Tag Archives: NIWA

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.

Climategate 2 and New Zealand

The world of skeptical blogging is abuzz, as a new tranche of apparently authentic emails are released in what is being dubbed Climategate 2, or Climategate 2.0. Steve McIntyre, of hockey stick debunking fame, has provided a link to a searchable database of the emails. I am briefly writing this introduction having just done a quick search of the emails with the term NIWA (the organisation responsible for the New Zealand temperature record), and have already dug up some correspondence between Jim Salinger, who was behind the junk science  New Zealand temperature reconstruction, and the so called ‘team’ of Michael Mann, Phil Jones et al. I used the filter for 2011 emails, and therefore assume they are new to the second batch released.

The correspondence relates to an attempt at a coordinated rebuttal of some of the work of Hans von Storch (see here for his Wikipedia entry).What the emails show is that Salinger is seeking to rebut the work of Chris de Freitas (see here for Wikipedia entry), and appears to be playing the role of an ‘activist’ (bold added by me):

date: Tue, 22 Apr 2003 22:28:22 +1200
from: j.salinger@niwa.co.nz
subject: RE: Recent climate sceptic research and the journal Climate
to: “Michael E. Mann” <mann@multiproxy.evsc.virginia.edu>, Barrie.Pittock@csiro.au, m.hulme@uea.ac.uk, Barrie.Pittock@csiro.au, mann@virginia.edu, Phil Jones <p.jones@uea.ac.uk>

Dear All

Good to see some action – and I applaud your initiatives.  As a backgrounder I have attached various pieces that have been in the NZ Herald which have either involved Chris de Freitas – or are his
‘opinions’.  He publishes as ‘associate professor in geography’. The NZ Herald is NZ’s largest daily metropolitan newspaper.

These will show you exactly where he is coming from – and our attempts locally in New Zealand to rebut these.  Any actions you do that produce results would be greatly appreciated here, and I will ensure that the appropriate sources get to know!

Look forward to updates.

Regards to all

Jim

Note the implication that Salinger has a cozy relationship with the media at the end (highlighted in bold). Some highlights of the the initiative that is being applauded are copied below, but you really need to read the whole thing to see just how unpleasant it must be to be on the wrong side of the ‘team’, of which Salinger appears to be a key player.

From Phil Jones of the CRU:

There have been a number of emails on these two papers. They are bad.I’ll be seeing Hans von Storch next week and I’ll be telling him in person what a disservice he’s doing to the science and the status of Climate Research.
I’ve already told Hans I want nothing more to do with the journal. Tom Crowley may be writing something – find out also next week, but at the EGS last week Ray Bradley, Mike Mann, Malcolm Hughes and others decided it would be best to do nothing.Papers that respond to work like this never get cited – a point I’m trying to get across to Hans.
We all have better papers to write than waste our time responding to drivel like this.

This is an extract of proposed responses from Barry Pittock of CSIRO in Australia:

3. I see several possible courses of action that would be useful.(a) Prepare a background briefing document for wide private circulation, which refutes the claims and lists competent authorities who might be consulted for advice on this issue. (b)Ensure that such misleading papers do not continue to appear in the offending journals by getting proper scientific standards applied to refereeing and editing. Whether that is done publicly or privately may not matter so much, as long as it happens. It could be through boycotting the journals, but that might leave them even freer to promulgate misinformation. To my mind that is not as good as getting the offending editors removed and proper processes in
place. Pressure or ultimatums to the publishers might work, or concerted lobbying by other co-editors or leading authors. (c) A journalistic expose of the unscientific practices might work and embarass the sceptics/industry lobbies (if they are capable of being embarassed) e.g., through a reliable lead reporter for Science or Nature. Offending editors could be labelled as “rogue editors”, in line with current international practice? Or is that defamatory? (d) Legal action might be useful for authors who consider themselves libelled, and there could be financial support for such actions (Jim Salinger might have contacts here). However, we would need to be very careful to be moderate and reasonable in our reponses to avoid counter legal actions.

I have to pause to comment on this. How ugly is this? Does this have anything to do with science? It just looks like a gang of bullies ganging up on someone who does not agree with them. Then we have Phil Jones again, and he explains that they are already taking the action suggested by Pittock (in bold):

Dear Barrie,
My earlier email reply to Neville gives the details of a paper already out there and two more planned. It is clear when these come out we have to be more active in gaining more widespread publicity for them (much more than we normally do). At the moment Ray’s extensive paper (with others) in the PAGES volume could be a starting point. Mike Hulme is moving towards your 3b course of action and I’ll talk to Hans von Storch, who although he says he’s not the Chief Editor is thought of by many to be this de facto.3c is possible through contacts we all have with editors at  Science and Nature. I realise the issues with lobbying groups and I’m sure this has been discussed at the IPCC planning meeting in Marrakesh this week. Let’s see how Mike gets on and my talks with Hans (and Tom Crowley)next week.Have a good Easter break – yesterday was the warmest April day for many locations in England since records began, the long daily ones (1890s).

I am just filled with disgust at all of this. This is not science but a playground full of bullies. I am completely at a loss for words.

Just as an afterthought, below is an email from Jim Salinger regarding the New Zealand temperature reconstruction, which may be of interest to the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition:

cc: palmer@lincoln.ac.nz, p.jones@uea.ac.uk
date: Tue, 23 Jul 1996 15:42:54 +1200 (NZST)
from: j.salinger@niwa.cri.nz (Jim Salinger)
subject: Collaboration on N Z Tree Ring work
to: druidrd@lamont.ldgo.columbia.edu, ricardo@ldgo.columbia.edu, drdendro@ldgo.columbia.edu

Dear Rosanne

Jonathon has shared your message of collaboration.  We would be delighted to collaborate with you, Ricardo and Ed  on tree-ring work in this part of
the world.  As you will be aware from e-mails between yourselves, Phil Jones and us, we have been pushing forward in producing new chronologies
and clean climatological time series.

We think the co-operative and collaborative way is an excellent wayto make progress.  By this, we mean true collaboration, where information is shared, data processing together, and joint publications making the approach a partnership.  By this means, we can add all our own specialised input into the process, and produce a better result!

We would welcome collaboration  as outlined above – would you please
confirm whether you would be comfortable with working in this way.

Now – over the past few years Jonathon, his Ph D student and myself have
produced a series of new chronologies which we have matched with climate
data.  We have been quite selective in the sites for either extension of
old chronologies, or new ones, simply because of the climatic complexity of
the country.  We have gone for sites which maximise the climatic gradients
– whether these are westerly/easterly differences for pressure gradients,
or temperature signals.  You will have some appreciation of this from your
Stewart Island work, and Ricardo will recognise this from his familiarity
with Argentina.  I have also been quite selective in the appropriate
climate data for use with these series.  These have been screened and
homogenised.

This year I will be working on collection of older MSLP data from the area
(including most of the South Pacific) and homogenising it.  Some of the NZ
MSLP data pre 1930 is very poor, and requires refining dramatically.  We
would favour an approach where Jonathon can give the input on tree-ring
data and I can give the input and provide the climate data, and we all be
involved with the results, as appropriate.  Jonathon and I are both aware
of the bugs in the data, and the complexities of the New Zealand situation.

A copy of the appropriate parts of your NSF proposal would be most useful,
which we could give you constructive comments, if necessary, to strengthen
it.  We would be more than happy to be named collaborators on the proposal.

Please let us know whether this is acceptable with you.

Warm wishes and please say hello to Ed.

Jim  Salinger

I will leave it here for a moment. I am just horrified at what I am reading. It is simply shocking to read the emails of the team in the raw. And Salinger, part of the team applauds this, and was responsible for the original temperature record for New Zealand.

I will try to trawl through some more later. However, disgust leaves me pausing for a while.

James Hansen causes a stir….

James Hansen, as reported in the UK’s Independent newspaper has suggested that the sceptic position on global warming is gaining ground and I really love this quote from the story:

In a briefing at the Royal Society , Dr Hansen, pictured, was frank about the success with public opinion of what he termed “the climate contrarians”, in effectively lessening public concern about global warming. He said: “They have been winning the argument for several years, even though the science has become clearer.

“There’s been a very strong campaign by those who want to continue fossil fuel ‘business as usual’, and the scientific story has not been powerful enough to offset that push.”

Part of the problem, he said, was that the climate sceptic lobby employed communications professionals, whereas “scientists are just barely competent at communicating with the public and don’t have the wherewithal to do it.”

The result was, he said, that in recent years “a gap has opened between what is understood about global warming by the relevant scientific community, and what’s known by the people who need to know – and that’s the public. However there’s nothing that has happened to reduce our scientific conclusion that we are pushing the system into very dangerous territory, in fact that conclusion has become stronger over that same time period.”

Why do I love this quote? It is because it flies so blatantly in the face of reality. For example, a particular bugbear of this blog is the New Zealand Herald, which offers particularly biased coverage of the debate. A quick site search of the Herald produced the following:

1. An editorial titled ‘Gillard Shows Courage on Climate Bill’, in which, you guessed it, coverage of Hansen’s comments is included. In addition to this we have commentary such as:

Either way, the country’s first step towards a cleaner economy sends a clear message to the world’s developing nations. Finally, one of the most notable climate change loafers has acted. The excuses for inaction are dwindling. The tax also delivers a strong verdict on the perils of global warming to the public. In so doing, it heightens the prospect of informed debate.

2. A more balanced article on the carbon dioxide tax in Australia

3. An article on…..yep, Jim Hansen’s comments on the climate change debate.

4. An article on Gillard’s wider political position which includes discussion of her position and debate on the carbon dioxide tax.

5. A couple of other articles also briefly touch on climate change, but are not addressing the subject….

I could go on, but the point is that Hansen’s comments only serve to refute Hansen’s comments. He claims that the debate is being lost due to lack of communication of the non-sceptic side of the debate, but Hansen’s comments are themselves widely reported, alongside some highly dubious ‘evidence’ he presents for the anthropogenic global warming thesis. Where are all these communications professionals on the sceptic side of the debate?

They are nowhere to be seen in most of the mainstream media.The Herald just serves to make the point with extensive coverage of Hansen’s views and comments, alongside endorsement of Gillard’s position on the carbon dioxide tax. These communication professionals should be looking for new jobs, as they do not seem to be having any impact.

The real point of interest here is the miracle of growing scepticism in the face of the ‘warming’ bias of the vast majority of the mainstream media. This bias is in turn supported by a huge ‘industry’ of NGOs with communications professionals, all of whom are seeking to promote the global warming scare. Two sociologists promoted the myth of the power of the sceptic camp with the following diagram:

However, in a rather brilliant response, Jo Nova presents the following:

It is really rather comical that the non-sceptic side bleats about communication professionals on the sceptic side when most of the mainstream media is supportive of their cause. For example, the lack of coverage of the scientific fraud of NIWA over the New Zealand temperature record in the press is a disgrace (see previous post here). If you would like to evaluate which of the above diagrams is closer to the truth, the New Zealand mainstream media tells the story; Jo Nova’s diagram paints the accurate picture.

As I have said, the real story is that, despite so much positive coverage in the media for the non-sceptic side of the debate, the sceptic debate is winning. Perhaps that just reflects the growing strength of the arguments of the sceptic side of the debate? Now, there is a novel explanation of why the sceptic argument is winning, and one which does not seem to occur to the non-sceptics.

Note: This is the second version of the post, due to initial technical problem. Among many problems, all links disappeared in the first version, so I hope all of this is reproduced accurately as per the original post.

New Zealand Media – A Scandalous Silence

There has been a scathing attack on NIWA in a recent post in the Climate Conversation Group. All the evidence that is being presented is indicative of a serious scientific fraud being perpetrated by NIWA regarding the New Zealand temperature record. It is a fraud that is being funded by taxpayer money, and it is a fraud that is, and will continue, to cost taxpayer money. Government policy is being directed by fraudulent science but, unbelievably, the fraud appears to be gaining no attention from the news media. It seems that the news media are self-censoring on this issue. I have included a long extract from the Climate Conversation Group post below:

NIWA didn’t use Rhoades & Salinger. We can prove it. They lied.

NZ Climate Science Coalition statisticians have uncovered evidence of scarcely believable deception from our National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Ltd (NIWA).

Last December, NIWA released a reconstructed NZ temperature series Report on the Review of NIWA’s Seven Station Temperature Series (“7SS Review”) (pdf, 8.5 MB). It has a fresh new graph (below) that’s all but indistinguishable from the previous graph. But that’s not the point.

The point is the new series is a lie.

It’s important to understand that NIWA have a Bible and they know how to thump it. Rhoades and Salinger 1993, Adjustment of temperature and rainfall records for site changes (R&S), is the NIWA Bible for estimating the effect of known site changes on temperature and rainfall measurements.

How do we know this? Because NIWA told us. Oh, how often they’ve told us! For they never tire of saying:the adjustments to the multiple sites comprising the ‘seven-station’ series were calculated by Salinger et al. (1992), using the methodology of Rhoades and Salinger (1993).”

NIWA said one thing, did another

That wearisome statement appears in the Overview portion of the 7SS Review, in the discussion on each and every one of the seven stations, and R&S is mentioned as an authority many times in its 169 pages — nowhere does it mention any deviation from the well-established scientific methodology in R&S. Before the 7SS Review began, NIWA and its minister, Wayne Mapp, made it crystal clear in media releases and in answer to questions in the Parliament that they’d be using R&S to make the adjustments.

But NIWA didn’t follow Rhoades & Salinger. They did whatever they liked so they could show warming.

The evidence that is being produced by the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition is damning. It is evidence that should be headline news, but where is the coverage in the press and on television? I checked the New Zealand Herald, and conducted a search for New Zealand Climate Science Coalition, and found no mention of the scandal. Instead, I found an article which is an attack on an Associate Professor Chris de Freitas that leads with examples of so-called ‘weather extremes’. Associate Professor de Freitas is not teaching climate change alarmism, and the implication of the article is that, in questioning anthropogenic climate change, Professor de Freitas is a ‘nut’.

The emphasis in the de Freitas article is on the ‘science’, but curiously the Herald’s taking the high ground on ‘science’ does not extend to reporting the scientific fraud that is being perpetrated by NIWA. It seems that science is only important when confirming the Herald’s editorial policy.What of other news outlets? I searched stuff.co.nz and found nothing, and the same for TVNZ’s website. I tried TV3’s search, with no discussion of the issue, and then tried some regional newspapers, all with the same lack of results.

Perhaps I am missing the coverage in my searches (which is possible), but it appears that a major scandal is being completely ignored by the media. Complete silence. I actually expected that I would find some kind of coverage, albeit expected that the usual suspects would be trotted out to denigrate NZCSC as ‘nuts’. Quite honestly I am astonished. It seems that the media is completely uninterested in what can only be described as a massive scientific fraud.

There really is something very wrong here. The news media have a duty to inform their readers of important news. As the post in the Climate Conversation Group points out, NIWA’s temperature record determines $NZ billions of spending, and is therefore a matter of great import. Even if editorial policy is ‘warmist’, this does not excuse or explain the complete silence from the media on this scandal. At the very least, there should be some kind of coverage. The lack of coverage is of itself a scandal.

Follow-Up: Professor Hunter

On May the 8th of this year, I sent an email to Professor Keith Hunter, who had made comments on the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition’s (NZCSC) court action against NIWA. His comments were not positive, and as I identified in the email, the NZCSC action forced NIWA to deny that their official New Zealand Temperature record was not official, and it was revealed that the ‘science’ behind the temperature record would not meet any reasonable description of the word science. As yet I have received no reply, so I have today sent a brief email as follows:

Dear Professor Hunter,

I sent you an email a while ago regarding your comments reported in the New Zealand Herald regarding the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition.

I am assuming that your lack of a response is due to a lack of time, or perhaps you would like to stand by the comments that you made in the New Zealand Herald?

If it is a lack of time, a one minute reply would suffice, perhaps to simply state that you regret your comments in light of the retraction of NIWA that the 7SS was the official temperature record? I do not think that this is an arduous request.

Assuming that you do not reply, I can only interpret your lack of response as being indicative of your being content with the comments that you made, even though the evidence is that the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition have been proven to be justified in taking their action, and showing that the New Zealand temperature record was not based upon good science.

If the latter option is correct, how do you justify this when you are a scientist? In particular, are you happy that an official temperature record was built on foundations of sand, and that policy was being built upon what, in a generous interpretation, would be dubious science?

I am sure that you would like to clarify your position, so look forward to your reply.

Kind Regards,

Mark,
NZ Climate Change.

I am somewhat surprised that, so far, I have not been sent a reply. On another occasion, I likewise contacted Brian Rudman, a columnist in the New Zealand Herald, asking whether he would like to comment on his very rude article about the NZCSC court action against NIWA, but I received no reply.

It seems a little disappointing that these individuals are happy to opine on issues, and do not seem to want to respond when events have shown their views to be wrong. I can only hope that Professor Hunter responds this time, as it seems that a scientist should be appreciative when an organisation, such as NZCSC, reveals that bad science is being used to shape government policy. Whether he disagrees with the wider arguments or position of NZCSC, it seems that a scientist should be in favour of good science, and in all cases he should therefore now express his support for the court action of NZCSC.It prompted NIWA to revisit the temperature record, as the ‘science’ could not be justified.

If not, we can only wonder at what Professor Hunter’s views on science actually are. Does he believe that poor science is acceptable provided that it concurs with the views of the authors/an organisation? Does he support poor science as a foundation for government policy? Is he willing to bend to the wind of prevailing dogma at the cost of good science? We simply do not know, and I am sure that Professor Hunter would like to set the record straight.

I look forward to his reply, and will publish it once it has been sent.

Note: Sorry for the lack of posting for a while, but other commitments have kept me away. My first goal was to update you on the response to the email sent to Professor Hunter, but there are many other subjects I would love to cover. Apologies again.

Professor Keith Hunter – an Open Letter

I wrote a post a while ago, in which I asked Brian Rudman of the New Zealand Herald to apologise for the rude way that he spoke about the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition (NZCSC). No surprise, but no comment and no reply was forthcoming, even though his rudeness about NZCSC was unjustified.

The subject that started this was the NIWA official temperature record. NZCSC were simply trying to find out how adjustments were made to thermometer readings to create the official New Zealand temperature record. Facing stonewalling by NIWA, NZCSC finally took NIWA to court, at which point NIWA backed down, denying the official temperature record was official (see here for full story). The reason was that, in basic terms, it was beyond any scientific defence. The current situation is that NIWA have revised the record, and are once again denying access to the details of the adjustment.

The key point in the whole story is that NZCSC were vindicated. The New Zealand official temperature record had no foundation in science. I therefore found it interesting to find another article dated August 16, 2010 in the New Zealand Herald, as follows:

Court action against New Zealand’s state-owned weather and atmospheric research body is “stupid” and just creating confusion, University of Otago pro-vice chancellor of sciences Keith Hunter says.

The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa) is being taken to court in a challenge over the accuracy of its data used to calculate global warming.

[and]

But Prof Hunter told Radio New Zealand the courts could not determine whether or not the adjusted records had been adjusted properly.

“It can only be done by people who have an established scientific reputation in meteorology. So if the coalition has got those people they should do the analysis. If they haven’t they should find someone else who has got that.

“There is nothing sinister about making adjustments. Measurements are often adjusted because of procedural differences between stations or changes in instruments with time.

“The coalition are just creating confusion. Throwing mud and if they throw enough mud some will stick and organisations like Niwa get dragged down in it,” Prof Hunter said.

As with any newspaper report, we can not know whether the remarks were taken out of context, and I am sure that Professor Hunter would not want to have his views misrepresented. In particular, he is a high profile New Zealand scientist, in a position of responsibility in a research based university. As such, I thought it might be an idea to see if Professor Hunter is still standing by these views. In particular, he discussed NZCSC as ‘throwing mud’, which would suggest that they had motivations that were not related to a concern about the scientific accuracy of the NIWA temperature records.

Bearing in mind, the court action saw their actions as being vindicated, and a temperature record with no sound foundation withdrawn, I have sent Professor Hunter the following email.

Dear Professor Hunter,

I have found a news story from the New Zealand Herald in which you discuss the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition’s  court action to question NIWA’s temperature record as ‘stupid’ and suggest that they are ‘throwing mud’ at NIWA. NIWA later retracted the official status of the temperature record, and have since reconstructed the temperature record. As you may or may not be aware, the original temperature record failed to meet what any scientist would call a reasonable standard of science.

As I understand the situation, the cause of the court action was the refusal of NIWA to release information on the adjustments to the temperature record. The court action was a last resort, and one which finally revealed that NIWA had no firm scientific basis for the temperature record. Interestingly, they are again blocking access to the adjustments to the new temperature record they have developed.

In light of the fact that NZCSC have, through their efforts, revealed that the New Zealand temperature record was without scientific foundation, would you care to retract your comments to the New Zealand Herald, or clarify the comments in light of subsequent events. I am sure that, as one of New Zealand’s leading scientists, you would feel that NZCSC have done a service to science in revealing a widely cited body of scientific data to be without scientific merit. Perhaps you may wish to congratulate them on their contribution to the ongoing investigations in climate change?

For your reference, I have linked to the original story in the New Zealand Herald, and a summary of the NZCSC fight to clarify the science behind the New Zealand Temperature record.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10666415

http://www.quadrant.org.au/blogs/doomed-planet/2010/05/crisis-in-new-zealand-climatology

I have also published a copy of this email online, and it can be found at the following address: [address of this post in email]. I will, of course, publish any reply in full.

I very much look forward to your reply.

Kind Regards,

Mark, NZ Climate Change

It will be interesting to see if a scientist is willing to back those who revealed the lack of scientific foundation for the New Zealand temperature record.