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2 Part Article In National Post Gives Excellent Layman’s Explanation Of Climategate

Of course, by now just about everyone has heard about Climategate, that huge (over 150 megabytes) release of files, e-mails, and computer code from the CRU (East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit). But, in spite of the significance of the “hack” (or whistle blower release of information), it has not been very well covered by the main stream media. Of course, since the release severely damages the “science” of man made global warming, (no matter how hard the main stream media tries to claim that it does not) it is not too surprising to learn that the main stream media was quite. After all, they are mostly owned by large corporations who plan to line their pockets through carbon tax trading at the expense of ordinary citizens. And, many media types are extremely liberal, and would welcome global government and “climate justice”.

But, finally, a well written, and I think pretty balanced article was written in Canada’s National Post by Terence Cororan. In this article, he goes though the thousand or so e-mails and puts them into context, and tries to explain what they mean in a language that can be understood by a non-scientist.

In the article, he points out that the released materials were clearly not random. They were picked from over 13 years worth of files and e-mails to describe what can not be considered anything more than the pure politicization of science, and “scientists” in search of validation of a theory to prove that man is causing unprecedented global warming, rather than a scientific search for the truth. And, the e-mails showed that some of the scientists had their own personal doubts about some of the findings and research.

The 2001 Synthesis Report looked authoritative in its carbon and temperature outlooks. But one of the “lead authors” was Kevin Ternberth, head of the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado. Eight years later, Mr. Ternberth shows up in the emails. On Oct. 14, 2009, he wrote to Tom Wigley: “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.” In other words, one of the lead authors of the 100-year climate forecasting exercise says there’s something wrong with the models — or the data.

After a while, the IPCC team at the CRU decided to bring Dr. Michael Mann on board. In an e-mail where he agreed to work with them, to Dr. Phil Jones, the leader of the CRU, Dr. Mann wrote the following.

Dear Phil,
Of course I’ll be happy to be on board. I think the opportunity for some direct collaboration between us (me, and you/tim/keith) is ripe, and the plan to compare and contrast different approaches and data and synthesize the different results is a good one. Though sidetracked by other projects recently, I remain committed to doing this with you guys, and to explore applications to synthetic datasets with manufactured biases/etc remains high priority. It sounds like it would all fit into the proposal you mention. There may be some overlap w/proposals we will eventually submit to NSF (renewal of our present funding), etc. by I don’t see a problem with that in the least.
Once the collaboration is officially in place, I think that sharing of codes, data, etc. should not be a problem. I would be happy to make mine available, though can’t promise its the most user friendly thing in the world.
In short, I like the idea. Include me in, and let me know what you eed from me (cv, etc.).

Terence Cororan’s comment to this e-mail was:

Exactly what those words mean is hard to know. It must be science talk

Personally, to me, it sounds ominously prescient of the “science” that is going to be done by the CRU and it’s associated “scientists”.

Part II of the article goes on to describe some of the actual scientific and peer review issues raised by Climategate .

It seemed that there was a lot of tension between the scientists as to what should be published and what should not be published.

Finally, in an important concluding remark,  Mr. Mann tells Mr. Briffa to “correct” his definitions regarding “global temperature and non-temperature proxies.” Mr. Mann prefers using the words “global climate proxies,” thus giving the impression that proxies from tree rings and other sources and actual temperatures are one and the same for IPCC purposes. What Mr. Mann appears to be talking about here is the use of what CRU head Phil Jones would later refer to as Mr. Mann’s “trick” and how he was able to “hide the decline” that Mr. Briffa’s tree-ring research showed 20th century temperatures to be cooler rather than warmer.
A series of email exchanges, some heated and involving a range of scientists, follows. It appears, moreover, that Mr. Mann had interfered with the peer-review process of Mr. Briffa’s article at Science magazine. One of Mr. Mann’s associates, Raymond Bradley at the University of Massachusetts, on April 19, wrote to Science editor Julia Uppenbrink, saying, “I would like to disassociate myself from Mike Mann’s view” regarding the climate warming article. Mr. Bradley sends a blind copy of this email to Mr. Briffa.
The conflict eventually makes it up to Phil Jones, the head of CRU, who writes a stinging letter to Mr. Mann on May 6. “You seem quite pissed off with us all in CRU,” said Mr. Jones. “I am somewhat at a loss to understand why.” Mr. Jones, in strong words, then rips into Mr. Mann. He accused Mr. Mann of “slanging us all off to Science.” We all have disagreements, wrote Mr. Jones, but “We have never resorted to slanging one another off to a journal … or in reviewing papers or proposals.”
After a month of back and forth, Mr. Mann seems to offer an apology. In a mildly grovelling but self-serving and ultimately not-too-apologetic letter, he commends Mr. Briffa and others for doing such terrific work. “I appreciate having had the opportunity to respond to the original draft …. We have some honest disagreements among us …. Thanks for all the hard work and a job well done,” wrote Mr. Mann on May 14.  Mr. Bradley, Mr. Mann’s associate in Massachusetts and co-creator of the hockey stick graph, sends a private response to Mr. Briffa: “Excuse me while I puke … Ray.”
More clashes occur later that year over the tree-ring record. Mr. Briffa, in September 1999, is still battling Mr. Mann. “I know Mike thinks his series is ‘the best’, and he might be right — but he may also be too dismissive of other data and overconfident of his own.” He adds: “I know there is pressure to present a nice tidy story as regards ‘apparent unprecedented warming in a thousand years or more in the proxy data,’ but in reality the situation is not quite so clear … I believe the recent warmth was probably matched about 1,000 years ago.”

After all, it would not fit their agenda to have people knowing that it actually has been warmer in the past. How many times have we heard Al Gore, and others, state that “it has never been warmer”, or something like that. After all, if it was warmer 1000 years ago, that warming was clearly not caused by CO2, and thus their argument for human activities destroying the planet and bringing on major, life threatening catastrophes does not look so impressive or urgent. But, the sinister side of this is the very clear attempt to kill the publication of anything, no matter how well accepted and presented, that does not fit their agenda. This is not how science is supposed to work. As the article points out:

The Mann technique of aggressive intervention in the peer-review process over Mr. Briffa’s work sets the tone for what would become a major strategy as all the scientists within the IPCC loop waged war on any science and papers that contravened or questioned the official view.

One of the most famous incidents involving the IPCC, the  CRU, and Dr. Mann and others is the infamous “hockey stick chart”. This was proudly displayed in the first IPCC finding, and trumpeted by Al Gore as proof that we are destroying the planet. Unfortunately for Al Gore and the IPCC, it was based on very bad science, and was later proven to be false by Steve McIntyre (of ClimateDepot fame), and Ross McKitrick. But, not without intensive efforts by Mann and others of the global warmingistas to block the publication of McIntyre’s and McKitrick’s work.

The anti-skeptic campaign switched into overdrive with the arrival on the climate science scene of two Canadians, Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick. In mid-2003, after many efforts, Mr. McIntyre and Mr. McKitrick finally published a paper titled “Corrections to the Mann et al Proxy Data Base and Northern Hemisphere Average Temperature Series.”
The public battles between Mr. Mann and the two Canadians are already on the record. The emails reinforce the worst of suspicions that the official scientific community did all they could to smear Mr. McIntyre and Mr. McKitrick, prevent publication of the work of skeptics, manipulate the peer-review process and isolate all skeptics as cranks. On May 31, 2004,  Phil Jones, head of the IPCC-designated Climatic Research Unit, wrote to Mr. Mann: “Recently rejected two papers (one for JGR and for GRL) from people saying CRU has it wrong over Siberia. Went to town in both reviews, hopefully successfully. If either appears I will be very surprised…”
Mr. Mann meddled in other ways. In January 2005, he called the editor of Geophysical Research Letters, the official science publication of the American Geophysical Union, to try to head off a paper by Mr. McIntyre. The editor, Steve Mackwell,  defends the decision to publish and tells Mr. Mann that the McIntyre paper has been thoroughly peer reviewed by four scientists. “You would not in general be asked to look it over,” Mr. Mackwell told Mr. Mann. Later in 2005, Mr. Mann wrote to Mr. Jones on their troubles with the GRL journal after Mr. Mackwell’s term as editor was up: “The GRL leak may have been plugged up now w/ new editorial leadership.”

As the battles between the CRU and McIntyre and McKitrick intensified, McIntyre filed freedom of information act (FOIA) requests in the United States and Great Britain to request copies of the raw data that was used by the CRU. It was at about this time that the leaked documents show Dr. Jones telling people to delete any e-mails related to the data for which there is a FOIA request. And, as I reported earlier, it is at about this time that the CRU announced that it “lost the data” and thus could not fulfill the FOIA request!

It is a great set of articles. Go read them in full.

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