Tag Archives: Michael Mann

The New Hockey Stick

First of all, please accept my apologies for not posting for so long. I have been writing a paper based on some research, and have been working 7 day weeks on it for a long period. It is a challenging piece of work, with some results which undermine a body of theory. In order to get it published I have had to be more thorough, and go into depth that would not normally be required, and still it will be a fight to get it published. This is the nature of challenging the orthodoxy.

On the other hand, if you write something that is in line with the orthodoxy it is relatively easy to publish, even if the standard of the work is not very impressive. This brings me to the subject of this post, which is the Marcott et al (2013) paper, with the abstract as follows:

Surface temperature reconstructions of the past 1500 years suggest that recent warming is unprecedented in that time. Here we provide a broader perspective by reconstructing regional and global temperature anomalies for the past 11,300 years from 73 globally distributed records. Early Holocene (10,000 to 5000 years ago) warmth is followed by ~0.7°C cooling through the middle to late Holocene (<5000 years ago), culminating in the coolest temperatures of the Holocene during the Little Ice Age, about 200 years ago. This cooling is largely associated with ~2°C change in the North Atlantic. Current global temperatures of the past decade have not yet exceeded peak interglacial values but are warmer than during ~75% of the Holocene temperature history. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change model projections for 2100 exceed the full distribution of Holocene temperature under all plausible greenhouse gas emission scenarios.

I typed in the word ‘Marcott’ into Google News search, and the first headline that greeted me said ‘We’re Screwed: 11,000 Years’ Worth of Climate Data Prove It’. I don’t think it is possible to be more ‘alarmist’ than this. The article is found in the Atlantic, and the article lifts the following diagram from the Marcott et al paper:

marcott-A-1000.jpg

The article goes on to say that:

Back in 1999 Penn State climate scientist Michael Mann released the climate change movement’s most potent symbol: The “hockey stick,” a line graph of global temperature over the last 1,500 years that shows an unmistakable, massive uptick in the twentieth century when humans began to dump large amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. It’s among the most compelling bits of proof out there that human beings are behind global warming, and as such has become a target on Mann’s back for climate denialists looking to draw a bead on scientists. [emphasis added]

The article goes on to propose that the Marcott et al paper vindicates Michael Mann’s long discredited hockey stick chart. The hockey stick chart of Mann has always been a key plank of the alarmist argument, as it is the ‘evidence’ that the warming that took place in the 20th century was unprecedented; it was the ‘smoking gun’. In particular, it removed two key elements from the temperature record, which were the medieval warm period, and the little ice age which followed in the wake of the medieval warm period. In a post in Climate etc., Rud Istvan explains it thus:

The MWP has progressively ‘disappeared’ over the course of  the IPCC reports. FAR and SAR showed it to have been much warmer than the present—and nothing to do with CO2. By TAR the MWP was gone, leading to the hockey stick controversy and climategate.

While the MWP did not completely disappear in this new paper, it turned into a <0.1°C blip colder than 1961- 1990. This is quite curious. The MWP was not a blip for the entire northern hemisphere, as illustrated by this figure adapted from a 2010 paper by Ljungvist.

The diagram referenced is given below:

Ljungqvist 2010

As is evident in the Atlantic article, the media bandwagon has started rolling on the findings of Marcott et al, but the problems are already starting to appear. The data used for the paper was made available (which is certainly a positive), but this has allowed others to look closely at the findings. For example, at Suyts blog, Hank ‘discovered that only nine of the 73 proxies contained data that extended to 1950. Of those nine, only two contained data that extended to 2000′ [and] Starting at 1,500 before present (BP), I graphed the nine proxy datasets. And here’s what I got:’

clip_image004

The hockey stick is not apparent, and this is why:

This new 73 proxy study has alarmists convinced that this is an independent verification and vindication of Mann’s hockey stick. It isn’t. The hockey stick blade at the end of the reconstruction is resulting from an adjustment of the proxy data to agree with Mann’s treemometer study. That, or it is an outright splice of Mann’s data directly.

Inevitably, Steve McIntyre, who played a key role in discrediting the Mann hockey stick, has weighed in. In what Bishop Hill calls an ‘astonishing’ post, McIntrye observes that:

Marcott, Shakun, Clark and Mix did not use the published dates for ocean cores, instead substituting their own dates. The validity of Marcott-Shakun re-dating will be discussed below, but first, to show that the re-dating “matters” (TM-climate science), here is a graph showing reconstructions using alkenones (31 of 73 proxies) in Marcott style, comparing the results with published dates (red) to results with Marcott-Shakun dates (black). As you see, there is a persistent decline in the alkenone reconstruction in the 20th century using published dates, but a 20th century increase using Marcott-Shakun dates. (It is taking all my will power not to make an obvious comment at this point.)

The graph comparing the two is given below:

alkenone-comparison

There is plenty more to the critical analysis of the work, for example the absence of the hockey stick in Marcott’s thesis, or the lack of resolution of the proxy data. As a headline from Wattsupwiththat put it, ‘Tick, tick, tick – how long will the new Marcott et al hockey stick survive?‘ My purpose is not to review the many gaping holes appearing in the Marcott et al paper but to consider why this paper has appeared now. The first point to note is that the data was released with the paper. This is important, as it is an admission that hiding data is no longer acceptable practice. However, this presents a problem for alarmists who present questionable work; they are damned if they do not release the data and damned if they do.

As the data comes under increasing scrutiny, it is becoming very apparent that this paper is extremely problematic, and that the conclusions trumpeted by alarmist media sit upon extremely shonky foundations. The authors, unless very naïve, must have been aware that there paper would not hold up to close scrutiny. However, in having a paper accepted in the peer reviewed literature, they have managed to potentially reinstate the hockey stick – and this might now appear in the next IPCC report. In publishing this work, the authors may have sacrificed their credibility to some degree, but in doing so, they have gained membership of the faction in climate science that dominates the literature (see here for why this matters).

The publication of this paper has been important for the alarmist position as the science of climate change, and the alarmist position, is bumping up against the harsh wall of reality. In particular, the models that are so important in the alarmist case are having trouble with the recent stall in warming; they cannot explain it. There is a very good summary of the problems created by the stall in a report issued by the Global Warming Policy Foundation, written by David Whitehouse. This is from the executive summary, but I recommend reading the whole report (about an hour to read):

The standstill observation was first made in 2006; the global annual average temperature had not increased for the previous five years, even though many climate scientists, and the media, were talking about an ever-warming planet powered by strong anthropogenic global warming. The initial debate was couched in cautious scientific terms but, because it ran counter to popular opinion, many dismissed it and questioned the motives of those pointing out these observational facts. But to the amazement of many, and the obvious annoyance of some, as the years passed all the major global temperature datasets showed no warming throughout the first decade of the 21st century and beyond. As this report shows, as the statistical significance of the standstill increased, the debate about its potential importance grew among many branches of science, even though many prominent scientists and institutions, and almost all of the media, were steadfastly looking the other way.

The problem for the alarmist position is that, as David Whitehouse points out, even some of the most prominent alarmists such as Hansen are now having to accept the reality of the stall, albeit they are using various dubious methods to deflect attention away from it. When crying that the world is heading for catastrophe, it is more than a little problematic when the world does not conform to the narrative. As such, it becomes ever more important to shift focus away from the harsh reality of the evidence that contradicts the narrative, and refocus attention on something that might support the narrative.

Perhaps I am wrong, but it is possible that Marcott et al have made ‘a pact with the devil’ (just a metaphor!). In return for creating the right narrative, they join a privileged elite of alarmist climate scientists, but do so at the cost of selling their scientific souls as the price. They have provided a paper which may be highly questionable, appears not to stand up to scrutiny, but have provided the material that is needed by both the media and IPCC to continue an alarmist narrative – in the face of evidence that is increasingly problematic for the alarmist case. In career terms, Marcott et al may have won from this. Their future work will undoubtedly be looked upon kindly by the gatekeepers of climate science.

However, only Marcott et al know their own motives, and I can only speculate on them here. On the one hand, there is a possibility (and one I would like to believe, even if I do not) that they think their paper is ‘sound’ but, in light of the problems in the paper, and the way it has been presented this would be hard to believe. On the other hand there is the possibility they made the trade-off. I can only wish that the former is true, because the latter is just depressing.

Note: The new batch of climategate emails are starting to cause a new stir. I am very pleased that the use of the emails has (so far) been cautious, and attention has been given to preventing non-climate science related emails being kept out of the public domain. We will undoubtedly find some interesting new insights as the tedious task of going through the emails progresses.

Marcott, S. A., J. D. Shakun, et al. (2013). “A Reconstruction of Regional and Global Temperature for the Past 11,300 Years.” Science 339(6124): 1198-1201

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The Professor de Freitas Story and Wikipedia

I have just found an update on the story of Professor de Freitas, and the attempts to have him sacked for allowing the publication of a dissenting article on climate change. Wattsupwiththat has recently published a post which details the way in which the Wikipedia entry on the debate about the dissenting article was distorted to paint a negative picture of Professor de Freitas.

Whilst the post argues that there were many problems in the Wikipedia entry on the incident, it focuses on the claim that all of the peer reviewers of the dissenting article rejected the article. This claim was patently false, and relied upon a single Guardian article, which flew in the face of all of the evidence that suggested the opposite.The story does have a (sort of) happy ending, in that the post led to a correction of the article in question:

UPDATE: Following a conversation on Wikipedia founder Jimbo Wales’ talk page the error has been removed despite initial resistance from those who perpetrated the misinformation:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:Jimbo_Wales#Activism_at_Wikipedia.3F

Also, I’d like to thank Nona, who tried to correct the error earlier as an anonymous user.

I added ‘sort of’ to the happy ending, as these ongoing attempts to smear the good name of Professor de Freitas should not be occurring in the first place. It just serves to place emphasis on the way in which some people have no qualms about presenting lies in order to preserve their world view, and the hell with the personal impact on a perfectly reputable scientist.

Another point mentioned in the article, of which I was previously unaware, was that Michael Mann (of hockey stick fame, and who also engaged in the conspiracy to have Professor de Freitas sacked) had complained to the New Zealand Press Council about a New Zealand Herald article written by Professor de Freitas:

The grounds of Professor Mann’s complaint are that the two articles were inaccurate, lacked balance and showed excessive advocacy. Under lack of accuracy he said the overall tone of the articles left readers with the false impression that the jury was still out on global warming and climate change where, as far as the vast majority of the world’s climate scientists were concerned, it is not. He gave particular examples of the inaccuracies he observed, along the lines of those cited in his article.

Mann had written a rebuttal of Professor de Freitas’s article, and was essentially demanding that it be published. Unsurprisingly, the complaint was not upheld, and I liked this part of the ruling:

Advocates of a particular standpoint may not find the press always serving their purpose, but then the function of the press is to serve their readers in the broadest terms.

In the context of what I found in the Climategate emails, I found this new information to be quite revealing. It is yet more confirmation that Mann is quite obsessive about protecting his views on climate science from any challenge whatsoever. At least in this case he seeks to address the problem with scientific argument, which is better than attempting to blacken a person’s name ( or something of an improvement on trying to get an individual sacked for allowing dissenting views).

However, it does bring to mind the somewhat obsessive commentary on my Climategate articles by Chris C, who attempted to defend the attacks on Professor de Freitas. It crossed my mind at the time that this might be Mann posting under an alias, and the thought once again crosses my mind. Of course, I will never know, and can only speculate; it could be that Chris C was indeed just posting as ‘himself’.

 

Update: I just took a look at the  debate within Wikipedia on the question of the rejection by the reviewers. It is well worth a quick read….you will need to scroll down the page and will find the section. The attempts to defend the wrong information are somewhat comedic….

Climategate 2 – Defending the Indefensible

A while ago, I wrote a post in which I put a series of Climategate emails together, and showed how the so-called ‘team’ (a group of leading IPCC scientists), conspired to have a journal editor sacked from his role as an academic journal editor, and also tried to have him sacked from his university. It is a long post, and continues in a second post, but you may wish to read them before continuing. When writing the post, I never imagined that people might actually try to defend the ‘team’, as the whole series of emails are in context, and very clearly show abysmal behaviour on the part of the team.

However, I have just engaged in an exchange of comments with someone who is actually trying to defend the team. He is not the first person to do so in the comments section (see my last comment below, this was a commentator called ‘Alex C), but nevertheless I am surprised that he is mounting such a determined defence. It is just plain odd. As such, I thought I would publish our small debate. It is interesting of itself, as I believe that it is illustrative of a willful disregard for the evidence of shabby behaviour on the part of the team. My point in posting the exchange is this; I simply cannot understand the motivations for defending the indefensible.  I am just plain puzzled.

The comments come at the end of the post, and I simply cannot see what the commentator is trying to achieve – people will have read the emails. Why are they defending the behaviour that they are defending? Do they really believe the arguments they are putting forwards? I genuinely cannot see why they continue to defend this. With this introduction over, I will paste in the comments (I will not block quote them to avoid block quotes within block quotes which will be hard to read):

———————————————————————————————

John C

How is this corruption of peer review? The mails seem to describe a situation where an editor has allowed reports for publishing that should have never passed peer review.

This seems to be more about the lack of peer review on part of the editor than a corruption of peer review.

Does the blog author agree that a scientific journal which willfully publishes poor research should lose credibility?

————–

NZClimate:

I think that you may not know what peer review actually is? The papers were, as was stated in the emails, subjected to qualified people for review.

As for poor research, what about the work of Michael Mann? Are you suggesting that the work behind the so-called hockey stick chart was good science? Or, like those who sought to have Professor de Freitas sacked, do you think good science only involves findings of climate alarm? Nobody who has respect for science would find the attempt to destroy a person’s career, for simply allowing a peer reviewed paper to be published, to be acceptable. The process of science involves challenge, debate, and alternative explanation….do you not understand this?

I do not think anyone who reads your comment will be convinced….

Nice try.

——–

John C

How about we try to stick to the topic. Trying to change the subject is not an honest approach to debating.

Could you post the exact quotes that state that the papers went through actual, qualified peer review? Because this is what I’m seeing:

“the Soon and Baliunas work is just crap science that should never be passed peer review”

And another thing the e-mails seem to show is that this is not the first time de Freitas allows through papers of poor quality.

So again, how is this corruption of the peer review process? The actual corruption these e-mails indicate is that de Freitas allows through papers that are simply not good science, which undermines the integrity of the peer review process.

Do you disagree that if an editor keeps allowing poor research to be published, that is a problem? For example, an editor of a biology journal lets a creationist publish poor research attacking Evolution?

—————

NZClimate

I am sticking to the topic. You are following the ‘team’s’ method of ad hominem attack when you suggest I am not debating with an ‘an honest’ post. Michael Mann’s hockey stick has been discredited, and his presentation of his results was ‘crap science’ intended to create a false impression of the temperature record (see link below).

http://climateaudit.org/2011/12/01/hide-the-decline-plus/

If you read the emails, you will find that Michael Mann is front and centre in this terrible behaviour. The paper at the centre of this was work which questioned his hockey stick. Does it not seem odd to you that the very people who had such a stake in a now utterly discredited piece of work are the very same people who are trying to wreck the career of the person who allowed publication of work that went against it?

You correctly point out that the emails accuse Professor de Freitas of allowing other poor quality papers through. It is not the role of a cabal of people to determine/decide upon the quality of work that is published, in particular when the work just happens to be contrary to their own work. Do you not think there is a conflict of interest here??? If your approach was, for example, applied to the idea of Phlogiston, with Becker as the person who determined the ‘quality’ of all subsequent work, would modern chemistry have ever have gotten off the ground? Science advances through fits and starts, with occasional wrong turns. However, alternative explanations need to be published in order to identify when science has taken a wrong turn.

Also, although calling my approach ‘dishonest’ do you not think this might describe your linkage with creationism? The Soon and Baliunas paper has flaws (as do many generally good scientific papers), but it is clearly work of science. Perhaps it is not a very honest approach to set a dishonest analogy and to try to sway the minds of readers with this analogy. The work of Soon and Baliunus cannot be compared with creationism. This is a rhetorical trick.

Returning to the question of peer review, this is is in the emails:

How to deal with this is unclear, since there are a number of individuals with bona fide scientific credentials who could be used by an unscrupulous editor to ensure that ‘anti-greenhouse’ science can get through the peer review process (Legates, Balling, Lindzen, Baliunas, Soon, and so on).

I have highlighted the point about bona fide, as the paper was reviewed by scientists. The ‘team’ may not like or agree with some scientists, but they are nevertheless bona fide scientists. What the team object to is that these scientists have a different theoretical position on climate change to their own. They object to the idea that these scientists are questioning their own theory. Well, tough! If their theory is strong enough, they can defend in the peer reviewed literature, but that peer review literature must not be subject to their interference! Why, if they have such a strong case, would they resort to the kind of behaviour that is evident in the emails? Is it because, for example, they were all aware that Mann’s hockey stick would not withstand scrutiny?

As I said in my previous response, I do not think you understand how peer review is supposed to work. It is not about a self-selected group ensuring that only work that agrees with their own is allowed to be published, where such a group determine ‘quality’ based upon whether work supports their own theory.

Again, I will leave it to readers to make their own judgement.

————

John C

That’s a lot of text. I would like to return to the core of the issue, as I am not here to discuss everything you can manage to bring up in a single comment.

Do you or do you not agree that if an editor keeps allowing poor research to be published, that is a problem?

Do you or do you not agree that the scientists you are accusing of corrupting peer review genuinely think the research was so poor it shouldn’t have been published?

Do you or do you not agree that the paper in question was a poor one?

Do you or do you not agree that if scientists notice that a journal is publishing papers that should have never been published in the first place, they are justified in dealing with that in some way?

Do you or do you not agree that a group of scientists should be allowed to discuss how to deal with a journal that keeps publishing poor research?

The reason I mentioned creationism is that it’s an easy example to use. Most rational human being reject creationism, so it’s a good way to see whether you are being consistent when you make your claims and arguments.

—————-

NZClimate:

I will answer you point by point:

Do you or do you not agree that if an editor keeps allowing poor research to be published, that is a problem?

You are making an assumption here that the research is poor. As I have said, even good papers might have flaws. (edit) see answer below as well.

Do you or do you not agree that the scientists you are accusing of corrupting peer review genuinely think the research was so poor it shouldn’t have been published?

I disagree with this. I do not believe they think it is poor research, they think it disagrees with their own work. They may dress this up, and try to convince themselves, but…their own internal dissent over the hockey stick chart suggests that they put their ’cause’ above science. In particular, many of the ‘team’ expressed serious reservations about Mann’s hockey stick, but they did nothing about it. If they are the great defenders of science, why did they not immediately publish a paper to express their concerns with the validity of the hockey stick?

http://climateaudit.org/2011/11/28/severinghaus-and-hide-the-decline/
http://www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2011/12/2/tim-barnett-on-the-hockey-stick.html
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/12/05/tim-barnett-on-the-hockey-stick-statistics-were-suspectthe-rest-of-the-team-knew-of-problems-with-manns-reconstruction/

It doesn’t quite work does it. You are trying to portray the team as a group of scientists of integrity trying to defend the world against ‘crap science’ – but it is odd, is it not, that this integrity did not include getting a rebuttal of Mann’s hockey stick into the peer reviewed literature. Clearly, the ‘team’ thought the hockey stick was highly problematic, so why not act to correct the science? In short, the harping on about science appears as a crass case of self-justification for what they knew was wrong. For example, from the emails, Wigley acknowledged the nature of what they are doing:

Jim Salinger raises the more personal issue of deFreitas. He is clearly giving good science a bad name, but I do not think a barrage of ad hominem attacks or letters is the best way to counter this.

If Jim wishes to write a letter with multiple authors, I may be willing to sign it, but I would not write such a letter myself.

Look at the email, and look who is on the distribution?

Do you or do you not agree that the paper in question was a poor one?

As I state in the about section of this blog, I leave the details of climate science to others. I have read in other skeptic blogs that the paper had flaws, but was overall a good paper (see link below):

http://climateaudit.org/2011/12/06/climategate-2-0-an-ar5-perspective/

However, this is not the issue, is it? The peer reviewed literature is filled with papers with flaws, and the place to deal with these flaws is in the peer reviewed literature, not through seeking to attack individuals. This is corruption of the scientific process.

Do you or do you not agree that if scientists notice that a journal is publishing papers that should have never been published in the first place, they are justified in dealing with that in some way?

Again, you are making an assumption that this work should never have been published and relying upon the views of the people whose work is being questioned to say that it should not have been published. I am not sure you are getting the point here. If there were such a problem (and there is no reason to think this is the case), the proper way of ‘dealing with it’ is to seek to challenge the content in the peer reviewed literature, not to plot to damage the careers of those involved. It really is that simple…..

Do you or do you not agree that a group of scientists should be allowed to discuss how to deal with a journal that keeps publishing poor research?

Absolutely, if scientist believe that work is poor, then they should be able to discuss this. However, there is discussion of science, and then there is plotting to attack someone’s career through smearing their name, and running a campaign to have them sacked from an editorial position. This is not the same as discussing the merits of scientific work, is it?

Again, I will leave readers to judge between your defence of the emails. I do not think they will be convinced. In the end, the authors of the emails make my case for me, with their own words. When uncovering these emails, I remember my sense of shock and disgust. I am guessing that this will be the reaction of most readers, and this is reflected in most of the comments here.

————————–

[My comment: This was sent through as I was writing this post – determined does not express this.]

John C

1. The first question is a general question. I did not say whether it was poor or not in this case.

2. Why would they lie to each other and pretend that they geninely thought the research was poor in internal e-mails? That doesn’t make sense at all.

3. You leave the details of climate science to others, but it is clear that the paper was a poor one, as it has received significant criticism. Indeed, Wikipedia states that “the publisher subsequently admitted that the conclusions of the paper could not be supported by the evidence and that the journal should have requested appropriate revisions prior to publication.”

Furthermore: “Eventually half of the journal’s editorial board resigned along with von Storch. Von Storch later stated that climate change sceptics “had identified Climate Research as a journal where some editors were not as rigorous in the review process as is otherwise common” and complained that he had been pressured to publish the paper and had not been allowed to publish a rebuttal contesting the authors’ conclusions.”

The issue is that an editor allegedly allowed poor research to be published. And this was not an isolated incident. There’s a major difference between finding flaws after publication, and overlooking or allowing major flaws and publishing it anyway!

Wikipedia links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sallie_Baliunas#Controversy_over_the_2003_Climate_Research_paper
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soon_and_Baliunas_controversy

Do you still deny that the paper was a poor one, and should have never been published? It seems to me that others have already looked at the details of the paper and found it lacking. Indeed, they have found that it should have never been published, and the only reason it was published is that climate skeptics had identified the journal as not having a sufficiently rigorous review process.

4. The question about whether poor research should be published or not is a general question again. Do you think it’s OK to publish papers that are fatally flawed to the point where they should never have been published in the first place? And if not, it must surely be OK for someone to deal with this.

5. You first say it’s OK to discuss how to deal with a journal which allows poor research to be published, but then you say it’s not OK anyway?

Do you not agree that now that we have established that the paper did indeed not qualify for publication, and the only reason it was published was that the journal had a flawed and sub-standard review process?

And does it not follow from that that it was necessary to do something about this, so as to prevent further pseudoscience from posing as real science?

What should they have done, exactly?

—————————–

NZClimate:

You still have not explained why the response was not that which is the normal way for science to proceed. That is, if scientists have a problem with the quality of work, they should simply respond by putting their view of why it is wrong in the peer reviewed literature. It really is that simple. There is no need to conspire to have journal editors sacked from their editorship or from their job. In the end, you are just using smoke and mirrors to try to hide the fact that this is not the way that science proceeds. You do not address the problems of Mann’s blatant misrepresentation of data in any of your emails, but still continue to harp on about the quality of the Soon and Baliunas paper? Is this not odd?

In the end of your email, you talk about ‘pseudo-science’. We have now moved back on to the same method you used earlier, when you linked the paper to creationism. On what basis is it pseudo-science? I took the trouble to answer all of your points, so I will now ask you to answer one for me:

Do you think that Mann’s misrepresentation of data in his hockey stick chart is good science or pseudo-science?

I ask this question, because although there were flaws (and good points) in the Soon and Baliunus paper, they did nothing comparable to what Mann did with the hockey stick chart. However, you keep on focusing on the paper. You do so, because the behaviour of the team is abysmal. This is the smoke and mirrors. However, whilst defending this group of scoundrels, you keep on suggesting that they are defending ‘science’. However, you make no acknowledgement of the crass distortion of science in the misrepresentation of data in the hockey stick chart. If I were very cynical, I might suspect that you are Michael Mann, or one of the team. I also note that another comment defending this comes from a person called ‘Alex C’ in the second of the two posts (he gives two comments, and the defence comes in the 2nd comment).

https://newzealandclimatechange.wordpress.com/2011/11/28/climategate-2-and-corruption-of-peer-review-part-ii/

An odd coincidence that you are both posting with the same name format? However, I have assumed that you are just an interested observer, and have responded on this basis.

You end this comment with the question of ‘what should they have done exactly?’

I think I have answered this question so many times, I am puzzled that you continue to ask. Endless repetition of the question does not change the answer. As such I will both say what they should and should not have done:

What they should have done: It is so, so simple. If they felt that a paper was wrong, they should simply write a paper and seek to publish it in the peer reviewed literature.

What they should not have done: They should not have conspired to have an editor sacked, should not have smeared his good name, and should not have sought to have him sacked from his job at his university.

I am sure that you can keep on going. I am sure that you will….I will let you have the last word here and will not respond further – life is too short and, more to the point, I will let readers judge for themselves. I really see no point in going forwards. I am also so puzzled by your determination to defend this behaviour that I am making a post out of our exchange here (you will be able to find it on the home page in a short while. I am genuinely puzzled at your determination to defend these people, and their shabby behaviour. Again, I am working on the assumption that you are just a genuinely interested party.

Over to you for (I hope) a final comment.

——————————————

That is the end of the exchange so far. No doubt, the commentator will respond, and you will find his answer in the comments section of the post. It really is odd, the accusation of Soon and Balunias as being pseudoscience, but no comment on the misrepresentation of data by Mann. All very, very odd. Comments, thoughts, explanations for this kind of determination to defend this are welcome.

Climategate 2: More Shabby Behaviour From the ‘Team’

In two recent posts (here and here), I detailed some emails from Climategate 2 which showed that leading IPCC scientists (often known as the ‘team’) conspired to pervert the editorial system of academic journals and sought to have Professor Chris de Freitas, editor of the academic journal Climate Research, sacked from his university and editorial role. The reason for the action was that he had allowed the publication of a paper which challenged the now infamous ‘hockey stick’ chart, which wrongly showed that the current warming of the planet was unprecedented. The hockey stick chart was the work of Michael Mann, one of the members of the ‘team’.

The emails I detail are not the only ones showing this kind of outrageous behaviour. Steve McIntyre also details attempts to smear the good name of one of the authors of the paper that challenged the hockey stick. It is possible to see a pattern of behaviour. The problem is that the ‘team’ are still up to the same ugly tricks, despite the exposure of this behaviour in the Climategate emails. They are still using smear tactics, and still attacking the good name of Professor de Freitas. They appear to believe that they can act with complete impunity. I added the following as an update on the second of my posts, but I believe it deserves more attention. The quote comes from the ‘team’ website ‘RealClimate’, and a commentator asks a question, with a member of the ‘team’ responding:

Any context on this thread – which might be interpreted to constitute a coordinated effort to have someone dismissed for not following the party line?

https://newzealandclimatechange.wordpress.com/2011/11/27/climategate-2-and-corruption-of-peer-review/

[Response: The issue has nothing to do with not ‘following the party line’, but rather of being guilty of appalling editorial practices, whereby papers were published with claims that were not justified by the analysis, or that were accepted almost ‘as is’ regardless of the views of referees. Hans von Storch in email 2106: “For me it is important that we admit that the result of the review process of Soon & Baliunas was insufficient”, and noting the pattern “We should have been more vigilant after we had seen that actually two critical comments were written on the first Soon paper” (also handled by de Freitas). The corruption here was de Frietas, not anyone who responded. – gavin]

It is apparent that this new attempt to smear Professor de Freitas is being replicated in comments on the Climategate emails. Wattsupwiththat linked to the posts made on this blog, and comments on the the Wattsupwiththat post included the following:

JPY says:

Another classic black=white, war=peace post from WUWT.

The corruption of peer review happened under de Freitas’s watch – he passed papers that reviewers had recommended to be rejected essentially unaltered into the journal (ref. Wigley comments). Even Hans von Storch agreed that the S&B paper made claims that were not justified by their analysis. The corruption here is all on the skeptic side and the natural reaction to a disfunctional journal is to abandon it.

It is not possible to demonstrate that this comment is made by one of the ‘team’, but  the commentator seems very knowledgeable about the background to the story, and follows the lead of RealClimate very closely. Also, anyone who read the post on the subject on this blog, and I mean anyone with any sense of decency, would surely not come to the conclusion shown by JPY in this comment. I cannot be sure, but my guess is that the comment above is from one of the ‘team’.

As a backgrounder, for those of you who are unfamiliar with RealClimate, it is run by the ‘team’ to promote their particular views of climate science. The Climategate emails (Email No. 4349 ) show that the ‘team’,  established the website with the intention that:

We are keeping the content strictly scientific, though at an accessible level.

If we compare the intention with the quote on RealClimate, we can see what their idea of ‘strictly scientific’ actually is. The person replying to the enquiry is Gavin Schmidt, and it is notable that other contributors to the site includes other ‘team’ members such as Michael Mann.

If there is any doubt that this is smearing of the good name of Professor de Freitas, he has recently posted the following email that demonstrates that the team were smearing his good name and reputation:

Thu, 3 July 2003 12:42:48 +0200
To CLIMATE RESEARCH
Editors and Review Editors

Dear colleagues,

In my 20.06. email to you I stated, among other things, that I would ask CR editor Chris de Freitas to present to me copies of the reviewers’ evaluations for the 2 Soon et al. papers.

I have received and studied the material requested.

Conclusions:

1) The reviewers consulted (4 for each ms) by the editor presented detailed, critical and helpful evaluations

2) The editor properly analyzed the evaluations and requested appropriate revisions.

3) The authors revised their manuscripts accordingly.

Summary:

Chris de Freitas has done a good and correct job as editor.

Best wishes,
Otto Kinne
Director, Inter-Research

It is very apparent from the email above that Professor de Freitas conducted himself in his role as a Climate Research editor in a way that was above reproach. However, this has not stopped RealClimate from continuing to smear his name, even going as far as accusing Professor de Freitas of ‘corruption’. Professor de Freitas, the subject of these smears and attacks is an accomplished scientist, as his record shows. For those who are not academics, his publication record, and his record in winning awards is indicative of a genuinely outstanding scientist.

My concern is this. Rather than the first Climategate emails acting as a check on the disgusting behaviour of the team, it seems to have just emboldened them. Whilst the Climategate emails were kept private, the RealClimate attempt to yet again blacken the name of Professor de Freitas is aired in public, with Schmidt even putting his name to the response to the comment. Following the first Climategate emails, several enquiries were conducted into the behaviour of ‘team’ members as a result of some of the revelations in the emails. However, as many who have examined the enquiries have found, they would be best described as ‘whitewash’ (just one example of why can be found here).

I believe that what we see on RealClimate is a direct result of the whitewash. The team have seen the media and establishment continue to support them in the face of their disgraceful behaviour, and they now arrogantly believe that they can act with impunity. This raises a troubling question. With Climategate 2, we can now see ever more clearly the extent of the disgraceful behaviour of the ‘team’. My worry is that, outside of the skeptical blogs, and a limited number of mainstream media commentators, will Climategate 2 really make a difference? More to the point, what can those of us that are concerned about this sordid behaviour do to ensure that, this time, something will actually be done about this terrible behaviour?

It is a question that those who are concerned about this shoddy behaviour should all be contemplating. Comments and thoughts welcomed.

Update, 1st December.

The attack on Professor de Freitas is once again intensifying. A post in Hot Topic says the following:

Unfortunately for Watts and the anonymous (and low profile) NZ blogger who wrote the article, a new analysis by John Mashey of 700+ papers published at Climate Research reveals that the tribalism on display came from a cabal of sceptical scientists, with Auckland University academic Chris de Freitas safely shepherding their papers — however poor the science they contained — through peer pal review.

The study cited in the post would be funny, if it were not for the fact that this is, yet again, an unwarranted attack. Richard Treadgold of the Climate Conversation Group kindly posted a comment to clarify the source and background to the latest attempt to smear Professor de Freitas:

Renowden examines “a new analysis by John Mashey of 700+ papers published at Climate Research” as though it were significant. But I’ve looked up this “paper”. It hasn’t been peer-reviewed or published in any decent journal, only published informally by his pals at the desmogblog blog.

Renowden usually insists on citations of only peer-reviewed material, just like the IPCC. But not on this special occasion.

Why do we pay either the analysis or Renowden’s comments on it the slightest attention? It’s all worth exactly what the blog site paid for the “paper”.

Enough said. However, there is a very small upside to the latest smear. I have seen from my site statistics that this latest smear is driving traffic to the posts on the original emails. Of course, for those people who follow the links to the original emails, they will get the chance to make up their own minds. When they see the emails and their contents in black and white, I have no doubt that they will see the work of the ‘team’ for what it is. As such, although the Hot Topic post and the ‘study’ are further examples of ugly behaviour, we can at least thank the authors for driving traffic to the information which will demonstrate that their latest smear is just that; a smear.

Climategate 2 and Corruption of Peer Review – Part II

This is a continuation of a narrative I am putting together from the climategate 2 emails, which shows how the ‘team’ (a group of famous climate scientitsts) get together to trash the good name and career of an editor of the academic journal Climate Research. The editor in question is Chris de Freitas, an accomplished scientist. The reason for their actions; he allowed the publication of a paper which contradicted the work of the team, and in particular published a paper which was supportive of the existence of the Medieval Warm Period. Michael Mann’s famous hockey stick chart saw this period disappear, and his ‘hockey stick’ chart was used by the IPCC as evidence of anthropogenic global warming.

Before reading this section, I strongly recommend that you start with the first post on the subject, which is here. In the first section, I detail how some of the most famous climate scientists plot to have Chris de Freitas, who allowed the contrary paper, sacked from his job. This post follows the story forwards.

As before, when quoting the emails, I do so minus annoying symbols such as >>>. Where I am commenting within the email text, I place the text as [this is my comments], and any bold text is my emphasis. For this post, I will mainly only quote parts of emails that directly refer to the team’s attempt to attack de Freitas.

In the previous post, I was up to email 1430, but had missed out a crucial email in which Phil Jones is supportive of action 3b and 3c suggested by Pittock to deal with the de Freitas problem (see previous post, email O332 ), which I will remind you of as follows:

(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 [nothing we disagree with goes into the journal]. 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 [them??? – people who disagree] even freer to promulgate misinformation. To my mind that is not as good as getting the offending editors removed [they want to determine who can and cannot edit a journal?] 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 [this sounds like a call to smear anyone who disagrees] (if they are capable of being embarassed) e.g., through a reliable [as biased as they are???] lead reporter for Science or Nature. Offending editors could be labelled as “rogue editors” [this is simply unreal], in line with current international practice? Or is that defamatory? [I would suggest that, yes, calling anyone who disagrees with you, or allows publication of dissenting views, would indeed be defamatory]

Phil Jones writes back to Pittock endorsing both of these actions as follows, in email o332,  on 17 April:

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). [it is clear here that they are, quite literally, activists] 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.

In this email, Phil Jones is clearly endorsing actions to use whatever means necessary to blacken the name of de Freitas. It is also possible to see that they see themselves as having influence at Science and Nature, and that they consider they can call on this influence to do a hatchet job. In the same email, Mann responds to Phil Jones as follows:

I’m going to try to get ahold of Dick Kerr today to see if I can get his interest in doing a story. My guess is that Dick will go for it. If so, I’d like to give him a list of names of people to contact for comments.

Richard (Dick) Kerr is a staff writer for Science magazine. I will jump ahead a little here, as it is appears that Mann succeeds. By 15th August, a story appears in Science magazine called ‘In the Eye of the Storm‘. This is an extract from the piece, and you will note how closely it follows the team’s objective:

It has been a hot summer for Hans von Storch. In June the German meteorologist was promoted to editor-in chief of Climate Research and asked to douse the controversy from the journal’s publication in January of a paper skeptical about global warming. But by the end of July he had thrown in the towel and resigned.

The paper that led to his rise and fall claimed that the 20th century was in fact cooler than a period in the late Middle Ages.Authored by Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, it was based on a study partly funded by the American Petroleum Institute and widely quoted by politicians skeptical of global warming. The Bush Administration even referenced it in a recent report by the Environmental Protection Agency that critics said was altered to hew more closely to the party line.

But other climate researchers say the authors’ data was too limited to support their claims. “They could not draw those conclusions from the methods they used,” says Von Storch.

This was not the only piece that appeared in Science. The following paper is published:

Bradley, R. S., Hughes, M. K., & Diaz, H. F. (2003). Climate in Medieval time.(Climate Change). Science, 302(5644), 404(402).

It may come as no surpise to see that the paper rebuts the Soon & Baliunas (S&B) paper, the publication of which led to the team’s attack on de Freitas. This is the conclusion of the paper:

The balance of evidence does not point to a High Medieval period that was as warm as or warmer than the late 20th century. However, more climate records are required to explain the likely causes for climate variations over the last millennium and to fully understand natural climate variability, which will certainly accompany future anthropogenic effects on climate.

And, if looking at the references used in the paper, it contains references to three Mann papers, and offers this at the end:

We thank J. Hansen, J. Lean, M. Mann, and J. Salinger for comments. Support by the U.S. Department of Energy (R.S.B., H.F.D,), NSF Earth System History program (M.K.H.), and NOAA Earth System History program (R.S.S., M.K.H.).

And here is the rub. Apparently, according to Mann in email number 2469, the article was ‘a solicited piece’. It seems that the planned journalistic expose and the rebuttal all took place as planned. This should, at the very least, cause some concern about Science Magazine in this ugly business. Furthermore, for example, Bradley was on the distribution of many of the key emails plotting against de Freitas, including the one in which Wigley admits that the attack on de Freitas is ad hominem. Here we can see the extent of the team, and a cynical view might suggest that Richard Kerr is joining as a team member (he is later copied in on emails from other members of the team e.g. here).

I have digressed a little, as I wanted to follow up on some interesting points in the emails, and I continue the story at email 4132, of 28th April. This is Phil Jones to Mann:

Now had a chance to catch up a little.  On de Freitas I hope something is going to happen, but I don’t to say anything yet. Hans and Clare will write to the publishers and try to get the reviews from de Freitas. Hans is now convinced he should go, but wants to do on a due cause basis and by the book so any backlash can be dealt with in a fair manner.

From the previous post, you may remember that all along, the team wanted to know who had been responsible for the Soon & Baliunas (S&B) paper. It seems here that the pressure from the team is finally working with regards to Hans von Storch. Mann only makes one comment on this, which is below:

Re, DeFreitas–good to hear. That piece that Jim Salinger just forwarded is especially damning…Thanks for the message.

I am assuming that Mann is referring to the email, in which Salinger is proposing sending a letter with the clear intention of getting de Freitas sacked from University of Auckland. However, I cannot be sure from this snippet, as it may refer to the email below.The next email I have found comes quite a bit later, on 16 May, and is email 4808. (corrected 28 November, thanks Alex) MannPhil Jones is following up on the email of Mann Hulme, in which he proposes writing a letter to the other editors of Climate Resarch, asking for the editors to resign in protest at de Freitas being an editor.

Did anything ever come of this? [the email to the CR editors]

Clare Goodness was in touch w/ me indicating that she had discussed the matter w/ Von Storch, and that DeFrietas would be relieved of his position. However, I haven’t heard anything. A large segment of the community I’ve been in contact with feels that this event has already done its damage, allowing Baliunas and colleagues to  attempt to impact U.S. governmental policy, w/ this new weapon in hand–the appearance of a    legitimate peer-reviewed document challenging some core assertions of IPCC to wave in congress. They appear to be making some headway in using this to influence U.S. policy, which makes our original discussions all the more pressing now.

In this context, it seems important that either Clare and Von Storch take imminent action  on this, or else actions of the sort you had mentioned below should perhaps be strongly considered again. Non-action or slow action here could be extremely damaging.I’ll forward you some emails which will indicate the damage that the publication has already caused.

Thanks very much for all your help w/ this to date, and for anything additional you may be able to do in this regard to move this forward.

It seems that the pressure of the team is bearing fruit, and that they will achieve their aim of having de Freitas sacked as an editor. Also, the primary concern of Jones in this email is the impact of the S&B on policymakers. Other people researching other climategate emails have found the team openly referring to the ’cause’, and it is apparent that the big concern about the S&B paper is that it is damaging ‘the cause’.

You may have noted that Clare Goodess has been floating into view in some of the emails. As a backgrounder, she is a researcher at the CRU East Anglia, and is therefore a colleague of Phil Jones. She was also copied in on email 1051156418.txt in which Wigley admits that they are discussin an ad hominem attack on de Freitas, so must be aware of the role that she is about to play. This is email 4159, and the following is from Goodess to Mann on 19 May:

Hans and I have already raised this issue with Inter Research, but they havent taken  it up yet. Hans and I have have contacted de Freitas and InterResearch over the issues that you and others have raised before. One of the things de Freitas said in response, was that he had contacted the editor of Energy and Environment to see why it had been published. The editor told him that it deserved ‘a less interferedwith version’ , i.e., the original authors had complained about the  changes required by the CR reviewers!

Hans, InterResearch and I are still discussing what action needs to be taken and how to respond to de Freitas’ inititial responses. I will ensure that all those who have expressed concerns to me and/or Hans/Mike Hulme are informed of the outcome.

Notice here, that team members are being kept in the loop at all stages. In the normal world, even if accepting that there should be a review of the position of de Freitas, you would expect this kind of review to be confidential, as it directly relates to the reputation of an individual.The response from Mann is:

Thanks very much for the update, and for your efforts to do something about this. De Freitas’ argument seems to amount to “well the editor at ‘Energy and Environment’ was even worse than me”, and that doesn’t quite hold water.

As de Frietas apparently seeks to distance himself from culpability, please keep in mind that this is only one of  numerous past complaints of suspicious and apparently unethical behavior on his part in association with his position at “Climate Research”. I’m forwarding, under separate cover, an email describing a complaint from Danny Harvey and Tom Wigley.

I, as well as many other of our colleagues, look forward to hearing what happens here.

For this email alone, it might be reasonable for de Freitas to challenge Mann in court for libel. Mann is directly suggesting that de Freitas has behaved unethically in relation to his role at Climate Research. Meanwhile in email 2104, they are planning a new line of attack. On 22nd April, Harvey sends an email copying an email he, Wigley and Goodess write the following to de Freitas:

Dear Dr. de Freitas:

We have discovered that we were both reviewers of the paper Revised 21st century temperature projections by Michaels et al. recently  published in your journal (vol. 23, pp. 19, 2002). In our reviews, we both judged the paper to be in category d (Publication not recommended) because of numerous flaws in the arguments, which we carefully documented.

We now see that the paper has been published almost without alteration from the original submission, except for a few added paragraphs that  either do not address or inadequately address the main objections that we raised. The revised manuscript was apparently not subjected to re- review at least not by us. We find this to be most unusual  even if the authors presented a counter-argument to each of our objections, it is the normal procedure among reputable journals for the authors reply to be forwarded to the original reviewers for further comment.

We note in this regard that even under the less damning evaluation category c (Revise and re-submit for additional review), responses and      revisions should be sent back to the original referees. Your decision that a paper judged totally unacceptable for publication should not      require re-review is unprecedented in our experience.

We therefore request that you forward to us copies of the authors responses to our criticisms, together with: (1) your reason for not sending these responses or the revised manuscript to us; (2) an explanation for your judgment that the revised paper should be published in the absence of our re-review; and (3) your reason for failing to follow accepted editorial procedures.

Yours truly,
Danny Harvey and Tom Wigley
Best wishes, Clare

In other words, a new line of attack has opened up. I have had several academic papers accepted for publication, including some that have strongly divided reviewers, but where the editor has come down upon my side and accepted the paper (and some with the opposite outcome). From this experience, it seems that their complaint is without any foundation, but I have never been a journal editor (although I have reviewed articles).

I’m afraid that, at this point, I will call it a day again. I have just had a comment on the original post on this subject from Steve McIntyre, and he has mentioned that he plans to follow this up. As this blog is only a minor one, and this is a major story, I will leave it to those that can give a better airing to finish the story. I only hope that the work I have done on this might help.

As a conclusion, I would just like to say that the de Freitas affair is, I believe, a very, very major story. In particular there is no question of ‘out of context’ or any of the other excuses that were wheeled out for climategate 1. They are absolutely explicit in their aims, and their endorsement of Salinger’s proposal to try to get de Freitas sacked. This is something that most people, even those who do not follow this subject, can grasp hold of.

In the meantime, I have every confidence that Steve will take this story forwards, and give it the reach it deserves . In particular, Steve’s good name has enough weight to carry the story into the mainstream media. I suspect that this might finally be enough for the ‘team’ to held accountable for their corruption of science. Let’s hope so.

As a final note, I will follow up this story with the New Zealand media, in particular when Steve’s version of events is published. In my original post, I have posted a copy of the email I sent to the New Zealand Herald, effectively challenging them to respond to the story. More of the same may be on the cards, time allowing.

Update: 28 November

I see that this post has been linked to on Real Climate in some comments on Climategate 2. This is the comment:

Any context on this thread – which might be interpreted to constitute a coordinated effort to have someone dismissed for not following the party line?

https://newzealandclimatechange.wordpress.com/2011/11/27/climategate-2-and-corruption-of-peer-review/

And the answer is given as follows:

[Response: The issue has nothing to do with not ‘following the party line’, but rather of being guilty of appalling editorial practices, whereby papers were published with claims that were not justified by the analysis, or that were accepted almost ‘as is’ regardless of the views of referees. Hans von Storch in email 2106: “For me it is important that we admit that the result of the review process of Soon & Baliunas was insufficient”, and noting the pattern “We should have been more vigilant after we had seen that actually two critical comments were written on the first Soon paper” (also handled by de Freitas). The corruption here was de Frietas, not anyone who responded. – gavin]

My response to ‘Gavin’. When reading the whole series of emails, and looking at the context of the whole, I think readers can make up their own minds. This is yet another attempt by the ‘team’ (Real Climate is their online support) to shift the direction, again smearing Chris de Freitas. Again, here again we have accusations of Chris de Freitas as ‘corrupt’. If I were Chris, I might be chatting with some lawyers right now.

Interestingly, I do not think I need to say more. I think the emails speak for themselves, except to say that  it is interesting to see how they will try to spin this. I saw (and responded to) a comment (awaiting moderation at time of writing) on Wattsupwiththat which was very similar to this, and said something similar to my comment here.

Update 1st December

I have noticed that the campaign against Chris de Freitas is being restarted, so I have written a post dedicated to the subject, which can be found here.

Climategate 2 and Corruption of Peer Review

The post here is a follow-up from my last post on some Climategate 2 emails, which I have tied together into a kind of narrative. Why should you read this?It is very simple. There are plenty of articles, views etc. out there claiming that the climategate 2 emails are being taken out of context. I have also seen Phil Jones has been saying that it is just the normal ‘to and fro’ of normal scientists going about their business etc. etc.

This is most certainly not the case in the emails that follow. There really is no hiding place for the authors, and no ambiguity. The emails will track how annoyance at the publication of a ‘contrary’ article in a journal develops into an attack on the editor, Chris de Freitas, an accomplished scientist. The attack includes a plot to see if they can get him sacked from his job at University of Auckland. Within the story, it is evident exactly what kind of ‘scientists’ the key authors are. The word scientist applied to these people has denigrated the meaning of the word.

Amongst those involved are Phil Jones, Michael Mann, Jim Salinger, Tom Wigley, Barrie Pittock, Mike Hulme + others. In addition Pachauri, the head of the IPCC is copied into many of the emails, meaning that he was fully aware that some of the key scientists in the IPCC were effectively out of control.

The post is very long, but please stick with it. The story unfolds, and is worth the effort if you really want to see what is going on. When quoting the emails, I do so minus annoying symbols such as >>>. Where I am commenting within the email text, I place the text as [this is my comments] (update 28 November: I have changed the surrond to my comments to {my comment} as a couple of people seem to have confused my commentary for the original authors, & will do the same for the next post when I have time), and any bold text is my emphasis.

The starting point is email 2683, from 12 April 2003 when there is grumbling about a paper by Soon & Baliunas (S&B) published in the journal Climate Research (abreviated to CR in the emails). There is some discussion of the S&B study, and Mike Hulme discusses the potential of the paper on the thoughts of policymakers with Barrie Pittock:

Yes, this paper has hit the streets here also through the London Sunday Telegraph. Phil Jones and Keith Briffa are pretty annoyed, and there has been correspondence across the Atlantic with Tom Crowley and Ray Bradley. There has been some talk of a formal response but not sure where it has got to.  Phil and Keith are really the experts here so I would leave that to them. Your blow by blow account of what they have done prompts me again to consider my position with Climate Research, the journal for whom I remain a review editor.  So are people like Tim Carter, Nigel Arnell, Simon Shackley, Rob Wilby and Clare Goodess, colleagues whom I know well and who might also be horrified at this latest piece of primary school science that Chris de Freitas from New Zealand has let through (there are a good number of other examples in recent years and Wolfgang Cramer resigned from Climate Research 4 years ago because of it).

I might well alert these other colleagues to the crap science CR continues to publish because of de Freitas and see whether a collective mass resignation is appropriate.  Phil Jones, I believe, is already boycotting reviews for that journal.

The first point to note is their concern is as much about the impact upon policy as it is about the science. This will become important for setting the context for the progressive process in which they eventually seek to destroy the career of the offending editor.We then get a response from Salinger, in response to Pittock’s call for someone to ‘take up the gauntlet’:

Dear Mike, Barrie, Neville et al

Saturday morning here and thanks for all your efforts.  I note the reference to Chris de Freitas.  Chris writes very voluminously to the NZ media and right wing business community often recycling the arguments of sceptics run overseas, which have been put to bed.

I, personally would support any of these actions you are proposing particularly if CR continues to publish dishonest or biased science. This introduces a new facet to the publication of science and we should maybe have a panel that ‘reviews the editors’.  Otherwise we have the development of shonkey editors who then manipulate the editing to get papers with specific views published.  Note the
immediacy that the right wing media (probably planned) used the opportunity!

Your views appreciated – but I can certainly provide a dossier on the writings of Chris in the media in New Zealand.

There are several points of note here. First of all, the positioning of de Freitas as being part of a right-wing, and there is even suggestion of a conspiracy. Finally, just to demonstrate that de Freitas is an ‘outsider’, Salinger will produce the evidence. Having a different view, it seems, is condemnation. Pittock then responds to Salinger:

Thanks for your comments and suggestions. I hope the co-editors of ‘Climate Research’ can agree on some joint action. I know that Peter Whetton is one who is concerned. Any action must of course be effective and also not give the sceptics an excuse for making de Freitas appear as a martyr – the charge should surely be not following scientific standards of review, rather than publishing contrarian views as such. If a paper is contested by referees that should at least be stated in any publication, and minimal standards of statistical treatment, honesty and clarity should be insisted on. Bringing the journal and publisher into disrepute may be one reasonable charge.

‘Energy and Environment’ is another journal with low standards for sceptics, but if my recollection is correct this is implicit in their stated policy of stirring different points of view – the real test for both journals may be whether they are prepared to publish refutations, especially simultaneously with the sceptics’ papers so that readers are not deceived.

On that score you might consider whether it is possible to find who de Freitas got to review various papers and how their comments were dealt with. I heard second hand that Tom Wigley was very annoyed about a paper which gave very low projections of future warmings (I forget which paper, but it was in a recent issue) got through despite strong criticism from him as a reviewer.

Here we have our first indications that de Freitas may be about to face problems. Note that Pittock suggests that any hint of attacking de Freitas for contrarian views must be avoided. The whole phrasing of this seems almost to admit that this is exactly what they are doing. Note also that the implication is that anything that is published by skeptics must be of a low standard. It is a view of quite extraordinary arrogance. It is even more evident in the final bold statement; annoyance that a less alarmist paper gets through.

We now move onto email 2272, of 16th April. The thread of the email is a response to Pittock’s email, and Phil Jones kicks off with this:

There have been a number of emails on these two papers {probably Wigley’s paper}. 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.

Notice that the suggestion is that pressure will be put on the editor Hans van Storch. As will be seen, this is positively mild in comparison to what follows, but is nevertheless interference with the review system to keep out articles that do not support the ’cause’. Michael Mann then pitches in:

Phil relayed this message to me–this echos discussions that others of us here have had as well, and at Phil’s request, I’m forwarding some of these (Phil seems to have deleted them). I am encouraged at the prospect of some sort of action being taken.

The “Energy and Environment” piece is an ad hominem attack against the work of several of us, and could be legally actionable, though I don’t think its worth the effort. But more problematic, in my mind, is the “Climate Research” piece which is a real challenge to the integrity of the peer-review processes in our field.

I believe that a boycott against publishing, reviewing for, or even citing articles from “Climate Research” is certainly warranted, but perhaps the minimum action that should be taken. A paper published there last year by a University of Virginia “colleague” of mine who shall remain nameless contained, to my amazement, an ad hominem attach against the climate modeling community, and the offending statement never should have seen the light of day (nor should have any of the several papers of his which have been published there in recent years, based on quality and honesty standards alone).

A formal statement of “loss of confidence” in the journal seems like an excellent idea. It may or may not be useful for me to be directly involved in this, given that I am a primary object of attack by these folks. However, I’m happy to help in any way that I can, and please keep me in the loop.

Notice that the entire tenor of the email is summed up in the last statement in bold. Mann is taking any criticism of his work as a personal affront that must be stopped. Anything which critiques his work must be stopped. The boycott of citing and publishing in a journal is a big deal, as journal success is determined by ‘impact factors’ which in turn are driven by citations. This is already bringing out the ‘heavy guns’, but still is nothing in comparison to what comes later. In the interim, Mike Hulme continues the interference with the independence of the journal (Update 27 November- I just noticed that there is a section commencing with [Wolfgang Kramer ….] in this case the […] were in the original, not my addition Update: 28th, as per update, my comments now in {…}):

Dear Co-Review Editor

You may or may not have seen/read the article by Soon and Baliunas (from the Harvard Smithsonian Astrophysics Lab) in the Jan 31 2003 issue of CR (vol.23,2).  A variant of this analysis has just been published in the journal Energy and Environment.  The authors/editor made a big media campaign to publicise this work, claiming it showed clearly the Medieval Warm Period was warmer than the 20th century and that the IPCC (and other) analysis claiming the 20th century was the warmest in the last millennium was plain wrong.  In the UK, the Sunday Telegraph ran the story.

I have followed some email discussion about this amongst concerned paleoclimate experts here at UEA, in the USA and in Oz and NZ and their is overwhelming consensus {note this phrase carefully – the consensus of the ‘team’} that the Soon and Baliunas work is just crap science that should never be passed peer review (for a flavour see Mike Mann, Phil Jones and Barrie Pittock below).  These paleo-experts have decided it is not worth a formal scientific response since the story has not run that widely in the mass media (although is now used by sceptics of course to undermine good science) and that the science is so poor it is not worth a reply.

The CR editor concerned is Chris de Freitas and I have followed over the years papers in CR that he has been responsible for reviewing.  [Wolfgang Cramer resigned from CR a few years ago over a similar concern over the way de Freitas managed the peer review process for a manuscript Wolfgang reviewd].

Whilst we do not know who reviewed the Soon/Baliunas manuscript, there is sufficient evidence in my view to justify a “loss of confidence” in the peer review process operated by the journal and hence a mass resignation of review editors may be warranted.  This is by no means a one-off – I could do the analysis of de Freitas’s manuscripts if needbe.

I am contacting the seven of you since I know you well and believe you may also have similar concerns to me about the quality of climate change science and how that science is communicated to the public.  I would be interested in your views on this course of action – which was suggested in the first place my me, once I knew the strength of feeling amongst people like Phil Jones, Keith Briffa, Mike Mann, Ray Bradley, Tom Crowley, etc.  CSIRO and Tyndall communication managers would then think that a mass resignation would draw attention to the way such poor science gets into mainstream journals.

Of course, we would need to be sure of our case and to argue on grounds of poor conduct of peer review (I can forward a devastating critique of the Soon/Baliunas method from Barrie Pittock if you wish) rather than on disagreeable content of one manuscript.  CR does of course publish some good science, but the journal is not doing anyone a service by allowing crap science also to be published.

Now the most interesting point of note here is that the article in question refutes the infamous hockey stick chart developed by Mann, in which the Medieval Warm Period disappears. What we have here is Mann, and other members of the team trying to get the editors of a journal to discredit the entire journal, simply for publishing a paper which refutes his own [Mann’s] work! Note in this that the stakes are being raised again. Mann seeks to have the entire journal tarnished as a result of the publication of the offending papers. Note also his offer to re-review the manuscripts, which is disingenuous, to say the least (bearing in mind he is calling it crap). The aim appears to be to find out who did the review (which becomes quite and obsession, see earlier Pittock email). Finally, see how the consensus (highlighted) apparently trumps peer review! So the pressure is building against the journal…..

We are now onto email 3039 of 17 April. This is from the apparently mild mannered Phil Jones to Mike Hulme:

See the other emails I’ve sent today. Came in to do some work ! Keep me informed of the results and I’ll talk to Hans.  Nice try to shut Tim Lenton up – he’ll continue though !

Email O332 sees the approach to the de Freitas problem take a nasty turn. This is from Pittock to the rest of the ‘team’ and is very long so most commentary is in the text [comments in this format]. It is worth reproducing in full, as…well, you will see….:

I just want to throw in some thoughts re appropriate responses to all this – probably obvious to some of you, but clearly different from some views expressed. This is not solely a reply to Phil Jones, as I have read lots of other emails today including all those interesting ones from Michael Mann.

1. I completely understand the frustration by some at having to consider a reply to these nonsense papers, and I agree that such replies will not get cited much and may in fact draw attention to papers which deserve to be ignored.

2. However, ignoring them can be interpreted as not having an answer, and whether we ignore them or not, there are people and lobby groups which will push these papers as ‘refereed science’which WILL be persuasive to many small or large decision-makers who are NOT competent to make their own scientific judgements, {again, this is about policy, not about science} and some of whom wish the enhanced GH effect would turn out to be a myth. In our Australian backwater for example, such papers WILL/ARE being copied to business executives and politicians to bolster anti-FCCC decisions, and these people do matter {and goodness, wouldn’t it be terrible if they got an alternative picture of the science!}.There has to be a well-argued and authoritative response, at least for private circulation, and as a basis for advice to these decision-makers.

3. I see several possible courses of action that would be useful.

(a) Prepare a background briefing document for wide private circulation {why private???}, 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 {nothing we disagree with goes into the journal}. 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 {them??? – people who disagree} even freer to promulgate misinformation. To my mind that is not as good as getting the offending editors removed {they want to determine who can and cannot edit a journal?} 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 {this sounds like a call to smear anyone who disagrees} (if they are capable of being embarassed) e.g., through a reliable {as biased as they are???} lead reporter for Science or Nature. Offending editors could be labelled as “rogue editors” {this is simply unreal}, in line with current international practice? Or is that defamatory? {I would suggest that, yes, calling anyone who disagrees with you, or allows publication of dissenting views, would indeed be 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.

4. I thoroughly agree that just entering in to a public slanging match with the offending authors (or editors for that matter) on a one-to-one basis is not the way to go {no we do not want debate in the literature, for example????}. We need some more concerted action.

5. One other thought is that it may be worthwhile for some authors to do a serious further study to bring out some statistical tests for the likelihood of numerous proxy records showing unprecedented synchronous warming in the last 30+ years. This could be, somewhat along the lines of the tests used in the studies of observed changes in biological and physical systems in the TAR WGII report(SPM figure 1 and related text in Chapter 19, and recent papers by Parmesan and Yohe (2003) and Root et al. (2003) in Nature 421, 37-42 and 57-60). Someone may already have this in hand. I am sure the evidence is even stronger than for the critters. That is of course what has already been done in fingerprinting the actualtemperature record. {well, here is a radical alternative – address the skeptical arguments with science – however, as will be seen, they choose path 3B rather than the science!}

We now come to email 3052, 23rd April. This is where it gets really, really nasty. For this reason, I have listed all of those who were a cc on the email, and who it was addressed to. The email is from Jim Salinger, then working for NIWA new Zealand, and I imagine you will be shocked:

cc: n.nicholls@bom.gov.au, Peter.Whetton@csiro.au, Roger.Francey@csiro.au, David.Etheridge@csiro.au, Ian.Smith@csiro.au, Simon.Torok@csiro.au, Willem.Bouma@csiro.au, j.salinger@niwa.com, pachauri@teri.res.in, Greg.Ayers@csiro.au, Rick.Bailey@csiro.au, Graeme.Pearman@csiro.au, mmaccrac@comcast.net, tcrowley@duke.edu, rbradley@geo.umass.edu

To: Pittock@csiro.au, m.hulme@uea.ac.uk, Barrie.Pittock@csiro.au, mann@virginia.edu, Phil Jones, harvey@geog.utoronto.ca, wigley@ucar.edu, n.nicholls@bom.gov.au

For information, De Freitas has finally put all his arguments together in a paper published in the Canadian Bulletin of Petroleum
Geology, 2002 (on holiday at the moment, and the reference is at  work!)

I have had thoughts also on a further course of action.  The present Vice Chancellor of the University of Auckland, Professor John Hood (comes from an engineering background) is very concerned that Auckland should be seen as New Zealand’s premier research university, and one with an excellent reputation internationally.  He is concerned to the extent that he is monitoring the performance of ALL his senior staff, from Associate Professor upwards, including interviews with them.  My suggestion is that a band of you review editors write directly to Professor Hood with your concerns.  In it you should point out that you are all globally recognized top climate scientist.  It is best that such a letter come from outside NZ and is signed by more than one person.  His address is:

Professor John Hood
Vice Chancellor
University of Auckland
Private Bag 92019
Auckland, New Zealand

Let me know what you think!  See suggested text below.

Regards

Jim

Some suggested text below:

***************

We write to you as the editorial board(review editors??) of the leading international journal Climate Research for climate scientists
….
We are very concerned at the poor standards and personal biases shown by a member of your staff. …..

When we originally appointed … to the editorial board we were under the impression that they would carry out their duties in an objective manner as is expected of scientists world wide.  We were also given to understand that this person has been honoured with science communicator of the year award, several times by your … organisation.

Instead we have discovered that this person has been using his position to promote ‘fringe’ views of various groups with which they are associated around the world.  It perhaps would have been less disturbing if the ‘science’ that was being passed through the system was sound.  However, a recent incident has alerted us to the fact that poorly constructed and uncritical work has been allowed to enter the pages of the journal.  A recent example has caused outrage amongst leading climate scientists around the world and has resulted in the journal dismissing (??).. from the editorial board.

We bring this to your attention since we consider it brings the name of your university and New Zealand into some disrepute. We leave it to your discretion what use you make of this information.

The journal itself cannot be considered completely blameless in this situation and we clearly need to tighten some of our editorial processes; however, up until now we have relied on the honour and professionalism of our editors.  Sadly this incident has damaged our faith in some of our fellow scientists. Regrettably it will reflect on your institution as this person is a relatively senior staff member.

Yes, read it again. There can be no doubt that they are trying to get Chris de Freitas sacked from the University of Auckland. Re-read it if you have any doubts. When the team object to a person, they really, really object. And if that means seeking to destroy a reputation and career, so be it. If you look at Pittock’s email with the options for action, you can see the final option was to address critiques with science. Instead, the proposed course of action is to gang up on an individual, and trash their career and reputation.

Any ambiguity or lack of context here??

And it gets worse, as the action is approved of by other members of the team. Along the way, they also sometimes reveal more than their willingness to pursue a vendetta against de Freitas.

This is email 1051230500.txt, of 24th April. Tom Wigley tries to hide behind a fig leaf of science, but in the end hypocritically then agrees to sign the letter to tarnish de Freitas. I will  not quote all the email, as it is very long, and this post is now too long overall. Wigley does discuss using science to solve the problems along the way, but I will just focus on the parts that deal with the trashing of de Freitas. The email starts with this (note, the bit in […] on this occasion is the original author):

[Apologies to those I have missed who have been part of this email  exchange — although they may be glad to have been missed]

I think Barrie Pittock has the right idea — although there are some unique things about this situation. Barrie says ….

(1) There are lots of bad papers out there
(2) The best response is probably to write a ‘rebuttal’

to which I add ….

(3) A published rebuttal will help IPCC authors in the 4AR.

(Update 27 November- this was in block quote, and is now clearly my text)It is very clear that Wigley is very uncomfortable about what is going on, and knows that he is in a conspiracy against an individual. The following discussion follows consideration of attempts to find out how Wigley had rejected papers in review, but which still had been published. He goes on to say:

This second case gets to the crux of the matter. I suspect that deFreitas deliberately chose other referees who are members of the skeptics camp. I also suspect that he has done this on other occasions. How to deal with this is unclear, since there are a number of individuals with bona fide scientific credentials who could be used by an unscrupulous editor to ensure that ‘anti-greenhouse’ science can get through the peer review  process (Legates, Balling, Lindzen, Baliunas, Soon, and so on).

The peer review process is being abused, but proving this would be difficult.

The best response is, I strongly believe, to rebut the bad science that does get through.

Note the points I have highlighted. People with bona fide scientific background should not review articles, as they might actually accept them for publication. Even if these scientist believe a paper is worthy of publication, apparently it is a bad publication. I do not think he had any idea of the implicit corruption of  peer reviewed science that is revealed in this exchange – but then again, look at the next part of Wigley’s email, and ask what this has to do with science?

Jim Salinger raises the more personal issue of deFreitas. He is  clearly giving good science a bad name, but I do not think a barrage of ad hominem attacks or letters is the best way to counter this.

If Jim wishes to write a letter with multiple authors, I may be willing to sign it, but I would not write such a letter myself.

In this case, deFreitas is such a poor scientist that he may simply disappear. I saw some work from his PhD, and it was awful (Pat Michaels’ PhD is at the same level).

In this, he acknowledges what is going on, as he does at the start of the email, but is willing to go along with it……despite recognising that it is wrong! The same email has the following from Salinger:

This will be the last from me for the moment and I believe we are all arriving at a consensus voiced by Tom, Barrie, Neville et al., from excellent discussions.

Firstly both Danny and Tom have complained to de Freitas about his editorial decision, which does not uphold the principles of good science.  Tom has shared the response. I would be curious to find out who the other four cited are – but a rebuttal would be excellent.

Ignoring bad science eventually reinforces the apparent ‘truth’ of that bad science in the public mind, if it is not corrected. As importantly, the ‘bad science’ published by CR is used by the  sceptics’ lobbies to ‘prove’ that there is no need for concern over climate change.  Since the IPCC makes it quite clear that there are substantial grounds for concern about climate change,  is it not partially the responsibility of climate science to make sure only satisfactorily {agreeing with their views} peer-reviewed science appears in scientific publications?  – and to refute any inadequately reviewed and wrong articles that do make their way through the peer review process?

I can understand the weariness which the ongoing sceptics’ onslaught would induce in anyone {because it is too much trouble to refute them?}, scientist or not.  But that’s no excuse for ignoring bad science.  It won’t go away, and the more we ignore it the more traction it will gain in the minds of the general public, and the UNFCCC negotiatorsIf science doesn’t uphold the purity of science, who will?

We Australasians (including Tom as an ex pat) have suggested some courses of action.  Over to you now in the north to assess the success of your initiatives, the various discussions and suggestions and arrive on a path ahead.  I am happy to be part of it.

Again, good science is the science that agrees with their own views. Bad science is to take an opposing view. ‘Purity of science’ is taken to mean ‘agreeing with my views’. Again, this is disturbing, but more disturbing is the moral righteousness that leads towards the comment that Salinger is happy to be part of it. The plot thickens in email 1430 of 28 April, when Phil Jones writes to Mike Hulme:

I’ve just talked to Clare about discussions I had with Hans last week in the US. I think he is now convinced about de Freitas and is drafting a letter with Clare to go to the publishers and to de Freitas. Basically trying to get the reviewer’s names etc and their reports in the first instance, with maybe sending some of the background emails to the publishers.

Also assessing copyright as the ‘other’ Soon/Baliunas paper in Energy and Env. is essentially the same as that in CR. Hans wanted to try this first, but didn’t want to tell all what he was doing. Fears a backlash if de Freitas gets removed without due cause.  So let’s all try and keep the emails down, and hope we can report something to all once the correspondence Hans initiates gets replies.

Here, they are trying to get de Freitas through other means, which is copyright violation. Give them credit; they are determined! Mike Hulme replies to say that he will add his weight to the campaig for removing de Freitas as editor, suggesting that he will carry more weight as an ex-editor.

At this point, I will end the story. There is plenty more material to piece together, but I have (again) run out of time and energy for this. As such, I will round up this very, very long post with a few comments.

The first point is that, despite the claims about taking emails out of context, it is 100% apparent that within the context here that the aim is to corrupt the review process, and exclude skeptical articles from publication. There is repetition throughout of a justification being ‘bad science’, but they mean work that is critical of their own work when they say this. The arrogance in this is astounding, and is only a fig leaf to protect their own work.

Also, in attacking de Freitas, it is apparent that Wigley knew that this was wrong, but he was willing to sign a letter to damage his reputation. Salinger uses the fig leaf of science as a prelude to his self-righteous comment that he is happy to be part of it.

There is no hiding place in here, and the emails that follow are just as bad. I have not looked at them all in detail but, as I have shown in the last post, other members of the team were fully onboard with the attack on de Freitas.

Just as importantly, Pachauri, the head of the IPCC is copied in on many of the emails, from some of his ‘leading scientists’, where it is 100% apparent that they are out of control. He does nothing.

This is all very tragic. I will, if I have time, try to finish the story, or others may want to take it forwards if they have the time or inclination. What I do know is that this particular case appears to be one of the most clear and damning I have yet seen with regards to the ‘team’ seeking to stifle debate, and ultimately destroy the scientific process. It is just all the more shocking for the tribalistic hounding of Chris de Freitas.

Update 28 November:

I have continued the story in a new post, and it is now partially complete. I have been informed by Steve McIntyre that he is planning to take the story forwards. As such, I end the new post at the point where I heard from Steve. I have stopped as Steve understands the background to the story better than me, and his blog has far, far greater reach. I am confident that he can do it justice. If you would like to see the next section of the story, it can be found here.

Climategate 2 – Salinger puts the boot into De Freitas

Update: See below – Pachauri, head of the IPCC is being copied into emails that reveal the hatchet job on a skeptical scientist.

Another Update:

I have been looking through some further emails, and all the usual suspects are there i.e. the ‘team’. I have to admit to having run out of energy to go through them all now, and it is just depressing to read this stuff. Perhaps the most surprising point is that the emails cc Pachauri. Let’s be very clear about this. Although we all know otherwise, the IPCC is supposed to be a scientific body of some repute. Key ‘scientists’ who work for the IPCC are the ‘team’. In the emails below, the team are seeking to destroy the career of a scientist who dared to allow the publication of a skeptical article.

Pachauri is kept informed of this hatchet job, so must be aware that some of the key IPCC scientists are, for want of a better description, out of control. He must be aware that they have moved beyond the boundaries of science, and into personal attacks and crusades – this is even admitted in one of the emails, in which it is accepted that the attempt to smear de Freitas is an ad hominem attack.

But Pachauri does nothing. No response, no comment. Nothing.

This is the person responsible for the IPCC. He is aware of this witch hunt and does nothing. Is this person fit to lead an international body such as this? I think this will be hard for Pachauri to explain away, though no doubt there will be claims that he never read the emails (from some of the most prominent ‘scientists’ in the IPCC, I don’t think he can claim to have ignored these).

Original post continue below….with updates….

This is my second post on climategate 2, and I now reach new levels of complete disgust. I will simply copy below an email from Jim Salinger of NIWA, and it speaks for itself. If you look at my previous post, this is Salinger’s response to Pittocks suggestion to use the team to damage those who disagree with the ‘team’s’ views:

cc: n.nicholls@bom.gov.au, Peter.Whetton@csiro.au, Roger.Francey@csiro.au, David.Etheridge@csiro.au, Ian.Smith@csiro.au, Simon.Torok@csiro.au, Willem.Bouma@csiro.au, j.salinger@niwa.com, pachauri@teri.res.in, Greg.Ayers@csiro.au, Rick.Bailey@csiro.au, Graeme.Pearman@csiro.au, mmaccrac@comcast.net, tcrowley@duke.edu, rbradley@geo.umass.edu
date: Thu, 24 Apr 2003 11:21:50 +1200
from: j.salinger@niwa.co.nz
subject: Another course of Action – Recent climate sceptic research and the
to: Barrie.Pittock@csiro.au, m.hulme@uea.ac.uk, Barrie.Pittock@csiro.au, mann@virginia.edu, Phil Jones <p.jones@uea.ac.uk>, harvey@geog.utoronto.ca, wigley@ucar.edu, n.nicholls@bom.gov.au

Dear All

For information, De Freitas has finally put all his arguments together in a paper published in the Canadian Bulletin of Petroleum Geology, 2002 (on holiday at the moment, and the reference is at
work!)

I have had thoughts also on a further course of action.  The present Vice Chancellor of the University of Auckland, Professor John Hood (comes from an engineering background) is very concerned that
Auckland should be seen as New Zealand’s premier research university, and one with an excellent reputation internationally.  He is concerned to the extent that he is monitoring the performance of
ALL his senior staff, from Associate Professor upwards, including interviews with them.  My suggestion is that a band of you review editors write directly to Professor Hood with your concerns.  In it you should point out that you are all globally recognized top climate scientist.  It is best that such a letter come from outside NZ and is signed by more than one person.  His address is:

Professor John Hood
Vice Chancellor
University of Auckland
Private Bag 92019
Auckland, New Zealand

Let me know what you think!  See suggested text below.

Regards

Jim

Some suggested text below:

***************

We write to you as the editorial board(review editors??) of the leading international journal Climate Research for climate scientists
….
We are very concerned at the poor standards and personal biases shown by a member of your staff. …..
When we originally appointed … to the editorial board we were under the impression that they would carry out their duties in an objective manner as is expected of scientists world wide.  We were also given to understand that this person has been honoured with science communicator of the year award, several times by your … organisation.

Instead we have discovered that this person has been using his position to promote ‘fringe’ views of various groups with which they are associated around the world.  It perhaps would have been less disturbing if the ‘science’ that was being passed through the system was sound.  However, a recent incident has alerted us to the fact that poorly constructed and uncritical work has been allowed to enter the pages of the journal.  A recent example has caused outrage amongst leading climate scientists around the world and has resulted in the journal dismissing (??).. from the editorial board.

We bring this to your attention since we consider it brings the name of your university and New Zealand into some disrepute.  We leave it to your discretion what use you make of this information.

The journal itself cannot be considered completely blameless in this situation and we clearly need to tighten some of our editorial processes; however, up until now we have relied on the honour and professionalism of our editors.  Sadly this incident
has damaged our faith in some of our fellow  scientists.  Regrettably it will reflect on your institution as this person is a relatively senior staff member.

There endeth a disgusting hatchet job. However, that is not the end of it. The ‘team’ approve of this underhand and foul approach. This is from Michael Mann:

So while our careful efforts to debunk the myths perpetuated by these folks may be  useful in the FAR, they  will be of limited use in fighting the disinformation campaign that is already underway in Washington DC. Here, I tend to concur at least in sprit w/ Jim Salinger, that other approaches may be necessary. I would emphasize that there are indeed, as Tom notes, some unique aspects of this latest assault by the skeptics which are cause for special concern. This latest assault uses a compromised peer-review process as a vehicle for launching a scientific disinformation campaign (often viscious and ad hominem) under the guise of apparently legitimately reviewed science, allowing them to make use of the “Harvard” moniker in the process. Fortunately, the mainstream media never touched the story (mostly it has appeared in papers owned by Murdoch and his crowd, and dubious fringe on-line outlets).  Much like  a server which has been compromised as a launching point for computer viruses, I fear that “Climate Research” has become a hopelessly compromised vehicle in the skeptics’ (can we find a better word?) disinformation campaign, and some of the discussion that I’ve seen (e.g. a potential threat of mass resignation among the legitimate members of the CR editorial board) seems, in my opinion, to have some potential merit.

I have found other emails which approve of this hatchet job, but am still sorting through the mess of information. Maybe a little pause whilst I go to vote in the election – and ‘no’, I will not be voting Green Party.

Update:

I have just sent the following to the New Zealand Herald via their Contact News Staff service:

I have been very critical of your coverage of climate change / global warming. I have just posted a climategate email on my blog. In it Jim Salinger of NIWA conspires with other climate scientists to help get a skeptic sacked from University of Auckland.

Do you have the integrity to publish this story?

We will see. Link to the post is below.

https://newzealandclimatechange.wordpress.com/2011/11/26/climategatte-2-salinger-puts-the-boot-into-de-freitas/

Below is the Herald’s confirmation page, so they have received the message….

Update:

Yet more on the hatchet job, found here:

cc: n.nicholls@bom.gov.au, Peter.Whetton@csiro.au, Roger.Francey@csiro.au, David.Etheridge@csiro.au, Ian.Smith@csiro.au, Simon.Torok@csiro.au,  Willem.Bouma@csiro.au, j.salinger@niwa.com, pachauri@teri.res.in, Greg.Ayers@csiro.au, Rick.Bailey@csiro.au, Graeme.Pearman@csiro.au, p.jones@uea.act.csiro.au, k.briffa@uea.act.csiro.au, d.wratt@niwa.co.nz, andy.reisinger@mfe.govt.nz
date: Sat, 12 Apr 2003 12:41:38 +1000
from: Barrie.Pittock@csiro.au
subject: RE: Recent climate sceptic research and the journal Climate  Rese
to: j.salinger@niwa.co.nz, Barrie.Pittock@csiro.au, m.hulme@uea.ac.uk

Dear Jim,

Thanks for your comments and suggestions. I hope the co-editors of ‘Climate Research’ can agree on some joint action. I know that Peter Whetton is one who is concerned. Any action must of course be effective and also not give the sceptics an excuse for making de Freitas appear as a martyr – the charge should surely be not following scientific standards of review, rather than publishing contrarian views as such. If a paper is contested by referees that should at least be stated in any publication, and minimal standards of statistical treatment, honesty and clarity should be insisted on. Bringing the journal and publisher into disrepute may be one reasonable charge.

‘Energy and Environment’ is another journal with low standards for sceptics, but if my recollection is correct this is implicit in their stated policy of stirring different points of view – the real test for both journals may be whether they are prepared to publish refutations, especially simultaneously with the sceptics’ papers so that readers are not deceived.

On that score you might consider whether it is possible to find who de Freitas got to review various papers and how their comments were dealt with. I heard second hand that Tom Wigley was very annoyed about a paper which gave very low projections of future warmings (I forget which paper, but it was in a recent issue) got through despite strong criticism from him as a reviewer.

Cheers,

Barrie Pittock.

—–Original Message—–
From: j.salinger@niwa.co.nz [mailto:j.salinger@niwa.co.nz]
Sent: Saturday, 12 April 2003 3:40 AM
To: Barrie.Pittock@csiro.au; Mike Hulme
Cc: n.nicholls@bom.gov.au; Peter.Whetton@csiro.au;Roger.Francey@csiro.au; David.Etheridge@csiro.au; Ian.Smith@csiro.au;Simon.Torok@csiro.au; Willem.Bouma@csiro.au; j.salinger@niwa.com;pachauri@teri.res.in; Greg.Ayers@csiro.au; Rick.Bailey@csiro.au;Graeme.Pearman@csiro.au;p.jones@uea.act.csiro.au;k.briffa@uea.act.csiro.au; d.wratt@niwa.co.nz;andy.reisinger@mfe.govt.nz
Subject: Re: Recent climate sceptic research and the journal Climate
Research

Dear Mike, Barrie, Neville et al

Saturday morning here and thanks for all your  efforts.  I note the reference to Chris de Freitas.  Chris writes very voluminously to the NZ media and right wing business community often recycling the arguments of sceptics run overseas, which have been put to bed.

I, personally would support any of these actions you are proposing particularly if CR continues to publish dishonest or biased science. This introduces a new facet to the publication of science and we should maybe have a panel that ‘reviews the editors’.  Otherwise we have the development of shonkey editors who then manipulate the editing to get papers with specific views published.  Note the immediacy that the right wing media (probably planned) used the opportunity!

Your views appreciated – but I can certainly provide a dossier on the writings of Chris in the media in New Zealand.

Your views appreciated

Jim

On 11 Apr 2003, at 16:27, Mike Hulme wrote:

Dear Barrie,

Yes, this paper has hit the streets here also through the London Sunday Telegraph. Phil Jones and Keith Briffa are pretty annoyed, and there has been correspondence across the Atlantic with Tom Crowley and Ray Bradley. There has been some talk of a formal response but not sure where it has got to.  Phil and Keith are really the experts here so I would leave that to them.

Your blow by blow account of what they have done prompts me again to consider my position with Climate Research, the journal for whom I remain a review editor.  So are people like Tim Carter, Nigel Arnell, Simon Shackley, Rob Wilby and Clare Goodess, colleagues whom I know well and who might also be horrified at this latest piece of primary school science that Chris de Freitas from New Zealand has let through (there are a good number of other examples in recent years and Wolfgang Cramer resigned from Climate Research 4 years ago because of it).

I might well alert these other colleagues to the crap science CR continues to publish because of de Freitas and see whether a collective mass resignation is appropriate.  Phil Jones, I believe, is already boycotting reviews for that journal.

Mike

Look at the names that are in on all of this. I have highlighted one email, and it is none other than Pachauri, the hear of the IPCC! This is just too much!

Another Update: This one from Tom Wigley. He at least would not write the hatchet letter, but is enough of a hypocrite to sign it if written by someone else. He even admits it is an ad hominem attack!

Jim Salinger raises the more personal issue of deFreitas. He is clearly giving good science a bad name, but I do not think a barrage of ad     hominem attacks or letters is the best way to counter this. If Jim wishes to write a letter with multiple authors, I may be willing to sign it, but I would not write such a letter myself. In this case, deFreitas is such a poor scientist that he may simply disappear. I saw some work from his PhD, and it was awful (Pat Michaels’PhD is at the same level).

And there is more from here:

date: Mon Apr 28 15:03:41 2003
from: Mike Hulme <m.hulme@uea.ac.uk>
subject: Re: CR plus a fax
to: Phil Jones <p.jones@uea.ac.uk>

Thanks Phil. After my one email about possible resignations from CR a whole flood of emails seems to have been released.  I will wait to see what happens re. Hans and Clare, and will just let my fellow review editors know the score.  I might independently write to the publishers voicing my own concern about losing faith in the peer review process in CR. As an ex-Editor of CR I perhaps also carry some weight with them.

Mike

At 10:17 28/04/2003 +0100, you wrote:

Mike,

I’ve just talked to Clare about discussions I had with Hans last week in the US. I think he is now convinced about de Freitas and is drafting a letter with Clare to go to the publishers and to de Freitas. Basically trying to get the reviewer’s names etc and their reports in the first instance, with maybe sending some of the background emails to the publishers. Also assessing copyright as the ‘other’ Soon/Baliunas paper in Energy and Env. is essentially the same as that in CR.

Hans wanted to try this first, but didn’t want to tell all what he was doing. Fears a backlash if de Freitas gets removed without due cause.  So let’s all try and keep the emails down, and hope we can report something to all once the correspondence Hans initiates gets replies.

Cheers
Phil

Again, I will take a pause in my reviews. I have moved on to searches using the keyword Freitas. Will perhaps update again later today, if I can stand wading through more of this hideous content. As I find more and more, I am also starting to think that it needs to be presented in a more orderly narrative, though it is perhaps a big job to try to string it all together, along with the characters involved.

Yet Another Update:

I couldn’t hold back on this new email. It might be summarised as those nasty people are disagreeing with me – something must be done to stop them!

cc: p.jones@uea.ac.uk, “Michael E. Mann” <mann@virginia.edu>, Ben Santer <santer1@llnl.gov>
date: Thu, 03 Jul 2003 09:20:28 -0600
from: Tom Wigley <wigley@ucar.edu>
subject: Re: Fwd: Climate Research
to: Mike Hulme <m.hulme@uea.ac.uk>

<x-flowed>
Mike,

Thanx — but not quite the end.

A nebulous issue is the choice of referees, but we can probably never get that information and Kinne can’t evaluate this aspect.

Danny Harvey and I are still planning to follow up the concerns re the paper we reviewed, rejected and never saw again until it was published.
What has happened since is that another crappy paper that Ben and I rejected for J. Climate, a specific and unjust criticism of our work,
has now appeared in CR. Presumably the pipeline is deFreitas. So Danny and I will raise this issue too.

Tom.

Oh dear, oh dear. I am moving from outrage to a combination of outrage, for those that have been hurt by the ‘team’, to humour at the rather pathetic people who write this stuff. It is the pomposity of these people, so self-important and hiding behind fig-leaves of ‘science’ when they are just encountering science that contradicts them.