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Did NASA throw away data too?

The NASA emails are interesting, but I haven't noticed anything too scandalous, apart perhaps from this. After the initial furore over the discovery of the error in their temperature data, NASA bigwig James Hansen decides the correct response is to show that the impact of the correction is small. Unfortunately Makiko Sato, the scientist who maintains the temperature data tells him there's a problem:

On Fri, 2007-08-10 at 11:59 -0500, James Hansen wrote:

Makiko, Reto,
r am being beseiged by these (see below), The appropriate response is to show the curves for U.S. and global temperatures before and after (before and after McIntyre's correction). Makiko doubts that this is possible because the earlier result has been "thrown away", We will never live this down if we give such a statement. It must be possible to reconstruct the "before" result. Unfortunately, this needs to be done soon, as there are various writers with deadlines this afternoon. I hope that is possible -- this should have a higher priority that the
calculation that we mentioned yesterday.


By the way, I think that we should save the results of the analyses at least once per year, so we will have a record of how they change.

Oh goodness, not NASA too, I hear you cry. Surely they haven't been ditching data just like their colleagues at CRU? And it's all very well saying that results should be saved "at least once a year", but that's not much good after the bird has flown the coop.

Fortunately, Reto has better news...

From: Reto Ruedy
To: James Hansen
Cc: Makiko Sato, Reto Ruedy
Subject: Re: Fwd: FW: GISS - Truth driven vs agenda driven
Date: Frt 10 Aug 2007 13:09:56 -0400


Nothing was thrown out ~ I made the corresponding graphs.


Well that's a relief, but one can't help but wonder if they actually found their earlier results, or if they managed to reconstruct them from scratch.



Judicial Watch obtains NASA emails

This is hot off the presses - Judicial Watch has obtained NASA emails relating to the furore over Steve McIntyre's discovery of an error in their data back in 2007. The revelation of the so-called "Y2K error" lead to a reassessment of climate history in the US, with 1934 being promoted above 20051998 as the hottest year on record.

Judicial Watch article here. The emails are here. Enjoy.



Guardian moderates

That's odd - when I look at Comment is Free threads I get a message above the comment box saying that "This comment will be held for moderation". Does everyone get this or am I on some sort of a blacklist? If the latter, I'm rather bemused as I can't think of anything I've said that would upset the Graun. I don't even post there very often.

Perhaps the Domestic Extremism Team have told them that I'm persona non grata?



PSU inquiry to be held in private

The inquiry into the Michael Mann's conduct launched by Penn State University in the wake of the Climategate revelations is to be held in private, with only PSU staff present.

The initial probe involves a committee of just three, all of whom are Penn State employees with a clear interest in preserving the reputation of a university ranked ninth in the nation in receiving government research and development grants. It may raise some eyebrows to know that no outsiders will monitor the proceedings.

The stakes couldn’t be higher. The perception of integrity in the climate research community will likely determine whether trillions of dollars are pumped into less-developed nations in the form of virtual reparations to atone for 150 years of unequal occupation of the so-called “carbon space” by more prosperous nations.

Still, the public is asked to trust the findings of a secret probe conducted by the colleagues of the accused.

Meanwhile there is no information at all about the parallel inquiry into CRU. I'm trying to rectify that and will report back as soon as I know something.




Bishop Hill reader Josh send this cartoon to enliven my site (some of you may already have seen it at SPPI blog).



Environment correspondents

This is a guest post by Andrew K.

This is as much as anything an appeal for information: to do a little crowdsourcing.
I have been aware for a while that the post of Environment Correspondent isn't necessarily held by either scientists or economists, and can be a favoured career destination for activists.
I have produced a small list which can be downloaded here.  It is by no means comprehensive.  In particular the tabloids are poorly covered, as they tend not to be forthcoming with byelines.  What I am looking for is people to fill in the gaps and add to our knowledge, either by posting in comments or if preferred by e-mail to my gracious host for forwarding.  What I particularly need is
  1. Any missing names, and the publications or media sources they are attached to.
  2. Educational backgrounds, in particular degrees held
  3. Career backgorounds: e.g. former fashion correspondent.
  4. Any history of activism in the area of Climate Change, either convinced or sceptical.
It would be helpful of sources and/or references could be provided.
I hope in due course to produce a comprehensive listing which should help to inform the debate



Mosher's story

Is up at BigJournalism.

Whodunnit? He isn't saying:

Several days before the Climategate files were made public, Mosher says he had been given the files from an undisclosed source. “[The] file came to me in the form of a CD, and I was asked by people to take a look at it and give my opinion whether it was a hoax or not.”



Police are climate change experts

The BBC has picked up on the Domestic Extremist angle to Climategate in an article posted in the regional news section of their website.

A police unit set up to support forces dealing with extremism in the UK is helping investigate the leaking of climate change data in Norfolk.

A spokesman for the unit said: "At present we have two police officers assisting Norfolk with their investigation, and we have also provided computer forensic expertise.

"While this is not strictly a domestic extremism matter, as a national police unit we had the expertise and resource to assist with this investigation, as well as good background knowledge of climate change issues in relation to criminal investigations."

Read that last sentence again. Can they really mean that? The National Domestic Extremist Team has background knowledge of climate change issues? 


How did Mosher get the Climategate files?

New revelations of the circumstances surrounding the escape of the climategate emails and data seem imminent. Patrick Courrielche has a three part article, the second part of of which has just been published. Taking us through how some of the key climate bloggers were informed of the whereabouts of the files, and how they were at first missed, he then leaves us with this devastating cliffhanger...

As anyone who really researches Climategate will learn, the name Steven Mosher continues to pop up. When the story broke, it was Mosher who drew attention to the comment at the Air Vent. He was also the man that alerted Lucia of The Blackboard blog to the files. And he was the first to alert followers of ClimateAudit with a series of posts that included some of the emails.

Why was Steven Mosher so ubiquitous when it came to the breaking of the Climategate story? Because Steven Mosher had the files several days before they reached the internet.




Just saying no

While we're on the subject of hyperactive government and that kind of thing, it's worth remembering that sometimes you just have to say "no" to the powers that be.




Richard North's revelations about Rajendra Pachauri, now  apparently going under the monicker of "Patchygate", have been delayed due to bad weather - really!

That said, they should be worth waiting for:

We have some stunning revelations to make – we have clearly landed some blows and there are white flags flying in certain quarters, with "Patchy", as he likes to call himself, squealing with indignation about a "vendetta."



Mann interview at

There is a very interesting article at, featuring Michael Mann and Doug Nychka among others. Nychka is a statistician who is closely connected with the Hockey Team and was a member of the NAS panel that investigated the Hockey Stick.

Choice quote:

Nychka, who works for the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., said the [Hockey Stick] became so controversial because it was misinterpreted as proof that humans cause global warming.

This misinterpretation was of course due to, among others, IPCC WG1 head, Sir John Houghton.



Parsing the police

Here's my reading of the situation.

I first contacted Norfolk constabulary a week ago and was told by a very helpful press officer that there was no further statement at that time, but that I should keep getting in touch for further information. When I asked yesterday if they had at least ascertained if there was a leak or a hacking of the UEA servers, I was sent the statement which has caused so much interest. In the comments that thread, Jeff Id states that he has heard from Norfolk police too.

My reading of this is that the investigation has barely got off the ground, and some action was perhaps prompted by my questions. Six weeks on from the breaking of Climategate, it might be seen as slightly embarrassing for the police that they had yet to determine what it is they are investigating, so they have now leapt into action. Jeff appears to be the only prominent climate blogger contacted directly. As the person who first received the link to the leaked information, he is an obvious first port of call for the police to get some evidence to point them to the answer to the leak/hack question.

The involvement of the Domestic Extremism Police is probably actually predictable. As watchers of the deteriorating civil liberties situation in the UK all know, powers granted to the police in the wake of 9/11 in order to fight terrorism are routinely used in the UK for minor crimes. By bringing in these specialists, Norfolk Police will be able to monitor emails, demand passwords and cryptographic keys and so on. That these powers are out of all proportion to the alleged crime is of course of no concern to law enforcement officers.

Meanwhile, the involvement  of the Information Commissioner is interesting too. The ICO's inquiry probably has two distinct focuses. Firstly they will  be investigating if UEA staff were involved in withholding information subject to requests under the Freedom of Information Act and the Data Protection Act. For the benefit of overseas readers, the latter relates to the maintenance of personal information.

But while there are obvious concerns over the conduct of UEA staff, it is likely that the ICO will also be looking at whether the hack/leak itself also breached the DPA. While the vast majority of the emails are not personal in nature, there are odd snippets of personal information among all the talk of hiding declines and nobbling journals. It is likely that these would concern the ICO.

I wonder how long it will be before we get a determination on the hack/leak question? Perhaps some of my IT-savvy readers can suggest how difficult it is to determine if one's server has been hacked?



++++Statement from Norfolk Police++++

This morning I contacted Norfolk Constabulary with a view to finding out if they had yet ascertained whether the breach at the Climatic Research Unit was a leak or a hack. I have just received a response which is frankly amazing:

Norfolk Constabulary continues its investigations into criminal offences in relation to a data breach at the University of East Anglia.  During the enquiry officers have been working in liaison with the Office of the Information Commissioner and with officers from the National Domestic Extremism Team. The UEA continues to co-operate with the enquiry however major investigations of this nature are of necessity very detailed and as a consequence can take time to reach a conclusion. It would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.

The National Domestic Extremism Team? Words fail me.



Something's up

The Hockey Stick Illusion currently has an Amazon sales rank of around 200, its highest to date. Yesterday it was at something like 17,000.

What happened?