CLIMATEGATE EMAILS |
On November 19, 2009, a 61 megabyte file called "FOI2009.zip" started to circulate on the internet. This contained a directory of over 1000 emails sent to and from people at the Climate Research Unit, University of East Anglia, UK, plus supporting documents.
The emails contain an array of discussions including what appear to be concerted efforts to withhold data. Just as troubling is conversations that allude to potentially manipulating climate data to “hide the decline” of temperatures seen in the last decade.
San Francisco Examiner, 11/20/09
Some of the excerpts of emails within the archives: (edited for brevity):
From Michael E. Mann (witholding of information / data):
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.
From Nick McKay (modifying data):
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?
From Tom Wigley (acknowleding the urban effect):
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.
From Phil Jones (modification of data to hide unwanted results):
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.
From Kevin Trenberth (failure of computer models):
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.
From Michael Mann (truth doesn't matter):
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.
From Phil Jones (witholding of data):
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 !
From Michael E. Mann (using a website to control the message, hide dissent):
Anyway, I wanted you guys to know that you’re free to use RC [RealClimate.org - A supposed neutral climate change website] 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.
From Phil Jones (witholding of data):
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.
If the emails and documents are a forgery, it would be an extremely large one that would likely have taken months to setup. No doubt much more will be coming out about these emails and their possible authenticity. Stay tuned to the Climate Change Examiner for updates as more information becomes available.
Update, 10:30am – Since the original publication of this article, the story is gaining steam and now the BBC is reporting on it. They report that a spokesman for the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit (CRU), "We are aware that information from a server used for research information in one area of the university has been made available on public websites.”
Analysis of the emails and documents in the archives continues. We must stress that the authenticity has not been proven however there have been no denials of such by the climate center. Some of the more recent revelations include:
From Phil Jones (destroying of emails / evidence):
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.
From Tom Wigley (data modification):
Phil, Here are some speculations on correcting SSTs sea (sea surface temperatures) to partly explain the 1940s warming blip. If you look at the attached plot you will see that the land also shows the 1940s blip (as I’m sure you know). So, if we could reduce the ocean blip by, say, 0.15 degC, then this would be significant for the global mean — but we’d still have to explain the land blip.
I’ve chosen 0.15 here deliberately. This still leaves an ocean blip, and i think one needs to have some form of ocean blip to explain the land blip (via either some common forcing, or ocean forcing land, or vice versa, or all of these). When you look at other blips, the land blips are 1.5 to 2 times (roughly) the ocean blips — higher sensitivity plus thermal inertia effects. My 0.15 adjustment leaves things consistent with this, so you can see where I am coming from. Removing ENSO does not affect this. It would be good to remove at least part of the 1940s blip, but we are still left with “why the blip”. Let me go further. If you look at NH vs SH and the aerosol effect (qualitatively or with MAGICC) then with a reduced ocean blip we get continuous warming in the SH, and a cooling in the NH — just as one would expect with mainly NH aerosols. The other interesting thing is (as Foukal et al. note — from MAGICC) that the 1910-40 warming cannot be solar.
The Sun can get at most 10% of this with Wang et al solar, less with Foukal solar. So this may well be NADW, as Sarah and I noted in 1987 (and also Schlesinger later). A reduced SST blip in the 1940s makes the 1910-40 warming larger than the SH (which it currently is not) — but not really enough. So … why was the SH so cold around 1910? Another SST problem? (SH/NH data also attached.) This stuff is in a report I am writing for EPRI, so I’d appreciate any comments you (and Ben) might have. Tom.
From Ben Santer * (witholding data) :
We should be able to conduct our scientific research without constant fear of an "audit" by Steven McIntyre; without having to weigh every word we write in every email we send to our scientific colleagues. In my opinion, Steven McIntyre is the self-appointed Joe McCarthy of climate science. I am unwilling to submit to this McCarthy-style investigation of my scientific research. As you know, I have refused to send McIntyre the "derived" model data he requests, since all of the primary model data necessary to replicate our results are freely available to him. I will continue to refuse such data requests in the future. Nor will I provide McIntyre with computer programs, email correspondence, etc. I feel very strongly about these issues. We should not be coerced by the scientific equivalent of a playground bully. I will be consulting LLNL's Legal Affairs Office in order to determine how the DOE and LLNL should respond to any FOI requests that we receive from McIntyre.
From Tom Wigley (ousting of a skeptic from a professional organization):
Proving bad behavior here is very difficult. If you think that Saiers is in the greenhouse skeptics camp, then, if we can find documentary evidence of this, we could go through official AGU channels to get him ousted.
From Phil Jones (forging of dates):
Gene/Caspar, Good to see these two out. Wahl/Ammann doesn't appear to be in CC's online first, but comes up if you search. You likely know that McIntyre will check this one to make sure it hasn't changed since the IPCC close-off date July 2006! Hard copies of the WG1 report from CUP have arrived here today. Ammann/Wahl - try and change the Received date! Don't give those skeptics something to amuse themselves with.
From a document titled "jones-foiathoughts.doc" (witholding of data):
Options appear to be:
1. Send them the data
2. Send them a subset removing station data from some of the countries who made us pay in the normals papers of Hulme et al. (1990s) and also any number that David can remember. This should also omit some other countries like (Australia, NZ, Canada, Antarctica). Also could extract some of the sources that Anders added in (31-38 source codes in J&M 2003). Also should remove many of the early stations that we coded up in the 1980s.
3. Send them the raw data as is, by reconstructing it from GHCN. How could this be done? Replace all stations where the WMO ID agrees with what is in GHCN. This would be the raw data, but it would annoy them.
From Mick Kelly (modifying data to hide cooling):
Yeah, it wasn’t so much 1998 and all that that I was concerned about, used to dealing with that, but the possibility that we might be going through a longer – 10 year – period of relatively stable temperatures beyond what you might expect from La Nina etc. Speculation, but if I see this as a possibility then others might also. Anyway, I’ll maybe cut the last few points off the filtered curve before I give the talk again as that’s trending down as a result of the end effects and the recent cold-ish years.
* Quote was initially incorrectly attributed to Dr. Thomas Karl.
Update, 3:45pm MDT: In regards to the authenticity, not one report disputing the veracity of the emails has come out. Many sources have talked to some of the email authors and they have not disputed the messages.
RealClimate, a website on which many of the scientists in the emails actively write has posted a response and does not deny their authenticity.
According to TIGF, a New Zealand new magazine, “The director of Britain's leading Climate Research Unit, Phil Jones, has told Investigate magazine's TGIF Edition tonight that his organization has been hacked, and the data flying all over the internet appears to be genuine.”
A spokesman for the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit (CRU) told the BBC, “We are aware that information from a server used for research information in one area of the university has been made available on public websites.”
Wired reports that Kevin Trenberth from NCAR “acknowledged the e-mail is genuine.”
Nature reports quotes Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University as saying, "I'm not going to comment on the content of illegally obtained e-mails."
It would appear at this point that there is little doubt that the emails are authentic. If they were not, the principle players would certainly have said so by now.