Saturday, December 17, 2011

Climategate Bombshell: Did U.S. Gov't Help Hide Climate Data?

Are your tax dollars helping hide global warming data from the public? Internal emails leaked as part of “Climategate 2.0” indicate the answer may be "Yes."

The original Climategate emails -- correspondence stolen from servers at a research facility in the U.K. and released on the Internet in late 2009 -- shook up the field of climate research. Now a new batch posted in late November to a Russian server shows that scientists at the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit refused to share their U.S. government-funded data with anyone they thought would disagree with them.

Making that case in 2009, the then-head of the Research Unit, Dr. Phil Jones, told colleagues repeatedly that the U.S. Department of Energy was funding his data collection -- and that officials there agreed that he should not have to release the data.

“Work on the land station data has been funded by the U.S. Dept of Energy, and I have their agreement that the data needn’t be passed on. I got this [agreement] in 2007,” Jones wrote in a May 13, 2009, email to British officials, before listing reasons he did not want them to release data.

Two months later, Jones reiterated that sentiment to colleagues, saying that the data "has to be well hidden. I’ve discussed this with the main funder (U.S. Dept of Energy) in the past and they are happy about not releasing the original station data.”

A third email from Jones written in 2007 echoes the idea: "They are happy with me not passing on the station data," he wrote.

The emails have outraged climate-change skeptics who say they can't trust climate studies unless they see the raw data -- and how it has been adjusted. "In every endeavor of science, making your work replicable by others is a basic tenet of proof,” Anthony Watts, a meteorologist and climate change blogger, told “If other scientists cannot replicate your work, it brings your work into question.”

Is the Department of Energy to blame? The Climategate emails reveal correspondence only between Jones and his colleagues -- not between him and the DoE.

"What’s missing," Watts said, "is a ... directive from DoE that they should withhold station data gathered under their grant. The email may be there, but ... still under lock and key.”

Chris Horner, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, wants that key. He recently filed Freedom of Information acts with the DoE, requesting the emails they exchanged with Jones. "So far no administration department has bothered to respond, indicating they … believe the time bought with stonewalling might just get them off the hook for disclosure," Horner told "Not with us, it won't," he said.

The Department of Energy has until December 29 before it must legally respond to Horner's request. When contacted by, DoE spokesman Damien LaVera declined to comment.

However, climate change researcher and blogger Steve McIntyre forwarded an email exchange from 2005 in which climate scientist Warwick Hughes asked an official at a DOE lab if he could get the data that the government paid Jones to collect.

"I am asking you to provide me with the following data … DoE has been funding [the data] since the 1980s," Hughes noted in his request.

But Tom Boden, of the DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, told Hughes at the time that the DOE itself did not have the data, and that "you will need to contact Phil [Jones] directly. I spoke today with the DOE program manager who indicated Phil was not obligated under the conditions of past or present DOE proposal awards to provide these items."

McIntyre said he himself later had a similar exchange with the DOE, after which "I suggested that they amend this as a condition of further financing." "I was surprised that the new emails show them actively taking the opposite approach," he added.

Asked about the connection with the Department of Energy, Simon Dunford, a spokesman for Jones’ Climatic Research Unit, told that Jones has changed his tune since the emails were made public.

"Prof Jones has already accepted he should have been more open, and has since made all the station data referred to in these emails publicly available," Dunford told

Watts said that while much of the data itself is now available, the methods of adjusting it -- statistical modification meant to filter anomalies, "normalize" the data, and potentially highlight certain trends -- remain a secret.

"Much of climate science, in terms of the computer processing that goes on, remains a black box to the outside world. We see the data go in, and we see the data that come out as a finished product -- but we don’t know how they adjust it in between.”

Watts said he would like to be given the adjustment formulas to make his own determination. "The fact that they are trying to keep people from replicating their studies -- that's the issue," Watts noted. "Replication is the most important tenet of science."


Medieval Warm Period in Southern South America

Discussing: Neukom, R. et al. Multiproxy summer and winter surface air temperature field reconstructions for southern South America covering the past centuries. Climate Dynamics 37: 35-51.

In order to know how unusual, unprecedented or unnatural the global warming of the 20th century was, it is necessary to do what the eighteen authors of this important paper did, so as to be able, as they describe it, "to put the recent warming into a larger temporal and spatial context."

Working with 22 of the best climate proxies they could find that stretched far enough back in time, Neukom et al. (2011) reconstructed a mean austral summer (December-February) temperature history for the period AD 900-1995 for the terrestrial area of the planet located between 20°S and 55°S and between 30°W and 80°W -- a region they call Southern South America (SSA) -- noting that their results "represent the first seasonal sub-continental-scale climate field reconstructions of the Southern Hemisphere going so far back in time."

The international research team -- composed of scientists from Argentina, Chile, Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States -- write that their summer temperature reconstruction suggests that "a warm period extended in SSA from 900 (or even earlier) to the mid-fourteenth century," which they describe as being temporally located "towards the end of the Medieval Climate Anomaly as concluded from Northern Hemisphere temperature reconstructions." And as can be seen from the figure below, the warmest decade of this Medieval Warm Period was calculated by them to be AD 1079-1088, which as best as can be determined from their graph is about 0.17°C warmer than the peak warmth of the Current Warm Period.

Figure 1. Reconstructed mean summer SSA temperatures. Adapted from Neukom et al. (2011)

The findings of Neukom et al. go a long ways towards demonstrating that: (1) the Medieval Warm Period was a global phenomenon that was comprised of even warmer intervals than the warmest portion of the Current Warm Period, and that (2) the greater warmth of the Medieval Warm Period occurred when there was far less CO2 in the air than there is nowadays, which facts clearly demonstrate that the planet's current -- but not unprecedented -- degree of warmth need not be CO2-induced.


Himalayan Glaciers 'Safe From Warming’

Global warming will melt far less of the glaciers of Central Asia than of those in other mountain ranges, shielding the people who depend on them for water from the effects of climate change for several decades at least, scientists say.

The mountains in and around the Himalayas are so high, unlike in the Andes, the Alps or the Rockies, that even in summer, temperatures remain below freezing point and most of the glaciers don’t melt away at all, Richard Armstrong, a geographer at Colorado University’s National Snow and Ice Centre, tells IPS. "It doesn’t make much difference if it gets a little warmer up there because it’s still far below zero."

Glaciers are rivers of ice fed by snowfall at the top. As they flow downhill to warmer temperatures, they eventually melt, providing water in summer, when rainfall is usually lowest.

Since the end of the two-centuries-long Little Ice Age in 1850, the terminus point of most glaciers has been slowly retreating uphill. That retreat accelerated since gases like carbon dioxide emitted by coal burning and cars have been accumulating in the atmosphere, creating a greenhouse effect that has raised global temperatures on average by half a degree Celsius in the past 30 years.

How much water a glacier produces each year is mostly determined by how much snow falls on their upper part, not at what point they end. So far there is no evidence that less snow is falling on their higher parts or that they produce more or less melt water, according to Armstrong and other scientists.

In the first comprehensive study of a part of what is called High Asia, the scientists found that 96 percent of the water that flows down the mountains of Nepal into nine local river basins comes from snow and rain, and only 4 percent from summer glacier melt. Of that 4 percent, says Armstrong, the lead author, only a minuscule proportion comes from the melting away of the end points of the glaciers due to global warming.


Introducing: Don’t Sell Your Coat

Ask anyone who's lived through a real winter: It's not easy being cold. What follows is an excerpt from my new book Don’t Sell Your Coat, available here:

I want to examine the moral component of meteorological journalism. As I mentioned near the beginning of this book, I used to be an avid watcher of The Weather Channel. For a good couple of decades, the network was not only an important component for the fledgling cable industry, but an excellent source of information about current weather and climate, as well about atmospheric science itself. An interesting thing took place during the 1990s, though. Weather Channel viewership was found to spike during hurricanes, and not merely among viewers in areas that could be affected by the individual storm being discussed. A lot of folks evidently loved watching the progress of tropical storms, the stronger the better. Hurricanes became, over time, a revenue producer for the network. Experts were hired and given regular on-air time, and hurricane segments were given their own titles, their own graphics, and their own music.

People loved it. Much of this was quite innocuous, and arguably inevitable. Hurricanes are indeed interesting, and for a period of about 15 years it was widely believed, even by many scientists, that manmade global warming was ramping up the number, intensity, and duration of storms. In the last few years, however, links between recent atmospheric warming and hurricane activity, as we have seen, have been reconsidered.

In the meantime, though, the false link had lodged in the popular imagination, and The Weather Channel was more or less avidly exploiting it. The network’s presenters didn’t overtly come out and say that individual storms were generated by tailpipe and smokestack emissions, but they didn’t really have to at this point. The misconception was so pervasive and so widespread that merely trumpeting the “unusual” power of the storms themselves sufficed. In the meantime, the network slowly upped its on-air mentions of the phenomenon of global warming during the daily program cycle and eventually devoted a new segment to the phenomenon known as “Forecast Earth.”

Video alarmism regarding atmospheric phenomena is, perhaps, to be expected by a network like The Weather Channel. After all, it is hardly alone. The major cable news networks routinely send meteorologists and other reporters into the path of hurricanes, so that they can be seen amid the rising waters, gusting winds, and torrential rains.

On the other hand, the tranquil weather being experienced by most people around the globe at any given time goes ignored and unvideotaped. Again, one can understand why this would be so. In the newspaper business, and other journalistic domains as well, fires are of note. Non-fires aren’t. Fair enough. But something very insidious has taken place. The selling of weather disasters as entertainment has led to a state in which big business stands to gain handsomely from the perception that the planet has gone meteorologically mad. Specifically, General Electric stands to profit. When in 2008 NBC (owned by General Electric) purchased The Weather Channel, an interesting thing took place: the largest domestic producer of wind turbines became the owner of the best-positioned purveyor of images of destructive weather. The same year, NBC’s Today Show continued its longstanding practice of “showing” the great destruction to the ocean-atmosphere system caused by manmade global warming, with story after story: fires, floods, melting Kilimanjaro, you name it. The rest of NBC News, and the Weather Channel, meanwhile, keep the same pieces of videotape on nearly infinite repeat.

Summing up: Wind turbines do not deliver reliable electric power; the ocean-atmosphere system is not broken; scaring people needlessly isn’t nice – and it distracts them from the actual environmental problems surrounding them.


Desperate Climate Campaigner Stoops to Criminality to Smear Skeptics

John O'Sullivan

In a week when skeptics of the predicted man-made climate catastrophe are having their computers seized by police, a more patently criminal campaign of harassment is now underway in the blogosphere. But is an ironic twist in store?

It appears faked and defamatory web pages are currently being created and disseminated around the Internet by green crusader, Andrew Skolnick, a former Associate Editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) fired from his post for misconduct.

A disgruntled Mr. Skolnick has been hard at work hoping to salvage his shattered reputation and forlorn dreams of Big Green Global Government. Now reduced to scraping a meager income as a pet photographer, an embittered Andrew Skolnick seems to be pursuing a hate campaign against those conducting honest skeptical scientific inquiry into the man-made global warming narrative.

It seems Mr. Skolnick has been using his ample spare time to create anti-skeptic malicious counterfeit web pages for his nefarious use and distributing them to prominent participants on both sides of the ongoing climate debate. Mr. Skolnick has been exceedingly downcast since the British Columbia Law Society threw out his complaint against me in my capacity as consultant to prominent skeptic climatologist, Dr. Tim Ball. More on that in my article, Canada Bar Association Rules ‘No Misconduct’ by Tim Ball’s Legal Team.

The latest matter is subject to an internal investigation by the providers of the popular networking website for professionals, Linkedin, whose system and identity may have been misappropriated in the scam. As such we may yet see criminal charges, under New York’s Penal Code, against Mr.Skolnick (NY resident) pursued by this author (also possessing NY residence).

As background to this story, Mr. Skolnick has made repeated accusations that I have been criminally portraying myself as a licensed attorney. But I have never made any such claims and he's not offered any verifiable proof ot it. Pointedly, in the six months since “investigative journalist” Skolnick first made his wild assertions I've yet to hear from the police, let alone be indicted for false representation. That speaks volumes as does the dismissal of the formal complaint Skolnick made against me with the British Columbia Law Society.

At the root of it all is that the ex-JAMA bad boy is irked that I have successfully assisted Dr. Tim Ball in his ongoing defense against the vexatious libel suit of Dr. Michael Mann. Mann took exception when Ball opined that Mann belonged, “in the State Pen, not Penn. State” for allegedly faking his infamous ‘hokey stick’ graph. It's such a pivotal lawsuit in the entire global warming controversy and one I'm so convinced Dr. Ball is right about that I've provided his attorney with a legally binding undertaking and formally "bet the farm" on him beating Mann.

Undeterred by such moral conviction, our intrepid “investigator” wasn’t going to give up so easily in his smear campaign. This week Skolnick says he just happened to be browsing the Linkedin professional networking website when he stumbled upon a web page called “John O.” He claims that upon examining the page he found it was mine and used by me for the purposes of defaming him; all an utter pack of lies.

Now our petulant pet photographer’s dastardly plan is fast unraveling because the eagle eyes of others spotted critical flaws in what Skolnick claims is his genuine "screenshot" of this mythical “John O” Linkedin profile. I say ‘mythical’ because no such profile appears to have ever existed (except, perhaps, in the photo editing software on Mr. S’s computer!).

As can readily be seen from the images, the web pages appear to have dissimilar font sizes; Skolnick’s has additional text lines, altered line spacing, plus a darker toned background compared with my genuine Linkedin profile page.

For fuller affect Mr. Skolnick emailed this “evidence” to me and 29 other recipients prominent in the ongoing climate debate. Evidently, the ruse was to persuade the 29 to roundly condemn me and convey words of sympathy and comfort to the injured Mr. Skolnick.

But so damning for Skolnick is that Linkedin may soon confirm there is no such profile currently on their server because the bogus “John O” never did exist to begin with. So where did it originate? NY Police may soon have the answers if Linkedin can confirm grounds for “probable cause.” They can then execute a search warrant on Mr. Skolnick and seize his computer for forensic analysis. Now that’s a REAL reason for a police raid in these climate capers.


Impurities are contaminating the purity of our recyclables, and the trashiness of our trash!

I got quite a kick out of this story about the DC resident who was fined thousands of dollars for not recycling contaminated recyclables:
Dupont Circle resident Patricia White says she has been fined eight times for throwing homemade cat litter in her trash. The fines total $2,000. White says she shreds old newspaper and junk mail to use as cat litter. She believes she is helping the environment by reusing the paper and avoiding cat litter you will find in stores.

After being fined several times, White says she called the Department of Public Works inspector who issued the tickets. According to White, the inspector admitted to digging through trash looking for violations. White even appealed the violations in D.C. court. Judge Audrey Jenkins agreed with the inspector after White explained the situation. FOX 5 tried to reach Judge Jenkins, but her office has declined to comment.

Isn’t it nice to know they’re finally getting tough on real crime in the nation’s capital?

Recycling started as a way to separate things like cans and bottles from regular trash. In those days, it was easy. But thanks to predictable bureaucratic escalation (by people who want more power and more jobs for their class, natch), it has turned into an almost comical war against impure trash. “Commingling” has become the latest crime, and in the case of the woman who uses newspaper as cat litter, she could be cited for putting her shitty newspapers in either container! Ditto the criminal scumbags who dare to use old newspaper in bird or hamster cages! You may not recycle it, and you may not throw it away!

Garbage must be free of recyclables, and recyclables must be free of garbage.

Hear hear.

Did you know that if you put a cardboard pizza box in your recycle bin, you are guilty of contamination if there are remnants of grease on it? In many communities, the same applies to unwashed peanut butter jars, dog or cat food bags, paper napkins, frozen food containers, and milk cartons. And one of the worst offenders is Tyvek mailing envelopes, which are said to wreak havoc with the paper shredding machines.

As to which is a greater crime? Putting trash in the recyclables, or recyclables in the trash? Why not simplify the process, and simply declare that Everything Should Be Recycled and therefore Nothing Can Be Put In The Trash, and also that Everything Is Too impure To Be Recycled? (Like the direction we’re headed with regulations governing water runoff; it is too polluted to go into city storm drains, and too “clean” to be allowed in sewers.) If only Lewis Carroll could weigh in….

I love government Catch-22 situations.


Pesky! Free-range hens 'boost carbon 20%'

EGGS from free-range hens produce more greenhouse gas than caged birds, a report has found, prompting calls for carbon footprint labelling for all food products in Australia.

A report for the Australian Egg Industry Corporation, which represents most egg farmers, found that producing free-range eggs increased carbon output by 20 per cent.

The main reason was that free-range egg production used more feed per kilogram of eggs produced than caged egg production, the report, half-funded by the federal government, found.

It also found that Australian egg production had a lower carbon footprint than several European egg studies, mainly due to more efficient grain production in Australia.

The corporation's managing director, James Kellaway, used the findings to call for carbon footprint labelling to be included on food products. "The egg industry would be very happy to consider adding the environmental footprint or greenhouse gas emission status on egg labels," Mr Kellaway said.

"However, it would be meaningless without other food products having to do it, or providing a reference point so consumers can compare food types or food categories."

Mr Kellaway said the report also suggested that eggs had the lowest carbon footprint of all the main protein foods. "But the research also highlighted that there is still scope for refinements to current practices in egg production to allow further reductions in emissions," he said.

Paul Klymenko, the chief executive of Planet Ark, welcomed Mr Kellaway's calls.

Planet Ark and the Carbon Trust, UK, launched the Carbon Reduction Label in Australia after the labelling program was introduced in Britain in 2007 with just three products, chips, shampoo and smoothie drinks.

There are now hundreds of products in Britain with the label, including bread, milk, juice, cereal, sugar, potatoes, detergent, toilet and kitchen paper, light bulbs, clothing and appliances.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, 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


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