I refer to the uproar about the hacked CRU site which I posted about a few hours ago.
For all the Sturm und Drang and Denier promises of “final coffin nails”, there doesn’t actually seem to be anything to the story. Sure, some impolitic and not nice things got said, and it’s embarrassing for some, but that seems to be about it.
We have all been waiting for the boot, or a shoe, or even a slipper to drop, and so far not even a sock … there’s nothing there. Nada, zilch, gar nichts, mei you. That’s it, there’s no story, go home … get a life.
But read on anyway.
I read the emails as someone who trained as a scientist, but has never had anything to do with climate as a research scientist. Thus I have a sense of the culture of the sciences, but without necessarily having any idea what specifics were being referred to with respect to particular papers and studies. Here is my take on it.
From what I have actually seen it is just “shop talk” taken out of context and nothing more. Very much as if a store clerk said they were going to go “hunt down some customers” and then someone else tried to claim that they were planning a murder. Have you ever said you were going to go “rustle up some grub?” you cattle thief you! Hope you didn’t put it in an email.
Let’s look at a bunch of the “damning” quotes along with climate change Denier Tony Hake’s commentary, and the emphasis he added. Caution, I get frankly rude about the willful convoluted misinterpretations that Hake attempts to impose. It’s dishonest, unethical, and lame.
Dear Phil and Gabi,
I’ve attached a cleaned-up and commented version of the matlab code that I wrote for doing the Mann and Jones (2003) composites. I did this knowing that Phil and I are likely to have to respond to more crap criticisms from the idiots in the near future, so best to clean up the code and provide to some of my close colleagues in case they want to test it, etc. Please feel free to use this code for your own internal purposes, but don’t pass it along where it may get into the hands of the wrong people.
Hake: From Michael E. Mann (witholding of information / data):
1) Computer code is generally proprietary to the institution, NOT information/data;
2) Deniers are notorious for scarfing up drafts etc and releasing them with the claim that they are the final product. Not wanting to release code that is still in testing and potentially flawed (hint “test”) in case some moron doesn’t understand what “in testing” means (the name Hake comes to mind for some reason) is perfectly sensible.
The Korttajarvi record was oriented in the reconstruction in the way that McIntyre said. I took a look at the original reference – the temperature proxy we looked at is x-ray density, which the author interprets to be inversely related to temperature. We had higher values as warmer in the reconstruction, so it looks to me like we got it wrong, unless we decided to reinterpret the record which I don’t remember. Darrell, does this sound right to you?
Hake: From Nick McKay (modifying data):
To “reinterpret” is NOT “modifying data”, it’s analysis (did Hake not even do 1st year college?) Repeating an analysis may be done for any number of reasons and is standard practice. As long as the final result accurately presents the results and describes what was done with them there is no issue whatsoever.
We probably need to say more about this. Land warming since 1980 has been twice the ocean warming — and skeptics might claim that this proves that urban warming is real and important.
Hake: From Tom Wigley (acknowleding the urban effect):
He is NOT acknowleding (sic) the urban effect. He is acknowledging the
fact that land warms twice as much as ocean, and since there are some morons who understand climate science so poorly they might claim it is an urban effect (the name Hake comes to mind for some reason), there is a need to explain it more fully.
I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.
Hake: From Phil Jones (modification of data to hide unwanted results):
1) “Nature trick” to me he is referring to a published technique, ie in the Journal Nature (hence capitalized) … or does Hake think they hide data and then publish the fact? Certainly “trick” is a common synonym for “(clever) technique” in the sciences, and everywhere else.
I do not know the literature well enough to suggest exactly which paper and what technique Jones may have been referring to, but maybe someone else does. Unless Hake is suggesting that maybe Jones meant using blades of grass and song birds for his Nature “trick.”
2) Hake wants us to believe that “hide the decline” refers to temperature … “last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards.” There was no decline in temperature from 1981 onwards, it was a period of steep warming. We know from other data sets! Why would Jones want to hide a non-existent decline?
3) Turns out the “adding in the real temps” refers to as opposed to the estimates. So what was Jones referring to? I don’t know, but there are many possible legitimate things such as various forms of statistical ‘noise.’
The answer is probably to be found when the full email exchange is reconstructed and/or the technique referred to is identified, but as read there is not necessarily anything nefarious here.
If a reconstructed exchange shows intent to falsify data, fine, but as it appears here it is no more telling than overhearing a co-worker say “I’m going to kill him” without knowing anything about the context. Could be a fussball match or a Tetris wager.
As expected: Mann said the “trick” Jones referred to was placing a chart of proxy temperature records, which ended in 1980, next to a line showing the temperature record collected by instruments from that time onward. “It’s hardly anything you would call a trick,” Mann said, adding that both charts were differentiated and clearly marked.
And as also expected: The “decline” refers to the “divergence problem”. This is where tree ring proxies diverge from modern instrumental temperature records after 1960. The divergence problem is discussed as early as 1998, suggesting a change in the sensitivity of tree growth to temperature in recent decades (Briffa 1998). It is also examined more recently in Wilmking 2008 which explores techniques in eliminating the divergence problem. So when you look at Phil Jone’s email in the context of the science discussed, it is not the schemings of a climate conspiracy but technical discussions of data handling techniques available in the peer reviewed literature.
The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.
Hake: From Kevin Trenberth (failure of computer models):
Or an informal discussion of possible explanations for the data. And exactly who is Hake trying to fool suggesting that this is a secret discussion about trying to hide something that was “published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008″?
Perhaps we’ll do a simple update to the Yamal post, e.g. linking Keith/s new page–Gavin t? As to the issues of robustness, particularly w.r.t. inclusion of the Yamal series, we actually emphasized that (including the Osborn and Briffa ’06 sensitivity test) in our original post! As we all know, this isn’t about truth at all, its about plausibly deniable accusations.
Hake: From Michael Mann (truth doesn’t matter):
What is unclear is who is Mann saying truth doesn’t matter to? I have made similar statements referring to Deniers like Inhofe, Morano, and Hake because thy lie constantly. Get us the rest of the email exchange and let’s see who Mann is referring to, and in what context.
Turns out the context (email 1256735067) is building a robust case for the data they are presenting. They have reason to believe that the putative accusers are not interested in truth, so they want as strong a case as possible … at least that is the most coherent reading to me.
The skeptics seem to be building up a head of steam here! … The IPCC comes in for a lot of stick. Leave it to you to delete as appropriate! Cheers Phil
PS I’m getting hassled by a couple of people to release the CRU station temperature data. Don’t any of you three tell anybody that the UK has a Freedom of Information Act !
Hake: From Phil Jones (witholding of data):
As given it certainly doesn’t sound good, but what went in the “…”?
! Maybe we can use this to our advantage to get the series updated ! Odd idea to update the proxies with satellite estimates of the lower troposphere rather than surface data !. Odder still that they don’t realise that Moberg et al used the Jones and Moberg updated series ! Francis Zwiers is till onside. He said that PC1s produce hockey sticks. He stressed that the late 20th century is the warmest of the millennium, but Regaldo didn’t bother with that. Also ignored Francis’ comment about all the other series looking similar to MBH.
Ahhh, conversation indicating that other studies were confirming their findings … no wonder Hake didn’t want to include that.
But now I get confused as to what is to be deleted, and why it might be appropriate (or not)? raw data? incriminating messages? = VERY BAD
Trial runs? rejected analyses? inappropriate tests? = Normal practice.
So which was it? Does anyone know? What I do know is that Phil is obviously unconcerned enough to say “Leave it to you to delete as appropriate!” That does not sound like someone sweating about incriminating evidence. Sounds more like “Yeah, whatever. Do what you want.”
Jones does seem to have gotten quite reluctant to release data. I can understand why given the Denier habit of misinterpreting and misrepresenting it, whether through ignorance, incompetence, or malice. Even so, it probably would have been more helpful if he had done so.
Regardless, it is not clear to me that he was obliged to, so while he as clearly being not nice it is not necessarily indicative of anything beyond not wanting to be hassled by “those idiots.”
Anyway, I wanted you guys to know that you’re free to use RC [RealClimate.org – A supposed neutral climate change website-Hake] Rein any way you think would be helpful. Gavin and I are going to be careful about what comments we screen through, and we’ll be very careful to answer any questions that come up to any extent we can. On the other hand, you might want to visit the thread and post replies yourself. We can hold comments up in the queue and contact you about whether or not you think they should be screened through or not, and if so, any comments you’d like us to include.
Hake: From Michael E. Mann (using a website to control the message, hide dissent):
My God Hake is so desperate it’s pathetic (and I love the inserted editorializing “A supposed neutral website” . No, it’s not neutral, it’s pro-science. They are quite clear about that.
1) Using a website to control message? control? why “control” Hake? Is that why you use a website? To control the message?
2) Holy shit, why didn’t the Deniers think of using the Web? Climatologists are the only ones who did this! and planning it was obviously conspiring! /s
3) Try reading it. They are not “hiding dissent”, they are talking about holding certain comments back until a response can be appended so that they are published together. Which is a hell of a lot more than most Denier sites do … they typically never post dissent, or just delete it.
4) And Mann controls the Web? Where is it written that all websites must post anything anyone posts? Personally I like a site to be clear what it’s policy is, but hey … at the end of the day it’s the owners site.
So how about we stop pretending that Mann doing exactly the same thing as every other person on the net is somehow suspicious?
If FOIA does ever get used by anyone, there is also IPR to consider as well. Data is covered by all the agreements we sign with people, so I will be hiding behind them.
Hake: From Phil Jones (witholding of data):
As per above, dumb, but strictly speaking not “wrong” as far as I know (still dumb though).
Mike, Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4? Keith will do likewise. He’s not in at the moment – minor family crisis. Can you also email Gene and get him to do the same? I don’t have his new email address. We will be getting Caspar to do likewise.
Hake: From Phil Jones (destroying of emails / evidence):
Yup, it’s definitely about destroying emails. Evidence of what? Where is the context? Was it actually evidence? collusion to mislead? porn? a drinking problem? evidence of what?
I’ll throw one out there. Time and again I have had conversations with different people about matters which they were under confidentiality agreements not to talk to someone like me about. In no case was it ever unethical, nor was the information used for any purpose but to help them with a situation.
It still could have gotten them fired though. I could see why they might send me an email like Jones’. I’ll bet many readers have been in a similar situation too. Does that prove the email is innocent? Hell no. It proves absolutely nothing, just like the quoted text.
I am going to stop now because I am bored of this exercise and Hake’s desperation. Anyone who wants to read the rest of Hake’s slanderous innuendo may do so here. There is also a link to download the edited archive if you want it.
Is there really nothing to this?
I think so. The edited bits we are getting can sound bad, but the actually say absolutely nothing. Stripped of context they could suggest all kinds of unethical behaiour … or nothing at all.
Nothing we have seen so far actually says anything at all, but the Deniers swear this topples climate science (as mentioned, it couldn’t no matter what they found).
Ok, admittedly this deeply incriminating picture was found:
Clearly someone is using an office server for personal files, undoubtedly a violation of CRU regulations. Also the rubber duckie may not be a creative commons licensed image.
So what are we being asked to believe?
1) Jones was so fiendishly clever that he went through all of the archives and meticulously removed everything that was definitely incriminating, while leaving all kinds of suggestive tidbits that would imply there was unethical, even illegal behaviour.
2) The 63 MB archive is just a teaser. The Deniers are holding back the real evidence for later. They have some damning stuff, but they don’t want to release it yet. Despite the fact that tens of thousands of people have downloaded it by now, they’re all holding the good stuff back.
3) There really is nothing here. Oh sure some nasty things got said, there’s evidence of being a little paranoid about releasing data, and it’s definitely embarrassing for some, but that seems to be about it. Actual incriminating anything? Nothing. And even though they have nothing except bluster, the Deniers went ahead with all kinds of histrionic accusations and slander.
Which of those three do you believe?
Open Msg to Phil Jones , get a team of lawyers! … You may be able to get very, very rich from the lawsuits you file because of this. And if you can sue a few of Deniers right off the face of the Earth, well that would be nice too. :)
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