated findings in the psychology of belief is that once people have been told X, especially if X is shocking, if they are later told, “No, we were wrong about X,” most people still believe X. As Twain and Churchill knew, sometimes the truth never catches up with the lie, let alone overtakes it. As I wrote last summer in a story about why people believe lies even when they’re later told the truth, sometimes people’s mental processes simply go off the rails.A lie can get halfway around the world while the truth is still putting its boots on,... more
The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change misled the press and public into believing that thousands of scientists backed its claims on manmade global warming, according to Mike Hulme, a prominent climate scientist and IPCC insider. The actual number of scientists who backed that claim was “only a few dozen experts,” he states in a paper for Progress in Physical Geography, co-authored with student Martin Mahony.
“Claims such as ‘2,500 of the world’s leading scientists have reached a consensus that human activities are having a significant influence on the climate’ are disingenuous,” the paper states unambiguously, adding that they rendered “the IPCC vulnerable to outside criticism.”
Hulme, Professor of Climate Change in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia – the university of Climategate fame — is the founding Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and one of the UK’s most prominent climate scientists. Among his many roles in the climate change establishment, Hulme was the IPCC’s co-ordinating Lead Author for its chapter on ‘Climate scenario development’ for its Third Assessment Report and a contributing author of several other chapters.
http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2010/06/13/the-ipcc-consensus-on-climate-change-was-phoney-says-ipcc-insider/The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change misled the press and public... more
S&R interviewed Martin Vermeer, first author of a recent Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences paper on sea level rise, about how much context the published CRU emails contained. In addition to answering questions about the emails’ context, Vermeer pointed out that some of the context “bears the mark of a scientific community under a politically-motivated siege.” Gavin Schmidt, climate researcher at the Goddard Institute for Space Sciences, agreed with Vermeer when asked. As a result, S&R examined interviews conducted with climate scientists and critics for evidence that climate scientists and climate research were besieged at present. Not surprisingly, there was a great deal of evidence that climate scientists remain besieged today. Evidence includes false claims made against scientists for work done on the IPCC Third Assessment Report, erroneous and/or unsupported claims made against several scientists involved in the writing of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, and unreasonable claims of bias against the CRU email inquiries performed to date.
More at the link.S&R interviewed Martin Vermeer, first author of a recent Proceedings of the... more
Prominent Princeton Scientist Dr. Happer Testifies to Congress: ‘Warming and increased CO2 will be good for mankind’Climate Depot’s Selected Highlights of Dr. Happer’s May 20, 2010 Congressional Testimony: (Dr. Happer’s Full Testimony here: (To read the warmists’ testimony of Ralph Cicerone, Stephen Schneider, and Ben Santer, see here. )
Dr. Will Happer’s Testimony Before the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming – May 20, 2010
My name is William Happer, and I am the Cyrus Fogg Bracket Professor of Physics at Princeton University. I have spent my professional life studying the interactions of visible and infrared radiation with gases – one of the main physical phenomena behind the greenhouse effect. I have published over 200 papers in peer reviewed scientific journals. I am a member of a number of professional organizations, including the American Physical Society and the National Academy of Sciences. I have done extensive consulting work for the US Government and Industry. I also served as the Director of Energy Research at the Department of Energy (DOE) from 1990 to 1993, where I supervised all of DOE’s work on climate change.
Key Excerpts: The CO2 absorption band is nearly “saturated” at current CO2 levels. Adding more CO2 is like putting an additional ski hat on your head when you already have a nice warm one below it, but you are only wearing a windbreaker. The extra hat makes you a little bit warmer but to really get warm, you need to add a jacket. The IPCC thinks that this jacket is water vapor and clouds. [...]
The climate-change establishment has tried to eliminate any who dare question the science establishment climate scientists and by like-thinking policy-makers – you are either with us or you are a traitor.
Orwellian: I keep hearing about the “pollutant CO2,” or about “poisoning the atmosphere” with CO2, or about minimizing our “carbon footprint.” This brings to mind a comment by George Orwell: “But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.” CO2 is not a pollutant and it is not a poison and we should not corrupt the English language by depriving “pollutant” and “poison” of their original meaning. Our exhaled breath contains about 4% CO2. That is 40,000 parts per million, or about 100 times the current atmospheric concentration. CO2 is absolutely essential for life on earth. Commercial greenhouse operators often use CO2 as a fertilizer to improve the health and growth rate of their plants. Plants, and our own primate ancestors evolved when the levels of atmospheric CO2 were at least 1000 ppm, a level that we will probably not reach by burning fossil fuels, and far above our current level of about 380 ppm. We try to keep CO2 levels in our US Navy submarines no higher than 8,000 parts per million, about 20 time current atmospheric levels. Few adverse effects are observed at even higher levels. [...]
That we are (or were) living at the best of all CO2 concentrations seems to be an article of faith for the climate-change establishment. Enormous effort and imagination have gone into showing that increasing concentrations of CO2 will be catastrophic: cities will be flooded by sea-level rises that are ten or more times bigger than even IPCC predicts, there will be mass extinctions of species, billions of people will die, tipping points will render the planet a desert. Any flimsy claim of harm from global warming brings instant fame and many rewards.
Sea Level: The sea level is indeed rising, just as it has for the past 20,000 years since the end of the last ice age. Fairly accurate measurements of sea level have been available since about 1800. These measurements show no sign of any acceleration. The rising sea level can be a serious local problem for heavily-populated, low-lying areas like New Orleans, where land subsidence compounds the problem. But to think that limiting CO2 emissions will stop sea level rise is a dangerous illusion. It is also possible that the warming seas around Antarctica will cause more snowfall over the continent and will counteract the sea-level rise.
Hockey Stick: I was very surprised when I first saw the celebrated “hockey stick curve,” in the Third Assessment Report of the IPCC. Both the little ice age and the medieval warm period were gone, and the newly revised temperature of the world since the year 1000 had suddenly become absolutely flat until the last hundred years when it shot up like the blade on a hockey stick. This was far from an obscure detail, and the hockey stick was trumpeted around the world as evidence that the end was near. We now know that the hockey stick has nothing to do with reality but was the result of incorrect handling of proxy temperature records and incorrect statistical analysis. There really was a little ice age and there really was a medieval warm period that was as warm or warmer than today. I bring up the hockey stick as a particularly clear example that the IPCC summaries for policy makers are not dispassionate statements of the facts of climate change.
Conclusion: I regret that the climate-change issue has become confused with serious problems like secure energy supplies, protecting our environment, and figuring out where future generations will get energy supplies after we have burned all the fossil fuel we can find. We should not confuse these laudable goals with hysterics about carbon footprints. For example, when weighing pluses and minuses of the continued or increased use of coal, the negative issue should not be increased atmospheric CO2, which is probably good for mankind. We should focus on real issues like damage to the land and waterways by strip mining, inadequate remediation, hazards to miners, the release of real pollutants and poisons like mercury, other heavy metals, organic carcinogens, etc.
Life is about making decisions and decisions are about trade-offs. The Congress can choose to promote investment in technology that addresses real problems and scientific research that will let us cope with real problems more efficiently.
Or they can act on unreasonable fears and suppress energy use, economic growth and the benefits that come from the creation of national wealth.Climate Depot’s Selected Highlights of Dr. Happer’s May 20, 2010... more
Climate Depot has obtained an advance memo circulating on Capitol Hill about the Kerry-Lieberman Climate Bill. Below is a list of 60 new Programs, Studies, and Reports created by the Kerry-Lieberman bill.
• New Programs, Studies, and Reports created by Kerry-Lieberman
1. Nuclear Innovative Technology Loan Guarantee Program
2. Nuclear Regulatory Risk Insurance Program
3. Spent Fuel Recycling Research and Development Center of Excellence
4. Nuclear Energy Research Initiative
5. 5-year Accelerated Depreciation Period for New Nuclear Power Plants
6. Investment Tax Credit for Nuclear Power Facilities
7. New Nuclear tax-exempt bonds
8. Grants in lieu of Tax Credits for Qualified Nuclear Power Facilities
9. Special Funding Program for CCS and Conversion Technologies
10. CCS Program Partnership Council
11. CCS Deployment Studies
12. Performance Standards for Coal-fired Power Plants Study and Report
13. Rural Energy Loan Program for energy efficiency
14. Clean Energy Technology Fund
15. Offset Credit Advisory Committee
16. Offset Audit and Review Program including 3rd party verifiers
17. Offset Productivity Study
18. International Offsets Integrity Advisory Committee
19. International Offsets Program
20. Black Carbon Sources Report
21. Black Carbon Reduction Grant Program
22. Enhanced Soil Sequestration Grant Program
23. Study of Fast Mitigation Strategies
24. State Air Pollution Control Agency’s Grant Program
25. Forestry Sector Greenhouse Gas Annual Accounting Report
26. Impacts of Renewable Biomass Use Report
27. NAS Study on Renewable Biomass Definition
28. Electricity Consumers Allowance Program
29. Natural Gas Consumers Allowance Program
30. Home Heating Oil and Propane Consumers Program
31. Fund for Working Families Refundable Relief Program
32. Energy Refund Program
33. GAO Study of the Mechanisms for Delivering Universal Refund
34. Universal Trust Fund
35. Office of Consumer Advocacy
36. Emission Allowance Rebate Program for eligible industrial sectors
37. Presidential Report on Emission Allowances Rebates
38. International Reserve Allowance Program
39. GAO Report on the Utilization of Tax Incentives
40. Clean Energy Curriculum Development Grants
41. Vocational Education and Job Training Information and Resources Clearinghouse
42. Clean Energy Construction Careers Demonstration Project
43. Clean Vehicle Technology Fund
44. Natural Gas Vehicle Bonds
45. Incentive Program for CNG and LNG Vehicle Manufacturing Facilities
46. GSA Study on Increasing Natural Gas Powered Vehicles in the Federal Fleet
47. Carbon Conservation Program
48. Carbon Conservation Fund
49. Low-Carbon Industrial Technologies Research and Development Center
50. Strategic Interagency Board on International Climate Investment
51. Developing Country Deforestation Program
52. International Climate Change Adaptation and Global Security Program
53. Report to Congress on International Effectiveness
54. Report on Major Economies Climate Actions
55. Natural Resources Climate Change Adaptation Panel
56. Natural Resources Climate Change Adaptation Fund
57. Federal Agencies National Adaptation Strategies
58. States Natural Resources Adaptation Plans
59. National Fish and Wildlife Habitat and Corridors Information Program
60. Authority for EPA to establish additional Climate Change Programs (including water management, fire protection, and coastal watersheds).Climate Depot has obtained an advance memo circulating on Capitol Hill about the... more
A distinguished panel of independent scientists has given a resounding vote of confidence in the credibility and integrity of the key studies into climate change that have emerged over the past 20 years from the embattled Climatic Research Unit, or CRU, at the University of East Anglia.A distinguished panel of independent scientists has given a resounding vote of... more
For the second time in two weeks, an investigation has found that there was neither a conspiracy to deceive the public nor any scientific misconduct present in the scientific research of the scientists of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia (UEA). These scientists were at the center of the controversy created by the Climategate email theft.
The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee tasked itself with investigating what the MPs considered critical points, namely whether the scientific work of the CRU scientists was transparent and open, whether CRU had committed scientific misconduct, and whether the CRU committed any breaches of the UK’s Freedom of Information (FOI) law. In order to address each of these key concerns, the Committee collected a significant number of statements as evidence and looked into the various specific accusations made in those statements.
What the Committee found was that there were a few problems and a widespread disregard for FOI in the wider University culture, CRU’s research was reasonably transparent and free of obvious scientific malpractice.
More at the link.For the second time in two weeks, an investigation has found that there was neither a... more
Of late U.S. public opinion has turned very chilly for the vast majority of the world’s climate scientists whose data demonstrates that human-generated emissions are heating the globe with potentially catastrophic results. Thanks to a confluence of events, some significant and others bogus, polls show Americans are increasingly confused about the reality of global warming.
After the election of President Barack Obama, the expectation was that the U.S. government would end the foot dragging of the George W. Bush administration and aggressively move to reduce heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions. While the Environmental Protection Agency did classify carbon dioxide as a pollutant and the House of Representatives passed an ambitious energy bill with cap-and-trade measures to reduce emissions, the bipartisan version in the Senate sponsored by John Kerry, D-Mass, Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., faces tough sledding.
The Copenhagen climate summit that was supposed to design a global climate treaty to succeed Kyoto instead produced little more than platitudes about future action. The worldwide economic recession made the costs of combating global warming less acceptable to both industrialized nations and their developing counterparts.
In the midst of that gloomy outlook came a pair of highly publicized incidents that were used to cast doubt on the validity of climate change theory.
First, hackers raided the computer system at the climate research unit of Britain’s East Anglia University and published thousands of scientists’ private e-mails. Global warming skeptics portrayed the communications as proof that devious researchers were cooking data to support a global warming hoax. That charge was decisively rejected by a British government commission that examined the e-mails. Although it faulted the scientists for petty and sometimes vindictive comments about their detractors, the commission found no grounds to challenge the scientific consensus that global warming is happening and is caused by human activity.
In a second flap, global warming disbelievers seized on a single misstated claim in a 900-page report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that Himalayan glaciers will melt by the year 2035 as proof the massive body of science authenticating global warming was suspect. Although the evidence of retreating glaciers around the world is incontrovertible, a single error on a timeline was used to cast doubt on the U.N. panel’s work. is cooling rather than heating up. Brushed aside was the fact that globally 2009 was the second warmest ever recorded, and the past decade was the warmest ever measured by man. An analysis compiled by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies projects that this year may be the hottest yet.
As writer Elizabeth Kolbert points out in the current issue of the New Yorker, “The message from scientists at this point couldn’t be clearer: the world’s emissions trajectory is extremely dangerous. Goofball weathermen, Climategate, conspiracy theories — these are all a distraction from what’s really happening.”
For those of us living in hurricane-vulnerable areas, keep in mind this ominous measurement: Sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic main development area for tropical storms last month were the warmest ever recorded for March, already reaching levels typical of late June. The conjunction of several climate patterns combined with ongoing overall warming of the world’s oceans is thought to be the cause.
Despite all the spinning and hot air, the science is solid and global warming is a real, deadly serious concern. It’s time to deal with it.Of late U.S. public opinion has turned very chilly for the vast majority of the... more
The scientists at the centre of the row over the hacked climate emails have been cleared of any deliberate malpractice by the second of three inquiries into their conduct.
The inquiry panel, led by the former chair of the House of Lords science and technology select committee Lord Oxburgh, was commissioned by the University of East Anglia with investigating the research produced by the scientists at its Climatic Research Unit (CRU).
The work of the unit has come under intense scrutiny since November when thousands of private emails between the researchers were released onto the internet. At a press conference earlier today Lord Oxburgh said, "Whatever was said in the emails, the basic science seems to have been done fairly and properly," although his panel did criticise the scientists for not using the best statistical techniques at times.
The report concluded: "We saw no evidence of any deliberate scientific malpractice in any of the work of the Climatic Research Unit and had it been there we believe that it is likely that we would have detected it. Rather we found a small group of dedicated if slightly disorganised researchers who were ill-prepared for being the focus of public attention. As with many small research groups their internal procedures were rather informal."
In a formal response to the report the UEA wrote: "It is gratifying to us that the Oxburgh report points out that CRU has done a public service of great value by carrying out meticulous work on temperature records when it was unfashionable and attracted little scientific interest, and that the unit has been among the leaders in international efforts to determine the overall uncertainty in the derived temperature records."
The panel was not tasked specifically with looking at the way CRU handled access to its data and Freedom of Information requests from members of the public but it commented that there were "a host of important unresolved questions" arising from the application of FoI to academic research. "We agree with the CRU view that the authority for releasing unpublished raw data to third parties should stay with those who collected it," the report said.
It did criticise the government's policy of charging for access to data. "This is unfortunate and seems inconsistent with policies of open access to data promoted elsewhere in government."
more at link...The scientists at the centre of the row over the hacked climate emails have been... more
A Greenpeace investigation has identified a little-known, privately owned US oil company as the paymaster of global warming skeptics in the United States and Europe.A Greenpeace investigation has identified a little-known, privately owned US oil... more
Plagued by reports of sloppy work, falsifications and exaggerations, climate research is facing a crisis of confidence. How reliable are the predictions about global warming and its consequences? And would it really be the end of the world if temperatures rose by more than the much-quoted limit of two degrees Celsius?
Life has become "awful" for Phil Jones. Just a few months ago, he was a man with an enviable reputation: the head of the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, an expert in his field and the father of an alarming global temperature curve that apparently showed how the Earth was heating up as a result of anthropogenic global warming.
Those days are now gone.
Nowadays, Jones, who is at the center of the "Climategate" affair involving hacked CRU emails, needs medication to fall sleep. He feels a constant tightness in his chest. He takes beta-blockers to help him get through the day. He is gaunt and his skin is pallid. He is 57, but he looks much older. He was at the center of a research scandal that hit him as unexpectedly as a rear-end collision on the highway.
His days are now shaped by investigative commissions at the university and in the British Parliament. He sits on his chair at the hearings, looking miserable, sometimes even trembling. The Internet is full of derisive remarks about him, as well as insults and death threats. "We know where you live," his detractors taunt.
Jones is finished: emotionally, physically and professionally. He has contemplated suicide several times recently, and he says that one of the only things that have kept him from doing it is the desire to watch his five-year-old granddaughter grow up.
By Marco Evers, Olaf Stampf and Gerald Traufetter
much more at link in this 9-part, epic and balanced expose from Der SpiegelPlagued by reports of sloppy work, falsifications and exaggerations, climate research... more
NASA was able to put a man on the moon, but the space agency can't tell you what the temperature was when it did. By its own admission, NASA's temperature records are in even worse shape than the besmirched Climate-gate data.
E-mail messages obtained by a Freedom of Information Act request reveal that NASA concluded that its own climate findings were inferior to those maintained by both the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit (CRU) -- the scandalized source of the leaked Climate-gate e-mails -- and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Climatic Data Center.
The e-mails from 2007 reveal that when a USA Today reporter asked if NASA's data "was more accurate" than other climate-change data sets, NASA's Dr. Reto A. Ruedy replied with an unequivocal no. He said "the National Climatic Data Center's procedure of only using the best stations is more accurate," admitting that some of his own procedures led to less accurate readings.
"My recommendation to you is to continue using NCDC's data for the U.S. means and [East Anglia] data for the global means," Ruedy told the reporter.
"NASA's temperature data is worse than the Climate-gate temperature data. According to NASA," wrote Christopher Horner, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute who uncovered the e-mails. Horner is skeptical of NCDC's data as well, stating plainly: "Three out of the four temperature data sets stink."
Global warming critics call this a crucial blow to advocates' arguments that minor flaws in the "Climate-gate" data are unimportant, since all the major data sets arrive at the same conclusion -- that the Earth is getting warmer. But there's a good reason for that, the skeptics say: They all use the same data.
"There is far too much overlap among the surface temperature data sets to assert with a straight face that they independently verify each other's results," says James M. Taylor, senior fellow of environment policy at The Heartland Institute.
"The different groups have cooperated in a very friendly way to try to understand different conclusions when they arise," said Dr. James Hansen, head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, in the same 2007 e-mail thread. Earlier this month, in an updated analysis of the surface temperature data, GISS restated that the separate analyses by the different agencies "are not independent, as they must use much of the same input observations."
Neither NASA nor NOAA responded to requests for comment. But Dr. Jeff Masters, director of meteorology at Weather Underground, still believes the validity of data from NASA, NOAA and East Anglia would be in jeopardy only if the comparative analysis didn't match. "I see no reason to question the integrity of the raw data," he says. "Since the three organizations are all using mostly the same raw data, collected by the official weather agency of each individual country, the only issue here is whether the corrections done to the raw data were done correctly by CRU."
Corrections are needed, Masters says, "since there are only a few thousand surface temperature recording sites with records going back 100+ years." As such, climate agencies estimate temperatures in various ways for areas where there aren't any thermometers, to account for the overall incomplete global picture.
"It would be nice if we had more global stations to enable the groups to do independent estimates using completely different raw data, but we don't have that luxury," Masters adds. "All three groups came up with very similar global temperature trends using mostly the same raw data but independent corrections. This should give us confidence that the three groups are probably doing reasonable corrections, given that the three final data sets match pretty well."
But NASA is somewhat less confident, having quietly decided to tweak its corrections to the climate data earlier this month.
In an updated analysis of the surface temperature data released on March 19, NASA adjusted the raw temperature station data to account for inaccurate readings caused by heat-absorbing paved surfaces and buildings in a slightly different way. NASA determines which stations are urban with nighttime satellite photos, looking for stations near light sources as seen from space.
Of course, this doesn't solve problems with NASA's data, as the newest paper admits: "Much higher resolution would be needed to check for local problems with the placement of thermometers relative to possible building obstructions," a problem repeatedly underscored by meteorologist Anthony Watts on his SurfaceStations.org Web site. Last month, Watts told FoxNews.com that "90 percent of them don't meet [the government's] old, simple rule called the '100-foot rule' for keeping thermometers 100 feet or more from biasing influence. Ninety percent of them failed that, and we've got documentation."
Still, "confidence" is not the same as scientific law, something the public obviously recognizes. According to a December survey, only 25 percent of Americans believed there was agreement within the scientific community on climate change. And unless things fundamentally change, it could remain that way, said Taylor.
"Until surface temperature data sets are truly independent of one another and are entrusted to scientists whose objectivity is beyond question, the satellite temperature record alone will not have any credibility," he said.NASA was able to put a man on the moon, but the space agency can't tell you what... more
The Rich vs. Poor divide continued in Copenhagen today as delegates from African nations staged a short boycott. The debate is primarily over whether or not to keep the Kyoto treaty, which legally binds developed countries to make emissions cuts but doesn't ask the same of developing countries. Negotiators for developed countries want those same regulations placed on developing countries (with an eye towards China, especially). They're back to negotiating , however, which is a good thing as there are only four days until the bigwigs fly in hoping to sign something.
Over the weekend thousands of protesters took to the streets of Copenhagen and on Saturday more than 900 were arrested. Here's some video from the festivities.
Leah Lamb is still going strong with the live Copenhagen call-in show. Make sure to check that out at 9:15am PST (12:15 pm EST). Here's a clip from Friday's show.
Calling in from Copenhagen: Karl Burkart on the perils of blogging and walk outs
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Week one of the Copenhagen climate conference is coming to a close. What's happened so far? Here's a quick round-up for you. (Climate conference enthusiasts - I'm sure I'm leaving a bit out - feel free to add in the comments.)
We covered the walk-out over the so-called "Danish text". (Despite folks who seemed to think we were censoring "Danish text" by not letting people use it as a tag. Site bug, people! Read all about it in the comments! Tag away!) Walkouts have continued among smaller and developing nations, leading to fears that the conference will produce two rival documents.
Answering calls for developed countries to pony up the cash, the European Union came through with a pledge of over $10 billion (over 7 billion euros), but leaders from developing nations said the figure wasn't high enough.
And what about the US? Well President Obama was busy this week on the other side of the North Sea from Denmark accepting his Nobel Prize. Back home, his loving and supportive nation was doing it's best to constructively add to the conference with the "climategate controversy" (and I was inspired to launch a new series called "-Gates that are not -gates"). And America's official delegation to Copenhagen? Well the Interior Secretary checked out a wind farm. We've got video!
U.S. Visits Danish Wind Farm: Raw Video
Meanwhile Leah Lamb has been crazy-busy over on Current Green with her live daily Copenhagen check-in. (Tune in at 9:15 am PT!) We've also got video of that!
Calling in From Copenhagen: Joshua Kahn Russell (Video)
Leah also weighed in on climate change skeptic Lord Monckton's comparing activists to Hitler Youth. Her take: Totally a publicity stunt.
That's it for today's round-up - we'll be ramping up to even more Copenhagen coverage next week as the negotiations intensify.
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There are few things that make me more catatonically depressed than the partisan shouting match we call news today. I get it, controversial partisan statements mean more viewers which means more money which in turn means more controversial partisan rejoinders. I understand the financial imperative here, I'm no news-biz-hayseed. But I have to say, it sucks and it's dangerous. It sucks because it's boring (blah blah HuffPo blah blah Fox News...everybody just STFU and focus on the news, please). It's dangerous because it distorts anything a few people disagree with into an equal-time-required rancorous partisan debate.
Case in point: Today the Washington Post let Sarah Palin publish an Op-Ed in its newspaper. I'm not going to do them the courtesy of linking to it. (Here's a good point-by-point rejoinder from the Atlantic though.) In it, Ms. Palin calls on Obama to boycott Copenhagen because of the "climategate" leaked emails. Despite plenty of explanations in non-partisan press that the emails, though embarrassing in tone, do not represent any sort of actual shift in the science around climate change - the Post was so click/viewer-hungry as to let this climategate thing roll on in its pages.
Hence our new series:
-Gates that are not -gates!
(Credit due to Josh who coined "FAILs that are not FAILs".)
Now I already missed Kanyegate this year, but I think climategate is a good one to start with. I'm calling it, it's not a -gate!
Why? Let me let Time magazine explain it to you. (I mean c'mon, Time is about the safest down-the-middle reporting you can get.)
4. Do the e-mails weaken the scientific case for global warming? Put it this way: when it comes to climate-science analysis from the representative of the world's biggest oil-producing state [Saudi Arabia], it's wise to be suspicious. In the weeks since the e-mails first became public, many climate scientists and policy experts have looked through them, and they report that the correspondence does not contradict the overwhelming scientific consensus on global warming, which has been decades in the making. "The content of the stolen e-mails has no impact whatsoever on our overall understanding that human activity is driving dangerous levels of global warming," wrote 25 leading U.S. scientists in a letter to Congress on Dec. 4. "The body of evidence that underlies our understanding of human-caused global warming remains robust."
I'm taking a stand. It's not about climate change and it's not about left vs right. It's about -gates. I'm asking my fellow Americans to carefully consider what we grant "-gate" status to. Watergate was a big honkin' controversy that deserved the barrels of ink spilled over its progression. And it was even partisan. It was an IMPORTANT partisan scandal. But not every disagreement that happens across the screens of cable news deserves this holiest of suffixes.
I hate to break it to everyone, but I think Climategate falls short of -gate status.
Okay, rant concluded. Thanks.
PS - If you're going to disagree in the comments, read through the TIME article first.
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