Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Some more interesting documents showing dubious treatment of climate data by the chief scientists involved

Following is an email from Jill Farrell [jfarrell@judicialwatch.org] of Judicial Watch. Judicial Watch has been probing NASA over suspicions of climate fraud

I have attached 7 excerpts from the NASA documents that I found the most suspicious/interesting. Below are brief summaries of the pdf’s, and explanations of why I chose these excerpts. Again, I am not sure how long these emails have been posted on the NASA site (they never informed me they were posting them) so I don’t know how widespread the knowledge of this information is/don’t know how much credit we can take for their being posted. That being said, a lot of the quotes I have found that seem somewhat controversial do not make a lot of noise in a Google search…if nothing else might make for a good blog.

1.) The first pdf (NASA_Jones.pdf) is of correspondence between NASA officials and Phil Jones, the central figure in the climate-gate controversy.

In this email chain, Jones tells Hansen what he has been up to in regards to international weather stations, instructing Hansen “Don’t pass any of this on via Real Climate.” He then laments that the Chinese keep moving their weather stations to rural areas as cities develop, writing that “they are doing some reasonable work, but not seeing the big picture…”

In a follow-up email concerning the NASA temperature correction controversy, Jones notes that “I guess if you’d rounded to tenths none of the comments of the last few days would have happened. Our files work the numbers out in thousandths, but we round these for the web!”

Jones also says that in the UK he things has been able to persuade the Times not to cover the story, but hasn’t had the same luck with the Mail on Sunday.

2.) The second pdf (NASA_rounding.pdf) is an email chain concerning a new analysis of US temperature.

One NASA official, Gavin, asks “but did 1934 and 1998 swap places?” The other NASA official, Reto, responds “No – but I needed an extra digit to decide that question…Maybe, we’ll switch to a single digit in the US-table, then we have 3 years in the number 1 position.”

The same official says a few minutes later “Rounding to the nearest .1C was Phil Jones’ suggestion”

3.) The third pdf (NASA_mann.pdf) is of a NASA GISS scientist who is joking around with Michael Mann, who was another central figure in the climategate controversy. Notice that Mann refers to Senator Inhofe as “the chief disinformer himself” – at least I think he is referring to Inhofe.

4.) The fourth pdf (NASA_competition) is an exchange between two NASA officials wondering why a article by a global warming skeptic is a top viewed article of the month. I include this, because in the first paragraph, NASA official Gavin Schmidt writes “However, you have to ask about the competition…” – so…he is referring to climate skeptics as NASA’s “competition”???

5.) The fifth pdf (NASA_pundits) simply contains a quote by Hansen that I find suspicious. Hansen writes to another NASA scientist: “The correction that you made to stations post 2000 records (by setting the means for 1990 to be equal in the two records?) should be fine, and since we have made that available, we should use that. We don’t want still another result, which would really set the pundits happy”

6.) The sixth pdf (NASA_Revkin) is just an off the record comment by NYT writer Andrew Revkin. It probably isn’t a big deal, but I think it speaks to journalistic objectivity. Revkin writes “off record, I never doubted the answer, but had to ask. The spinup in blogosphere these days is instantaneous.”

7.) The last pdf (NASA_hansen) isn’t really all that controversial, but I found it an interesting exchange. Someone from the UK emails Hansen asking him why he had such a strong response to a blogger finding a flaw in NASA data – pointing out that such a strong response only sends the message that agenda is driving Hansen’s actions. In Hansen’s response, he writes “if we just report the science and do not make note of misinformation, it is not clear that the message gets out, and we are running out of time.” I included this email exchange instead of the numerious others that demonstrate Hansen’s agenda (which does not seem to be something he shies away from).

I don’t believe any of the pdf’s were included in the original batch of documents we received. Here is the link to NASA’s posting of the GISS documents:

Finally, I should note that throughout the documents there are small but noticeable redactions (naughty, naughty) that are not labeled.

Climategate: a scandal that won’t go away

From Macbeth to Watergate, it’s not the act that leads to nemesis, but the attempts to 'trammel up the consequence’ , writes Christopher Booker.

If you were faced with by far the biggest bill of your life, would you not want to be confident that there was a very good reason why you should pay it? That is why we need to know just how far we can trust the science behind the official view that the world is threatened with catastrophe by global warming – because the measures proposed by our politicians to avert this supposed disaster threaten to transform our way of life out of recognition and to land us with easily the biggest bill in history. (The Climate Change Act alone, says the Government, will cost us all £18 billion every year until 2050.)

Yet in recent months, as we know, the official science on which all this rests has taken quite a hammering. Confronted with all those scandals surrounding the “Climategate” emails and the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the political and academic establishments have responded with a series of inquiries and statements designed to show that the methods used to construct the official scientific case are wholly sound. But as was illustrated last week by two very different reports, these efforts to hold the line are themselves so demonstrably flawed that they are in danger of backfiring, leaving the science more questionable than ever.

The first report centred directly on the IPCC itself. When several of the more alarmist claims in its most recent 2007 report were revealed to be wrong and without any scientific foundation, the official response, not least from the IPCC’s chairman, Dr Rajendra Pachauri, was to claim that everything in its report was “peer-reviewed”, having been confirmed by independent experts.

But a new study put this claim to the test. A team of 40 researchers from 12 countries, led by a Canadian analyst Donna Laframboise, checked out every one of the 18,531 scientific sources cited in the mammoth 2007 report. Astonishingly, they found that nearly a third of them – 5,587 – were not peer-reviewed at all, but came from newspaper articles, student theses, even propaganda leaflets and press releases put out by green activists and lobby groups.

In its own way even more damaging, however, was the report from a team led by Lord Oxburgh on the scientific integrity of the East Anglia Climatic Research Unit (CRU). Two sets of evidence have been used more than anything else to drive the worldwide scare over global warming. One is a series of graphs showing how temperatures have suddenly shot up in recent decades to levels historically unprecedented. The other is the official record of global surface temperatures. For both of these, the CRU and the key group of top British and American scientists involved in those Climategate emails have been crucially responsible.

Lord Oxburgh himself is linked to various commercial interests which make money from climate change, from wind farms to carbon trading. None of the panel he worked with on his report were climate “sceptics”; and one, Dr Kerry Emanuel, is an outspoken advocate of man-made global warming. Even so, it was surprising to see just how superficial their inquiry turned out to be, based on two brief visits to the CRU and on reading 11 scientific papers produced by the research unit in the past 24 years, chosen in consultation with the Royal Society (which is itself fanatical in promotion of warming orthodoxy).

The crown jewels of the IPCC’s case that the world faces catastrophic warming have been all those graphs based on tree rings which purport to show that temperatures have lately been soaring to levels never known before in history – thus eradicating all the evidence that the world was hotter than today during the Medieval Warm Period, long before any rise in CO2 levels. Best known of these graphs, of course, was Michael Mann’s “hockey stick”, comprehensively discredited by the expert Canadian statistician Stephen McIntyre and Professor Ross McKitrick. But the IPCC was able to defend its case with the aid of another set of “hockey sticks”, based on different tree rings, produced by Mann’s close allies at the CRU.

The most widely quoted of the Climategate emails was that from the CRU’s director, Philip Jones, saying that he had used “Mike’s Nature trick” to “hide the decline”. If there was anything in the CRU’s record which a proper inquiry should have addressed it was the story behind this email, because what it highlighted was the device used by the CRU to get round the fact that its tree-ring data hopelessly failed to show the result the warmist establishment wanted. When their Siberian tree rings showed temperatures in the late 20th century sharply dropping rather than rising, the “trick” used by Prof Jones and his colleague Dr Keith Briffa, copied from Mike Mann’s own “hockey stick”, was simply to delete the downward curve shown by the tree rings, replacing them with late 20th-century temperature data to show the dramatic warming they wanted.

The significance of this sleight of hand can scarcely be exaggerated. Why, in using this misleading graph, did the IPCC not explain the trick that had been played by its leading scientists? If tree rings were so inadequate in reflecting 20th-century temperatures, why should they be relied on to reflect temperatures in earlier centuries? Why, when fresh Siberian tree ring data came to light, making a nonsense of the CRU’s earlier temperature reconstructions, did the CRU simply ignore the new data?

Anyone who has followed the meticulous analysis of this curious story by Steve McIntyre on his Climate Audit website might well conclude that we are looking here at a complete travesty of proper scientific procedure, matched only by the bizarre methods used by Mann himself to construct his original hockey stick. Yet these are the men, Mann, Jones and Briffa, who acted as the “lead authors” of the key chapters of the IPCC’s 2001 and 2007 reports.

They quite shamelessly promoted the rewriting of history produced by themselves and a small group of colleagues – the so-called Hockey Team – which the IPCC in turn used as its main evidence to convince the politicians that the world faces unprecedented warming.

Yet scarcely a hint of this hugely important story is contained in the Oxburgh report, which simply glosses it over, hoping to appease critics by throwing in a few vaguely critical comments about how Jones and his team were a trifle “disorganised” in archiving their data. It ignores the utterly damning critiques of the CRU’s methodology produced by McIntyre and McKitrick. It does not even begin to question the way the CRU has compiled its global temperature record, relied on by the IPCC as the most authoritative of all the official data sources for surface temperatures.

Yet this in turn has given rise to all sorts of controversies, not least when Prof Jones last year admitted that much of his data had been “lost” (following his repeated refusals of applications to see it by McIntyre and others). More damaging still was the charge by senior Russian scientists that, in compiling its global record, CRU had cherry-picked the data supplied from Russia, suppressing that from most of the country while retaining the data from the vicinity of cities which, thanks to the “urban heat island” effect, showed a warming trend. So even the accuracy of CRU’s temperature record has been called seriously in doubt, although one would never have guessed it from Oxburgh.

As is reflected in so many political tragedies, from Macbeth to Watergate, it is often not the original dark act itself which leads to nemesis but the later attempts to “trammel up the consequence”. Nothing will do more to reinforce suspicion of the CRU’s conduct than the failure, first by those MPs, and now by the team led by Lord Oxburgh, to address properly the way in which it appears to have abused the principles of true science – a scandal which should be of concern not just to us here in Britain, who paid for it, but across the world.


Another needless and expensive panic from the British Met office

Remind you of anything? There have now been many test flights through the "danger" zone that were unscathed by volcanic output so we once again have models that don't reflect reality

The Met Office has been blamed for triggering the “unnecessary” six-day closure of British airspace which has cost airlines, passengers and the economy more than £1.5 billion.

The government agency was accused of using a scientific model based on “probability” rather than fact to forecast the spread of the volcanic ash cloud that made Europe a no-fly zone and ruined the plans of more than 2.5 million travellers in and out of Britain.

A senior European official said there was no clear scientific evidence behind the model, which air traffic control services used to justify the unprecedented shutdown.

Eleven major British airlines joined forces last night to publicly criticise Nats, the air traffic control centre, over the way it interpreted the Met Office’s “very limited empirical data”.

Legal experts suggested passengers and airlines may be able to sue the Government for more than £1?billion in compensation. Flights in and out of Britain are scheduled to resume today for the first time in almost a week after Lord Adonis, the Transport Secretary, said there had been a “dramatic decrease” in the volcano’s activity.

Airports in Scotland and the north of England will be the first to open, followed by those in the Midlands and then in the south of England by 6pm.

However, it has been estimated that the travel backlog could take up to a fortnight to clear.

British airspace was shut for the first time in history last Thursday amid fears that the volcanic ash from Iceland could get sucked into jet engines and cause them to malfunction.

The announcement last night that restrictions would be eased was accompanied by arguments over whether the shutdown had been an over-reaction.

Much of the blame was directed at the Met Office’s Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC). It provided the initial warning, which triggered the European-wide ban via Eurocontrol, the air traffic control centre in Brussels.

Matthias Ruete, the European Commission’s director-general of transport, said air traffic authorities should not have relied on a single source of scientific evidence before imposing the widespread ban. He suggested the no-fly zone should have been restricted to a 20 to 30-mile limit around the volcano. “The science behind the model we are running at the moment is based on certain assumptions where we do not have clear scientific evidence,” he said.

“We don’t even know what density the cloud should be in order to affect jet engines. We have a model that runs on mathematical projections.

It is probability rather than actual things happening.”

Mr Ruete said the commission had to intervene to allow airlines to make test flights in order to check the VAAC data “to help us move on from the mathematical model”.

Of the 40 test flights across Europe, including a British Airways flight on Sunday, none found any evidence of ash in jet engines, windows or lubrication systems.

In a joint letter to Lord Adonis, the 11 British airlines said the official response to the volcanic eruption presented “a clear case for government compensation”.

Jeff Zindani, of Forum Law solicitors, said: “Legal analysis suggests that there may be a raft of class actions brought by airlines and companies that are dependent on air travel to move their goods.

“This may well open the way for wider litigation against the Met Office and other government agencies who are found to have failed in their duty of care. The damages and legal costs could break the £1billion mark.”

Andy Harrison, the chief executive of easyJet, said the cost could run into “hundreds of millions of pounds”.

The International Air Transport Association (Iata), the airline industry trade body, also criticised the decision to close airspace based on theoretical modelling of the ash cloud.

“These decisions have been taken without adequately consulting the airlines. This is not an acceptable system particularly when the consequences for safety and the economy are so large,” said Giovanni Bisignani, the organisation’s director general.

He said the £1?billion cost to the aviation industry could be attributed to lost revenue, repatriation, refunds and the cost of supporting stranded passengers. The cost to the wider British economy has been estimated at £500? million.

British Airways announced it planned to begin flying from London from 4pm after Willie Walsh, its chief executive, said the blanket ban had been “unnecessary”. Virgin Atlantic said it hoped to operate flights from London from 7pm.

Mr Walsh was one of the 11 signatories of the letter to Lord Adonis. It said: “We remain concerned that the approach taken by Nats has been too sweeping.” Warning of “long-term damage” to the industry, it added: “We believe that the nature of this natural disaster presents a clear case for government compensation. The closure of airspace is an uninsurable event and thus not a risk that airlines can reasonably be expected to bear.”

David Greene, the head of litigation at Edwin Coe, said legal action was more likely to be successful if taken by a large group of tourists and companies in a class action.


The EPA Monster

By Alan Caruba

Among the legacies of Richard M. Nixon, famed for the Watergate scandal that forced his resignation, it should be noted that he created the Environmental Protection Agency. There was no vote in Congress. He did it with an executive order. Today the EPA has an annual budget of $9 billion and some 18,000 employees.

Not satisfied with the authorized powers given it to ensure clean air and water, the EPA has never ceased to seek expanded powers, culminating soon with a battle over whether it can regulate carbon dioxide (CO2) as a “pollutant.” Labeled a “greenhouse gas”, in the eyes of the EPA it is an “endangerment” to the health of humanity in general and Americans in particular.

CO2 is as vital to all life on planet Earth in the same way as oxygen. It is what plants consume in order to grow, much as oxygen is essential for life among living creatures that, in turn, are dependent on vegetation, crops, for their sustenance. It’s a neat little cycle that has existed since life emerged on Earth.

If the EPA gains the power to regulate CO2, it will have the power to regulate the activities of every individual and the entire economy of the nation. Traditional sources of energy, with the exception of nuclear and hydroelectric power, involve the emission of CO2. A modern society cannot function without CO2 emissions, but they have nothing to do with global warming because there is NO global warming.

CO2 represents a mere 386 parts per million of the Earth’s atmosphere. Humans are responsible for 3% of its generation; Mother Nature produces the other 97%. And the EPA wants to regulate ALL of it!

Actual science is of no importance to the EPA. If the EPA really cared about human life, it would not have a long history of banning beneficial chemicals such as DDT and other pesticides that protect humans against a laundry list of transmittable diseases like malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever, et cetera.

The EPA is actually seeking to limit the amount of deicing fluid used to protect commercial and other aircraft on the grounds that it might get into nearby streams and rivers. Never mind the lives of the passengers and crews on planes that would be brought down as the result of such ice. This defies common sense.

In truth, the EPA threatens the economy and our lives in so many ways it is difficult to know where to point first. To my mind, the way it infiltrates the nation’s education system to fill the minds of children with visions of a planet threatened with “warming” or that every species is “endangered” or that all the waters and air are “polluted” is criminal.

The EPA is currently accepting grant applications “to help manage the National Environmental Education Training Program over the next ten years.” Costing $10 million, it “will provide teachers and other education professionals with resources and support to enable them to teach about environmental issues more effectively.” The EPA was not created to go into our nation’s schools in this manner. This is propaganda. This is indoctrination.

Let us grant that, when it stuck to its original purpose, it did make the air cleaner and some of the nation’s waters. Now, however, the EPA is a massive machine designed to destroy the nation’s economy and impede growth and development in every way possible.

The primary tool for this are lies concerning any element of the environment it wants to control and, as a result, retard the economy. As but one example, there are the new “smog” standards the EPA recently announced. It has reduced them to a level of 60 to 70 parts per billion in the air. It released a list of counties it says are in violation of the new limits.

The cost of achieving the lower standard is estimated from $19 billion to $90 billion. If you took one tennis ball from an olympic-sized pool filled with them, you would achieve the same result. It’s not merely absurd; it is yet another attack on every single business and industry operating in those counties.

The same idiocy applies to setting mileage rules or requiring that ethanol be added to gasoline. To achieve the mileage rules, the weight of automobiles must be reduced. People inside those thinner, lighter cars will die from an accident at a rate in excess of larger vehicles. As for ethanol, it requires more energy to produce than it saves. It drives up the cost of all the food we consume. It also reduces the mileage from every gallon of gasoline while emitting more CO2!

The EPA is currently at war with the coal industry, responsible for providing the source of 50% of all the electricity generated in the United States of America. A recent “endangerment” finding against all surface coal mining in the Appalachian States of Virginia, Kentucky, and West Virginia is based on the protection of the Mayfly population, an insect that typically lives for one day!

The list of EPA abuses of common sense and known science could fill a shelf of books in much the same way its ever-expanding regulations do, but the worst of it is yet to come if the Cap-and-Trade Act is passed.

Despite the fact that CO2 has nothing to do with the non-existent “global warming” and therefore does not need to be regulated for any reason, the enactment of the bill will literally prevent a homeowner from selling their home without permission from an EPA administrator. The cost of buying or selling a home will soar.

The Environmental Protection Agency needs to be reduced in size and authority to its original intent. Better still, eliminate it entirely. It is a monster.


Wind energy decision carries political impact

Obama mulls turbine plan off Cape Cod

With a tight-lipped President Obama facing both a political dilemma and a critical deadline, the nation's offshore wind energy industry is about to find out which way the breezes are blowing.

After nine years in the government regulatory mill, backers of the Cape Wind project off the shores of Massachusetts' Cape Cod will learn by April 30 whether Mr. Obama and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will let them proceed, with potentially far-reaching consequences for the industry if the project is quashed.

Mark Rodgers, spokesman for Cape Wind developer Energy Management Inc. of Boston, said that the project is being closely watched because it is the first of its kind in the United States, with a number of other projects being eyed along the Atlantic coastline. Given the length of the regulatory approval process, it will likely be the only one built during the Obama administration. "If it doesn't get approved, it will have a big impact," said Mr. Rodgers.

Beyond being a setback for the industry, Mr. Rodgers said a rejection by the administration will be "a real market signal." "Stakeholder investors will really be looking to see what's happening," he said.

Since taking office 16 months ago, Mr. Obama has made renewable energy a top priority - vowing to double the country's output in three years, supporting wind turbines along the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf, and putting more than $800 million in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for such clean-energy initiatives as solar and geothermal power.

In a move that pleased many conservative critics, the president last month gave his support to expanded offshore exploration and drilling for oil and natural gas. But Mr. Obama has yet to tip his hand on the pending Cape Wind project that would put 130 turbines in the Nantucket Sound within sight of the Cape Cod shoreline.

Cape Wind poses a particular dilemma for the administration. It was bitterly opposed by Mr. Obama's close friend and political mentor, the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, even though backers say the completed project could supply well more than half of the cape's power needs.

White House spokesman Ben LaBolt declined Thursday to discuss Cape Wind's place in the administration's renewable energy agenda, and referred questions to the office of Mr. Salazar, who had direct responsibility for approving the Cape Wind application.


Warmist alarmed that the media now sometimes give space to skeptical comments on global warming

The poor soul! His props are being taken away from under him. Just an excerpt below but take it from me that there is not a single scientific fact mentioned in the article. It is all "ad hominem" stuff

Advocates across the political spectrum habitually cite polls to "prove" that the public holds a certain view of a given issue, even when the truth is more complicated or even contradictory. This appears to be happening with the climate issue. As the Obama administration and Congressional leaders prepare to introduce new climate legislation, mainstream media have given fresh prominence to deniers' claims of fraud and rampant error on the part of climate scientists. Meanwhile, surveys by Gallup and other leading pollsters are being spun as evidence that the deniers are gaining ground among the public, which is supposedly divided over whether to take action against rising temperatures and the droughts, storms and sea-level rise they trigger.

A closer look, however, suggests that public opinion has changed very little. What has changed is the message coming from the media, key parts of which have reverted to their longstanding posture of scientific illiteracy and de facto complicity with the deniers' disinformation campaign.

This abuse of polling data has a long pedigree. As a young reporter in the 1980s researching the book On Bended Knee, I watched the Reagan White House use polls to make fools of the mainstream media and the Democratic Party. Reagan's advisers were forever citing polls supposedly demonstrating that the Gipper was wildly popular and thus that anyone who criticized him was taking a political risk. The truth was rather less flattering. Yes, Reagan was personally popular--most Americans thought he was a nice guy--but that had been true of almost all presidents.....

It will not be won if the deniers' narrative--that climate science is dubious and Americans don't really want action--is allowed to stand. Now is the time for journalists to get the story right and for ordinary citizens to speak out, loudly, to stiffen lawmakers' spines. Says Aurillio, "We need sixty senators to be convinced by the public, not the polluters, to do what's necessary to solve this problem."



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 blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


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