11.30.2009 0

The Tangled Web of Climategate

  • On: 12/01/2009 10:22:34
  • In: Energy Crisis, Global Warming Fraud, and the Environment
  • By Robert Romano

    Oh, what a tangled web.

    As the Climategate scandal continues to unfold, serious questions have arisen as to whether it will ever be possible to confirm how broadly the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) manipulated data upon which the “man-made” global warming “consensus” is based.

    According to Times Online, reporting on November 29th, “Scientists at the University of East Anglia (UEA) have admitted throwing away much of the raw temperature data on which their predictions of global warming are based… The data were gathered from weather stations around the world and then adjusted to take account of variables in the way they were collected. The revised figures were kept, but the originals — stored on paper and magnetic tape — were dumped to save space when the CRU moved to a new building.”

    That’s shocking, to say the least. However, there was no mention of this in the University of East Anglia’s press release of November 28th responding to the scandal. “It is well known within the scientific community and particularly those who are skeptical of climate change that over 95% of the raw station data has been accessible through the Global Historical Climatology Network for several years,” said the UEA’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Research Enterprise and Engagement Professor Trevor Davie.

    So, was the data dumped, or not?

    The release continues, “The University will make all the data accessible as soon as they are released from a range of non-publication agreements. Publication will be carried out in collaboration with the Met Office Hadley Centre. The procedure for releasing these data, which are mainly owned by National Meteorological Services (NMSs) around the globe, is by direct contact between the permanent representatives of NMSs (in the UK the Met Office).”

    And, said Trevies in an earlier statement, “No record has been deleted, altered, or otherwise dealt with in any fashion with the intent of preventing the disclosure of all, or any part, of the requested information. Where information has not been disclosed, we have done so in accordance with the provisions of the relevant legislation and have so informed the requester.” Really.

    A problem then emerges with the CRU’s story. In particular, the story of Roger Pielke, Jr., who as professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado had requested the raw data used by the CRU to bolster the UN International Panel on Climate Change’s “man-made” global warming consensus.

    He was told that the CRU did not have it. Period.

    According to the National Review’s Patrick J. Michaels, after Pielke made his request, CRU Director Phil Jones responded, “Since the 1980s, we have merged the data we have received into existing series or begun new ones, so it is impossible to say if all stations within a particular country or if all of an individual record should be freely available. Data storage availability in the 1980s meant that we were not able to keep the multiple sources for some sites, only the station series after adjustment for homogeneity issues. We, therefore, do not hold the original raw data but only the value-added (i.e., quality controlled and homogenized) data.”

    While the account of Pielke confirms the Times Online’s story, Jones’ previous response to Pielke directly contradicts the UEA’s official story, namely that 95 percent of the data has been “accessible” for years, and that the UEA will now make all of the data available as soon as they are released from a number of non-publication agreements.

    So, there is a big problem. Specifically, how can the UEA now be in a position to release the data if much of it was dumped it some 20 years ago? The answer is: it isn’t. Not yet.

    According to Pielke’s blog of November 29th, “Today I received an email from a climate scientist of CRU-email fame complaining about my quote in the Times. He says that the national meteorological services have the original data, suggesting that I was misrepresenting the situation.” This would confirm the CRU’s release of November 28th, but it raises an even more important question. If the CRU never had the originals, had global climate researchers outside of the CRU and the IPCC ever had access? Had anyone besides the stations?

    Pielke replied, “If… an economic research unit were releasing analyses of global economic activity in support of policy claimed to not hold the original country data — instead saying, well the countries have it — that would be highly problematic.” Because it would mean that the CRU never had the original data to begin with, but copies.

    It gets worse. Scientists, academics, and others who, like Pielke, requested the very same information were told entirely different stories by the CRU prior to the scandal breaking, according to the Times Online:

    • When David Holland, an engineer from Northampton, requested the data, he was told it was “not in the public interest”.
    • Steve McIntyre, owner of the Climate Audit website, was turned down because he was not an “academic.”
    • Ross McKitrick, professor of economics at the University of Guelph in Canada, said he was told “they had obtained the data under confidentiality agreements and so could not supply them. This was odd because they had already supplied some of them to other academics, but only those who support the idea of climate change.”

    So, to summarize: 1) the CRU did not retain the data that was sent to it by the National Meteorological Services (NMS); 2) data was suppressed because the CRU arbitrarily deemed it not to be in the “public interest”; and 3) the UEA will not release the data without each station’s express permission (which it has routinely denied to non-Hot Earthers).

    Assuming that to be the size and shape of the scandal currently, there is a lot of fallout.

    Clearly, if the CRU was suppressing data release under Jones’ watch, then the CRU may have violated UK Freedom of Information law. And, if the original data is not released in full by the NMS, then it will continue to be impossible to prove what global temperatures even were for a number of years, let alone that increases could be attributed to man.

    But, most importantly, if the data was “massaged” and adjusted to show an increase in global temperatures where there was none, then the CRU defrauded the entire world.

    And, that looks like exactly what happened.

    The American Thinker’s Marc Sheppard has confirmed that the CRU did indeed use sophisticated statistical software coding to manipulate their dataset:

    “[T]here are hundreds of IDL and FORTRAN source files buried in dozens of subordinate sub-folders… [Many] fall into the precarious range between highly questionable (removing MXD [maximum latewood density, the growth parameter commonly utilized by CRU scientists as a temperature proxy] data which demonstrate poor correlations with local temperature) to downright fraudulent (replacing MXD data entirely with measured data to reverse a disorderly trend-line)…”

    Some programmers even attached warning notes about the data to the plotting programs. One reads:

    “The data after 1960 should not be used. The tree-ring density records tend to show a decline after 1960 relative to the summer temperature in many high-latitude locations. In this data set this “decline” has been artificially removed in an ad-hoc way, and this means that data after 1960 no longer represent tree-ring density variations, but have been modified to look more like the observed temperatures.”

    But, believe it or not, it gets even worse.

    After the CRU scandal broke, the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Senior Fellow Chris Horner announced that he had served “three Notices of Intent to File Suit against NASA and its Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), for those bodies’ refusal – for nearly three years – to provide documents requested under the Freedom of Information Act.”

    This is significant because, like the CRU, NASA’s GISS is the world’s other preeminent proponent of the “man-made” global warming consensus. And apparently, they are stonewalling the release of critical information, too.

    According to Horner, the unfulfilled Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request is intended to uncover, amongst other information, “internal discussions about NASA’s quiet correction of its false historical U.S. temperature records after two Canadian researchers discovered a key statistical error… [and] internal discussions relating to the emails sent to James Hansen and/or Reto A. Ruedy from Canadian statistician Steve McIntyre calling their attention to the errors in NASA/GISS online temperature data…”

    And, making matters yet worse, according to Viscount Christopher Monckton, writing an exclusive to Pajamas Media, that data has been manipulated, too:

    “Unfortunately, the British researchers have been acting closely in league with their U.S. counterparts who compile the other terrestrial temperature dataset — the GISS/NCDC [National Climatic Data Center] dataset. That dataset too contains numerous biases intended artificially to inflate the natural warming of the 20th century.”

    All of which means, of course, that Congress is duty-bound to the American people to get to the bottom of this growing scandal and to abolish any and all laws and regulations that depend upon this now-suspect research.

    Certainly, that would be the proper course of action. Instead, after weeks of the White House stating that he would not do so, Barack Obama is preparing to travel to Copenhagen, Denmark to negotiate a draconian treaty drastically reducing carbon emissions in the industrialized world. And Congress is moving to pass its own carbon caps in the Senate.

    But, Obama and his Congressional counterparts should be careful, lest they get caught in the tangled web of lies, manipulations, and distortions of Climategate, and go down with the ship once public outrage over the scandal reaches critical mass, as surely it will.

    Robert Romano is the ALG Senior News Editor.

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