The world of skeptical blogging is abuzz, as a new tranche of apparently authentic emails are released in what is being dubbed Climategate 2, or Climategate 2.0. Steve McIntyre, of hockey stick debunking fame, has provided a link to a searchable database of the emails. I am briefly writing this introduction having just done a quick search of the emails with the term NIWA (the organisation responsible for the New Zealand temperature record), and have already dug up some correspondence between Jim Salinger, who was behind the junk science New Zealand temperature reconstruction, and the so called ‘team’ of Michael Mann, Phil Jones et al. I used the filter for 2011 emails, and therefore assume they are new to the second batch released.
The correspondence relates to an attempt at a coordinated rebuttal of some of the work of Hans von Storch (see here for his Wikipedia entry).What the emails show is that Salinger is seeking to rebut the work of Chris de Freitas (see here for Wikipedia entry), and appears to be playing the role of an ‘activist’ (bold added by me):
date: Tue, 22 Apr 2003 22:28:22 +1200
subject: RE: Recent climate sceptic research and the journal Climate
to: “Michael E. Mann” <email@example.com>, Barrie.Pittock@csiro.au, firstname.lastname@example.org, Barrie.Pittock@csiro.au, email@example.com, Phil Jones <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Good to see some action – and I applaud your initiatives. As a backgrounder I have attached various pieces that have been in the NZ Herald which have either involved Chris de Freitas – or are his
‘opinions’. He publishes as ‘associate professor in geography’. The NZ Herald is NZ’s largest daily metropolitan newspaper.
These will show you exactly where he is coming from – and our attempts locally in New Zealand to rebut these. Any actions you do that produce results would be greatly appreciated here, and I will ensure that the appropriate sources get to know!
Look forward to updates.
Regards to all
Note the implication that Salinger has a cozy relationship with the media at the end (highlighted in bold). Some highlights of the the initiative that is being applauded are copied below, but you really need to read the whole thing to see just how unpleasant it must be to be on the wrong side of the ‘team’, of which Salinger appears to be a key player.
From Phil Jones of the CRU:
There have been a number of emails on these two papers. They are bad.I’ll be seeing Hans von Storch next week and I’ll be telling him in person what a disservice he’s doing to the science and the status of Climate Research.
I’ve already told Hans I want nothing more to do with the journal. Tom Crowley may be writing something – find out also next week, but at the EGS last week Ray Bradley, Mike Mann, Malcolm Hughes and others decided it would be best to do nothing.Papers that respond to work like this never get cited – a point I’m trying to get across to Hans.
We all have better papers to write than waste our time responding to drivel like this.
This is an extract of proposed responses from Barry Pittock of CSIRO in Australia:
3. I see several possible courses of action that would be useful.(a) Prepare a background briefing document for wide private circulation, which refutes the claims and lists competent authorities who might be consulted for advice on this issue. (b)Ensure that such misleading papers do not continue to appear in the offending journals by getting proper scientific standards applied to refereeing and editing. Whether that is done publicly or privately may not matter so much, as long as it happens. It could be through boycotting the journals, but that might leave them even freer to promulgate misinformation. To my mind that is not as good as getting the offending editors removed and proper processes in
place. Pressure or ultimatums to the publishers might work, or concerted lobbying by other co-editors or leading authors. (c) A journalistic expose of the unscientific practices might work and embarass the sceptics/industry lobbies (if they are capable of being embarassed) e.g., through a reliable lead reporter for Science or Nature. Offending editors could be labelled as “rogue editors”, in line with current international practice? Or is that defamatory? (d) Legal action might be useful for authors who consider themselves libelled, and there could be financial support for such actions (Jim Salinger might have contacts here). However, we would need to be very careful to be moderate and reasonable in our reponses to avoid counter legal actions.
I have to pause to comment on this. How ugly is this? Does this have anything to do with science? It just looks like a gang of bullies ganging up on someone who does not agree with them. Then we have Phil Jones again, and he explains that they are already taking the action suggested by Pittock (in bold):
My earlier email reply to Neville gives the details of a paper already out there and two more planned. It is clear when these come out we have to be more active in gaining more widespread publicity for them (much more than we normally do). At the moment Ray’s extensive paper (with others) in the PAGES volume could be a starting point. Mike Hulme is moving towards your 3b course of action and I’ll talk to Hans von Storch, who although he says he’s not the Chief Editor is thought of by many to be this de facto.3c is possible through contacts we all have with editors at Science and Nature. I realise the issues with lobbying groups and I’m sure this has been discussed at the IPCC planning meeting in Marrakesh this week. Let’s see how Mike gets on and my talks with Hans (and Tom Crowley)next week.Have a good Easter break – yesterday was the warmest April day for many locations in England since records began, the long daily ones (1890s).
I am just filled with disgust at all of this. This is not science but a playground full of bullies. I am completely at a loss for words.
Just as an afterthought, below is an email from Jim Salinger regarding the New Zealand temperature reconstruction, which may be of interest to the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition:
cc: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
date: Tue, 23 Jul 1996 15:42:54 +1200 (NZST)
from: email@example.com (Jim Salinger)
subject: Collaboration on N Z Tree Ring work
to: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jonathon has shared your message of collaboration. We would be delighted to collaborate with you, Ricardo and Ed on tree-ring work in this part of
the world. As you will be aware from e-mails between yourselves, Phil Jones and us, we have been pushing forward in producing new chronologies
and clean climatological time series.
We think the co-operative and collaborative way is an excellent wayto make progress. By this, we mean true collaboration, where information is shared, data processing together, and joint publications making the approach a partnership. By this means, we can add all our own specialised input into the process, and produce a better result!
We would welcome collaboration as outlined above – would you please
confirm whether you would be comfortable with working in this way.
Now – over the past few years Jonathon, his Ph D student and myself have
produced a series of new chronologies which we have matched with climate
data. We have been quite selective in the sites for either extension of
old chronologies, or new ones, simply because of the climatic complexity of
the country. We have gone for sites which maximise the climatic gradients
- whether these are westerly/easterly differences for pressure gradients,
or temperature signals. You will have some appreciation of this from your
Stewart Island work, and Ricardo will recognise this from his familiarity
with Argentina. I have also been quite selective in the appropriate
climate data for use with these series. These have been screened and
This year I will be working on collection of older MSLP data from the area
(including most of the South Pacific) and homogenising it. Some of the NZ
MSLP data pre 1930 is very poor, and requires refining dramatically. We
would favour an approach where Jonathon can give the input on tree-ring
data and I can give the input and provide the climate data, and we all be
involved with the results, as appropriate. Jonathon and I are both aware
of the bugs in the data, and the complexities of the New Zealand situation.
A copy of the appropriate parts of your NSF proposal would be most useful,
which we could give you constructive comments, if necessary, to strengthen
it. We would be more than happy to be named collaborators on the proposal.
Please let us know whether this is acceptable with you.
Warm wishes and please say hello to Ed.
I will leave it here for a moment. I am just horrified at what I am reading. It is simply shocking to read the emails of the team in the raw. And Salinger, part of the team applauds this, and was responsible for the original temperature record for New Zealand.
I will try to trawl through some more later. However, disgust leaves me pausing for a while.