A year ago today, an unidentified hacker published a zipped folder in several locations online. In this folder were approximately one thousand emails and three thousand files which had been stolen from the backup server of the Climatic Research Unit in the UK, a top centre for global temperature analysis and climate change studies. As links to the folder were passed around on blogs and online communities, a small group of people sorted through the emails, picking out a handful of phrases that could be seen as controversial, and developing a narrative which they pushed to the media with all their combined strength. “A lot is happening behind the scenes,” one blog administrator wrote. “It is not being ignored. Much is being coordinated among major players and the media. Thank you very much. You will notice the beginnings of activity on other sites now. Here soon to follow.”
This was not the work of a computer-savvy teenager that liked to hack security systems for fun. Whoever the thief was, they knew what they were looking for. They knew how valuable the emails could be in the hands of the climate change denial movement.
Skepticism is a worthy quality in science, but denial is not. A skeptic will only accept a claim given sufficient evidence, but a denier will cling to their beliefs regardless of evidence. They will relentlessly attack arguments that contradict their cause, using talking points that are full of misconceptions and well-known to be false, while blindly accepting any argument that seems to support their point of view. A skeptic is willing to change their mind. A denier is not.
There are many examples of denial in our society, but perhaps the most powerful and pervasive is climate change denial. We’ve been hearing the movement’s arguments for years, ranging from illogic (“climate changed naturally in the past, so it must be natural now“) to misrepresentation (“global warming stopped in 1998“) to flat-out lies (“volcanoes emit more carbon dioxide than humans“). Of course, climate scientists thought of these objections and ruled them out long before you and I even knew what global warming was, so in recent years, the arguments of deniers were beginning to reach a dead end. The Copenhagen climate summit was approaching, and the public was beginning to understand the basic science of human-caused climate change, even realize that the vast majority of the scientific community was concerned about it. A new strategy for denial and delay was needed – ideally, for the public to lose trust in researchers. Hence, the hack at CRU, and the beginning of a disturbing new campaign to smear the reputations of climate scientists.
The contents of the emails were spun in a brilliant exercise of selective quotation. Out of context, phrases can be twisted to mean any number of things – especially if they were written as private correspondence with colleagues, rather than with public communication in mind. Think about all the emails you have sent in the past decade. Chances are, if someone tried hard enough, they could make a few sentences you had written sound like evidence of malpractice, regardless of your real actions or intentions.
Consequently, a mathematical “trick” (clever calculation) to efficiently analyse data was reframed as a conspiracy to “trick” (deceive) the public into believing the world was warming. Researchers discussed how to statistically isolate and “hide the decline” in problematic tree ring data that was no longer measuring what it used to, but this quote was immediately twisted to claim that the decline was in global temperatures: the world is cooling and scientists are hiding it from us!
Other accusations were based not on selective misquotation but on a misunderstanding of the way science works. When the researchers discussed what they felt were substandard papers that should not be published, many champions of the stolen emails shouted accusations that scientists were censoring their critics, as if all studies, no matter how weak their arguments, had a fundamental right to be published. Another email, in which a researcher privately expressed a desire to punch a notorious climate change denier, was twisted into an accusation that the scientists threatened people who disagreed with them. How was it a threat if the action was never intended to materialize, and if the supposed target was never aware of it?
These serious and potentially damaging allegations, which, upon closer examination, are nothing more than grasping at straws, were not carefully examined and evaluated by journalists – they were repeated. Early media reports bordered on the hysterical. With headlines such as “The final nail in the coffin of anthropogenic global warming” and “The worst scientific scandal of our generation“, libelous claims and wild extrapolations were published mere days after the emails were distributed. How could journalists have possibly had time to carefully examine the contents of one thousand emails? It seems much more likely that they took the short-cut of repeating the narrative of the deniers without assessing its accuracy.
Even if, for the sake of argument, all science conducted by the CRU was fraudulent, our understanding of global warming would not change. The CRU runs a global temperature dataset, but so do at least six other universities and government agencies around the world, and their independent conclusions are virtually identical. The evidence for human-caused climate change is not a house of cards that will collapse as soon as one piece is taken away. It’s more like a mountain: scrape a couple of pebbles off the top, but the mountain is still there. For respected newspapers and media outlets to ignore the many independent lines of evidence for this phenomenon in favour of a more interesting and controversial story was blatantly irresponsible, and almost no retractions or apologies have been published since.
The worldwide media attention to this so-called scandal had a profound personal impact on the scientists involved. Many of them received death threats and hate mail for weeks on end. Dr. Phil Jones, the director of CRU, was nearly driven to suicide. Another scientist, who wishes to remain anonymous, had a dead animal dumped on his doorstep and now travels with bodyguards. Perhaps the most wide-reaching impact of the issue was the realization that private correspondence was no longer a safe environment. This fear only intensified when the top climate modelling centre in Canada was broken into, in an obvious attempt to find more material that could be used to smear the reputations of climate scientists. For an occupation that relies heavily on email for cross-national collaboration on datasets and studies, the pressure to write in a way that cannot be taken out of context – a near-impossible task – amounts to a stifling of science.
Before long, the investigations into the contents of the stolen emails were completed, and one by one, they came back clear. Six independent investigations reached basically the same conclusion: despite some reasonable concerns about data archival and sharing at CRU, the scientists had shown integrity and honesty. No science had been falsified, manipulated, exaggerated, or fudged. Despite all the media hullabaloo, “climategate” hadn’t actually changed anything.
Sadly, by the time the investigations were complete, the media hullabaloo had died down to a trickle. Climategate was old news, and although most newspapers published stories on the exonerations, they were generally brief, buried deep in the paper, and filled with quotes from PR spokespeople that insisted the investigations were “whitewashed”. In fact, Scott Mandia, a meteorology professor, found that media outlets devoted five to eleven times more stories to the accusations against the scientists than they devoted to the resulting exonerations of the scientists.
Six investigations weren’t enough, though, for some stubborn American politicians who couldn’t let go of the article of faith that Climategate was proof of a vast academic conspiracy. Senator James Inhofe planned a McCarthy-like criminal prosecution of seventeen researchers, most of whom had done nothing more than occasionally correspond with the CRU scientists. The Attorney General of Virginia, Ken Cuccinelli, repeatedly filed requests to investigate Dr. Michael Mann, a prominent paleoclimatic researcher, for fraud, simply because a twelve-year-old paper by Mann had some statistical weaknesses. Ironically, the Republican Party, which prides itself on fiscal responsibility and lower government spending, continues to advocate wasting massive sums of money conducting inquiries which have already been completed multiple times.
Where are the politicians condemning the limited resources spent on the as yet inconclusive investigations into who stole these emails, and why? Who outside the scientific community is demanding apologies from the hundreds of media outlets that spread libelous accusations without evidence? Why has the ongoing smear campaign against researchers studying what is arguably the most pressing issue of our time gone largely unnoticed, and been aided by complacent media coverage?
Fraud is a criminal charge, and should be treated as such. Climate scientists, just like anyone else, have the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. They shouldn’t have to endure this endless harassment of being publicly labelled as frauds without evidence. However, the injustice doesn’t end there. This hate campaign is a dangerous distraction from the consequences of global climate change, a problem that becomes more difficult to solve with every year we delay. The potential consequences are much more severe, and the time we have left to successfully address it is much shorter, than the vast majority of the public realizes. Unfortunately, powerful forces are at work to keep it that way. This little tussle about the integrity of a few researchers could have consequences millennia from now – if we let it.
Update: Many other climate bloggers are doing Climategate anniversary pieces. Two great ones I read today were Bart Verheggen’s article and the transcript of John Cook’s radio broadcast. Be sure to check them out!
Outstanding article. Not only are you a first-rate writer, you are thoroughly aware of the facts of the case. If only mainstream journalists had such skill!
Keep up the good work. We need you, and others like you, now more than ever.
Great summary of what happened, thanks. I hope lots of people read this!
Excellent assessment Kate, but my question is, why? Why are there so many vociferous deniers?
It is difficult for me to accept that typical deniers are so naive or so ignorant that they would fully believe what they are saying. A good percentage of deniers are educated and intelligent people; they understand the science and the implications of the scientific findings. But for various reasons, they don’t like the messages. Why?
The bigger challenge may be to understand why so many intelligent people would be so willing to ignore the warnings and sacrifice their offspring. What percentage of us fall into that category? More than we may be willing to admit, I’m afraid.
We are all deniers; well, in terms of a popular number, at least 99.97% of us are deniers. A significant percentage of deniers are the vociferous kind, those we’ve come to despise, and the rest of us are the clandestine kind, those who silently ignore all the scientists’ warnings but loudly voice our unmitigated approval.
So who is actually being more truthful? I would say that the vociferous deniers are. At least they are doing what they profess. The rest of us are Talking the Talk, but not Walking the Walk, as the old cliche goes.
The number of cars and small trucks on the road will soon reach one billion. The road construction business is booming. World production is becoming less and less localized each year, increasing transportation energy costs. Are the world’s freeways becoming less congested? No. More lanes are being added to increase stau-lot capacity. Using mass transportation or carpooling is too inconvenient. Moving closer to work would mean uprooting the kids or forcing job changes or undesirable communities. Here are a few American Transportation Facts as of 2003. These numbers likely haven’t gotten any better since then.
Tens of thousands of conferences are held each year throughout the world with millions of participants. Even a few of these conferences are related to climate change. How many of them use VideoConferencing? The official reason for not using VideoConferencing is likely that “VideoConferencing cannot replace one-on-one interaction.” The unofficial reason, I’m guessing, is that “Participants work hard to obtain the information they are allowed to summarize in a ten to fifteen minute time slot, and they deserve to use ten percent of the research money to travel around the world and have fun.” Not to mention all the CO2 emitted in the process. But who’s thinking about CO2 while admiring the Wonders of the World?
My post is a feeble attempt at understanding why climate change mitigation is not happening around the world. I challenge everyone viewing this article to add their own thoughts.
Unfortunately, words are not enough. The world needs significant action, not words, if it is to be saved for future generations. When will significant action begin?
Thanks Kate! Most of us reading this probably already know most of what you’re saying, so what we need to do is to spread the word to those who don’t already know. I’ve e-mailed a link and an excerpt directly to the Comino Foundation’s Anthony Darbyshire.
That is a great synopsis, Kate. Wish my students could write that well (heck, wish *I* could write that well). :) I’ll have to link to your article whenever this subject comes up again. Thank you.
Well done, Kate. Bravo!
” Researchers discussed how to statistically isolate and “hide the decline” in problematic tree ring data that was no longer measuring what it was supposed to”
Well, then, we could have fixed this by giving those trees a stern talking to.
If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him. -Cardinal Richelieu
Interesting address by Michael Mann:
Things aren’t going to get easier.
“Researchers discussed how to statistically isolate and “hide the decline” in problematic tree ring data that was no longer measuring what it was supposed to”
You got that wrong! Maybe somebody should tell those tree rings what they are supposed to measure. Or researchers should let us know what suddenly was so problematic about tree rings when they behaved correctly over so many millenia.
I will clarify – the tree growth had been a function of temperature, as that was the limiting factor, for the length of the proxy, as confirmed by other proxies from that area such as boreholes. However, as the area warmed in recent years (as we know from the much more reliable thermometers), the tree growth started reflecting something else, possibly moisture levels or pollution. See the paper by Briffa et al, link in the post. I will think about changes in the wording. -Kate
[citations needed – sea level rise isn’t happening]
Happy ClimateGate Day
A “must-see” YouTube video. It doesn’t mention a single word about climate, but shows clearly enough how easy all kind of stupidity can breed:
It seems that the only sane people in America are the comedians, because everyone else has turned the truth into a huge conspiracy plot.
The US has become hopelessly divided, racially, politically, and economically. There are tens of millions of people living in poverty in the world’s richest economy, where six percent of the world’s population consumes a quarter of the world’s resources.
I was stunned by the gullibility of the American people on the occasion of my last visit to the US in October, 2001. The country was paralyzed by unreasoning fear that was only assuaged by the decision to invade first Afghanistan and then Iraq and ‘blast them into submission’. Ordinary Americans were too frightened to go to their own local supermarkets for food, let alone venture into a dangerous terrorist target like Yosemite National Park.
Since then America has been taken over by even more crazy tea drinking aliens, many of whom believe that their President is a Kenyan born Muslim Nazi terrorist bent on enslaving the Nation and throwing them into health care concentration camps.
What you need is an army made up of Steven Segal, Chuck Norris, Bruce Willis, Sarah Palin, Rambo, Jack Bower, the Columbine murderers and a few thousand other loyal, God fearing, gun toting ‘heroes’ to take out the government, and return America to the anarchy you so desperately crave.
Good luck -you’re going to need it.
Another attempt at formatting …
That is a excellent summary of what happened. What made it far worse was the response of some of the supporters of the scientific consensus. George Monbiot’s was especially disappointing.
PS any chance of a ‘preview’ option? It helps a lot when including URLs and other formatted content.
Sorry – I’m pretty sure that the custom CSS upgrade is necessary to add in a preview button (and even then, WordPress.com has something against scripting languages, so unless HTML5 can do it, I might be out of luck). If I upgrade in the future, I’ll see what I can do.
George Monbiot later apologized and changed his position, unlike many of the hardcore deniers. I think it was a case of his unfamiliarity on how scientists communicate – see this post by Steve Easterbrook. -Kate
For tonyb, sea level rise is most definitely not only happenig, but has accelerated.
Here, let Jerry Mitrovica explain it for you:
And be sure to look up the papers he cites by Lambeck and Stepnason & Morrison.
Sorry that should be Stephenson & Morrison, Long-term fluctuations in the Earth’s rotation: 700 BC to AD 1990.
Amazing. Just amazing. I’ll see about spreading it around here through what sway I have.
Re: “changes in wording”: How’s “was no longer measuring what it had been measuring” or “had recently stopped being a reliable measurement”? The point isn’t that it “wasn’t measuring what it was supposed to” (as proxies, by their very nature, do not actually measure what we use them to indicate), it was that a formerly reliable correspondence between temperature and tree-rings broke down in recent years.
[citations needed – predictions based on computer models are not credible]
[citations needed – satellite data doesn’t show warming]
Roger commented: “Tens of thousands of conferences are held each year throughout the world with millions of participants. Even a few of these conferences are related to climate change. How many of them use VideoConferencing?…”
Along the same lines, VeaMea, which makes software for video conferencing and collaboration, has been considering a global challenge to the environmental community to reduce *its* carbon footprint by reducing in-person meetings and increasing video conferencing.
What’s good for the goose…
Remember the forcefully critical press in Canada regarding the nutty ideas about AIDS prevalent in mainstream South African opinion (like Thabo Mbeki, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang)? People died because SA leaders, significant numbers of media opinionators, and even ordinary people, valued the local wisdom about AIDS being a nutritional disease rather than HIV, routinely lauded western AIDS heretics and snake-oil salesmen, and entertained conspiracy theories about the disease itself being a plot by western outsiders, and that anti-retrovirals, rather than a treatment, were just another aspect in this devious plot of western-medicine to sicken people in Africa.
We can’t be too self-righteous about that anymore. South Africa will continue to suffer, as people die from eating yams instead of anti-retrovirals. ClimateGate risks being the West’s Yams for AIDS, and people all over the world will suffer.
Great piece.The press treatment of this story was the real scandal. Even the usually cautious BBC were sucked in.
As for the claims made by sceptic bloggers; either they were incompetent in their interpretation of scientific exchanges, or they deliberately misrepresented them. Either way, their credibility stands at zero.
The BBC are the only ones I can forgive – they apologized! -Kate
I posted a comment yesterday which you removed, asking me to provide citations. Fair enough, here they are. The post read as follows and was sparked by a comment from De Ville to which I replied as follows;
“This is from the Michael Mann piece you linked to.
“If climate change is an elaborate hoax, then the ice sheets must be in on it; the sea level must be in on it; and the polar bears are likely in on it, although they are big losers.”
Me; 1) “What exactly do you believe sea level to be doing? Are you aware that (generally) it is lower today than during the MWP or Roman Optimum?”
Citations of Roman period;
1a) Jerry Mitrovica in the video referenced here by Jim Eager has homed in on the single Lambeck study of Roman Fish tanks which covers a period of generally lower waters prior to the rise in levels through the latter part of the Roman optimum. Lambeck also said this;
“Here, we present results for sea-level change in the central Mediterranean basin for the Roman Period using new archaeological evidence. These data provide a precise measure of local sea level of -1.35±0.07 m at 2000 years ago. Part of this change is the result of ongoing glacio-hydro isostatic adjustment of the crust subsequent to the last deglaciation. When corrected for this, using geologically constrained model predictions, the change in eustatic sea level since the Roman Period is -0.13±0.09 m.”
As can be seen isostatic adjustment makes a considerable difference to actual sea levels experienced at the time, so it is worth looking at the many other studies of the region and period which gives some additional data.
Citation 1b) This study (inexplicably misquoted by Science Daily a few months ago) covers numerous studies in the same area.
Click to access 1_1_Sivan.pdf
“The Caesarea results indicate that about 2000 years BP sea levels was at its present elevation, while during the Byzantine period it was at or above its present level by (about 30cm- plus or minus 15cm) During the Crusader period “(around 1300AD)”sea level may have been lower than today by about 40c, plus or minus 15cm.”
Citation 1c) Dr Sivan who compiled the study gives the proper context;
“Over the past century, we have witnessed the sea level in Israel fluctuating with almost 19 centimetres between the highest and lowest levels. Over the past 50 years Israel’s mean sea level rise is 5.5 centimetres, but there have also been periods when it rose by 10 centimetres over 10 years. That said, even acute ups and downs over short periods do not testify to long-term trends. An observation of the sea levels over hundreds and thousands of years shows that what seems a phenomenon today is as a matter of fact “nothing new under the sun,”
I have a further 20 studies of this period from a variety of authors in my own article ‘Historic variations in sea levels- Part 1 The Holocene to the Romans.’
Citations of Medieval Warm Period;
1d) there are many studies of sea level in this period and much physical evidence such as sea castles stranded as levels dropped following their construction.
A useful graph is shown here covering the period 200AD to 1999 (sea levels have very arguably risen some 15mm since that time-see later citation)
It is part of a more general article on sea levels here;
“Figure 1. Global sea level from 200 A.D. to 2000, as reconstructed from proxy records of sea level by Moberg et al. 2005. The thick black line is reconstructed sea level using tide gauges (Jevrejeva, 2006). The lightest gray shading shows the 5 – 95% uncertainty in the estimates, and the medium gray shading denotes the one standard deviation error estimate. The highest global sea level of the past 110,000 years likely occurred during the Medieval Warm Period of 1100 – 1200 A.D., when warm conditions similar to today’s climate caused the sea level to rise 5 – 8″ (12 – 21 cm) higher than present. Image credit: Grinsted, A., J.C. Moore, and S. Jevrejeva, 2009, “Reconstructing sea level from paleo and projected temperatures 200 to 2100 AD”, Climate Dynamics, DOI 10.1007/s00382-008-0507-2, 06 January 2009
1e) We also have such luminaries as Prof Brian Fagan author of numerous books and Professor of Archaeology at the University of California. After conducting numerous studies he wrote in his book ‘The Little Ice Age’
“Ten thousand years ago the southern North sea was a marshy plain where elk and deer wandered…England was part of the continent until as recently as 6000 BC when rising sea levels caused by post ice age warming filled the North sea. By 3000 BC the ocean was at near modern levels. Sea levels fluctuated continually through late prehistoric and Roman times but rose significantly after 1000 AD. Over the next two centuries the North sea rose as much as 40-50 cms above today’s height in the low countries then slowly retreated again as temperature fell gradually in the north” (arctic)
2) Me; “Are you aware that the worldwide modern sea level record was cobbled together from only 23 tidal stations, only eight of which are older than 100 years.”
At around 9 mins 40 he shows the gauges, at around 35 mins he shows the location of the historic gauges I referred to which is exactly as I said. They can be more easily seen here
The reconstruction by IPCC using 23 tide gauges from 1900 -only 2 from the SH- and which include only seven that haven’t permanently moved -but ALL of those subject to considerable development around them necessitating temporary removal or cessation-is a poor piece of work. The latest existed only from 1933. A couple predate 1900. Missing information is interpolated. To then stick inaccurate satellite altimetry on top and try to pass it off as a highly accurate measure of the recent past is nonsensical.
The criteria and location of these gauges is shown here
As an aside, Tide gauges (like thermometers) were never intended to be highly accurate and varied enormously until very recent years with no standardisation. Here is one example;
Accurate to a fraction of an inch? I don’t think so, yet our entire sea level record is built on such as these
The controversy about the modern version of the sea level record is referred to by Jerry Mitrovica at around 45.54
I would refer you to Chapter 5 of AR4 which mentions this controversy (see 2b) as a brief note
Figure 5.13 on page 410 is the basis of many graphs used by Government and their agencies to promote scary sea level rises which are then eagerly picked up by the more sensationalist media and Al Gore.
There is a ‘missing’ section-reproduced below- of this report which is not generally seen as it is tucked away after many pages of references; It is 5A
Click to access ar4-wg1-chapter5.pdf
It’s all worth reading-satellite inaccuracy is briefly mentioned but to keep on topic the tiny number of tidal gauges is shown as the very last graphs at 5A2
3) Me; “Are you aware that sea level has remained virtually static for the last four years or so and it would have to quadruple its previous rate of increase to reach the 1 metre rise suggested for the end of the century?”
Citation 3a) These are the official records (scroll down a little to see the graph)
It clearly shows sea levels are the same now as they were 4 or 5 years ago
Citation 3b) According to S. J. Holgate, a recognised world authority in geophysical research at the UK-based Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory in Liverpool, in his paper published in 2007, the following results represent the most comprehensive measurements of decadal sea-level change rates during the 20th century.
Between 1904 and 1953 global sea levels rose by 2.03 mm per year, whereas from 1954 to 2003 they rose by only 1.45 mm per year, giving an annual mean rate of 1.74 mm per year over the 100 years to 2003, or seven inches per century. Importantly, there was no increase in the rate of change over the whole century.
So, based on these peer reviewed and generally accepted numbers, 20th century sea levels rose at a 25% slower rate in the second half of the century than the first which, on any reasonable interpretation, contradicts the notion that global temperature increases during the last 50 years contributed to any sea level rise!”
This is graphically illustrated here.
Average rate of rise:
1904-1953: 2.03 ± 0.35 mm/year 1954-2003: 1.45 ± 0.34 mm/year
(virtually static since)
I trust that in the interests of balance you will not remove this post.
Sea level rise, just like global temperature or Arctic ice, cannot be properly analysed by looking at 5 year trends. Seeing as sea level rise usually takes centuries, we need to look at the whole picture. Also, uncertainty cuts both ways – the measurements could be overestimating the rise, but they could just as easily be underestimating it. -Kate
At any point there can be several mechanisms for sea level change
a) topographic elevation – the point can have changed elevation – this can happen for a number of reasons:
1) tectonics – earthquakes and slow seismic events
3) isostatic rebound – response to a change in surface load (such as the removal of an ice sheet or deposition or removal of sediment)
Harlech castle used to be at local sea level, it is no longer. This is not because global sea levels are different, this is a localised tectonic effect.
The Roman harbour Ostia is subject to significant tectonic effects (which are incidentally causing Venice to subside – it’s a tilting thing).
b) volumetric effects – change in the volume of water contained in the oceans and the geometry and areal extent of the ocean basins
c) gravitational effects – change in the gravitational attraction of the earth (induced by deformation), by the change in distribution of ice and by the change in self-attraction of the water
d) rotational effects – change in the moment of inertia caused by a change in the distribution of mass within the earth and on its surface.
e) thermal expansion
f) changes in salinity
The last two effects cannot be used to justify a sea level change of any significance.
Unless you have done a careful analysis of the sites involved it is not possible to determine which effect in any region is the dominant contributor. If you read Professor Lambeck’s paper you will note that he does solve for rates of tectonic uplift for the sites in question and comes to the conclusion that they are small.
In short, the existence of individual points with various sea-level curves is not general evidence of a global trend. There are many tens of thousands of observations of sea-level change since the last glacial maximum, the overwhelming trends recognised in these observations is inconsistent with any significant sea-level fluctuations in the last two thousand years (see for example Lambeck, K., Yokoyama, Y., Purcell, A., 2002. Into and out of Last Glacial Maximum: sea-level change during the oxygen isotope stage 3 and 2. Quaternary Science Reviews 21, 343–360.). There is also no basis on which to postulate significant change in ice mass for those epochs.
Dr Sivan is I think over-stating the strength of his evidence. He has combined observations of different character and then given more weight to some than to others. His assertion of lower sea-levels in the crusader period is based on a single data point which is immediately preceded by another that is significantly above sea level. Taken as a whole the time series for this period is consistent with no change in sea level.
Geomorphologists (who actually go out and find the former shorelines and measure them) have a very optimistic view of how accurately changes in sea level can be observed. Given a geological sea-level marker it is usually difficult to know if it corresponds to mean sea-level, high tide, low tide, spring tide, winter tide, is it a storm feature, the result of a tsunami, was the tidal range the same. If the observation is of some form of marine life what is its range of habitation depths, was it in situ, was the temperature gradient the same, and so on. For the purposes of post-glacial rebound analysis, the minimum error bar on a sea-level indicator should be at least 25 cm. A significant change in sea level by this standard is around 50 cm.
These reservations do not apply to tide gauge data, nor to geodetic observations using GPS or sea surface observations using satellite altimetry data. I am skeptical of any claim to have observed a change in global sea-level through the middle ages and I am unaware of any respectable sea-level researcher who uses such estimates in their reconstructions of eustatic sea level.
An excellent summary of the past 12 months and the shameful goings-on that occurred. Have circulated a link to the piece.
Right when this whole sorry business surfaced, I commented that, having run out of ways to attack the science, they have increasingly turned on the scientists themselves. The problem with the media was that, by and large, they failed to look at what was going on here with a sceptical (as defined in your paragraph 3) eye, and to certain sections of the media, the whole shoot simply appealed to their inbuilt tendency to view things, depending on the storyline, either with outright denialism or with confirmation-bias.
Cheers – John
Kate, another fine post. First, a reminder, I am a believer in Climate change. By everything I can find, the average temperature around the world has been increasing.
But just what did the “hacked information” show me? Easy, all of the participants are human. We all have our little jealousies, our foibles, things we trip over. We are all protective of our creations and will defend them, sometimes unreasonably so. End result, more vitriol on the news and the blogosphere. Which side is right? Time will show the way.
Is the science settled? No way. Science is never settled. I was taught that 50 years ago and I believe it today. Science on any subject is constantly changing as new ideas and methods arise. Current science is shows a trend and current hypotheses say this and that are to blame. Who knows what may come out of the scientific woodwork in the near future.
So, will life on earth end? NOPE. Will mankind become extinct? NOPE. Will things change? YUP. Anthropologists seem to mostly agree that climate changes help boost us up on the evolutionary ladder and led us out of Africa. We know that in the last 500,000 years the climate has changed drastically in both directions. We have never been out of climate change. It is what has made us into what we are today.
So if we are believers how do we get the message out to the masses about AGM? We talk, and most importantly we live and lead by example. Make your footprint smaller. Walk, unless it is too far. Bike (god how I hate bikes on major roadways, too many bloody scenes. I guess). Public Transport for everything else. Stay out of the car, off of the airplane, stop eating out of season vegetables and fruits (got here by plane and truck) do try the 100-mile rule, but treat yourself occasionally. I walk, bus and buy locally. You can too.
One problem with individual action, as opposed to a market-wide price on carbon, is that it reduces the demand for oil and increases the relative supply. That brings the price down, making it cheaper for others to pollute. -Kate
Louise has been so good as to put a link to Kate’s excellent summary on
Which has done a lot of good, since it has convinced many of the posters there. If you don’t believe it, find it out for yourselves!
Nice try. All I see is a lot of verbal abuse. -Kate
“Walk, unless it is too far. Bike (god how I hate bikes on major roadways, too many bloody scenes. I guess).”
Can I recommend the latest generation of electric bikes-my folder will go in the boot of a car or can take me on journeys of up to 30miles. Distance drops to half that on travelling the very steep hills we have round here. One further recommendation-use tap water not bottled water (unles you live in a country where the water is suspect.)
A cogent summary Kate.
I am curious to see how Judith Curry’s effort in this vein, should she attempt to go there, compare. It would be an interesting exercise in determining whether she, as a ‘teacher’, has as firm a grasp of the objectivities of the matter as do you, a ‘student’.
So there’s the challenge Judith – can you write a similar piece that is as rational, as measured, and as balanced as someone who is, ostensibly, operating at the level of one of your own undergraduate students?
I note that a lot of WUWT regulars are disparaging of Kate’s relative youth, in their commentary about this thread.
Perhaps they have forgotten how vapidly they fawned over Kristen Byrnes.
Now, what is the word I seek…?
Thanks for your annotation to my post. My item covers 2000 years of sea level rise, out of that long time span I remarked that the sea level has been static for the last 5 years. As you say five years is too short to discern a trend but as you can see, levels have been both higher and lower than today during the pat two thousand years.
Jerry Mitrovica in Jim Eagers link talked of sea level accelerating this century-which JIm repeats. Hope Prof Mitrovicas students will point out to him this is too short a period to be termed a trend.
[citations needed – sea levels have fallen over the past century]
Anyway, thanks for leaving my post up.
So are you arguing that, because ‘greenies’ ride cars instead of bikes, therefore ripping data from other people’s computers is OK? That because some people ride on airplanes, therefore global warming stopped in 1998?
I don’t think he ever said global warming stopped in 1998. -Kate
You dodge the fact that climate inactivism is based on illogical nonsense, misrepresentations, and plain lies. You dodge the fact that someone unlawfully broke into CRU’s computers. You dodge the fact that some other people then took the stolen e-mails out of context and spun huge conspiracy theories from a few words here and there. You dodge the fact that Phil Jones received death threats and was almost driven to suicide.
If you or your family received death threats, will you still just say ‘oh well, it’s OK, this just shows people are human after all, we all have our pet foibles’? Will you?
* * *
And folks, Chris Schoneveld is a known climate inactivist. Just a heads-up.
Kate, TonyB gives for example this as though it were a cite:
“S. J. Holgate, a recognised world authority in geophysical research at the UK-based Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory in Liverpool, in his paper published in 2007” as the cite for the claim that “Importantly, there was no increase in the rate of change over the whole century.”
TonyB links only to a picture at an image-hosting site, not to the actual paper.
TonyB, the reason for giving cites is to help people find the original.
You can do this yourself. Be skeptical — look up the original.
Look it up thus:
What do you learn?
— other more recent papers have cited that one
— Holgate has published more recent work, for example:
Woodworth, P. L., White, N. J., Jevrejeva, S., Holgate, S. J., Church, J. A. and Gehrels, W. R. (2009), Evidence for the accelerations of sea level on multi-decade and century timescales. International Journal of Climatology, 29: 777–789. doi: 10.1002/joc.1771
See? It’s important to actually cite sources, not just tell people stuff.
I don’t have a car. Just for the record.
Climate = ∫ weather
Perhaps the integral of weather from t=0 to x, divided by x? Average temp rather than total accumulation? Of course, we would also want to take relative extrema into account…-Kate
Sorry, but I don’t get your point. I see many of these papers for free on a professional basis but unfortunately manty of the best one lies behind a pay wall. Those on your link contain many such examples. Are you suggesting that the people viewing this site should pay to read these articles?
I gave an abstract and linked clearly to an external picture site to show the results. As far as I’m aware scholarly articles don’t tend to use flickr.
I don’t think you were referring to me, but personally I know nothing about Kate or her ‘relative youth’. She wrote a very nice well constructed article (although I don’t agree with her findings) and she has left my two posts up.
I’ve no idea how old she is, but in wishing her good luck in her career I hope she sometimes will cast her gaze a little wider and recognise that there are other valid points of view that she may be uncomfortable with.
The attribute of an open mind is poorly correlated to comment moderation, in my opinion. I don’t think that unsupported scientific claims, hostile remarks, or personal smears contribute very much to the discussion – they are time-wasters at best. That doesn’t mean I haven’t considered the possibility that they might be true. By the way, I am eighteen. -Kate
Tonyb, if you think Mitrovica is only relying on that single Lambeck study of Roman Fish tanks you are deceiving only yourself. That’s just the paper he cited in his talk.
Perhaps you could exercise some true skepticism and check Mitrovica’s publication record using Google Scholar and note both what papers he cites and those papers that cite his.
What? Moberg et al.’s a temperature reconstruction, not sea level.
Well, well — I looked harder at TonyB’s image that he claimed as a cite for Holgate 2007, and it’s not.
It might have something taken from Holgate 2007, which is paywalled and I haven’t found it. But TonyB’s image is third hand.
Holgate (2007) has been so popular with bloggers who are lying about the science that it’s used as an illustration here:
—- excerpt follows —-
… Inasmuch as it is our goal to encourage you and your students to critically evaluate scientific hypotheses and data, this is another in a series of issues that deserves deeper study. In particular, this is an opportunity to see how the media respond to various issues and how individuals might distort the conclusions of scientific papers, or selectively extract certain data or plots, to further their own objectives. …
Activity 3: Critical Evaluation of Data, Statistics, and the Blogosphere
A) You have read the Holgate paper. In your own words, summarize the principal points he made and their significance. Do this in less than 100 words.
B) Now, let’s see what the response to Holgate’s paper was–not so much from the scientific community, but from the “blogosphere,” which, of course, does include scientists. Some of them are skeptics regarding climate change in general. Do some Web-based research and see what you can find regarding the use and abuse of Holgate’s data and conclusions. Are all the responses you found above board?
Here are two examples of posting sites or blogs that responded to this article. Note the interesting names that give them credibility. Is there a purpose behind the “science”?
World Climate Report
Provide two or three examples of blogs or other postings that distort the findings of the Holgate article in some way. How did they do this and what was their purpose? Make sure you point out exactly how they strayed from the findings reported in Holgate. Or, did they take issue with Holgate and show that he was wrong in some way?
—- end excerpt —
Was your “cite” image taken from CO2Science or World Climate Report?
Your characterization of the satellite record of sea level is patently false. You:
You then refer to http://sealevel.colorado.edu/ and say “It clearly shows sea levels are the same now as they were 4 or 5 years ago.”
No it doesn’t.
Perhaps you misinterpret the graph because you’re not aware of the annual cycle in sea level, which is considerably larger than the annual rate of increase and tends to obscure it visually. Perhaps you’re not aware that application of the “inverse barometer” correction improves our ability to detect and quantify the relevant trend (see this). You certainly didn’t bother to analyze the data before pontificating. If you had, you might have noticed that using satellite data only since 2007.0 (a wee bit under 4 years) gives an estimated trend rate of 3.3 mm/yr.
And Kate is right, that a 4- or 5-year trend is pretty meaningless anyway since sea level changes are decidedly nonlinear. What may actually be relevant is average trend on multidecadal time scales, which for the entire satellite record is about 3 mm/yr.
When it comes to scholarship on this issue, I’m sure you’re impressed — with yourself. We are not impressed. All you’ve done is draw conclusions from data with no analysis whatever, and it appears you really don’t understand sea level, but you’ve proven your ability to mischaracterize the data (and not just about the satellite record).
A link to this needs to be posted to every denialist blog at every opportunity.
Actually, my target audience is the general public, not those who already have their minds made up. -Kate
>a denier will cling to their beliefs regardless of evidence. They will relentlessly attack arguments that contradict their cause, using talking points that are full of misconceptions and well-known to be false, while blindly accepting any argument that seems to support their point of view.
> climatereason [Tony B]
> … people viewing this site should pay to read these articles? …
> I gave an abstract and linked clearly to an external picture site ….
Abstract? Where? That would be a direct quote.
People deserve being provided with a primary source, paywalled or not; they can find it, read the citing articles, and look at the multiple versions available (often one is a full text copy on an author’s website — as you can find for this paper if you look).
Tony, you gave a misleading claim about the paper, and a link to a Flickr picture on a page owned by “manacker” — a familiar monicker. Look that one up too.
Tony, you got fooled. Look at the page for the class work quoted above–it’s a widely misrepresented paper, it’s been studied as an example of misleading blog science.
If you’d looked up the cite yourself with Scholar you’d have been able to look at All 12 versions and you’d have known the paper was available free. You’d have been able to look at the citing papers and you’d have seen the problems already identified with the analysis. Look through versions to find what’s available to ordinary readers, e.g. poster, article.
Reality is hard enough, even looking at primary sources. Make the effort.
Your readers, once you put something on your new blog, deserve the best information you can find and help finding more so they can think for themselves.
I think I fixed your html as requested. -Kate
[citations needed – sea level rise is not accelerating]
Thank you Kate.
Tony, compare the responses here and in that WUWT ‘humor’ thread where they’re saying your cites are convincing and your claims are unrefuted.
Who do you trust, people on blogs who want to believe second hand, or the primary sources you can find in the science journals? Make your own study.
> Fig. 1
Tony, Martin M. is right.
Did you check the source that Wunder Blog weather guy claimed to get his ‘Fig. 1’ from?
I tried, after seeing Martin’s coment.
Here’s Moberg 2005.
Click to access moberg.nature.0502.pdf
Here’s Jevrejeva 2006 — that paper doesn’t cite Moberg 2005.
JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH, VOL. 111, C09012, doi:10.1029/2005JC003229, 2006
Nonlinear trends and multiyear cycles in sea level records
Click to access 2005JC003229.pdf
Jevrejava 2006 cites Jones, P. D., and A. Moberg (2003), Hemispheric and large-scale surface air temperature variations: An extensive revision and an update to 2001, J. Clim., 16, 206–223.
Tony, when you cite what you claim to be a source, you are saying you actually looked at that material and your claim really comes from there.
When you make a claim based on some second- or third-hand blog posting, you’re expected to cite to the blog where you read it, and say the blog page you link to says it’s from, say, Moberg 2005.
What does Grinsted say? I found this:
Reconstructing sea level from paleo and projected temperatures 200 to 2100 AD
posted Dec 8, 2008 1:13 AM by Aslak Grinsted [ updated Jul 9, 2010 2:42 AM ]
My gosh, look at the right side of the picture there.
The Wunder Blog guy left something off when he copied it, if you quote him right.
See that? http://www.glaciology.net/_/rsrc/1231400025186/Home/PDFs/Announcements/gslprojection/PRfig-shadow-smaller.png
Look things up for yourself, Tony. Don’t trust some guy on a blog.
Thanks for tracking that down, Hank. On relatively popular posts like this I don’t have the time to double check everyone’s citations – especially during the school term – so it’s great to know others are looking out! -Kate
[citations needed – global warming is caused by the sun]
Hi Kate, good job. Anyone can figure out what you mean here, but I can’t improve the post any other way that to point out: “Why has the ongoing smear campaign against researchers studying what is arguably the most pressing generation of our time gone largely unnoticed” — instead of “generation” I think you want “issue”. And I don’t think you want to say that the “trick” of “hiding the decline” was a clever calculation; rather it was a choice to display data in a simplified manner. But I may not remember the pertinent details correctly (I didn’t pay much attention to ‘Climategate’).
The Holgate paper referred to a few times above says in its abstract:
“The rate of sea level change was found to be larger in the early part of last century (2.03 ± 0.35 mm/yr 1904–1953), in comparison with the latter part (1.45 ± 0.34 mm/yr 1954–2003). ”
In the discussion section it says:
“However, a greater rate of rise in the early part of the record is consistent with previous analyses of tide gauge records which suggested a general deceleration in sea level rise during the 20th century [Woodworth, 1990; Douglas, 1992; Jevrejeva et al., 2006].”
For the benefit of those who don’t have full access to the paper, I can confirm that the image Tonyb links to is correct.
The more recent Woodworth et al paper says:
“Most sea-level data originate from Europe and North America, and both the sets display evidence for a positive acceleration, or ‘inflexion’, around 1920–1930 and a negative one around 1960. These inflexions are the main contributors to reported accelerations since the late 19th century, and to decelerations during the mid- to late 20th century. “
So many comments!
You do know who that ‘wunder blog guy’ is don’t you? He is not ‘some guy on a blog’ He is the very eminent Dr Jeff Masters who has collaborated with Joe Romm and is most definitely on YOUR side! I cited the first link as it is a graph in isolation that is nice and clear (but unlabelled) then I immediately cited his second where the ref to Moberg and Grinsted is clearly made in the attribution. If he has ‘left something off’ perhaps Joe and Jeff can jointly sort it out
The University of Colorado’s iconic headline graph is compiled with the seasonal signal included and inverse barometer not applied.
[citations needed – data should not be analysed with the seasonal signal removed]
[citations needed – a century of sea level data is too short to compute a meaningful trend]
What the IPCC demonstrates with their record is that sea levels have been gently rising over the last century but fail to put it into context that oscillations are not unusual in the historic context. Sea levels have been rising and falling over the last 2000 years (as cited) and they are lower today than in the MWP and Roman optimum (as cited)
In relying on satellite records since 1994 we are further losing the context of these long term changes. The University of Colorado measure satellite sea level since 1994 and it is the record most commonly referred to these days, but such data is rather meaningless unless compared with tide gauges (as suggested by the IPCC as cited later) as they show rather different things.
Why the disparity? Let’s go back to the IPCC.
The change’ from tide gauges to satellites can be seen here;
Click to access ar4-wg1-chapter5.pdf
Chapter 5 on p409 figure 1, and again in 5.13 on page 410
If you didn’t find that very clear it is more evident here
[citations needed. I thought we agreed second hand images weren’t a good source. -Kate]
The best way of seeing the disparity between tide gauges and satellites is to go here where the two methods are separated out.
(This site does have a habit of defaulting to its home page, if it does that go to ‘sea level viewer’ then ‘view interactive data’)
When we look at tide gauges we see them changing by around 1.70 mm per year.
Satellites show a change of 3.28mm per year virtually 100% greater.
Now I am not a great fan of the aggregated tide gauge record seeing as it relies on so few gauges (as cited) most with short histories (as cited) or have moved (as cited) or have been interpolated (as cited) To globally aggregate such low grade information only compounds the errors However, anyone working on flood defence work would use a tide gauge as it provides a more accurate record of the place where the sea actually hits the land, where people live, as opposed to satellites which measure open sea.
Satellites themselves have considerable bands of error which may explain the disparity. I will again refer to the IPCC report Chapter 5
On Page 431 of Chapter 5 they talk of satellite errors.
Click to access ar4-wg1-chapter5.pdf
“The total measurement accuracy for the TOPEX/Poseidon altimetry based
Sea surface height is about 80 mm (95% error) for a single measurement based on one-second along-track averages (Chelton et al., 2001)”
.Now of course multiple passes reduce this;
““The 95% error associated with a 10-day mean sea level estimate is approximately 8 mm”.
No doubt Jason 1 and Jason 2 may improve matters further but to gain any sort of meaningful accuracy the IPCC recommend that correlating tide gauges and satellites is the best way of correcting inherent errors.(see page 431)
In separating out the Satellite data from the aggregated tide gauges (which are by no means perfect but ‘god enough’ for local circumstances) the ‘robust’ means of determining actual rise-by comparison- is lost. (Complications arise with land movements up or down which causes much of the apparent sea level change from the land perspective).
[citations needed re: error levels in satellite data]
I agree with Hank.
Primary references should come first, whether behind a pay wall or not.
Ultimately the original source of work is the only reference point, which is why they are so important.
Isn’t it interesting that, out of all the ‘skeptical’ comments above, exactly zero of them have addressed the unauthorized ripping of the CRU e-mails and data, the deliberate orchestration of a noise campaign surrounding the so-called ‘scandalous’ e-mails, and the death threats and dead animal dumping?
Instead, all we get are the usual bullshit talking points.
It seems the so-called ‘skeptics’ don’t want to distance themselves from these criminal acts, and they don’t even want to defend the criminal acts — they want to pretend that the criminal acts don’t exist!
You can keep denying reality, but some day, reality will get back at you. The sad part is that we’ll have to pay for the deniers as well.
I suggest giving Tony a few days to check the rest of his “cites” and report back.
There’s no shame being fooled the first time, before you learn how they do it.
If Tony takes a skeptical look at wherever he got those claims he pasted in here, he can verify Martin’s check on his first cite and my check on his last one, then he can look at the rest of them himself and show us his best effort to redo this.
The test is always, do people do the reading first then draw conclusions, or do they do their conclusions then look for support. Tony says he’s a professional with library access — an opportunity to do it right.
If Tony can’t or won’t — perhaps a thread on proper citation of research is needed. How are they teaching that in college these days?
Back to ‘mategate, eh?
Good morning all. Snow here (finally) winter has finally returned can spring be far away?
Frank. Again Frank. Golly. Are you a practicing journalist? With the misquoting of the written word, the fanciful twists to what has been written, and the blatant injection of your own words, leads me to believe that you are a card carrying journalist.
The only “facts I avoided involved hyped up crap in the MSM (main stream media Frank) that has, over the years, turned the average guy and gal off on the subject. Hence the boredom with the AGW subject. Even the average Joe out there can sense over blown claims. The truth becomes hidden by the vitriol spouted by those who are so fervent that they cannot see another similar point of view.
As to someone breaking into a computer system and “stealing” information, any charges? Has anyone been prosecuted? Were these important documents password protected? Were they available to anyone at the university with the appropriate clearance? So many questions, so few answers. And in the long view the release of this information has had no impact on the facts. I regret that shortsighted people made stupid and terrible statements and threats, but you don’t get that just from the “deniers” crowd, I have read much of the same on this side of the fence.
Thanks Kate for your rules, and keeping things civil, for the most part. I regret the fact that so many on both sides have taken this from a scientific disagreement, to a political football to a new religion. I say religion because in my 62 years of experience I have only ever seen this kind of ignorant thinking by well educated people, coming from newly born true believers. The situation is too much like Shia and Shiite, Protestant and Catholic. Not the same Frank, but similar.
I enjoy this Blog, because the majority of the comments are well presented, with very little of the vitriol spouted elsewhere. I enjoy many other blogs on the other side as well. I regularly read WUWT, Small Dead Animals, Black Rod. All good all informative each in its own special way. We can never ignore or belittle those who disagree with us, because they may be right, and (gasp) we may be wrong. Who was it that said “but it still moves”? I know, I understand it, do you?
In the mean time I continue to preach in my own way, and do what I can to support those things and people I personally (not someone else telling me to) feel deserve my support. I also believe that the majority of people here in this blog believe in the same fundamental things and rights that I do.
By the way Kate, operating a site such as this requires one big thing to protect your sanity, a real thick skin. Don’t let the devils grind you down, your doing very well.
PaulM above claims: “The Holgate paper …. For the benefit of those who don’t have full access to the paper, I can confirm that the image Tonyb links to is correct.”
What paper, Paul? This is the publicly available copy from the twelve versions Scholar gives, that I linked earlier: http://www.joelschwartz.com/pdfs/Holgate.pdf
Kate, these guys are taking over your topic. I don’t want to help them do it.
The claims they make aren’t based on what they claim as cites. As I said above:
Holgate (2007) has been so popular with bloggers lying about the science that it’s used as an assignment for students learning how they lie about science:
I’m done with chasing red herring for a while. Your Climategate piece that started this thread is a wonderfully clear perspective.
You deserve attention to what you wrote rather than their distractions.
I pointed out that you were flat wrong about the satellite record over the last four years.
Apparently you tried to claim that data should not be analyzed with the seasonal signal removed, but Kate called your BS, insisting on a cite. You’re wrong again. Data should not be analyzed *without* the seasonal cycle removed. I’m a professional, I specialize in the statistical analysis of time series — I know.
The most pathetic part is that even if you *do* analyze the last four years’ data without removing the seasonal signal or applying the inverse-barometer correction or both, you *still* get an upward trend of about 3 mm/yr.
The you go on and on about the precision of the satellite data itself. This is nothing but an attempt to discredit the significance of the trend, something you disparage but which can be confirmed statistically. There’s no doubt, except in the minds of you and those who are foolish enough to pay attention to your ignorant ramblings.
You made claims about the satellite data which were wrong, you did so without doing any analysis, and it’s clear from your statements that you don’t know how to do the analysis right. Yet you presume to lecture us on sea level trends.
If you want to learn rather than pontificate, begin by admitting (without any qualifiers) that your claims about trends in satellite data are just plain wrong. When you show us that respect, rather than the disrespect of heaping BS upon BS like you’ve been doing, then maybe we’ll show you some respect in return.
One last thought for TonyB: re “my side” — anyone who cites their sources usefully and describes them correctly is “on my side” — while they’re doing it. Want to join?
Kate is trying to help you learn how to do it.
The cite you’ve been looking for is probably this one, from the bottom of the page at http://www.psmsl.org/products/commentaries/
(Not sure what the blog software will do to the link, here’s hoping)
“ A commentary on the use of tide gauge records for searching
for fingerprints of Greenland and Antarctica melting etc. written by
Bruce Douglas and published in the Journal of Coastal Research in 2008.
This can be obtained by Clicking Here .
This file contains a couple of corrections to the paper added to the pdf as notes.”
Once you read it, you’ll have to redo many of the things you’ve been saying.
Get your description of the facts right, _then_ cite it. Don’t write what you believe then hunt for “cites” to prove what you think. That’s backwards.
Which does kind of bring us around to “climategate” — a year-long exercise of people looking frantically through that supposedly “random sample” of stolen emails in search of something, anything, to use to “prove” what they believed must be happening: http://arthur.shumwaysmith.com/life/content/steven_mosher_even_fuller_of_it#comments
One more try:
pointing to: Brian Angliss has recently put a lot of effort into tracking down the basis of some of the claims regarding “climategate”, in particular looking at the implications of malfeasance on the part of the scientists whose emails were stolen.
Hello The Ville
I made a simple comment to which I was asked to provide citatiions which I have. I didn’t realise that I was apparently being intereviewed for a position as a lead author on the nexr IPCC assessment or else I would have spent six months composing the replies.
Incidentally my post immediately above this was intended for general consumption after the first few remarks to Hank and Tamino. The formatting makes it appear as though the bulk of it was addressed to the latter. If the audience here are the general public as Kate hopes it may be they didn’t know how Chapter 5 came into being or that the tide gauge record effectively finished in the year 2000.
I do feel we are getting away from the main point of this thread which was to comment on Kates post. She has done a lot of hard work and I feel guilty that I have somewhat hijacked this space and few people have subsequently had a chance to comment on her work.
No doubt you are all eager to read the 5 papers she cited as vindicating Prof Jones and CRU and will then make some comments and suggestions to her? I will read through them myself now-it will be useful to have them all in one place
Perhaps you didn’t see my post at 5.20 as it has rolled over on to the previous page?
I don’t need a few days to check my ‘cites’ as this must be the first time in the history of AGW that its proponents complain when someone references information from the IPCC (many times), Nasa, Noaa, Wkipedia, Dr Jeff Masters, University of Colorado, Proudman, Jerry Mitrovica, Grinsted, Moberg and Professor Brian Fagan.
The two MMs have been after the CRU station data for years. If they ever hear
is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I’ll delete the file rather than
winnipegman is finally willing to talk about the CRU cyber-attack and the surrounding noise campaign:
Let me rephrase my question.
Let me ask you: if someone makes death threats to you or your family and drops dead mice in front of your house, are you going to say, ‘hey, it’s OK, it’s nothing, our side does that kind of thing too’?
So are you now saying that hacking into other people’s computers is OK if documents aren’t password-protected? Again, if someone were to break into your computers at home or at work, publish your private e-mails, and spin them out of all proportion in newspapers all around the world, will you even be making such an ‘argument’?
Will you be saying ‘hey, let’s just let it go, we’ll just protect our files better next time’? ‘Will you be saying ‘hey, it’s just a few religious zealots who happen to disagree with us, we shouldn’t demonize them for hacking into our computers’?
Your ‘arguments’ are nothing but cheap ploys to downplay the fact that the deeds of the CRU cyber-attackers — and those who support them — are immoral, indefensible, and inexcusable.
I am not a scientist, I am a Master Gardener. I am associated with a university in my state as all Master Gardeners are.
I have been gardening for over 30 years and can tell you we are getting warmer.
I can reliably grow perennial plants now that I never could before. I am seeing diseases and bugs that I have never seen.
I don’t think that we can ignore the fact that we have been polluting this planet in a way that was never done when all these other climate changes were taking place.
Umm, CRU does more science than the temperature dataset. You have paleoclimatologists, you have Jones’ paper on heat islands, not sure if they have any modelers.
Let me give an analogy:
Suppose one day I say
Then surely it’s reasonable for someone else to ask,
And surely it’ll not be reasonable — in fact, it’ll be stupid — for me to reply,
Yet this type of stupid thing is exactly what you’re saying.
“Kate, these guys are taking over your topic. I don’t want to help them do it.”
Hank I agree and said as much in my post at 11.40 which was up on the screen way before your comment although I see yours has been placed ahead. Presumably Kate has limited time to moderate as these posts keep popping up all over the place.
Kate wrote an interesting piece and this should be concentrated on.
Tony, I didn’t check the claims you attributed to the IPCC.
I looked at your first and last claims; both were bad.
Citing doesn’t mean naming a convincing-sounding authority people might trust. Citing is all about you–your reading, your interpretation, and the primary source.
You’ve failed. Read that academic link I gave you — it’s homework worth doing.
You can do better. There’s no “side” to doing it right. Why don’t you?
Your posts are suddenly appearing all over the place.This refers to your 11.32
As the sequence of posts has become so disjointed it is difficult to follow why you think I was looking for that cite from Douglas. I wasn’t.
Quite what you think it says and why I will need to rethink my own material has left me bemused. Have you read it? It confirms many of the things I have said here. In particular it confirms the rate of change measured by tide gauges as cited in my 5.20 post which is on the first page-the material came from Nasa. I remarked that satellite and tide gauges show different things and cited the sea level rise shown by both.
So no, I dont need to redo any of the things, thank you.
Mind you didn’t you find it ironic that after railing against the use of papers by Holgate you then cite the Douglas paper which references several of them? Does that disqualify the Douglas paper?
Now I think we’ve spent quite enough time on what has become a circular argument so I’ll leave the stage for people to comment on Kates paper.
It seems what matters is who is targeted. How does this sound?
–Slightly modified from… Sarah Palin’s Facebook statement when her own e-mail account was “hacked” (a kid guessed her password). [Original words: “candidates'” and “an election”.]
That kid has since been sentenced to a year in prison, on charges of computer fraud and obstruction of justice (further charges, of wire fraud and identity theft, weren’t part of the guilty verdict).
In comparison, the Climategate hacker has gone completely scot-free, unidentified and with an uninterested media sleeping on pursuit.
(And yes, Winnipegman and others, we can rule out a leak. Setting aside that article (the closest we’ve had to an official statement on this ongoing investigation), need I remind you that just before the “original” release (uploading to a Russian server with the first link published on WUWT, The Air Vent, and a few others), a hack attempt was made on RealClimate, traced to a computer in Turkey? (In fact, a comment from “RC” appears on ClimateAudit earlier than the ones linking the Russian server, simply stating “a miracle just happened”; the name is linked to FOIA.zip on RealClimate.)
What is the likelyhood that anyone in a position to “leak” from the CRU would be familiar enough with hacker methodology to pull this off, targeting the most public voice of climate science?)
“When we look at tide gauges we see them changing by around 1.70 mm per year. Satellites show a change of 3.28mm per year virtually 100% greater.”
You’re comparing apples and oranges. The 1.70 mm/year tide gauge trend is for the 20th century. The 3.28 mm/year satellite trend is for mid-1993 to mid-2010. Recent sea level rise is higher than the 20th century average; this alone explains much of the “discrepancy” between the two trends.
If you go to the NASA “key indicators” page which you cited, it in turn cites CSIRO for the tide gauge data. That page displays both tide gauge and satellite data on top of each other, and you can see that there is not a large disagreement during the period of time that they overlap.
I couldn’t find a data download on their site for the tide gauges updated to 2010, but you can simply eyeball the trend. If you look at their figure, and concentrate on the years 1993-2010 where there is satellite data, the blue tide gauge curve (as well as the satellite curve) increases by about 50 mm (190 to 240 mm). That works out to about 2.9 mm/year, within ~10% of the calculated satellite trend. I don’t know whether it would be closer if calculated statistically from the real data instead of eyeballed, as the satellite trend was. But visually you can see that the blue (tide gauge) and red (satellite) curves are pretty similar in trend where they overlap. Maybe the satellite trend is a bit higher, but not nearly as high as you imply.
Likewise, you can eyeball the 20th century trend. That looks like about 40 to 200 mm over 100 years, or 1.6 mm/year, consistent with the calculated tide gauge trend.
TonyB, you really aren’t looking this stuff up.
Please, make the effort.
> why you think I was looking for that cite from Douglas. I wasn’t.
Exactly. You weren’t looking for it. You did not go to the primary source and didn’t look past the widely misconstrued 2007 paper.
You write: “this must be the first time … proponents complain when someone references information from …. Proudman …”
You’re mistaken. Your last “cite” — Holgate (2007), from Proudman — as blogged by nonscientists is studied as homework. I’ve told you three times. It’s true.
I gave you the link. You never even looked, did you?
Found by searching Scholar for Holgate (2007), as I did:
(the homework page even has another copy of the full text paper)
I’m a proponent of looking things up, being skeptical, asking the reference librarian how to get better information, and helping others do the same.
You do know how to use Google Scholar, don’t you? Ask if not.
Frank, you’ve done impressive work on this topic at your page:
Thanks. Much there is new to me. Lots of reading to do.
This is a very well presented review of the situation. Unfortunately it doesn’t have a short three line summary with which to slay the beast generated by the initial attack.
And in reality, all of ‘climategate’, as well as much of this comment thread, is a diversion, and therefore a tactical and strategic success of those whose interest is in keeping to business as usual.
While there is no question that the details of science are critical, and must be debated and discussed with skepticism, those who disagree with the conclusions are given too much weight both here and in the public discourse.
For a wide variety of reasons, it seems that the science community, and those who accept the facts and are attempting to steer policy towards a non burning future, are unable to apply a wider set of tactical and strategic approaches than
the ‘facts’ and ‘environmental’ policy.
The deniers, particularly the activist ones, are not interested in the details of science- they win by pretending to and keeping well informed understanding folks busy looking for citations of bogus details, or filling in the context of selected snippets, as in the original CRU ‘revelations’. Deniers, according to the “Six Americas” study turn out to be more likely to practice conservation than the cautious or disengaged. Why? Because they understand that using less energy is both money in their pocket and smart for national security. Yet advocates of efficiency and alternative fuels don’t seize this approach, and lead with it.
In order for what we like to call civilization to shift to non burning energy sources, it is necessary to enroll as many people as possible for their reasons- not science’s or environmentalists’.
The focus needs to be on prosperity ( everybody likes to be well fed and warm) and security (same). These are the approrpiate responses to deniers. Whether they are motivated by an interest in free markets, or fears of one world governments, the questioning of climate facts should not be answered by further citations of studies, but the question “Do you like funding both sides of the war on terrorism?” When someone suggests that Al Gore is making money off his efforts to change policy, the discussion should begin with ” are you complaining that he is a better capitalist than you?”, not about when the sea shall rise to x level.
Until there is a readiness to engage the opposition, as well as the neutral, where they live, and on issues they care about, no progress in policy will be made.
“As links to the folder were passed around on blogs and online communities, a small group of people sorted through the emails, picking out a handful of phrases that could be seen as controversial, and developing a narrative which they pushed to the media with all their combined strength. “A lot is happening behind the scenes,” one blog administrator wrote. “It is not being ignored. Much is being coordinated among major players and the media. Thank you very much. You will notice the beginnings of activity on other sites now. Here soon to follow.”
This distorts the actual record. The actual time line of the events which I laid out for people has been available since jan 2010. You should read that
“”As links to the folder were passed around on blogs and online communities, a small group of people sorted through the emails, picking out a handful of phrases that could be seen as controversial, and developing a narrative which they pushed to the media with all their combined strength.”
From Nov 17th through Nov 19th, I was the only person who had access to the mails other than Gavin. Links were not passed around amongst a small group. On Nov 19th, the hacker was upset because WUWT was still sitting on the story. Anthony Watts had asked me to read all the mails and tell him if I thought they were a hoax. The “link” was quarrantined by CTM and he passed me the files on a CD on the evening of the 17th.
On the 19th the hacker wrote to charles, and charles responded :
“A lot is happening behind the scenes,” one blog administrator wrote. “It is not being ignored. Much is being coordinated among major players and the media. Thank you very much. You will notice the beginnings of activity on other sites now. Here soon to follow.”
That comment was written at 1:16pm PST by my roomate, CTM
Let me put it in context for you.
Around 730Pm (PST) the evening of the 17th I received a phone call
from charles. I arrived at our apartment a short while later. he informed me that a link had been posted in the comments at WUWT. The comment had been quarrentined. No other moderators could view it. Anthony Watts was alerted. He was in Brussells.
The files were scanned for viruses. Then Anthony requested that I look at the files to determine if they were a hoax ( you cant tell authenticity) At around 930pm after the files were scanned I was handed a CD. The “link” to the file was held by one person: Charles. Since he was the head moderator of WUWT no one else could have access to the link.
Starting that evening and until the morning of the 19th I read the mails. I called Steve McIntyre and read him mails over the phone. I read him mails that he had written. On the 18th I contacted “the media” Tom Fuller, my friend. This upset charles as I had pledged not to reveal the files to anyone and only had permission to read files to McIntyre. I explained that I had only asked Tom to get some legal advice from the Chronicle and had not shared files with him. On the morning of the 19th at 11:06AM I was alerted by Steve that UEA had sent a mail to employees about a security breach and “files” being on the internet. This let me know that the hacker had placed links in other places.
At this time these people outside of RC and CRU knew about the existence
of the files:
1. Anthony watts
2. Steve McIntyre (the major player)
4. Tom Fuller (the media)
5. Charles the Moderator. (my roomate)
The hacker had written to charles and was upset that WUWT was sitting on the story. Anyways, after 11:AM, we hunted around and found another link to the mails on JeffIds airvent. Nobody had seen this link. Jeff who runs that blog was out hunting. I had promised to keep the files secret until the 20th when anthony returned from brussels. However, since we found them on JeffIds site, I was no longer bound by my promise. I sent jeffId a mail and asked if he had seen the link. He had not.
At 11;39, I informed Lucia and McIntyre and Anthony that the files were out in the wild. Basically, between nov 17th and Nov 19th at 11:39 I was the only person (outside of gavin and people at CRU) who was reading the files. Charles knew that I had talked to Tom Fuller about their existence and knew that I was reading them to mcIntyre over the phone. Once Another source was located ( at the airvent) I argued that I did not have to wait until the 20th when Anthony was slated to land. ( see the post Anthony wrote on the 20th) I argued that WUWT didnt control the file anymore and I then sent a note to Andrew Revkin and told him about the files. Yesterday, I spoke with Andrew and he regretted not paying more attention to the note I sent him. I believe if you search his writing at the time you will find him saying the same thing a year ago.
So, let me tell you what charles meant when he wrote this shortly after 1pm on the 19th
“A lot is happening behind the scenes,” one blog administrator wrote. “It is not being ignored. Much is being coordinated among major players and the media. Thank you very much. You will notice the beginnings of activity on other sites now. Here soon to follow.”
1. I had been up since the evening of the 17th reading the mails.
2. The coordination was me reading mails to mcintyre ( the major player) over the phone.
3, the “media” was Tom Fuller and Andrew Revkin. Tom was informed on the 18th. CTM was livid that I had even told tom about the existence of the mails. Tom and I met at 5:15pm on the 18th to discuss what the legal department had said. His advise was to sit on the files until UEA said they were real. Andrew was informed on the 19th, but he didnt read the facebook comment I sent him for a few hours.
4. Activities at other sites. by noon , charles knew I had contacted JeffId at the airvent about the link on his site and he knew I had placed a comment on Lucia’s and knew that I had posted 3 full mails at Lucia’s and at CA.
5. At that point he explained that the hacker had left a comment wondering why we were not saying anything since the hacker had left the at WUWT on the 17th. So, charles posted the comment above.
This same set of facts was posted by Mcintyre on his site (the mosher timeline) and by us in our book. Sometime after the 19th Charles and I did an interview with the WSJ. They never ran the story.
Months later I was contacted by Breitbart to explain the first few days.
Basically, you got the context of CTM’s nov 19th 1pm comment all wrong.
I imagine if you care to go get the statements made by the parties above to the police you’ll see the same thing.
Now of course it does read better to make those first 2 days a grand coordinated effort, but it was actually nothing of the sort.
Who is Steven Mosher?
Mr. Mosher is frequently given far too much importance relating to Climategate breaking in November of 2009 when actually he was akin to a courier, being one of the first people who was given the hacked emails by the WUWT moderator who found them, Charles Rotter, and only because they happened to be roommates at the time. The anonymous hacker had posted an FTP link to multiple sites such as Warren Myer’s Climate Skeptic, Patrick “Jeff” Condon’s The Air Vent and of course to Anthony Watt’s Watts Up With That?, none of which were to Mr. Mosher’s blog which had been up since June 2009. Despite delusions of grandeur [“Steven Mosher is to Climategate what Woodward and Bernstein were to Watergate”] and ridiculous assertions [“He was just the right person, with just the right influence, and just the right expertise to be at the heart of the promulgation of the files”] Mr. Mosher was nothing more than a temporary go-between that he used to inflate his importance in the matter. He was never directly contacted or targeted by the anonymous hacker as a source to leak the emails since he was not prominent in the climate skeptic community and it required no special “expertise” to read emails, nor special “influence” to contact people like Steve McIntyre. In the end it was Anthony Watts and Charles Rotter who “broke” the story at WUWT where the anonymous hacker had originally intended. This did not stop Mr. Mosher from making ridiculous claims to have “alerted the internet” to the Climategate emails.
Did you notice the date of the comment you’ve just replied to?
Kate, Judith C also has a post up and she added your opus to the list of interesting comments.
I would add this from the Yale Forum. Some very good insights from Malcolm Hughes, Ben Santer and Richard Somerville (among others).
Ben Santer continues to impress with his Congressional testimony and “big picture” commentary.
I’m sure you’ve noticed that the “sceptics” are exhibiting one of their most common traits: an inability to stay on topic, coupled with great enthusiasm for repeating, for the zillionth time, the same old debunked claims. IMO asking for citations is far too lenient a response: deletion with an “off topic” description is all they deserve.
I agree with True Sceptic. I have tried to move back on topic several times but people then keep referring, out of context, to something I’ve said. So back to your topic.
Firstly, congratulations. I thought it was a very nicely written and succinct paper. I don’t agree with most of your conclusions though.
I am British so the CRU emails are of particular interest to me. Having met Prof Jones I have enormous personal sympathy for him and what this matter has done to his health. Anyone issuing death threats or harassing him should be prosecuted.
On a professional basis I have rather less sympathy. He came to believe that the data he worked on with public money was his own and refused to allow anyone to see it, which precipitated the FOIA requests (cites follow)
As regards the inquiries which you believe came back clear. We tend to have two types over here. The first veers towards the intensive and thorough ten year inquiry just concluded into ‘Bloody Sunday’ which cost 100 million pounds. The second type- and much more common- will be familiar to any readers here who watch that old British TV series ‘Yes Minister’.
In that series politicians, or the civil service, try to thwart the aims of the opposite side who want to get to the bottom of something by agreeing to hold an inquiry. The intention is for nothing to be actually done. It is called kicking the ball into the long grass.
This is particularly popular at awkward times like before an election or where some flaw in Govt policy might come to light and is usually achieved by having terms of reference that don’t allow proper investigation or by appointing chairmen who are sympathetic to what the desired end result is.
The British enquiries you mention fell into many of these categories-one of the inquiries interviewed those involved for 1 day in total. (cites follow)
A number of investigations have been carried out into the official inquiries that you are quoting in your article. This is a good one as it deals with all of the British one, plus that from Penn State.
This sets the scene.
This is the report itself
Click to access Climategate-Inquiries.pdf
(the author gained a degree in Chemistry then became a Chartered Accountant which explains his forensic mind).
Here are some of the opening remarks of this ‘inquiry into the inquiries’ as made by Lord Turnbull;
(Andrew Turnbull was in the British Govt for some years, first as Permanent Secretary, Environment Department,1994-98; then as Permanent Secretary to the Treasury 1998-2002, Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Home Civil Service 2002-05. He is now a Crossbench member of the House of Lords.
(Turnbull being a former head of the civil service is especially pertinent as he knows how these enquiries are intended to work)
* these enquiries were hurried
* the terms of reference were unclear
• insufficient care was taken with the choice of panel members to ensure
balance and independence
• insufficient care was taken to ensure the process was independent of
those being investigated, eg the Royal Society allowed CRU to suggest the
papers it should read
• Sir Muir Russell failed to attend the session with the CRU’s Director Professor Jones and only four of fourteen members of the Science and Technology Select Committee attended the crucial final meeting to sign off their report.
• record keeping was poor.
The following comments come from early on in the linked report;
” *The Climate Change Emails Review headed by Sir Muir Russell included several vocal supporters of the manmade global warming hypothesis.
*One member had worked at UEA for 18 years.
*Only CRU scientists were interviewed and no oral evidence was taken from critics.
* The panel failed even to ask witnesses whether emails had been deleted.
* The panel simply said they had not seen any evidence that information subject to FOI had been deleted, despite strong evidence to the contrary.”
THe reality is that the allegations were not properly or meaningfully investigated but equally-because of that- they remain neither proven or unproven. In classic ‘Yes Minister’ style the ball has been kicked into the long grass and whether it will ever be found again remains to be seen.
Personally I feel that CRU have not lived up to the expectations created by its first director Hubert Lamb. If anyone wants to get a proper well balanced view of our changing climate in a historic context I can recommend his book ‘Climate history and the modern world.’
I have no particular comment on Penn state as I do not have sufficient knowledge of how that inquiry was conducted.
> a grand coordinated effort
That describes the data thief’s timeline–seeding copies in various places, not always telling the people he’d dropped it on; pointing others to how to find them (or trying to do that and failing by hacking in and leaving a copy at, e.g., RC).
Perhaps copies were left other places we never heard about–people don’t like to admit they got hacked if they can just delete the evidence and close the hole.
Perhaps the thief didn’t want to keep an archive copy that could be discovered by his agency or school or employer–though the original claim that a “random sample” of the stolen files was being distributed suggests the thief had a much larger archive somewhere.
The story isn’t mostly about Mosher, Fuller, etc. They were tools.
“Charles” reassured the thief that Mosher and Fuller were working on publishing the material.
That was just one copy — one part of the thief’s coordinated effort.
I have no issue with Kate’s slant on the story or with your slant on the story.
But lets keep the initial facts correct.
you have my account on CA, in the book and here.
here is Charles account:
The timeline is laid out pretty clearly, The thief tried to put the files up at RC. he failed. he tried to plant a clue at CA. 4 people hit that link but none downloaded it because they feared downloading stuff from a russian server.
The thief then placed a link in moderation at WUWT .He planted 1 other seed shortly after that. he waited for two days. Impatient he wrote to CTM. That was an interesting message. The thief’s effort was not very coordinated. had he contacted me before dropping the files the way he did I could have and would have described a grand coordinated effort.
Had the files remained in my sole possession I was also contemplating a slow methodical release of mails. climategate mails week by week. At least that was one of my plans. Anthony probably would not have approved of that. Needless to say, that was overtaken by events:
after the time Charles wrote his message to the thief, the thief planted a couple seeds in other places. In any case the thief didnt have a grand coordinated plan. he tried an cute little trick on RC and CA and a few hours later when that failed he planted a couple seeds. he clearly did not know what he was doing. Like i said, a slow methodical week in and week out release of the mails would have been much much better.
Group hug!! Yay!
Duh. It’s precisely because the data doesn’t belong to Jones that he’s not allowed to simply pass it on to anyone who asks.
And, the GWPF’s ‘inquiry into the inquiries’ is even shoddier than the inquiries which it supposedly criticizes, and even makes the exact same errors which it criticizes the Oxburgh and Muir Russell inquiries for.
The Montford ‘inquiry’ took, um, one month?
The Montford ‘inquiry’ didn”t have any terms of reference.
The ‘panel’ behind the ‘skeptical’ Montford ‘inquiry’ was selected by the ‘skeptical’ GWPF itself, and it happened to comprise only one person, i.e. Montford.
So why should I see any reason to prefer the results of the Montford ‘inquiry’ to the results of the Oxburgh inquiry and the Muir Russell inquiry, which (even by Montford’s own supposed standards) is in fact conducted much more rigorously?
Why do you blindly believe every word that Montford says, despite the blatant hypocrisy he shows?
* * *
Thanks for the thanks. :-)
Actually Mosher was referring to the words “much is being coordinated among major players and the media” written by WUWT moderator CTM. But let’s just say that I find Mosher’s ‘explanation’ of this wording to be, well, not very convincing at the moment.
you can read Charles account of the same thing. It’s not like we were shy about telling all the details. There were a couple details we delayed in releasing:
1. Charles real name.
2. The fact that we were roommates.
3. The name of the person at UEA who inadvertantly let us know that CRU was on lockdown ( although people could tell something was up by looking at certain things )
And you too go request the police interviews. or you can write to Andrew Revkin and ask him or ask the WSJ who interviewed us in late Nov.
CTM and I figured we would be investigated and kept pretty good notes of the whole affair. I pretty much knew that when I took the CD he handed me. “are you prepared to have the FBI knock on our door?”
yup. Been through worse.
In response to your first post I think you should be aware that Grindsted et al. 2010 addressed the Sea Level Rise Issue for the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) and has shown that sea levels at the peak height of the MWP were 12-22 cm higher than today. They also showed that if there is no future warming sea levels will reach nearly double that by 2100. Your argument likely requires fine-tuning therefore.
Regarding the Nature statement that “evidence has emerged effectively ruling out a leak from inside the CRU”, I’m still trying to figure out how to get in touch with the article author, because I’d like to know more about the nature of this evidence. (I can’t get a comment form even after registering, and I can’t find an e-mail address.)
Got into contact with Nature‘s David Adam; he says the information ruling out a leak comes “from a very well placed source”, but not much more.
“So why should I see any reason to prefer the results of the Montford ‘inquiry’ to the results of the Oxburgh inquiry and the Muir Russell inquiry, which (even by Montford’s own supposed standards) is in fact conducted much more rigorously?”
Lets all live by Kates’ rule on citations by your giving me one confirming that the Muir Russell inquiry was “in fact” conducted much more rigorously.
I don’t for a moment believe every word written by Montford-neither do I believe the British enquiries were by any stretch of the imagination exhaustive-as I have cited.
…after you parroted Montford’s talking points without question.
Do you dispute that the Montford ‘inquiry’, after lambasting the Muir Russell inquiry for being “hurried” — actually ended up taking much less time itself? Check out the original press release on the Montford ‘inquiry’ on 7 Jul 2010, which said that “[t]he findings of the report will be published at the end of August”. That’s only two months. (*) In contrast, the Muir Russell inquiry was started as early as 11 Feb 2010 and was only completed in July.
Do you dispute that the Montford ‘inquiry’ solicited exactly zero oral submissions, had zero terms of reference, and had zero mainstream climate scientists on its one-man ‘panel’?
(*) I earlier said it was one month — I stand corrected
I am trying to stay on topic so a very brief answer. Yes I have that report thank you. It is precisely the point that I made in my first post which was removed in its entirety. I then made various citations the next day.
My point was that current sea levels aren’t seen in the context of those in the past, making it look as if the modern rise has come out of nowhere and is unprecedented. They have been higher than today in the historic past including the Roman Optimum and MWP as I cited and as shown by Grinsted, who I also mentioned in the ‘wunderblog’ episode.
Future projections are relying on computer simulations based on a variety of criteria. That is a whole other subject I don’t intend to go into here.
As I said elsewhere, both the estimates of past sea levels and future sea levels contain uncertainties — because they’re based on incomplete knowledge. There’s no basis for downplaying the uncertainty in past sea levels while puffing up the uncertainty in future sea levels.
What Tamino said.
[citations needed – the CRU hack was an inside leak]
The very Nature article you linked to specifically said that police investigations had ruled that out. -Kate
But Kate, David Adam made that assertion in Nature by alluding to “special knowledge”, with no citation. Now you cite his unsubstantiated assertion as justification for dismissing a contrary assertion? Do try to be consistently consistent.
I think the problem is that tonyb portrayed Nature to be saying the exact opposite of what it actually says.
Any chance of numbering the comments, or at least having a Reply button? Without either, making it clear which comment one is referring to is a bit long-winded.
I’ve enabled reply with a nesting of 3. Hope that helps. -Kate
> citation …
As Martin Vermeer said:
What Tamino said
“…a dangerous distraction from the consequences of global climate change, a problem that becomes more difficult to solve with every year we delay. The potential consequences are much more severe, and the time we have left to successfully address it is much shorter, than the vast majority of the public realizes…”
The denialists are not THE problem.
Why people do what they do is more complicated than climate. The fact that ‘the vast majority of the public’ do not realize ‘something’ is an entirely natural condition. To think that they can be made aware of a danger, and be persuaded to actually do whatever it takes, in sufficient time to save everyone (or even the vast mjority), is an entirely natural condition as well. However, regardless of the nature of the danger or its severity, it is not reasonable to expect ‘success’. The cards (and the vast majority of the people) are very much stacked against any such attempt. It has nothing to do with global climate change and everything to do with human nature. And, in anticipation of the natural condition to resort to a higher authority, to demand that governments take action against the will of the people and save them regardless, success here is very unlikely as well –especially in the West.
Pascvaks, I see you’re trying another of those ‘Pay No Attention To That Man Behind The Curtain!’ things. But it doesn’t work.
It’s quite obvious: CRU wasn’t cyber-attacked by ‘the will of the people’. It was cyber-attacked by an individual or a group of individuals. Likewise, ‘the will of the people’ didn’t upload FOI2009.zip to a Russian server. ‘The will of the people’ didn’t write bogus ‘reports’ lambasting the Oxburgh inquiries or the Muir Russell inquiries. ‘The will of the people’ didn’t send civil subpoenas to the University of Virginia. ‘The will of the people’ didn’t send death threats and leave dead animals at scientists’ doors.
These actions were all deliberate efforts by small groups of people. There’s no use in pretending that the deliberate efforts and the people behind them don’t exist and attributing everything to the ‘will of the people’.
Yes, they exist. They all add up to whatever value you or anyone else wishes to assign. However, my point is that “they” are of a very insignificant nature when you compare them with the horde of humanity that must be convinced to take action now to save the world.
Compare the number, and relative significance, of all the Denialists on the Planet with the number and significance of everyone else who must be convinced to reconfigure just the House of Cards we call Western Civilization.
To effect the changes needed to arrive at the desired state of affairs by the end of this century is going to be close to impossible. (In my opinion.) More effort is being expended now on a few Denialists than is warrented, and so very much less than is necessary to make any progress is being directed at the “Horde”.
I guess I was waving off the past and just looking at the present and the future; the past seemed as nothing compared to what is ahead.
Employing patented Pascvaks reasoning, when a patient visits a doctor with a venomous snake latched on to his arm, the doctor shouldn’t remove the snake, since the total volume of venom being injected into the patient is small compared to the massive volume of blood that must be treated, and we should be discouraged by the amount of effort it takes to perform a full-blood transfusion.
Of course, to an extent, he’s right, since the damage the venom’s already done has to be treated, but that’s still no excuse for preventing any more from being injected into the system, especially since even if the doctor did the transfusion, there’s still a snake biting the patient.
It’s really the same logic pushed by Lomborg and the SuperFreaks again (that since we can geoengineer we should ignore carbon emission reductions), just applied to rhetorical strategies rather than radiative forcing.
Look, just because we will never convince ideologues and repurposed Cold Warriors doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be challenged. If they’re exposed as the discredited hacks they are, then anyone who can be convinced to disregard them will disregard them (the unconvincable will remain unconvinced either way). Our audience isn’t our target, it’s the target’s audience.
Brian D –
Certainly, if you feel you have the time and resources, challange away. It’s a free world, I’m told. If, on the other hand, time and resources are limited, would it not be wise to put them to best use to get the biggest bang for the buck?
So you’re saying that it’s ‘cheaper’ to let the snake continue to bite the victim, rather than remove the snake?
Didn’t I say, earlier, that It’s really the same logic pushed by Lomborg and the SuperFreaks again? Thanks for demonstrating my point – this is precisely Lomborg’s reasoning. And it’s as flawed here with you as it is with him.
See here for why his argument fails.
I didn’t bring up the snakes and snake bite comparison. I don’t think it says anything about, or actually does anything for, the real problem of directing limited resources toward climate improvement. Is the question about a few snakes biting a few people or doing far more? If you want to save a few people, fine thats your decision, your contribution. But more people need to be achieving success elsewhere on real climate and technielogical advancements. This is the area of most importance and need, not the denialists.
Brian D –
Not at all sure how I fit this comparison or how directing energy toward “real” problems is somehow undermining anything. As I said to Frank, if you want to try to save a few people from the terrible denialists, fine thats your decision, your contribution.
Let me break it down for you. The denialists, like the snake, are poisoning the state of discourse on climate change by spreading misinformation. The public is misinformed — just like the patient is bitten and poisoned by the snake — because (surprise!) they receive this misinformation.
Now you’re telling us that we should merely treat the patient’s symptoms and ignore the fact that there’s a snake biting him, and that somehow that’s ‘cheaper’.
We’re missing each other here. The snakes are biting some, NOT all of the 6.6billion on the planet. OK? Ignore the stupid snakes, pitch your tent, build a campfire, cook your meal, unroll your sleeping bag, crawl in, go to sleep, wake up, have breakfast, brush your teeth, and go out and save the world. The snakes and the victims they bite don’t add up to anything significant at all; but they sure do seem to preoccupy a lot of folks on the Blog-o-sphere. One more time: ***Save the World and ignore the snakes!***
The metaphoric snakes have attached themselves to roughly half the U.S. government, so I’d say that we have some snake-detaching to do before anything meaningful will get fixed. -Kate
“Nurse, the snake is only biting this man on the arm, not everywhere in his body. That’s rather small, so it can be ignored while we go on to try and save his life.”
I only used the snake because it’s a convenient analogy (and I’m kind of addicted to analogies, which I use nearly as much as parentheses). The point is, a small but well-targeted source of misinformation is deliberately interfering with actually getting work done. As Kate points out, they are targeting – and reaching – policymakers, and the scale of this problem virtually demands a policy-based response. Without countering inactivist misinformation, we’re treating the symptoms, not the disease. And your reasoning suggests that treating the symptoms should take precedence over treating the disease because the disease itself is tiny in relation to the symptoms. I, and others, argue that treating the disease makes treating the symptoms easier (NOT that we should be treating the disease and leaving the symptoms unchecked).
Similarly, I don’t think some of us have the skills needed to get “green” done, so to speak. I mean, I’ve had training in building and operating personal solar systems, but I’m willing to bet I’m in a minority among the commenters here. And even with that training, I wouldn’t be able to build many such systems, since I live in an area that has next to no demand for them (I’m in the heart of Alberta, the heart of Canada’s climate-denial all-oil-all-the-time Conservative government). This says nothing about the *rest* of what needs to be done – I haven’t the foggiest clue how to (practically) extract carbon from the atmosphere, alter water budgets, or reduce the need for shipping. (And, as an individual, I’m flat-out unable to alter policy, such as pricing carbon, setting efficiency standards, and cutting fossil fuel subsidies).
However, what I – and others – do have is expertise in battling pseudoscience and spin doctoring. Which, we argue, is necessary to counter the pseudoscientific spin doctoring that’s influencing our policymakers into inaction. (This is hardly irrelevant, given how they’re the only ones able to actually implement meaningful policy change.)
You seem to argue that this is irrelevant. I would contest that I, and others, are doing exactly what we need to be doing in order to have the biggest impact on “getting this done”.
Oh, and from above:
You didn’t read the article, did you?
Lomborg sets up false dilemmas to make it look like we can’t do more than one thing at a time, and then applies spin and misrepresentations to alter peoples’ sense of priorities. He then calls for a cost-benefit analysis.
You set up false dilemmas (fight denialists OR effect change) to make it look like we can’t do more than one thing at a time, then apply spin and misrepresentations (“[denialists] are of a very insignificant nature” (note who’s listening to them) “more effort is being expended now on a few denalists than warranted” (note: unsubstantiated assertion), “Is the question about a few snakes biting a few people or doing far more” (shorter: ‘a few snake bites are OK!’)) to alter peoples’ sense of priorities, and then you call for a cost-benefit analysis (“bang for the buck”).
Still wonder why I draw the comparison? Or is the analogy as lost for you as the snake was?
All quotes attributed to you are on this very page. Characterizations on Lomborg are summarized from Mashey’s piece, which
(There’s also what Mashey calls the A(+,-) case, which applies more to Lomborg than to you, but it’s worth emphasizing. That, I believe, is the other core element of his deception – his altered priorities are themselves selected for spin reasons, and that demonstrates it.)
I believe that Pascvaks is saying what I’ve been saying for months, “endless talking is pointless.” What is that called, an oxymoron? The world needs action, not endless rounds of rehashing the same old same old. The word is not getting out. Conduct a survey on any street corner to see how few have even heard of global warming or climate change, and if they have, if anyone is the least bit concerned about it.
The other day I suggested the following in response to a statement that action will happen only if public officials mandate it, and their votes are on public record. When fossil fuel is abundant, times are good and so is the populace, but disastrous climate change and failed economies twenty-five or fifty or a hundred years from now can cause the populace to turn nasty. An angered population will hold someone accountable; who will it be? Members of Congress who voted to condemn future generations? They’ll probably all be dead by then? Then who? How about their descendants? If I were their children or grandchildren, I’d be deathly afraid of the consequences. I’d be convincing them at this very moment that climate change is serious and action must be taken now, not ten or twenty or fifty years from now.
> the horde of humanity that must be convinced
“November 16, 2010 By Neela Banerjee, Los Angeles Times
… A group of international investors responsible for more than $15 trillion in assets called Tuesday for the world’s nations, particularly the United States, to move decisively to combat climate change …. 259 asset managers and asset owners whose holdings account for one-quarter of global capitalization ….”
You reinforced my point (in a backhanded way) about the hopelessness of getting the World’s population to commit to sweeping changes in time to be able to actually effect desired change. And I don’t think it can be done in the West from the Top Down.
..259 asset managers and asset owners holding or managing more than $15 trillion are highly unlikely to convince 6.7 billion people to build a brand new planet in the next 90 years.
..You may think I’m a glass half empty kind of person, maybe so, but I can’t see anything remotely resembling “what’s needed” in the bag of “what’s likely” we hold in our hands.
[citations needed – 70% of all hacks are inside jobs]
The russians know where the upload came from. And after UAE tried to point the finger at russian oil interests the russians called their bluff. UEA shut up after that. for good reason.
> The russians know … UAE tried … UEA shut up after that. for good reason.
“… primary sources for quotes/current events/etc …”
At no point did the Russian government ever say that SwiftHack was an inside job. According to the Daily Mail, (*) the Russian FSB claimed that the FOI2009.zip file was uploaded to Russia from a machine in Malaysia.
What’s more, according to Steve McIntyre and Jeff Id, (**) the SwiftHacker was seen posting comments through computers in Saudi Arabia and Russia.
(*) which isn’t exactly a reliable source to me, but which you may trust more as is sympathetic to climate inactivism
(**) which, again, aren’t exactly the most reliable sources to me
If you had read Grindsted et al. 2010 you would have noted that the sea level rise during the MWP was between 12 and 21 cm greater than today, however the authors note that WITHOUT any additional warming we would nearly double that sea level rise due to the thermal inertia of the oceans and ice sheets. This isn’t exactly hidden in the fine print.
See the image above for confirmation.
I have the document in front of me. I suggest you look at the comments about the asumption that the MWP is cooler than today which justifies their modelled belief that in 90 years levels will be higher, then look at the authors-Mann and Jones.
Then look at the annotations in the glaciology reference document where they do at least discuss the uncertainties. If you dont have it I will supply it direct. I don’t intend to have yet more posts deleted here. Perhaps you’d also like a copy of last years Met office advert requesting an ice modeller, admitting there were great uncertanties in the science?
That’s the ‘we don’t know everything, therefore we know nothing’ fallacy again.
You can keep trotting out the word “uncertainties” as if it’ll make all the knowledge in the world go away. But uncertainty just means we don’t have complete knowledge; it doesn’t mean we have no knowledge at all.
So after all the fuss of the last week you seem to be agreeing with me at last that the simple statement I made;
“What exactly do you believe sea level to be doing? Are you aware that (generally) it is lower today than during the MWP or Roman Optimum?” was perfectly correct.(see numerous cites I made and posts from clearscience citing Grinsted)
I never made any argument about future rises did I?
That separate discussion can be loosely summarised as ‘sea levels were higher in the past when it was cooler than today, so todays greater warmth will eventually cause the sea levels to be higher than they were in the past.’
I think if we start arguing about whether Mann was right or wrong with his temperature analysis will cause a riot on this blog and I don’t intend to go there. :)
No, tonyb. I simply don’t have an opinion yet on this one.
What I do have an opinion on is that your science sucks. Both the estimates of past sea levels and the estimates of future sea levels have uncertainties (they’re both based on incomplete knowledge). What you’ve done is to arbitarily downplay the uncertainty in past sea levels, and arbitrarily puff up the uncertainty in future sea levels — all because that happens to suit your narrative. That’s not science.
And Moberg. Besides, their conclusion isn’t fundamentally based on the ‘assumption’ that the MWP was cooler than today.
> admitting … uncertainties
http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch6s6-6.html (to 2000)
Since 2000: “the warmest decade on record.”
Exercise: debunk rebunking by citation.
Worth a look on the subject of looking back at climategate/swifthack — this link goes to a piece that provides a good example of how to do fact-checking, how to edit and correct material online as facts call for updates, and a good bit of information about who is making stuff up, here:
See also: http://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Aclimatesight.org+scholarsandrogues
> Ned Cifric
blogspammer and scammer; ‘oogle the name and you’ll find many warnings, e.g.
Pascvaks said, And I don’t think it can be done in the West from the Top Down.
I don’t think it will be done in any developed or developing country from the top down or from the bottom up for two reasons. First, a developed or developing country’s economic success is based on its ability to continually expand, which can’t happen unless fossil fuel consumption and resource depletion continually expand. Second, people in developed and developing countries are fused to their energy-consuming cars, houses, food, luxuries, and incomes. That’s why hollow promises and miracle fixes like greening and geoengineering are so popular; these methods allow those who could make a difference to hold onto their energy-consuming cars, houses, food, luxuries, and incomes. That’s why most vociferous believers are really silent deniers. We know what must be done, we profess what must be done, but we don’t do what must be done. Why? Because, in the words of fictitious Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade, We won’t take the right paths Because It’s Too Damn Hard!
Very good post, Kate. You covered the important parts and put it in the context of how it was used to attack the mainstream science.
What Tamino said, once again.
Tonyb, when you’re caught with your pants down and you don’t even bother to apologize and retract, why should we take anything you say seriously?
Frank, of course the crack wasn’t an inside job. Unless you want to believe that a disgruntled UEA worker had somehow befriended a script-kiddie dabbling in climatology who, for the heck of it, decided to break into RC… (yes folks, we’re talking about people ready to commit cyber crimes not even for getting at information but just for dramatic effect — why would they not crack the CRU site. Get real.)
The only folks at UEA — or anywhere — who have legitimate access to all people’s emails are sysadmins. There aren’t too many of those. And they were the first the police had serious chats with.
Mosher’s fairy tales are for those that want to believe in fairy tales.
This story is almost a year old, but has far more detail about the early reports of Russian sites involved than I’d come across; for anyone else who missed this part:
It’s not what we feel that seperates us, it’s how we can’t seem to express what we feel that keeps us apart. Life’s a beach! Always changing! Always the same!
Hmm. I had predicted that we might be faced with a ‘SwiftHack II’ for the coming Cancun summit, in which the pseudonymous “FOIA” releases some more data cracked from climate institutions to the public. But it looks like we won’t be getting a SwiftHack II; instead, we’ll get WikiLeaks.
Your text translated to Finnish, I suppose it’s ok?
I couldn’t write it better myself so I simply translated it. I didn’t change a single word.
Thanks, Kaj! That’s fantastic! -Kate
Thank you for an accurate and well-written summary of SwiftHack (the term I prefer over Climategate).
Regarding your assessment of responses to Louise’s posting a link on WUWT: Yes, the WUWT echo chamber is running true to form. Anthony Watts himself saw fit to chime in with denigration, saying that the story “offers only an opinion shaded by leanings.” Odd phrase, that.
AFAIK, the identity of the CRU hacker(s) is still undiscovered. One thing I think is clear is that it wasn’t a leak by someone convinced that the research was flawed. If it had been, someone would have claimed credit.
Below is something I posted over at skepticalscience.com. Thought it would be worth repeating here in order to give pro-science folks some ideas as to how to challenge deniers who have been accusing the CRU of fraud and data-manipulation:
Regarding the data that “skeptics” had demanded access to via FOI requests, it turns out that all of that data had been available to them all along. The data that the CRU refused to release was available for the asking (and signing of nondisclosure agreements) from the organizations that actually owned said data.
Now, given the skeptics’ actions (FOI demands, etc.), one would get the impression that they *really* wanted the data in question and were “chomping at the bit” to do some real work verifying the CRU’s published results.
Now, can anyone here point to even *one* legitimate research result produced by the “skeptics” who had been pestering the CRU?
Mind you, the skeptics have had access to all the data and information they needed to conduct independent checks on the CRU’s work, and they’ve had access to the data/information for *years*.
Now to the “skeptics” here — what have you guys done with it? Once again, can you show us even *one* legitimate research/analysis result that you’ve produced (peer-reviewed or not) that shows any significant problems with the CRU’s work?
It’s not like you guys haven’t had enough time (you’ve had full access to all the data you’ve needed for *years*). It’s not like you don’t have access to low-cost computing resources. Hardware these days is dirt cheap, and all of the software that you need is available for free (i.e. Linux, GCC/G++, SciLab, R, etc. etc.). Furthermore, documentation, examples and tutorials are widely available to help get you “up to speed” with basics of these software tools very quickly.
So given all the data, time, and computing resources that you have had at your fingertips for *years*, what have you guys actually done? Time to put-up or shut-up, deniers!
Also, with so much data cracked from the CRU servers, the so-called ‘skeptics’ couldn’t process the data to discover some embarrassing results which were censored by the oh-so-evil warmist scientists?
(There may be a reason for that: some data are missing from FOI2009.zip.)
Not missing, but probably reformatted. My bad.
On the evidence for a hack: from Gavin’s retrospective at RealClimate, http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/11/one-year-later/ :
“I woke up on Tuesday, 17 Nov 2009 completely unaware of what was about to unfold. I tried to log in to RealClimate, but for some reason my login did not work. Neither did the admin login. I logged in to the back-end via ssh, only to be inexplicably logged out again. I did it again. No dice. I then called the hosting company and told them to take us offline until I could see what was going on. When I did get control back from the hacker (and hacker it was), there was a large uploaded file on our server, and a draft post ready to go announcing the theft of the CRU emails. And so it began.”
If it were an inside job, they did a lot of work needed to make it look like an outside attack.
Neal, Gavin there describes finding RC’s host on the receiving end of a breakin by someone trying to deposit a copy of the stolen file and point others to it. It was a breakin, but to leave copies; not the original theft.
Most of the argument using the word ‘hack’ refers to how the access was obtained by whoever stole the original files from the original source computer.
On the tangent about attributing sources, Google has a new set of tags that may be helpful — for example to distinguish original material from reprints, or news articles written from press releases from the original press release: http://googlenewsblog.blogspot.com/2010/11/credit-where-credit-is-due.html
Hank, that’s precisely Neal’s point. Try to imagine CRU insiders “whistleblowing” the content of a mail server (requiring the hacking of that server anyway, unless you’re a sysadmin — and those all spent quality time chatting with the good officers of the Norfolk Constabulary), and then proceeding to professionally hack into the RealClimate server… methinks this sums it up.
Why did you censor my entry, Kate? Was I out of line in any possible way?
Please turn your attention to the comment policy in the sidebar. Thanks. -Kate
This exchange — about the diplomatic material recently leaked — could just as well be about the climate papers:
— excerpt follows —
David Brooks: Maybe the good news is that there is no news. I’ve asked a few world leaders if the secret information they have access to gives them a different picture of the world than the one the rest of us get just reading the paper. They generally say no. What we see on the outside is what they see on the inside. They just have more granularity.
Gail Collins: Yes, so far I’ve been amazed by how few surprises we’ve gotten. Unless you were under the impression that the other Arab countries didn’t hate Iran. Or that China wasn’t fully aware that the leadership of North Korea is entirely composed of nutballs.
David Brooks: These cables — which don’t include “top secret” stuff, admittedly — show no hidden conspiracies, at least of any consequence. Maybe the normal work of journalism covers the world as it really is.
Gail Collins: And that’s a thought that will make the folks at WikiLeaks very depressed.
———– end excerpt ——-
Why was my post discarded?
Please turn your attention to the comment policy in the sidebar, particularly the point about smearing people’s reputations based on speculation. Thanks. -Kate
[citations needed – there has been nearly no warming in recent years]
Re fake charts from CO2Science and World Climate Report mentioned a while back, here’s another example.
With Google Image Search you can start with one of the fake images and search for other places it appears, and map how bunk is picked up and reposted from one denial site to another. It’d make a good research paper for someone, I suggest.
“One blog did surprise me. World Climate Report doctored our paper’s main figure when reporting on our study. This manipulated version of our figure was copied widely on other blogs. They deleted the data and legends for the land and ocean estimates of climate sensitivity, and presented only our combined land+ocean curve …. Pat Michaels duplicated this doctored version of our figure again in an article at Forbes, and didn’t mention at all that it had been altered…. I find the result of their figure manipulation to be very misleading, especially since their blog post strongly implies that our study eliminates the “fat right tail” of the climate sensitivity distribution, and has proven the IPCC’s climate sensitivity range to be incorrect. Our land temperature curve, which they deleted, undermines their implication. They intentionally took our figure out of the context in which it was originally presented, a form of “selective quotation” which hides data that does not support their interpretation.
In summary, I find World Climate Report’s behavior very disappointing and hardly compatible with true skeptical inquiry…..”
Each new scientist to experience this is shocked. Those who’ve been around for a while know the pattern but may not point it out often enough.