Monday, November 30, 2009

Official inquiry into the hacked climate e-mails coming

Details of a university inquiry into e-mails stolen from scientists at one of the UK's leading climate research units are likely to be made public next week. Announcement of a chair of the inquiry and terms of reference will probably be made on Monday, a source says. The University of East Anglia's (UEA) press office did not confirm the date. But a spokesperson said information about the investigation into the hack at UEA's Climatic Research Unit (CRU) would be made public very soon.

Scientists will be scrutinising the choice of chair and the terms of reference. One senior climate scientist told me that the chair would have to be a person accepted by both mainstream climate scientists and sceptics as a highly respected figure without strong connections to either group.

BBC News understands that senior individuals at UEA have acknowledged the potential damage to the university's reputation from the CRU affair and are anxious to clear the institution's name.

But there is a risk that some people will not accept the findings of any inquiry unless it is fully independent, as demanded by the former UK Chancellor Lord Lawson earlier in the week.

A petition is running on the 10 Downing Street website calling for CRU to be suspended from preparation of any government climate statistics until the allegations have been fully investigated.

Some researchers would not comment until they had seen UEA's nominated chairman and terms of reference. But Professor Sir John Houghton, chair of the IPCC's first science panel, said he would not support an inquiry as many of those demanding one were biased.

Phil Willis MP said the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee - of which he is chair - had written to UEA asking for copies of the e-mails and an explanation. Depending on the response, the committee will decide whether to proceed further.

Professor Sir David King, the former government chief scientist, told BBC News there are three key issues:

* how did the leakage occur - was there any payment in the process?

* the alleged behaviour of the scientists indicated by the e-mails

* does this have any impact on the scientific conclusion?

If an independent inquiry encompassed all three aspects, Professor Sir David said he would support it.


BBC coverup

The BBC has become tangled in the row over the alleged manipulation of scientific data on global warming. One of its reporters has revealed he was sent some of the leaked emails from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia more than a month ago – but did nothing about them.

Despite the explosive nature of some of the messages – which revealed apparent attempts by the CRU’s head, Professor Phil Jones, to destroy global temperature data rather than give it to scientists with opposing views – Paul Hudson failed to report the story.

This has led to suspicions that the scandal was ignored because it ran counter to what critics say is the BBC’s unquestioning acceptance in many of its programmes that man-made climate change is destroying the planet.

Dr Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, said: ‘We need to know more about the BBC’s role in this affair. Was Mr Hudson told by the BBC not to use the story?’

It was only after the same emails were published on a blog called Air Vent that Look North climate correspondent Mr Hudson owned up in his own blog to the fact he had also had the material. In a bizarre twist, he claimed the leak had been triggered by an article he had written that questioned global warming. Mr Hudson, 38, last night declined to comment. A BBC spokesman said: ‘Paul has nothing to add to what he has already said in his blog.’


This is the worst scientific scandal of our generation

Our hopelessly compromised scientific establishment cannot be allowed to get away with the Climategate whitewash, says Christopher Booker

A week after my colleague James Delingpole, on his Telegraph blog, coined the term "Climategate" to describe the scandal revealed by the leaked emails from the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit, Google was showing that the word now appears across the internet more than nine million times. But in all these acres of electronic coverage, one hugely relevant point about these thousands of documents has largely been missed.

The reason why even the Guardian's George Monbiot has expressed total shock and dismay at the picture revealed by the documents is that their authors are not just any old bunch of academics. Their importance cannot be overestimated, What we are looking at here is the small group of scientists who have for years been more influential in driving the worldwide alarm over global warming than any others, not least through the role they play at the heart of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Professor Philip Jones, the CRU's director, is in charge of the two key sets of data used by the IPCC to draw up its reports. Through its link to the Hadley Centre, part of the UK Met Office, which selects most of the IPCC's key scientific contributors, his global temperature record is the most important of the four sets of temperature data on which the IPCC and governments rely – not least for their predictions that the world will warm to catastrophic levels unless trillions of dollars are spent to avert it.

Dr Jones is also a key part of the closely knit group of American and British scientists responsible for promoting that picture of world temperatures conveyed by Michael Mann's "hockey stick" graph which 10 years ago turned climate history on its head by showing that, after 1,000 years of decline, global temperatures have recently shot up to their highest level in recorded history.

Given star billing by the IPCC, not least for the way it appeared to eliminate the long-accepted Mediaeval Warm Period when temperatures were higher they are today, the graph became the central icon of the entire man-made global warming movement.

Since 2003, however, when the statistical methods used to create the "hockey stick" were first exposed as fundamentally flawed by an expert Canadian statistician Steve McIntyre, an increasingly heated battle has been raging between Mann's supporters, calling themselves "the Hockey Team", and McIntyre and his own allies, as they have ever more devastatingly called into question the entire statistical basis on which the IPCC and CRU construct their case.

The senders and recipients of the leaked CRU emails constitute a cast list of the IPCC's scientific elite, including not just the "Hockey Team", such as Dr Mann himself, Dr Jones and his CRU colleague Keith Briffa, but Ben Santer, responsible for a highly controversial rewriting of key passages in the IPCC's 1995 report; Kevin Trenberth, who similarly controversially pushed the IPCC into scaremongering over hurricane activity; and Gavin Schmidt, right-hand man to Al Gore's ally Dr James Hansen, whose own GISS record of surface temperature data is second in importance only to that of the CRU itself.

There are three threads in particular in the leaked documents which have sent a shock wave through informed observers across the world. Perhaps the most obvious, as lucidly put together by Willis Eschenbach (see McIntyre's blog Climate Audit and Anthony Watt's blog Watts Up With That), is the highly disturbing series of emails which show how Dr Jones and his colleagues have for years been discussing the devious tactics whereby they could avoid releasing their data to outsiders under freedom of information laws.

They have come up with every possible excuse for concealing the background data on which their findings and temperature records were based.

This in itself has become a major scandal, not least Dr Jones's refusal to release the basic data from which the CRU derives its hugely influential temperature record, which culminated last summer in his startling claim that much of the data from all over the world had simply got "lost". Most incriminating of all are the emails in which scientists are advised to delete large chunks of data, which, when this is done after receipt of a freedom of information request, is a criminal offence.

But the question which inevitably arises from this systematic refusal to release their data is – what is it that these scientists seem so anxious to hide? The second and most shocking revelation of the leaked documents is how they show the scientists trying to manipulate data through their tortuous computer programmes, always to point in only the one desired direction – to lower past temperatures and to "adjust" recent temperatures upwards, in order to convey the impression of an accelerated warming. This comes up so often (not least in the documents relating to computer data in the Harry Read Me file) that it becomes the most disturbing single element of the entire story. This is what Mr McIntyre caught Dr Hansen doing with his GISS temperature record last year (after which Hansen was forced to revise his record), and two further shocking examples have now come to light from Australia and New Zealand.

In each of these countries it has been possible for local scientists to compare the official temperature record with the original data on which it was supposedly based. In each case it is clear that the same trick has been played – to turn an essentially flat temperature chart into a graph which shows temperatures steadily rising. And in each case this manipulation was carried out under the influence of the CRU.

What is tragically evident from the Harry Read Me file is the picture it gives of the CRU scientists hopelessly at sea with the complex computer programmes they had devised to contort their data in the approved direction, more than once expressing their own desperation at how difficult it was to get the desired results.

The third shocking revelation of these documents is the ruthless way in which these academics have been determined to silence any expert questioning of the findings they have arrived at by such dubious methods – not just by refusing to disclose their basic data but by discrediting and freezing out any scientific journal which dares to publish their critics' work. It seems they are prepared to stop at nothing to stifle scientific debate in this way, not least by ensuring that no dissenting research should find its way into the pages of IPCC reports.

Back in 2006, when the eminent US statistician Professor Edward Wegman produced an expert report for the US Congress vindicating Steve McIntyre's demolition of the "hockey stick", he excoriated the way in which this same "tightly knit group" of academics seemed only too keen to collaborate with each other and to "peer review" each other's papers in order to dominate the findings of those IPCC reports on which much of the future of the US and world economy may hang. In light of the latest revelations, it now seems even more evident that these men have been failing to uphold those principles which lie at the heart of genuine scientific enquiry and debate. Already one respected US climate scientist, Dr Eduardo Zorita, has called for Dr Mann and Dr Jones to be barred from any further participation in the IPCC. Even our own George Monbiot, horrified at finding how he has been betrayed by the supposed experts he has been revering and citing for so long, has called for Dr Jones to step down as head of the CRU.

The former Chancellor Lord (Nigel) Lawson, last week launching his new think tank, the Global Warming Policy Foundation, rightly called for a proper independent inquiry into the maze of skulduggery revealed by the CRU leaks. But the inquiry mooted on Friday, possibly to be chaired by Lord Rees, President of the Royal Society – itself long a shameless propagandist for the warmist cause – is far from being what Lord Lawson had in mind. Our hopelessly compromised scientific establishment cannot be allowed to get away with a whitewash of what has become the greatest scientific scandal of our age.


Emails spreading the word

Just a few considerations in addition to previous remarks about the explosion of the East Anglia Climategate e-mails in America. The reaction is growing exponentially there. Fox News, Barack Obama’s Nemesis, is now on the case, trampling all over Al Gore’s organic vegetable patch and breaking the White House windows. It has extracted some of the juiciest quotes from the e-mails and displayed them on-screen, with commentaries. Joe Public, coast-to-coast, now knows, thanks to the clowns at East Anglia’s CRU, just how royally he has been screwed.

Senator James Inhofe’s Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works has written to all the relevant US Government agencies, acquainting them with the nature of the e-mails. But the real car crash for Obama is on Capitol Hill where it is now confidently believed his Cap and Trade climate legislation is toast. It was always problematic; but with a growing awakening to the scale of the scientific imposture sweeping the world, as far as the Antipodes, the clever money is on Cap and Trade laws failing to pass, with many legislators sceptical and the mid-term elections looming ever closer.

At the more domestic level, the proposed ban on incandescent light bulbs, so supinely accepted in this servile state of Britain, is now provoking a huge backlash in America. US citizens do not like the government coming into their houses and putting their lights out. Voters may not understand the cut and thrust of climate debate at the technical level, but they know when the Man from Washington has crossed their threshold uninvited.

The term that Fox News is now applying to the Climategate e-mails is “game-changer”. For the first time, Anthropogenic Global Warming cranks are on the defensive, losing their cool and uttering desperate mantras such as “You can be sceptical, not denial.” Gee, thanks, guys. In fact we shall be whatever we want to be, without asking your permission.

At this rate, Copenhagen is going to turn into a comedy convention with the real world laughing at these liars. Now is the time to mount massive resistance to the petty tyrants and hit them where it hurts – in the wallet. Further down the line there may be, in many countries, a question of criminal prosecution of anybody who has falsified data to secure funds and impose potentially disastrous fiscal restraints on the world in deference to a massive hoax. It’s a new world out there, Al, and, as you may have noticed, the climate is very cold indeed.


Skeptical journalists excluded from climate conference

The Warmists have learned nothing from the CRU affair. Suppression of dissent is in the bones of Leftists

Attorneys for WND today threatened the United Nations with a lawsuit for its refusal, thus far, to issue press credentials for coverage of the global climate-change convention next month in Copenhagen. WND's senior staff writer Jerome Corsi has been seeking the credentials from the U.N. Framework Convention for Climate Change for weeks – providing all of the documentation requested and establishing his bona fides as a full-time reporter for the largest independent English-language Internet news organization in the world.

Until today, despite repeated requests, the UNFCCC had refused to acknowledge whether Corsi, a two-time No. 1 New York Times bestselling author, will be permitted to attend the meetings that have been hailed by organizers as a major step forward in "global governance."

The UNFCCC press office sent an e-mail to Corsi today insisting the agency had not responded because it is dealing with more than 4,000 applications and must "examine each on a case-by-case basis." "We regret that you have had to wait so long; however, it is not for any political reason. We would be happy to refer your application to New York for further consideration," the e-mail said.

"It takes time to make arrangements to travel to Copenhagen for an extended period, and I began to believe the U.N. was stalling," said Joseph Farah, editor and chief executive officer of WND. "So we are formally putting the U.N. on notice that we will not accept its nondecision lying down." The conference begins Dec. 7.

"Your refusal to respond to these contacts leads to the conclusion that UNFCCC believes that if it ignores Dr. Corsi, he 'will go away,'" wrote Gary Kreep of the U.S. Justice Foundation. "Nothing can be further from the truth. If he is denied press credentials to this event as a result of the acts, or omissions, of UNFCCC, litigation will ensue that will result in substantial negative press coverage for UNFCCC, and for the attendees at the Copenhagen Conference as well. The specter of UNFCCC trying to allow attendance at the conference only of journalists who will report in what UNFCCC views to be a positive manner on the conference will not sit well with the American public, no matter what the outcome of the litigation."

Last year, the Department of Transportation barred Corsi from attending a news conference in which Secretary Mary Peters defended the controversial Bush administration program allowing Mexican trucks to travel freely on U.S. roads. Corsi, however, received White House press credentials to attend summits of the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America in Quebec and in New Orleans.

Last weekend, the first president of the European Union, Herman Van Rompuy, affirmed in a speech captured by the BBC his belief that "2009 is the first year of global governance with the establishment of the G20 in the middle of the financial crisis. The climate conference in Copenhagen is another step toward the global management of our planet."

Lord Christopher Monckton, a former science adviser to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, asserts the real purpose of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen Dec. 7-18 is to use concern over "global warming" as a pretext to lay the foundation for a one-world government. At the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen "this December, weeks away, a treaty will be signed," Monckton told a Minnesota Free Market Institute audience at Bethel University in St. Paul.

Monckton warned that President Obama supports the idea and is ready to sign on the dotted line. "Your president will sign it," he said. "Most of the Third World countries will sign it, because they think they're going to get money out of it. Most of the left-wing regimes from the European Union will rubber-stamp it. Virtually nobody won't sign it. I read that treaty and what it says is this: that a world government is going to be created. The word 'government' actually appears as the first of three purposes of the new entity." He has warned the proposal would cede U.S. sovereignty, mandate a massive wealth transfer from the United States to pay reparations for "climate debt" to Third World countries and create a new "world government" to enforce the treaty's provisions.

Meanwhile, in recent days, as WND reported, documents and e-mails retrieved by a computer hacker from the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit indicate top climate-change scientists have manipulated data to hide cooling trends and worked together to marginalize scientists with opposing views.

The U.S. Senate's leading global-warming skeptic says he plans to demand an investigation into the allegedly fraudulent data manipulation unveiled at the highly influential British research center. Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., said he knew scientists were "cooking" information years ago. The e-mails, he said, were the proof, and now something needs to be done. "It is pretty serious," Inhofe said. "And since, you know, Barbara Boxer is the chairman and I'm the ranking member on Environment and Public Works, if nothing happens in the next seven days when we go back into session a week from today that would change this situation, I will call for an investigation.

Inhofe said he would ask for an investigation into the United Nations and its climate-change committee "on the way they cooked the science to make this thing look as if the science was settled, when all the time of course we knew it was not."


Australia's kindly "Green" bureaucrats at work

A warning about giving them any more power. Anybody else would have just sent the document back for re-signing instead of applying the guillotine. And, far from apologizing, they are digging in their heels over their obnoxious behaviour. Just the usual Greenie people-hatred, I guess

A WOODSIDE pensioner has condemned "dead headed" government bureaucrats for refusing to pay a grant for an $8000 solar panel - because he signed the form in the wrong place. Don Purvis and his neighbours applied for funding under the federal Solar Homes plan, but his application was rejected because he signed his name in a box reserved for the installer's signature.

Eight other households at the Woodside Lodge Retirement Village are now looking forward to cheaper electricity, but not Mr Purvis, whose appeal was flatly turned down. "I signed where the installer should sign. The forms went off to Canberra and some less-than-nice public servant picked up that mine was signed in the wrong place," the 72-year-old said. Mr Purvis said he had to fill in the forms quickly after the Government announced it was closing the scheme 18 months early.

Despite writing to apologise and begging officials to reconsider, his appeal was rejected. "It could be they're trying to keep the numbers (of applicants) down after they brought forward the cut-off date. But I also think there is some dead-headed public servant not even bothering to read the letters," Mr Purvis said. "It's obvious my intent was there, the signature was on the paperwork."

Mr Purvis, a former Ansett employee who spent more than 50 years in the travel industry, is an AGL customer who spent $301 on his last quarterly electricity bill. He lives alone with Bernice, his golden retriever, for company. "I'm a pensioner. I can feed the dog and have a drink, that's all I need. It would make a difference,"' he said. "His neighbours have called for a change of heart.

A woman who lives nearby but asked not to be identified, said: "I was accepted along with several other people and assumed Don was too - there needs to be a little bit of leverage there."

Mr Purvis' local MP, Jamie Briggs, described his plight as "outrageous" and wrote to Environment Minister Peter Garrett urging him to overrule the decision, but has not yet received a reply. "Common sense would say this is a stupid thing for the Government to do," he said.

Mr Purvis also appealed for the Environment Minister to reconsider. "Hopefully, if Peter Garrett intervenes, they'll see the light, because it's just so bloody stupid," he said.



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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Forecasting experts' simple model leaves IPCC climate models cold

A simple model was found to be produce forecasts that are over seven times more accurate than forecasts from the procedures used by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This important finding, is reported in an article titled "Validity of climate change forecasting for public policy decision making" (PDF) in the latest issue of the International Journal of Forecasting. It is the result of a collaboration among forecasters J. Scott Armstrong of the Wharton School, Kesten C. Green of Monash University, and climate scientist Willie Soon of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

In an earlier paper (PDF), Armstrong and Green found that the IPCC's approach to forecasting climate violated 72 principles of forecasting. To put this in context, would you put your children on a trans-Atlantic flight if you knew that the plane had failed engineering checks for 72 out of 127 relevant items on the checklist?

The IPCC violations of forecasting principles were partly due to their use of models that were too complex for the situation. Contrary to everyday thinking, complex models provide forecasts that are less accurate than forecasts from simple models when the situation is complex and uncertain.

Confident that a forecasting model that followed scientific forecasting principles would provide forecasts that were more accurate than those provided by the IPCC, Green, Armstrong and Soon used a model that was more consistent with forecasting principles and knowledge about climate. The forecasting model was the so-called "naive" model. It assumes that things will remain the same. It is such a simple model that people are generally not aware of its power. In contrast to the IPCC's central forecast that global mean temperatures will rise by 3 degrees C over a century, the naive model simply forecasts that temperatures next year and for each of 100 years into the future would remain the same as the last years'.

The naive model approach is confusing to non-forecasters who are aware that temperatures have always varied. Moreover, much has been made of the observation that the temperature series that the IPCC uses shows a broadly upward trend since 1850 and that this is coincident with increasing industrialization and associated increases in manmade carbon dioxide gas emissions.

In order to test the naive model, annual forecasts were made from one to 100 years in the future starting with 1850's global average temperature as the forecast for the years 1851 to 1950. This process was repeated by updating for each year up through 2007. This produced 10,750 annual average temperature forecasts for all horizons. It was the first time that the IPCC's forecasting procedures had been subject to a large-scale test of the accuracy of the forecasts that they produce.

Over all the forecasts, the IPCC error was 7.7 times larger than the error from the naive model. While the superiority of the naive model was modest for one- to ten-year-ahead forecasts (where the IPCC error was 1.5 times larger), its superiority was enormous for the 91- to 100-year-ahead forecasts, where the IPCC error was 12.6 times larger.

Is it proper to conduct validation tests? In many cases, such as the climate change situation, people claim that: "Things have changed! We cannot use the past to forecast." While they may think that their situation is unique, there is no logic to this argument. The only way to forecast the future is by learning from the past. In fact, the warmers claims are also based on their analyses of the past.

Could one improve upon the naive model? The naive model violates some principles. For example, it violates the principle that one should use as long a time series as possible, because it bases all forecasts on simply the global average temperature for the single year just prior to making the forecasts. It also fails to combine forecasts from different reasonable methods. The authors planned to start simple with this self-funded project and to then obtain funding to undertake a more ambitious forecasting effort to ensure that all principles were followed. This would no doubt improve accuracy. However, the forecasts from the naive model were very accuurate. For example, the mean absolute error for the 108 fifty-year ahead forecasts was only 0.24 degrees C. It is difficult to see any economic value to reducing such a small forecast error.

Above article received by email. Author: Scott Armstrong []

Climate change data dumped

Leaky Jonathan does a straight report for once (below). Is his faith wavering? He does not however go as far as puncturing the excuse given by the CRU below: That the dumped data was on obsolete media. Transferring it to modern magnetic media would have cost virtually nothing in terms of both space and money

SCIENTISTS at the University of East Anglia (UEA) have admitted throwing away much of the raw temperature data on which their predictions of global warming are based. It means that other academics are not able to check basic calculations said to show a long-term rise in temperature over the past 150 years.

The UEA's Climatic Research Unit (CRU) was forced to reveal the loss following requests for the data under Freedom of Information legislation. The data were gathered from weather stations around the world and then adjusted to take account of variables in the way they were collected. The revised figures were kept, but the originals - stored on paper and magnetic tape - were dumped to save space when the CRU moved to a new building.

The admission follows the leaking of a thousand private emails sent and received by Professor Phil Jones, the CRU's director. In them he discusses thwarting climate sceptics seeking access to such data. In a statement on its website, the CRU said: "We do not hold the original raw data but only the value-added (quality controlled and homogenised) data."

The CRU is the world's leading centre for reconstructing past climate and temperatures. Climate change sceptics have long been keen to examine exactly how its data were compiled. That is now impossible.

Roger Pielke, professor of environmental studies at Colorado University, discovered data had been lost when he asked for original records. "The CRU is basically saying, `Trust us'. So much for settling questions and resolving debates with science," he said.

Jones was not in charge of the CRU when the data were thrown away in the 1980s, a time when climate change was seen as a less pressing issue. The lost material was used to build the databases that have been his life's work, showing how the world has warmed by 0.8C over the past 157 years. He and his colleagues say this temperature rise is "unequivocally" linked to greenhouse gas emissions generated by humans. Their findings are one of the main pieces of evidence used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which says global warming is a threat to humanity.


The great climate change science scandal

The report below appeared in "The Times" of London, which means that the news concerned has now gone mainstream and has become general public knowledge. And it is again an objective article from the keyboard of Leaky Jonathan! Quite a change! He can obviously tell which way the wind is blowing

The storm began with just four cryptic words. "A miracle has happened," announced a contributor to Climate Audit, a website devoted to criticising the science of climate change. "RC" said nothing more - but included a web link that took anyone who clicked on it to another site, Real Climate. There, on the morning of November 17, they found a treasure trove: a thousand or so emails sent or received by Professor Phil Jones, director of the climatic research unit at the University of East Anglia in Norwich.

Jones is a key player in the science of climate change. His department's databases on global temperature changes and its measurements have been crucial in building the case for global warming.

What those emails suggested, however, was that Jones and some colleagues may have become so convinced of their case that they crossed the line from objective research into active campaigning. In one, Jones boasted of using statistical "tricks" to obliterate apparent declines in global temperature. In another he advocated deleting data rather than handing them to climate sceptics. And in a third he proposed organised boycotts of journals that had the temerity to publish papers that undermined the message.

It was a powerful and controversial mix - far too powerful for some. Real Climate is a website designed for scientists who share Jones's belief in man-made climate change. Within hours the file had been stripped from the site. Several hours later, however, it reappeared - this time on an obscure Russian server. Soon it had been copied to a host of other servers, first in Saudi Arabia and Turkey and then Europe and America. What's more, the anonymous poster was determined not to be stymied again. He or she posted comments on climate-sceptic blogs, detailing a dozen of the best emails and offering web links to the rest. Jones's statistical tricks were now public property.

Steve McIntyre, a prominent climate sceptic, was amazed. "Words failed me," he said. Another, Patrick Michaels, declared: "This is not a smoking gun; this is a mushroom cloud."

Inevitably, the affair became nicknamed Climategate. For the scientists, campaigners and politicians trying to rouse the world to action on climate change the revelations could hardly have come at a worse time. Next month global leaders will assemble in Copenhagen to seek limits on carbon emissions. The last thing they need is renewed doubts about the validity of the science.

The scandal has also had a huge personal and professional impact on the scientists. "These have been the worst few days of my professional life," said Jones. He had to call on the police for protection after receiving anonymous phone calls and personal threats.

Why should a few emails sent to and from a single research scientist at a middle-ranking university have so much impact? And most importantly, what does it tell us about the quality of the research underlying the science of climate change?

THE hacking scandal is not an isolated event. Instead it is the latest round of a long-running battle over climate science that goes back to 1990. That was when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - the group of scientists that advises governments worldwide - published its first set of reports warning that the Earth faced deadly danger from climate change. A centrepiece of that report was a set of data showing how the temperature of the northern hemisphere was rising rapidly.

The problem was that the same figures showed that it had all happened before. The so-called medieval warm period of about 1,000 years ago saw Britain covered in vineyards and Viking farmers tending cows in Greenland. For any good scientist this raised a big question: was the recent warming linked to humans burning fossil fuels or was it part of a natural cycle?

The researchers set to work and in 1999 a group led by Professor Michael Mann, a climatologist at Pennsylvania State University, came up with new numbers showing that the medieval warm period was not so important after all. Some bits of the Atlantic may have been warm for a while, but the records suggested that the Pacific had been rather chilly over the same period - so on average there was little change. Plotted out, Mann's data turned into the famous "hockey stick" graph. It showed northern hemisphere temperatures as staying flat for hundreds of years and then rising steeply from 1900 until now. The implication was that this rise would continue, with potentially deadly consequences for humanity.

That vision of continents being hit by droughts and floods while the Arctic melts away has turned a scientific debate into a highly emotional and political one. The language used by "warmists" and sceptics alike has become increasingly polarised. George Monbiot, widely respected as a writer on green issues, has branded doubters "climate deniers", a phrase uncomfortably close to holocaust denial. Sceptics, particularly in America, have suggested that scientists who believe in climate change are part of a global left-wing conspiracy to divert billions of dollars into green technology.

A more cogent criticism is that there has been a reluctance to acknowledge dissent on the question of climate science. Al Gore, the former US vice-president turned green campaigner, has described the climate debate as "settled". Yet the science, say critics, has not been tested to the limit. This is why the climatic research unit at the University of East Anglia is so significant.

Its researchers have built up records of how temperatures have changed over thousands of years. Perhaps the most important is the land and sea temperature record for the world since the mid-19th century. This is the database that shows the "unequivocal" rise of 0.8C over the last 157 years on which Mann's hockey stick and much else in climate science depend.

Some critics believe that the unit's findings need to be treated with more caution, because all the published data have been "corrected" - meaning they have been altered to compensate for possible anomalies in the way they were taken. Such changes are normal; what's controversial is how they are done. This is compounded by the unwillingness of the unit to release the original raw data.

David Holland, an engineer from Northampton, is one of a number of sceptics who believe the unit has got this process wrong. When he submitted a request for the figures under freedom of information laws he was refused because it was "not in the public interest". Others who made similar requests were turned down because they were not academics, among them McIntyre, a Canadian who runs the Climate Audit website.

A genuine academic, Ross McKitrick, professor of economics at the University of Guelph in Canada, also tried. He said: "I was rejected for an entirely different reason. The [unit] told me they had obtained the data under confidentiality agreements and so could not supply them. This was odd because they had already supplied some of them to other academics, but only those who support the idea of climate change."

It was against this background that the emails were leaked last week, reinforcing suspicions that scientific objectivity has been sacrificed. There is unease even among researchers who strongly support the idea that humans are changing the climate. Roger Pielke, professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder, said: "Over the last decade there has been a very political battle between the climate sceptics and activist scientists. "It seems to me that the scientists have lost touch with what they were up to. They saw themselves as in a battle with the sceptics rather than advancing scientific knowledge."

Professor Mike Hulme, a fellow researcher of Jones at the University of East Anglia and author of Why We Disagree About Climate Change, said: "The attitudes revealed in the emails do not look good. The tribalism that some of the leaked emails display is something more usually associated with social organisation within primitive cultures; it is not attractive when we find it at work inside science."

There could, however, be another reason why the unit rejected requests to see its data. This weekend it emerged that the unit has thrown away much of the data. Tucked away on its website is this statement: "Data storage availability in the 1980s meant that we were not able to keep the multiple sources for some sites ... We, therefore, do not hold the original raw data but only the value-added (ie, quality controlled and homogenised) data."

If true, it is extraordinary. It means that the data on which a large part of the world's understanding of climate change is based can never be revisited or checked. Pielke said: "Can this be serious? It is now impossible to create a new temperature index from scratch. [The unit] is basically saying, `Trust us'."

WHERE does this leave the climate debate? While the overwhelming belief of scientists is that the world is getting warmer and that humanity is responsible, sceptical voices are increasing. Lord Lawson, the Tory former chancellor, announced last week the creation of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a think tank, to "bring reason, integrity and balance to a debate that has become seriously unbalanced, irrationally alarmist, and all too often depressingly intolerant". Lawson said: "Climate change is not being properly debated because all the political parties are on the same side, and there is an intolerance towards anybody who wants to debate it. It has turned climate change from being a political issue into a secular religion."

The public are understandably confused. A recent poll showed that 41% accept as scientific fact that global warming is taking place and is largely man-made, while 32% believe the link is unproven and 15% said the world is not warming.

This weekend many of Jones's colleagues were standing by him. Tim Lenton, professor of earth system science at UEA, said: "We wouldn't have anything like the understanding of climate change that we do were it not for the work of Phil Jones and his colleagues. They have spent decades putting together the historical temperature record and it is good work." The problem is that, after the past week, both sceptics and the public will require even more convincing of that.


Big backdown. Shamed University of East Anglia to release climate data

This is still much less of a concession than it appears. It will only be data as "edited" by them which will appear -- unless their claim to have "lost" the raw data was a lie. It will still be interesting, though. Comparing their edited data with any available sources of raw data should be MOST instructive. It will reveal any biases in their editing methods -- and expect plenty of those. It is precisely such comparisons that they have obviously been fearing for years

Leading British scientists who were accused of manipulating climate change data have agreed to publish their figures in full. The U-turn by the university follows a week of controversy after the emergence of hundreds of leaked emails, "stolen" by hackers and published online, triggered claims that the academics had massaged statistics. In a statement welcomed by climate change sceptics, the university said it would make all the data accessible as soon as possible, once its Climatic Research Unit (CRU) had negotiated its release from a range of non-publication agreements.

The publication will be carried out in collaboration with the Met Office Hadley Centre. The full data, when disclosed, is certain to be scrutinised by both sides in the fierce debate.

A grandfather with a training in electrical engineering dating back more than 40 years emerged from the leaked emails as a leading climate sceptic trying to bring down the scientific establishment on global warming. David Holland, who describes himself as a David taking on the Goliath that is the prevailing scientific consensus, is seeking prosecutions against some of Britain's most eminent academics for allegedly holding back information in breach of disclosure laws. Mr Holland, of Northampton, complained to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) last week after the leaked emails included several Freedom of Information requests he had submitted to the CRU, and scientists' private responses to them.

Within hours, a senior complaints officer in the ICO wrote back by email: "I have started to examine the issues that you have raised in your letter and I am currently liaising with colleagues in our Enforcement and Data Protection teams as to what steps to take next." The official also promised to investigate other universities linked to the CRU, which is one of the world's leading authorities on temperature levels and has helped to prove that man-made global warming not only exists but will have catastrophic consequences if not tackled urgently. Mr Holland is convinced the threat has been greatly exaggerated.

In one email dated May 28, 2008, one academic writes to a colleague having received Mr Holland's request: "Oh MAN! Will this crap ever end??"

Mr Holland, who graduated with an external degree in electrical engineering from London University in 1966 before going on to run his own businesses, told The Sunday Telegraph: "It's like David versus Goliath. Thanks to these leaked emails a lot of little people can begin to make some impact on this monolithic entity that is the climate change lobby." He added: "These guys called climate scientists have not done any more physics or chemistry than I did. A lifetime in engineering gives you a very good antenna. It also cures people of any self belief they cannot be wrong. You clear up a lot of messes during a lifetime in engineering. I could be wrong on global warming - I know that - but the guys on the other side don't believe they can ever be wrong."

Professor Trevor Davies, the university's Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Research Enterprise and Engagement, said yesterday: "CRU's full data will be published in the interests of research transparency when we have the necessary agreements. It is worth reiterating that our conclusions correlate well to those of other scientists based on the separate data sets held by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. "We are grateful for the necessary support of the Met Office in requesting the permissions for releasing the information but understand that responses may take several months and that some countries may refuse permission due to the economic value of the data."

Among the leaked emails disclosed last week were an alleged note from Professor Phil Jones, 57, the director of the CRU and a leading target of climate change sceptics, to an American colleague describing the death of a sceptic as "cheering news"; and a suggestion from Prof Jones that a "trick" is used to "hide the decline" in temperature. They even include threats of violence. One American academic wrote to Prof Jones: "Next time I see Pat Michaels [a climate sceptic] at a scientific meeting, I'll be tempted to beat the crap out of him. Very tempted."

Dr Michaels, tracked down by this newspaper to the Cato Institute in Washington DC where he is a senior fellow in environmental studies, said last night: "There were a lot of people who thought I was exaggerating when I kept insisting terrible things are going on here. "This is business as usual for them. The world might be surprised but I am not. These guys have an attitude."

Prof Jones, who has refused to quit despite calls even from within the green movement, said last week in a statement issued through University of East Anglia, "My colleagues and I accept that some of the published emails do not read well. I regret any upset or confusion caused as a result. Some were clearly written in the heat of the moment, others use colloquialisms frequently used between close colleagues." He suggested the theft of emails and publication first on a Russian server was "a concerted attempt to put a question mark over the science of climate change in the run-up to the Copenhagen talks".

He added: "Our global temperature series tallies with those of other, completely independent, groups of scientists working for NASA and the National Climate Data Centre in the United States, among others. Even if you were to ignore our findings, theirs show the same results. The facts speak for themselves; there is no need for anyone to manipulate them.


The Litigation Begins

This is a post from a few days ago but I thought it was still worth a mention

Yesterday "the Competitive Enterprise Institute filed three Notices of Intent to File Suit against NASA and its Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), for those bodies' refusal--for nearly three years--to provide documents requested under the Freedom of Information Act," CEI fellow Christopher Horner announces at Pajamas Media:
The information sought is directly relevant to the exploding "Climategate" scandal revealing document destruction, coordinated efforts in the U.S. and UK to avoid complying with both countries' freedom of information laws, and apparent and widespread intent to defraud at the highest levels of international climate science bodies. Numerous informed commenters had alleged such behavior for years, all of which appears to be affirmed by leaked emails, computer code, and other data from the Climatic Research Unit of the UK's East Anglia University.

All of that material, and that sought for years by CEI, goes to the heart of the scientific claims and campaign underpinning the Kyoto Protocol, its planned successor treaty, "cap-and-trade" legislation, and the EPA's threatened regulatory campaign to impose similar measures through the back door.

A lawyer writes us that "'the purloined 'global warming emails' suggest several lines of legal inquiry":
Tortious interference: For researchers and academicians, publication in peer-reviewed journals is important to advancement, raises, grant funding, etc. Wrongful interference with the ability to publish has monetary and reputational damages. If that interference is based not on editorial judgment of worthiness for publication, but rather on protecting reputations, scientific positions, political goals or "places in history" (as mentioned in one email), then it could give rise to liability in tort for the individual scientist and possibly for the university or organization for which he works.

Breach of faculty ethics standards or contracts: Most universities and research organizations have ethics clauses in their faculty/employee manuals and in their contracts with faculty/researchers. If (as suggested by the purloined emails) these individuals cooked data or manipulated assumptions to achieve preferred outcomes, or denied others access to data essential for replication of result that is essential to the scientific method, they could have violated university or organizational ethics standards.

State-chartered universities: Some of these individuals appear to work for state-chartered and state-funded institutions, and might well be classified as state employees (and thereby eligible for generous state benefits). The conduct suggested by the purloined emails might violate state ethics or funding policies. State governments and legislatures therefore might have a basis for inquiry and oversight.

Federal grants: Federal grants typically have ethics/integrity clauses to assure that the research funded by the grant is credible and reliable (and to assure that the agency can avoid accountability if it isn't). As noted, the purloined emails suggest that data might have been cooked and assumptions might have been manipulated to generate a predetermined outcome. If true, and if the work in question was funded by federal grant, the researchers in question might well have violated their federal grant contracts--for which there are legal consequences. Inspectors general of the grant agencies should be in position to make inquiry if the data/assumptions in question could be linked in time and topic to a contemporaneous federal grant to the researchers in question.


California's "smart" electriciy meters causing uproar

Not highlighted below is the main reason for installing these meters: They enable the government to switch your airconditioning on and off any time they like. It is the Democrats' alternative to building new power stations in the teeth of Greenie opposition. Californians will be FORCED to reduce their electricity usage

A push by California's electricity provider to modernize its power grid is turning into a public relations disaster, as allegations mount that it's responsible for stratospheric overcharges. At issue are the 10 million smart meters Pacific Gas & Electric, or PG&E, is rolling out to customers throughout the state. The digital meters, unlike the analog devices they're replacing, provide two-way communications between electricity users and the power stations that serve them. That eliminates the need for meter readers to visit each customer to know how much power has been consumed.

It also turns the power grid into a computerized network that can provide real-time data operators can use to make their grids "smart," at least in theory. During periods of peak usage, for instance, the meters can automatically tell washing machines to stop running until power is more plentiful.

Over the past few months, PG&E's rollout has been pre-empted by complaints that the meters are wildly inaccurate. Most notably, a lawsuit filed on behalf of Bakersfield, California-based resident Pete Flores claimed his bills jumped from about $200 on average to $500 to $600, even though there was no change in his usage pattern.

The Utility Reform Network, a non-profit that advocates on behalf of power users, has received more than 100 smart-meter complaints, according to the lawsuit. California State Senator Dean Florez has also jumped on the bandwagon, telling one newspaper "They are fraud meters" and calling for a moratorium on their installation. Articles such as this one in which customers decry the unreliability of the new meters, is now a regular staple in state news feeds.

Michael Louis Kelly, the attorney who filed the lawsuit, said the problem is that there wasn't enough testing of the meters before they were installed. "You're transmitting things wirelessly and you're relying upon computer interfaces to accurately transmit information that may or may not be happening," he told The Register. "If this was a weights and measures issue, every scale at Wholefoods, for example, is tested to make sure if you buy and ounce of something, it's an ounce."

PG&E, and the providers of the smart meter gear take strong exception to those claims. "The manufacturers test and certify the meters before they leave the factory," said PG&E spokesman Paul Moreno. "We also do some testing of meters upon arrival, and when meters are deployed in the field, before we convert the billing, we also check usage reads to ensure they're consistent with a customer's historic usage." Once the complaints started rolling in, PG&E began paying visits to angry customers to test their meters. So far, it has tested more than 1,100 of them and none has been found faulty, he said.

Moreno said customers' bills are rising not as a result of the new meters, but because of recent rate increases and a hotter-than-normal summer, which has driven up air-conditioning costs.

Landis+Gyr and Silver Spring Networks, two of the companies providing technology for the smart meters, also insist their gear has been rigorously tested. Among other criteria, the equipment must pass accuracy and performance muster spelled out in in ANSI C12.20, they say. "The system itself is working exactly as intended," said Eric Dresselhuys, an executive vice president for Silver Spring. "The accuracy of the meters and the accuracy of the system in total is excellent."

Erfan Ibrahim, a technical executive at the Electric Power Research Institute, also argues that the meters are accurate. "If the accuracy was in question, all the meters would be showing errors because it would be a structural issue," he said. To date, the complaints amount to a tiny fraction of the people using them.

The controversy has grown so heated that the California Public Utilities Commission recently agreed to hire an independent consultant to test the meters. PG&E's Moreno said the utility supports the move.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Central England Temperature series

The very long thermometer-reading series from central England (from 1659 on) is of huge interest because it does NOT rely on dubious proxies -- and it shows the 20th century as being unexceptional. I have therefore made a number of allusions to it on this blog.

The Warmists have noted it too and one of them -- Tamino -- has gone to work and made a hockey stick out of it -- using the expected dubious statistical techniques. Tamino is one of the guys mentioned in the hacked CRU emails.

That his results are incredible can I think most convincingly be seen from his plot of the raw data (below)

It is clearly a random walk and any trend up or down is a statistical creation rather than anything real. One of my readers taken an interest in tracking down just what Tamino did to get his magical result. He offers the following graphic:

LARGER VERSION of the graphic HERE

He comments: Tamino's work takes a bit of following. I initially thought his moving average had been moved to match a "mere smoothing function". I was wrong. He simply used a centered average. The "mere smoothing function" is one of the most important breakthroughs of all time. The Savitzky-Golay filter of 1964 can remove noise without softening peaks. I next thought he had smoothed the moving average instead of the data. A second mistake. With more serious software I easily reproduced his graph from original data. He has taken advantage of a severe end-effect which requires lots of homework to comprehend. He also used a lowest order filter setting so peaks *are* in fact quashed in the middle as well! Higher order settings let peaks breathe but still have huge end effects. End effect means his upswing in today's news may be retroactively pulled back down if cooler years are added in the future. It will take 15 years for that part of the graph to become etched in stone. Over 200 commenters failed to detect such subterfuge

As an old FORTRAN-using statistical analysis programmer myself, I am well aware of how you can lie with statistics. That is why it is important to do courses in statistics -- so you can spot it when you are being "had". And much of my academic writing was devoted to pointing out how statistical nullities were being paraded as if they told us something. So it is no surprise to see the statistical jiggery-pokery that has been going on in climate science. Mountains are regularly made out of pimples and if there are not even pimples to be had, one will be created.

Patterns of Change

Below is an attempt by "Bristlecone" Mann to support the Warmist contention that the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age were "local" events. Given his chronic reliance on discredited proxies, however, this should detain no-one. Amusing that he starts his data survey immediately AFTER the Roman Warm Period. Did that period not fit the pattern he claims to find?

The global climate record of the past 1500 years shows two long intervals of anomalous temperatures before the obvious anthropogenic warming of the 20th century: the warm Medieval Climate Anomaly between roughly 950 and 1250 A.D. and the Little Ice Age between around 1400 and 1700 A.D. It has become increasingly clear in recent years, however, that climate changes inevitably involve a complex pattern of regional changes, whose inhomogeneities contain valuable insights into the mechanisms that cause them. Mann et al. (p. 1256) analyzed proxy records of climate since 500 A.D. and compared their global patterns with model reconstructions. The results identify the large-scale processes—like El Niño and the North Atlantic Oscillation—that can account for the observations and suggest that dynamic responses to variable radiative forcing were their primary causes.


The journal abstract:

Global Signatures and Dynamical Origins of the Little Ice Age and Medieval Climate Anomaly

By Michael E. Mann et al.

Global temperatures are known to have varied over the past 1500 years, but the spatial patterns have remained poorly defined. We used a global climate proxy network to reconstruct surface temperature patterns over this interval. The Medieval period is found to display warmth that matches or exceeds that of the past decade in some regions, but which falls well below recent levels globally. This period is marked by a tendency for La Niña–like conditions in the tropical Pacific. The coldest temperatures of the Little Ice Age are observed over the interval 1400 to 1700 C.E., with greatest cooling over the extratropical Northern Hemisphere continents. The patterns of temperature change imply dynamical responses of climate to natural radiative forcing changes involving El Niño and the North Atlantic Oscillation–Arctic Oscillation.

Science 27 November 2009: Vol. 326. no. 5957, pp. 1256 - 1260

The New Zealand Warmists are crooks too

From Anthony Watts through a report from the Climate Science Coalition of New Zealand, we find some more climate alarmist chicanery
The New Zealand Government’s chief climate advisory unit NIWA is under fire for allegedly massaging raw climate data to show a global warming trend that wasn’t there.

The scandal breaks as fears grow worldwide that corruption of climate science is not confined to just Britain’s CRU climate research centre.

In New Zealand’s case, the figures published on NIWA’s [the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric research] website suggest a strong warming trend in New Zealand over the past century:

The figure they released

But, taking a look at the real, raw data, we get

As Anthony points out
Gone is the relentless rising temperature trend, and instead there appears to have been a much smaller growth in warming, consistent with the warming up of the planet after the end of the Little Ice Age in 1850.

The house of cards is falling, climate alarmists. It will be interesting to see what happens when NASA and the Goddard Center are forced to release their raw data. Look, we "skeptics" and "deniers" do not deny that there has been warming since the end of the Little Ice Age. We deny that Mankind is mostly, or solely, responsible for it, and, if you were really interested in real science, rather then agenda based science, you would have our same opinion. You've created a tenuous link between CO2 release and rising temps, and, when that didn't pan out fully, what with the cooler years, you started calling it climate change, to somehow hide how the release of greenhouse gasses, things that hold in, to put it imprecisely, heat, can cause a decline or stagnant temps. You've faked links to all around, such as with Mt. Kilimanjaro. Perhaps it's time for you to be honest, and get interested in real science, eh?

Meanwhile, it appears that several of the gents involved in the ClimateGate emails might have broken laws.


CRU data-fudging again

A French scientist’s fine-grain temperature data show results quite different from CRU

By Phil Green, a statistician

The global average temperature is calculated by climatologists at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia. The temperature graph the CRU produces from its monthly averages is the main indicator of global temperature change used by the International Panel on Climate Change, and it shows a steady increase in global lower atmospheric temperature over the 20th century. Similar graphs for regions of the world, such as Europe and North America, show the same trend. This is consistent with increasing industrialization, growing use of fossil fuels, and rising atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide.

It took the CRU workers decades to assemble millions of temperature measurements from around the globe. The earliest measurements they gathered came from the mid 19th century, when mariners threw buckets over the side of their square riggers and hauled them up to measure water temperature. Meteorologists increasingly started recording regular temperature on land around the same time. Today they collect measurements electronically from national meteorological services and ocean-going ships.

Millions of measurements, global coverage, consistently rising temperatures, case closed: The Earth is warming. Except for one problem. CRU’s average temperature data doesn’t jibe with that of Vincent Courtillot, a French geo-magneticist, director of the Institut de Physique du Globe in Paris, and a former scientific advisor to the French Cabinet. Last year he and three colleagues plotted an average temperature chart for Europe that shows a surprisingly different trend. Aside from a very cold spell in 1940, temperatures were flat for most of the 20th century, showing no warming while fossil fuel use grew. Then in 1987 they shot up by about 1 C and have not shown any warming since. This pattern cannot be explained by rising carbon dioxide concentrations, unless some critical threshold was reached in 1987; nor can it be explained by climate models.

Courtillot and Jean-Louis Le Mouël, a French geo-magneticist, and three Russian colleagues first came into climate research as outsiders four years ago. The Earth’s magnetic field responds to changes in solar output, so geomagnetic measurements are good indicators of solar activity. They thought it would be interesting to compare solar activity with climatic temperature measurements.

Their first step was to assemble a database of temperature measurements and plot temperature charts. To do that, they needed raw temperature measurements that had not been averaged or adjusted in any way. Courtillot asked Phil Jones, the scientist who runs the CRU database, for his raw data, telling him (according to one of the ‘Climategate’ emails that surfaced following the recent hacking of CRU’s computer systems) “there may be some quite important information in the daily values which is likely lost on monthly averaging.” Jones refused Courtillot’s request for data, saying that CRU had “signed agreements with national meteorological services saying they would not pass the raw data onto third parties.” (Interestingly, in another of the CRU emails, Jones said something very different: “I took a decision not to release our [meteorological] station data, mainly because of McIntyre,” referring to Canadian Steve McIntyre, who helped uncover the flaws in the hockey stick graph.)

Courtillot and his colleagues were forced to turn to other sources of temperature measurements. They found 44 European weather stations that had long series of daily minimum temperatures that covered most of the 20th century, with few or no gaps. They removed annual seasonal trends for each series with a three-year running average of daily minimum temperatures. Finally they averaged all the European series for each day of the 20th century.

CRU, in contrast, calculates average temperatures by month — rather than daily — over individual grid boxes on the Earth’s surface that are 5 degrees of latitude by 5 degrees of longitude, from 1850 to the present. First it makes hundreds of adjustments to the raw data, which sometimes require educated guesses, to try to correct for such things as changes in the type and location of thermometers. It also combines air temperatures and water temperatures from the sea. It uses fancy statistical techniques to fill in gaps of missing data in grid boxes with few or no temperature measurements. CRU then adjusts the averages to show changes in temperature since 1961-1990.

CRU calls the 1961-1990 the “normal” period and the average temperature of this period it calls the “normal.” It subtracts the normal from each monthly average and calls these the monthly “anomalies.” A positive anomaly means a temperature was warmer than CRU’s normal period. Finally CRU averages the grid box anomalies over regions such as Europe or over the entire surface of the globe for each month to get the European or global monthly average anomaly. You see the result in the IPCC graph nearby, which shows rising temperatures.

The decision to consider the 1961-1990 period as ‘normal’ was CRUs. Had CRU chosen a different period under consideration, the IPCC graph would have shown less warming, as discussed in one of the Climategate emails, from David Parker of the UK meteorological office. In it, Parker advised Jones not to select a different period, saying “anomalies will seem less positive than before if we change to newer normals, so the impression of global warming will be muted.” That’s hardly a compelling scientific justification!

It is well known to statisticians that in any but the simplest data sets, there are many possible ways to calculate an indicator using averages. Paradoxically, and counter-intuitively, they often contradict each other. As a simple example of how the same data can be teased to produce divergent results, consider the batting averages of David Justice and Derek Jeter. For each of three years in 1995-97, Justice had a higher batting average than Jeter did. Yet, overall, Jeter had the highest batting average.

In addition to calculating temperature averages for Europe, Courtillot and his colleagues calculated temperature averages for the United States. Once again, their method yielded more refined averages that were not a close match with the coarser CRU temperature averages. The warmest period was in 1930, slightly above the temperatures at the end of the 20th century. This was followed by 30 years of cooling, then another 30 years of warming.

Courtillot’s calculations show the importance of making climate data freely available to all scientists to calculate global average temperature according to the best science. Phil Jones, in response to the email hacking, said that CRU’s global temperature series show the same results as “completely independent groups of scientists.” Yet CRU would not share its data with independent scientists such as Courtillot and McIntyre, and Courtillot’s series are clearly different.

At the upcoming Copenhagen conference, governments are expected to fail to agree to an ambitious plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Here’s a more modest, if mundane goal for them: They should agree to share the data from their national meteorological services so that independent scientists can calculate global climatic temperature and identify the roles of carbon dioxide and the sun in changing it.

SOURCE (See the original for graphics)

UN scientists turn on each other

UN Scientist Declares Climategate colleagues Mann, Jones and Rahmstorf 'should be barred from the IPCC process' -- They are 'not credible any more'

A UN scientist is declaring that his three fellow UN climate panel colleagues "should be barred from the IPCC process." In a November 26, 2009 message on his website, UN IPCC contributing author Dr. Eduardo Zorita writes: "CRU files: Why I think that Michael Mann, Phil Jones and Stefan Rahmstorf should be barred from the IPCC process."

Zorita writes that the short answer to that question is: "Because the scientific assessments in which they may take part are not credible anymore."

Zorita indicates that he is aware that he is putting his career in jeopardy by going after the upper echelon of UN IPCC scientists. "By writing these lines I will just probably achieve that a few of my future studies will, again, not see the light of publication," Zorita candidly admits, a reference to the ClimateGate emails discussing how to suppress data and scientific studies that do not agree with the UN IPCC views.

Zorita was a UN IPCC Contributing Author of the Fourth Assessment Report in 2007. Since 2003, Zorita has headed the Department of Paleoclimate and has been a senior scientist at the Institute for Coastal Research of the GKSS Research Centre in Germany. Zorita has published more than 70 peer-reviewed scientific studies.

Zorita's stunning candor continued, noting that scientists who disagreed with the UN IPCC climate view were "bullied and subtly blackmailed."

"In this atmosphere, Ph D students are often tempted to tweak their data so as to fit the 'politically correct picture'. Some, or many issues, about climate change are still not well known. Policy makers should be aware of the attempts to hide these uncertainties under a unified picture. I had the 'pleasure' to experience all this in my area of research," Zorita explained.

Zorita's revelations are the latest in a series of continuing fallout to the global warming establishment and to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), since the email and data scandal dubbed "ClimateGate" broke earlier this month.

Zorita's defection from the global warming establishment comes after the shocking news today that one of the scientists employed at ground zero of what has been termed "ClimateGate" has suggested disbanding the United Nations climate panel, the IPCC. See: Pressure Mounts From Inside: Disband IPCC? Scientist from U. of East Anglia Suggests 'UN IPCC has run its course...politicizes climate science...authoritarian, exclusive form of knowledge production' - Mike Hulme. Excerpt: "ClimateGate reveals science has become 'too partisan, too centralized...more usually associated with social organization within primitive cultures'

SOURCE (See the original for links)

My version of the hockey stick

A rather sarcastic post from a very naughty person

I present to you my own version of the Hockey Stick, made famous by Michael Mann. Can you guess what it represents?

I'll admit that I have cheated here and hidden the data at the end of the series to "hide the decline".

This is a graph of the grants provided to the CRU from 1991 to the present, in UK pounds. You can find the original figures here.

In the interests of openeness, this is what I did:

  1. I took each grant, and calculated how many months it ran for
  2. I then divided the total grant by the number of months, giving an average "income" from that grant per month over the life of the grant
  3. I then summed up the total income per month from all the grants and plotted it, fiddling with the trendline until it produced a hockey stick. I had to use a 6 order polynomial to get a hockey stick - if you use anything less than that, a hockey stick fails to appear
  4. I then pulled a "trick" to eliminate the data after August 2004, as the budget went into a sad decline



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


Friday, November 27, 2009

It's not the emails ...

The computer files released by the CRU hacker are MUCH more damaging than the emails, damaging though those are. The computer code and coding notes reveal that the CRU data do NOT back up the CRU claims. One excerpt below with much more soon to come, I would think

In addition to e-mail messages, the roughly 3,600 leaked documents posted on sites including and include computer code and a description of how an unfortunate programmer named "Harry" -- possibly the CRU's Ian "Harry" Harris -- was tasked with resuscitating and updating a key temperature database that proved to be problematic. Some excerpts from what appear to be his notes:
I am seriously worried that our flagship gridded data product is produced by Delaunay triangulation - apparently linear as well. As far as I can see, this renders the station counts totally meaningless. It also means that we cannot say exactly how the gridded data is arrived at from a statistical perspective - since we're using an off-the-shelf product that isn't documented sufficiently to say that. Why this wasn't coded up in Fortran I don't know - time pressures perhaps? Was too much effort expended on homogenisation, that there wasn't enough time to write a gridding procedure? Of course, it's too late for me to fix it too. Meh.

I am very sorry to report that the rest of the databases seem to be in nearly as poor a state as Australia was. There are hundreds if not thousands of pairs of dummy stations, one with no WMO and one with, usually overlapping and with the same station name and very similar coordinates. I know it could be old and new stations, but why such large overlaps if that's the case? Aarrggghhh! There truly is no end in sight... So, we can have a proper result, but only by including a load of garbage!

One thing that's unsettling is that many of the assigned WMo codes for Canadian stations do not return any hits with a web search. Usually the country's met office, or at least the Weather Underground, show up – but for these stations, nothing at all. Makes me wonder if these are long-discontinued, or were even invented somewhere other than Canada!

Knowing how long it takes to debug this suite - the experiment endeth here. The option (like all the anomdtb options) is totally undocumented so we'll never know what we lost. 22. Right, time to stop pussyfooting around the niceties of Tim's labyrinthine software suites - let's have a go at producing CRU TS 3.0! since failing to do that will be the definitive failure of the entire project.

Ulp! I am seriously close to giving up, again. The history of this is so complex that I can't get far enough into it before by head hurts and I have to stop. Each parameter has a tortuous history of manual and semi-automated interventions that I simply cannot just go back to early versions and run the update prog. I could be throwing away all kinds of corrections - to lat/lons, to WMOs (yes!), and more. So what the hell can I do about all these duplicate stations?...

As the leaked messages, and especially the HARRY_READ_ME.txt file, found their way around technical circles, two things happened: first, programmers unaffiliated with East Anglia started taking a close look at the quality of the CRU's code, and second, they began to feel sympathetic for anyone who had to spend three years (including working weekends) trying to make sense of code that appeared to be undocumented and buggy, while representing the core of CRU's climate model.

One programmer highlighted the error of relying on computer code that, if it generates an error message, continues as if nothing untoward ever occurred. Another debugged the code by pointing out why the output of a calculation that should always generate a positive number was incorrectly generating a negative one. A third concluded: "I feel for this guy. He's obviously spent years trying to get data from undocumented and completely messy sources."

Programmer-written comments inserted into CRU's Fortran code have drawn fire as well. The file says: "Apply a VERY ARTIFICAL correction for decline!!" and "APPLY ARTIFICIAL CORRECTION." Another,, says: "Low pass filtering at century and longer time scales never gets rid of the trend - so eventually I start to scale down the 120-yr low pass time series to mimic the effect of removing/adding longer time scales!"


Climategate: this is our Berlin Wall moment!

By James Delingpole

I’ve just had a great, very sympathetic interview about Climategate on LBC radio (London’s main commercial news and talk station) with Petrie Hosken. She told me she has been simply inundated with callers, all of them utterly unconvinced that human influence has made any significant on so-called “Global Warming”. She was desperate to get a few balancing calls from people who do believe in AGW but just couldn’t find any.

Can you imagine this happening a year ago? Or even a month ago? Until Climategate, we “Sceptics” were considered freaks – almost as bad as Holocaust deniers – beyond the pale of reasonable balanced discussion. Suddenly we’re the norm. Climategate has finally given us the chance to express openly what many of us secretly felt all along:

AGW is about raising taxes; increasing state control; about a few canny hucksters who’ve leapt on the bandwagon fleecing us rotten with their taxpayer subsidised windfarms and their carbon-trading; about the sour, anti-capitalist impulses of sandal-wearing vegans and lapsed Communists who loathe the idea of freedom and a functioning market economy.

We know it’s all a crock and we’re not going to take it. This is our Berlin Wall moment! They can’t stop us now!


Climategate: how they all squirmed

Among the many great amusements of the Climategate scandal are the myriad imaginative excuses being offered by the implicated scientists and their friends in the MSM as to why this isn’t a significant story. Here are some of the best. Most Unexpectedly Honourable Response: The Guardian’s eco-columnist George Monbiot. Say what you like about the Great Moonbat, the heliophobic Old Stoic is the ONLY member of the Climate-Fear-Promotion camp to have delivered a proper apology: "I apologise. I was too trusting of some of those who provided the evidence I championed. I would have been a better journalist if I had investigated their claims more closely."

Most brazen “doth protest too much” defence: Real Climate is the website established and run by a claque of scientist friends of Michael Mann – inventor of the discredited Hockey Stick curve. They are also closely associated with the crowd at the disgraced Climate Research Unit. They clearly feel no apology is necessary: "More interesting is what is not contained in the emails. There is no evidence of any worldwide conspiracy, no mention of George Soros nefariously funding climate research, no grand plan to ‘get rid of the MWP’, no admission that global warming is a hoax, no evidence of the falsifying of data, and no ‘marching orders’ from our socialist/communist/vegetarian overlords."

Well, boys, if you say so…. Least convincing “The Dog Ate My Homework”excuse: Professor Phil ‘It was a typing error’ Jones, director of the Climate Research Unit. Many of the potentially incriminating Climategate emails were the work of CRU’s director Phil Jones, including the infamous one where he discussed “trick” to “hide the decline” in global temperatures. But it’s OK. As he tells his sympathetic audience at the Guardian it was a perfectly honest mistake: “The use of the term ‘hiding the decline’ was in an email written in haste,”

Which does make you wonder how the sentence would have read had he just had a little longer to type it correctly. “Hiding the sausage?” “Heeding the decline?” “Playing a straight bat and keeping everything above board and scientifically scrupulous as we always do here at CRU”. Yes, that’ll be it – the last one. But you can see how easily the slip was made.

Most Disingenuous Cop-Out: Andrew Revkin of the New York Times. For years Andrew Revkin has been using the NYT – aka Pravda – to push the Al-Gore-approved AGW narrative so kindly embellished for him by likeminded scientist chums at parti pris institutions like CRU. But, like any decent reporter, Revkin is above all else a principled seeker-after-truth. That’s why he had absolutely no hesitation in furnishing NYT readers with every juicy detail of the biggest science scandal of the age. Or at least he would have done, had it not been for the following problem, expressed on his Dot Earth blog: "The documents appear to have been acquired illegally and contain all manner of private information and statements that were never intended for the public eye, so they won’t be posted here."

Damn right, Andrew. Don’t you be troubling your readers with any of that “damning revelations” nonsense. If only journalists had shown similar integrity at Watergate, why, good old Richard Nixon might have stayed in power long enough to make America truly great.

Most Haughtily Dismissive “Nothing To See Here” Apologia: George Marshall. Here is George Marshall putting us right in the Guardian’s Comment Is Free section: "Leaked email climate smear was a PR disaster for UEA. There was no evidence of conspiracy among climate scientists in the leaked emails – so why was the University of East Anglia’s response so pathetic?"

George who? Fortunately the great Bishop Hill has been doing some digging. According to the Guardian, “George Marshall is the founder and director of projects at the Climate Outreach and Information Network. He posts regularly to the blog”. But as Bishop Hill has discovered it’s rather more sinister than that. This COIN charity has been funded to the tune of £700,000 over two years by DEFRA (US readers note: the dismal branch of the UK government responsible for murdering livestock, destroying agriculture, persecuting farmers etc) in order to: “profoundly change the attitude of rank and file union members; generating visible collective reduction action, establishing a social norm for personal action, and creating a persuasive synergy and cross over between personal action, work-placed programmes such as ‘Greening the workplace’, and the emissions reduction targets of employers.”

So not so much a case of Comment Is Free then. More a case of Comment Is Very Expensive If You’re A Taxpayer.

Most Ludicrously Biased Environment Correspondent, Even By The Ludicrously Biased Standards of Environment Correspondents: the BBC’s Roger Harrabin. When Harrabin (rather reluctantly one imagines) broke the Climategate story to BBC listeners a few days ago, guess where he turned for authoritative independent analysis of its significance. Yes, that’s right: to those completely unbiased scientists at Real Climate (above). They confirmed Harrabin’s suspicions that this wasn’t – as that “small minority” of pesky sceptics had been saying – a searing indictment of the AGW-promotion lobby’s dubious practices, but just a routine criminal break-in.

Now that he’s had a bit more time to digest the story, though, Harrabin has realised that the story is much, MUCH more important than that. Yes: it has much to tell us, he concludes, about the issue of data protection: "But this affair will surely change things: From now, scientific teams and peer-review groups will be much more cautious about how they word e-mails. Researchers at CRU complain that no one will want to do collaborative work if their private e-mail conversations may later be revealed. But many commercial corporate organisations at risk of hacking have developed ways of communicating that don’t leave them open to sabotage."

Thanks Roger. It’s thanks to responsible, studiedly neutral reporting like that that we’ve all come so fervently to trust the BBC.


How to Forge a Consensus

The impression left by the Climategate emails is that the global warming game has been rigged from the start.

The climatologists at the center of last week's leaked-email and document scandal have taken the line that it is all much ado about nothing. Yes, the wording of the some of their messages was unfortunate, but they insist this in no way undermines the underlying science, which is as certain as ever.

"What they've done is search through stolen personal emails—confidential between colleagues who often speak in a language they understand and is often foreign to the outside world," Penn State's Michael Mann told Reuters Wednesday. Mr. Mann added that this has made "something innocent into something nefarious."

Phil Jones, Director of the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit, from which the emails were lifted, is singing from the same climate hymnal. "My colleagues and I accept that some of the published emails do not read well. I regret any upset or confusion caused as a result. Some were clearly written in the heat of the moment, others use colloquialisms frequently used between close colleagues," he said this week.

We don't doubt that Mr. Jones would have phrased his emails differently if he expected them to end up in the newspaper. His May 2008 email to Mr. Mann regarding the U.N.'s Fourth Assessment Report: "Mike, Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4?" does not "read well," it's true. (Mr. Mann has said he didn't delete any such emails.)

But the furor over these documents is not about tone, colloquialisms or even whether climatologists are nice people in private. The real issue is what the messages say about the way the much-ballyhooed scientific consensus on global warming was arrived at in the first place, and how even now a single view is being enforced. In short, the impression left by the correspondence among Messrs. Mann and Jones and others is that the climate-tracking game has been rigged from the start.

According to this privileged group, only those whose work has been published in select scientific journals, after having gone through the "peer-review" process, can be relied on to critique the science. And sure enough, any challenges that critics have lobbed at climatologists from outside this clique are routinely dismissed and disparaged.

This past September, Mr. Mann told a New York Times reporter in one of the leaked emails that: "Those such as [Stephen] McIntyre who operate almost entirely outside of this system are not to be trusted." Mr. McIntyre is a retired Canadian businessman who fact-checks the findings of climate scientists and often publishes the mistakes he finds—including some in Mr. Mann's work—on his Web site, He holds the rare distinction of having forced Mr. Mann to publish a correction to one of his more-famous papers.

As anonymous reviewers of choice for certain journals, Mr. Mann & Co. had considerable power to enforce the consensus, but it was not absolute, as they discovered in 2003. Mr. Mann noted to several colleagues in an email from March 2003, when the journal "Climate Research" published a paper not to Mr. Mann's liking, that "This was the danger of always criticising the skeptics for not publishing in the 'peer-reviewed literature'. Obviously, they found a solution to that—take over a journal!"

The scare quotes around "peer-reviewed literature," by the way, are Mr. Mann's. He went on in the email to suggest that the journal itself be blackballed: "Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal. We would also need to consider what we tell or request of our more reasonable colleagues who currently sit on the editorial board." In other words, keep dissent out of the respected journals. When that fails, re-define what constitutes a respected journal to exclude any that publish inconvenient views. It's easy to manufacture a scientific consensus when you get to decide what counts as science.

The response to this among the defenders of Mr. Mann and his circle has been that even if they did disparage doubters and exclude contrary points of view, theirs is still the best climate science we've got. The proof for this is circular. It's the best, we're told, because it's the most-published and most-cited—in that same peer-reviewed literature.

Even so, by rigging the rules, they've made it impossible to know how good it really is. And then, one is left to wonder why they felt the need to rig the game in the first place, if their science is as robust as they claim. If there's an innocent explanation for that, we'd love to hear it.


'Big Government, Big Business and Big Green don't give a s**t about 'the science'‏

Comment from Canada

If you're wondering how the robot-like march of the world's politicians towards Copenhagen can possibly continue in the face of the scientific scandal dubbed "climategate," it's because Big Government, Big Business and Big Green don't give a s*** about "the science." They never have.

What "climategate" suggests is many of the world's leading climate scientists didn't either. Apparently they stifled their own doubts about recent global cooling not explained by their computer models, manipulated data, plotted ways to avoid releasing it under freedom of information laws and attacked fellow scientists and scientific journals for publishing even peer-reviewed literature of which they did not approve.

Now they and their media shills -- who sneered that all who questioned their phony "consensus" were despicable "deniers," the moral equivalent of those who deny the Holocaust -- are the ones in denial about the enormity of the scandal enveloping them. So they desperately try to portray it as the routine "messy" business of science, lamely insisting, "nothing to see here folks, move along."

Before the Internet -- which has given ordinary people a way to fight back against the received wisdom of so-called "wise elites" -- they might have gotten away with it. But not now, as knowledgeable climate bloggers are advancing the story and forcing the co-opted mainstream media to cover a scandal most would rather ignore.

The problem, however, is those who hijacked science to predict a looming Armageddon unless we do exactly as they say, have already done their damage. The moment they convinced politicians the way to avert the End of Days was to put a price on emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the unholy alliance of Big Government, Big Business and Big Green was forged. Big Government wants more of your taxes. Big Business wants more of your income. Big Green wants you and your children to bow down to its agenda of enforced austerity.

What about saving the planet, you ask? This was never about saving the planet. This is about money and power. Your money. Their power. If it was about saving the planet, "cap-and-trade" (a.k.a. cap-and-tax) -- how Big Government, Big Business and Big Green ludicrously pretend we will "fight" global warming and "save the planet" -- would have been consigned to the dust bin of history because it doesn't work. We know it doesn't work because Europe's five-year-old cap-and-trade market -- the Emissions Trading Scheme -- has done nothing to make the world cooler.

All it's done is make hedge fund managers, speculators and Big Energy giddy with windfall profits, while making everyone else poorer by driving up the cost of energy, and thus of most goods and services, which need energy to be lighted, heated, cooled, grown, constructed, manufactured, produced and transported.

Readers often ask how they can fight back. First, forget about asking when the warmists will see reason. They won't. Instead, send a message to Prime Minister Stephen Harper by e-mail (, fax (1-613-941-6900) or call toll-free (1-866-599-4999) and ask to be put through to the Office of the Prime Minister. Do the same for Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff by e-mail, ( fax, (1-613-947-0310), or call-toll free (1-866-599-4999) and ask to be put through to the Liberal Leader's Office. Tell them you want no part of the madness in Copenhagen. Blow their phones off the hook.


Black Friday Payback: Vote with your Wallet -- Don't Buy Products from Companies That Support President Obama's Cap-and-Trade Policy

Today the Free Enterprise Project of the National Center for Public Policy Research calls on patriotic Americans to vote with their wallets starting on Black Friday and avoid buying products from companies that are working with President Obama and liberals in Congress to impose cap-and-trade policies.

"The only reason why cap-and-trade is on the national scene is because CEOs of major corporations are actively lobbying for the legislation. Every time we buy products from these companies our money is rewarding CEOs who are the enemies of liberty," said Tom Borelli, Ph.D., Director of the Free Enterprise Project. "Cap-and-trade legislation will cause higher energy prices, lower economic growth and increase unemployment. The consequence of this legislation will cause a severe reduction in our standard of living."

Companies such as Starbucks, Levi Strauss and Company and Nike are members of the Business for Innovative Climate & Energy Policy -- a group that supports aggressive federal laws to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and limits on construction of coal-fired power plants.

General Electric, BP, Shell and Johnson & Johnson are members of the United States Climate Action Partnership - a lobbying group comprised of corporations and environmental special interest groups that have been active in supporting cap-and-trade legislation.

Al Gore is on Apple's board of directors and the company recently canceled its membership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce because of differences over global warming policies.

"Avoiding that Starbucks cup of coffee and that BP gas station are easy choices we can make every day. Companies need to know there will be a price to pay for colluding with environmental activists and liberal politicians that seek to loot us of our liberty," said Borelli.

"We don't need to wait for elections to exercise our belief in limited government and individual liberty. Every day we have an opportunity to vote with our wallet and avoid products from companies that are advancing the left-wing agenda," said Borelli.

The following is a partial list of companies whose products should be avoided on Black Friday and going forward until they stop lobbying for cap-and-trade: Starbucks, Levi Strauss & Company, Nike, Apple, Timberland, Gap Inc., General Electric, BP, Shell and Johnson & Johnson.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here