UK climate scientist to temporarily step down

Dec 01, 2009 By RAPHAEL G. SATTER , Associated Press Writer
Nicholas Stern, chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics, listens to a reporter's question during a news conference in central London, Tuesday Dec. 1, 2009. The leading British climate change economist says the science of climate change is based on sound scientific methods and those who doubt the science of global warming are 'muddled and confused.' Hackers broke into the computer systems of the University of East Anglia climate research unit last month and posted documents online. Some bloggers claim the document shows scientists have overstated the case for global warming and have attempted to manipulate data. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

(AP) -- The chief of a prestigious British research center caught in a storm of controversy over claims that he and others suppressed data about climate change has stepped down pending an investigation, the University of East Anglia said Tuesday.

The university said in a statement that Phil Jones, whose e-mails were among the thousands of pieces of correspondence leaked to the Internet late last month, would relinquish his position as director of Climatic Research Unit until the completion of an independent review.

The university's Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research Trevor Davies said the investigation would cover data security, whether the university responded properly to Freedom of Information requests, "and any other relevant issues." The statement said the specific terms of the review will be announced later in the week.

Jones has been accused by skeptics of man-made of manipulating data to support his research. In particular, many have pointed to a leaked e-mail in which Jones writes that he had used a "trick" to "hide the decline" in a chart detailing recent . Jones has denied manipulating evidence and insisted his comment had been misunderstood, explaining that he'd used the word trick "as in a clever thing to do."

Davies said there was nothing in the stolen material to suggest the peer-reviewed publications by the unit "are not of the highest-quality of scientific investigation and interpretation."

But the correspondence from Jones and others - which appears to include discussions of how to keep critical work out of peer-reviewed journals and efforts to shield scientists' data and methodology from outside scrutiny - have been seized upon by those who are fighting efforts to impose caps on emissions of carbon dioxide as evidence of a scientific conspiracy.

Sen. James Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican and a vocal skeptic of global warming, called Tuesday for Senate hearings on the e-mails. In a letter to Sen. Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat who chairs the environment committee, Inhofe said the e-mails could have far-reaching policy implications for the United States. Both Congress and the Environmental Protection Agency are taking action to curb global warming based on a report that uses data produced by the Climate Research Unit.

A House committee has scheduled a hearing Wednesday on the status of climate science. Two prominent Obama administration scientists - White House science adviser John Holdren and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration administrator Jane Lubchenco - are expected to be questioned about the e-mails.

Davies defended Jones and his colleagues, saying the publication of their e-mails "is the latest example of a sustained and, in some instances, a vexatious campaign" to undermine climate science. The sentiment was echoed by Nicholas Stern, a leading climate change economist, who said the person or people who posted the leaked e-mails had muddled the debate at a critical moment.

"It has created confusion and confusion never helps scientific discussions," Stern told reporters in London Tuesday. "The degree of skepticism among real scientists is very small."

Governments are in the final days of preparations for Copenhagen conference, which is due to outline a new climate change agreement. Stern said the stakes were very high, explaining that if countries did not manage to reach agreement, world temperatures could rise by five degrees Celsius (nine degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century, making much of the world uninhabitable.

"We have a moment now when we could get a strategy agreed," Stern said. "If it were to dissolve in disarray it would not be easy to put this momentum back together again."

A group of scientists who run the RealClimate Web site - including Gavin Schmidt at the NASA space agency and Michael Mann at Pennsylvania State University - have now begun posting links to their data sources online in the stated interest of making the science "as open and transparent as possible."

On the Net:

RealClimate: http://www.realclimate.org/

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Thadieus
3.3 / 5 (6) Dec 01, 2009
There is a lot of talk about the e-mails. What is even more shocking is the CRU source code. Watch this video on youtube. Unbelievable! The comments in the source code pretty much say their data is corrupt....http://www.youtub...sMasX-_8
peteone1
3.5 / 5 (8) Dec 01, 2009
Climategate: Follow the Money...Climategate, as readers of these pages know, concerns some of the world's leading climate scientists working in tandem to block freedom of information requests, blackball dissenting scientists, manipulate the peer-review process, and obscure, destroy or massage inconvenient temperature data—facts...the deeper question is why the scientists behaved this way to begin with, especially since the science behind man-made global warming is said to be firmly settled. To answer the question, it helps to turn the alarmists' follow-the-money methods right back at them. Consider the case of Phil Jones, the director of the CRU and the man at the heart of climategate. According to one of the documents hacked from his center, between 2000 and 2006 Mr. Jones was the recipient of some $19 million worth of research...Why did the money pour in so quickly? Because the climate alarm kept ringing so loudly...

http://online.wsj...40527487
peteone1
3 / 5 (8) Dec 01, 2009
Climategate: Follow the Money...Climategate, as readers of these pages know, concerns some of the world's leading climate scientists working in tandem to block freedom of information requests, blackball dissenting scientists, manipulate the peer-review process, and obscure, destroy or massage inconvenient temperature data—facts...the deeper question is why the scientists behaved this way to begin with, especially since the science behind man-made global warming is said to be firmly settled. To answer the question, it helps to turn the alarmists' follow-the-money methods right back at them. Consider the case of Phil Jones, the director of the CRU and the man at the heart of climategate. According to one of the documents hacked from his center, between 2000 and 2006 Mr. Jones was the recipient of some $19 million worth of research...Why did the money pour in so quickly? Because the climate alarm kept ringing so loudly...
http://online.wsj...56612425
peteone1
3.3 / 5 (7) Dec 01, 2009
Climategate: Follow the Money

http://online.wsj...490.html
jcrow
3.4 / 5 (5) Dec 02, 2009
Sorry but I have more faith in scientists than politically motivated sabotage.
jcrow
3 / 5 (4) Dec 02, 2009
I read many of those emails and they prove nothing.
The quote
"But there are also intellectual property rights issues"
stands out. Yes they probably want to exclude JUNK papers.
Can the guy do some quality control?
This is your best proof global warming is not real?
Give me a break people..
peteone1
5 / 5 (2) Dec 02, 2009
{{I have more faith in scientists than politically motivated sabotage}}
Are you sure about that?
http://www.washin...lee.html
Velanarris
5 / 5 (4) Dec 02, 2009
The problem is the fact it's taken 20 years for the scientists involved to make their remaining data freely available. I say remaining as we already know that CRU and other organizations that push AGW have had sole control of the raw data, and in some cases deleted it entirely.
superhuman
4.2 / 5 (5) Dec 02, 2009
Sorry but I have more faith in scientists than politically motivated sabotage.

It is good time for you to revisit this faith since unfortunately it seems to be misplaced in this case.

The leaked emails prove beyond reasonable doubt those scientists preferred to commit a crime by deleting data subjected to a FOI request to releasing that data for outside scrutiny! This is in stark conflict with everything that science stands for and no honest scientists would EVER do such a thing.

Their actions are even more baffling when one realizes that those are the very results on which IPCC and governments around the world are basing their policy decisions meaning millions of people could be affected by them!
superhuman
4 / 5 (4) Dec 02, 2009
I can think of only one valid reason for the actions of said scientists - the results in question cannot be reproduced making them completely worthless.

This is actually supported by the code and data accompanying the emails, google harry_read_me.txt which details the pathetic quality of the code and appalling data handling procedures. Can you believe that they have artificially manipulated instrumental record and then deleted the original data? That they apply fudge factors left and right to make trends go where they want it? That there is zero documentation or history of changes done to the code? It's a total mess.

I was always skeptical that it's possible to correctly model all the complexities of the climate but I've never expected that some of the models are actually *THAT* bad, that they are simply total garbage. And their reconstructions are what IPCC bases their recommendation on!

I really hope this investigation will be impartial and will get to the bottom of all this.
croghan27
2 / 5 (4) Dec 02, 2009
"I really hope this investigation will be impartial and will get to the bottom of all this"

as do I super ..... so far the only thing 'proved' is that the changed deniers put their faith in thieves over reputable and respected scientists.
Simonsez
3 / 5 (2) Dec 02, 2009
croghan > A thief is someone who takes something that does not belong to them. This is not congruent with "someone who exposes scandal to the public", else our news media is full of thieves.
defunctdiety
3 / 5 (2) Dec 02, 2009
In the US at least, there is a complete media white-wash cover up of this. It's terrifying really, like something you would hear about going on in North Korea, China or under fascist rule.

Do you realize this American's? That you're allowing this to happen in Your country?

It would be great if people contacted at least their local media and demand inquiry about it, if not national media and of course politicians.

Now is the time to parlay the AGW message into direct support of renewables and energy efficiency, conservation and energy independence. Things that actually benefit the People and the Nation.

I can understand why they don't want to sully the green mentality the Nation has been moving towards, but they need to understand that you can project the same message without AGW. Get the word out! Nothing is going to change if We don't change it.
Velanarris
1 / 5 (2) Dec 02, 2009
I was always skeptical that it's possible to correctly model all the complexities of the climate but I've never expected that some of the models are actually *THAT* bad, that they are simply total garbage.


Remember the epic fights we had over this SH?
marjon
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 02, 2009
Now is the time to parlay the AGW message into direct support of renewables and energy efficiency, conservation and energy independence. Things that actually benefit the People and the Nation.


Drill baby, drill. That is what will be needed for independence. Stop tying the hands of all US industry, oil, nuclear, etc. to find and produce the energy we need.
croghan27
3 / 5 (4) Dec 02, 2009
croghan > A thief is someone who takes something that does not belong to them. This is not congruent with "someone who exposes scandal to the public", else our news media is full of thieves.


were the emails their's? addressed to or from? Were they intended for them? As far as I can see they were personal communications between people.

Scandal? The only scandal I see is some people, so devoid of facts or sound science to support their ideas they resort to digging though someone's garbage and ANYTHING they find, they announce is a scandal?

Argue with the science ... argue with the facts - dispute the logic of the conclusions .... that is rational. This is tomfoolery and neither science nor logic.

(Do you also believe in Sarah's death panels?)
marjon
5 / 5 (2) Dec 02, 2009
"I really hope this investigation will be impartial and will get to the bottom of all this"

as do I super ..... so far the only thing 'proved' is that the changed deniers put their faith in thieves over reputable and respected scientists.


Respected by whom? Not I and not by millions of others. There is a consensus for you. Believe that?
marjon
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 02, 2009
Argue with the science ... argue with the facts - dispute the logic of the conclusions .... that is rational. This is tomfoolery and neither science nor logic.

Respected climate scientists HAVE arguing the 'facts' while "Science", "Nature" and other journals have been inhibiting such debate at the behest of AGW'ites.
Follow the trials and tribulations at Climateaudit.org.
Velanarris
3 / 5 (2) Dec 03, 2009
were the emails their's? addressed to or from? Were they intended for them? As far as I can see they were personal communications between people.

Scandal? The only scandal I see is some people, so devoid of facts or sound science to support their ideas they resort to digging though someone's garbage and ANYTHING they find, they announce is a scandal?

(Do you also believe in Sarah's death panels?)


Actually legally all information located on all .edu domains and networks are public domain as part of the price of operating under a federally funded domain and network root. Your allegations of theft are contradictory to the law, that is if you really want to dig deep and define information theft under FOIA guidelines.

As for death panels, they already exist. They're called Donor Boards. Stop drinking progressive kool-aid and look at things objectively. This shouldn't be a political discussion.
superhuman
not rated yet Dec 03, 2009
I was always skeptical that it's possible to correctly model all the complexities of the climate but I've never expected that some of the models are actually *THAT* bad, that they are simply total garbage.

Remember the epic fights we had over this SH?

Yeah, though those fights mostly centered around physics behind GW.
Velanarris
5 / 5 (1) Dec 03, 2009
I was always skeptical that it's possible to correctly model all the complexities of the climate but I've never expected that some of the models are actually *THAT* bad, that they are simply total garbage.

Remember the epic fights we had over this SH?

Yeah, though those fights mostly centered around physics behind GW.


Yep, very true. We got into a few accuracy of the models fights though. Then again, neither of us really saw the models as "the end all be all" to the discussion.
omatumr
3.3 / 5 (3) Dec 03, 2009
Nicholas Stern listens??

That in itself is news.

Nicholas Stern is the economist who helped to design the global warming scare, following on the heels of a global cooling scare. Thank you, PhysOrg for publishing the picture of this elusive fellow.

The common factor is scare. A psychological tool used for controlling people.

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel


RayCherry
2 / 5 (1) Dec 06, 2009
Faith. Blind faith. I have been accused of it here on Physorg a few times, and by some people who commented above. I'm not upset by it, we all need to back up our opinions with good experimental data and thoroughly reviewed analysis.

However, the talk about the weather is just that. The talk about Climate Change is something else. It is pure political propaganda from both sides, those who need it to be true, (even if they believe they need to save the world as we know it), and those who need it to be false, (so that they can save the economy they live on). This has nothing to do with the weather change that almost every middle-aged person can describe within their lifetimes ... if their financial concerns permit them to do so.

Maybe this weather has not been caused by us. Perhaps it is all a big coincidence, and ignoring it will eventually be proven the best advice.

Sorry, but I have absolutely no faith in that proposal.

Valaneris: the 'edu' domain does not extend to East Anglia.
Velanarris
not rated yet Dec 07, 2009

Valaneris: the 'edu' domain does not extend to East anglia


No, but it certainly does extend to the domains and servers through which they sent and received their email. Same with all the .gov addresses. All subject to FOIA.
RayCherry
not rated yet Dec 07, 2009
Read FOIA again, and ask yourself where it invites hackers to attack the server upon which mail is sitting for local distribution and archiving, just because 'edu' or 'gov' is the top level domain of any sender or receiver of that mail.

When you do find that the US government is providing this caveat to all the US digital privacy laws, please let the FBI know because it will save them no small amount of waisted time and public money.

The article correctly states that the material was mail extracted by hackers from a server sitting in and educational establishment on foreign soil under foreign funding by a foreign government.

Feel free to ask the University of East Anglia for your own username and password to go reading through all the other material they have stored, and please publish their reply here.

The 'leak' is the result of criminal activity and the investigation will not start with the credibility of the scientists, but the credibility of the information 'leaked'.
marjon
not rated yet Dec 07, 2009
Where was the outrage when US national security information was stolen and published by NYT?
Telling bin Ladin his satellite phone was tapped was a great idea.
marjon
not rated yet Dec 07, 2009
This shouldn't be a political discussion.


It must be a political discussion when the ONLY solution offered to a scientific 'problem' requires political force (taxation).
Velanarris
not rated yet Dec 07, 2009
This shouldn't be a political discussion.


It must be a political discussion when the ONLY solution offered to a scientific 'problem' requires political force (taxation).

That's why I said "shouldn't" and not "isn't".
Simonsez
5 / 5 (1) Dec 10, 2009
Raycherry said: "Read FOIA again, and ask yourself where it invites hackers to attack the server upon which mail is sitting for local distribution and archiving, just because 'edu' or 'gov' is the top level domain of any sender or receiver of that mail."

I have yet to see any proof there was any "hacking" done. One does not necessarily need to be tech savvy or computer programming savvy (just under-handed) in order to browse the server after hours and scoop up emails to dig through or run a macro on to find whatever it is they are searching for.

Unless there was a new development in the last week or so I had not read/heard about, 'hacker' is just an assumption made by those whose emails were exposed.
dachpyarvile
not rated yet Dec 13, 2009
There is a lot of talk about the e-mails. What is even more shocking is the CRU source code. Watch this video on youtube. Unbelievable! The comments in the source code pretty much say their data is corrupt....http://www.youtub...sMasX-_8


Oh, I know! As I was digging through that material my jaw just hung open. I started noticing that I was muttering various unsavory epithets to my self regarding these scientists as I was combing through it. I found I had to stop periodically as my blood began to boil when I saw what they did to the raw data in places.

It grew worse as I was looking through the various other documents, including the little propaganda crafting tool that was on the server and released to the public, entitled "Rules of the Game."

Some serious heads need to roll over this. All raw data should be released to the public immediately. They should be forced to do it under penalty of law.
dachpyarvile
not rated yet Dec 14, 2009
There are those who are attempting to make this evidence look not so bad, by the way. They call attention to the fact that even though the code for the 'fudge' is not commented out the data is not used in the following lines of code because the filter_cru code that would have made use of it is commented out.

It is true that the code is commented out in a few places. But, this means nothing other than that the programmer commented out the fraudulent filter after it was used.

Point of fact to remember, however, is that the code matches the email requests to rid them of the decline they wanted to "smooth" before using the data. Just the fact that the code is even there at all still raises questions. If it were a mere experiment why keep the code in the file at all when done with it?

I also noticed that the file containing the fudge has not been modified for a decade. My Unix box is undergoing maintenance right now or I would give the exact date of last modification of the file.
dachpyarvile
not rated yet Dec 14, 2009
The usual practice would be to include the name "experimental" in the filename or make a note in the file itself that it is experimental code. The fact that it is there at all and is not commented out indicates that it was intended to be used as needed simply by uncommenting the filter_cru code and commenting out the more legit code as needed.

Alternatively, additional files could be created to receive this variable passed to another program as needed as well. With all the data combined with the emails and documents, it still looks bad.

Anything generated using that code needs to be reassessed closely. I can see why Mann did not want either he or his people to have their code scrutinized by the government when he refused on legal grounds to release the code to the committee in the House of Representatives.

The date of last modification of the file briffa_sep98_d.pro before being collected was March 04, 1999.

Just finished most of the maintenance so I could post the date.