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November 25, 2009

Chronology: FOIA Requests and the ClimateGate Emails

Worth reading. This guy filed his own FOIA requests, and each was denied for spurious reasons.

When this guy showed himself to be determined, and exposed their reasons for rejection to be made-up nonsense, Phil Jones issued this now-notorious email:

Mike,

Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4? Keith will do likewise. He’s not in at the moment – minor family crisis.

Can you also email Gene and get him to do the same? I don’t have his new email address.

We will be getting Caspar to do likewise.

Cheers
Phil

And he writes stuff like this:

Mike, Ray, Caspar,

A couple of things – don’t pass on either.

2. You can delete this attachment if you want. Keep this quiet also, but this is the person [DAVID HOLLAND – Willis] who is putting in FOI requests for all emails Keith and Tim have written and received re Ch 6 of AR4. We think we’ve found a way around this.

Earlier Jones had written this:

Mike, … Just sent loads of station data to Scott. Make sure he documents everything better this time ! And don’t leave stuff lying around on ftp sites – you never know who is trawling them. The two [climate skeptics] MMs have been after the CRU station data for years. If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I’ll delete the file rather than send to anyone. Does your similar act in the US force you to respond to enquiries within 20 days? – our does ! The UK works on precedents, so the first request will test it.

We also have a data protection act, which I will hide behind. Tom Wigley has sent me a worried email when he heard about it – thought people could ask him for his model code. He has retired officially from UEA so he can hide behind that. IPR should be relevant here, but I can see me getting into an argument with someone at UEA who’ll say we must adhere to it !

….

Phil

That's how "science" advances, you know -- destroying information and records rather than sharing it with the world.

Even earlier than that, Jones had shown his "scientific" credentials, with this infamous email:

Subject: Re: WMO non respondo … Even if WMO agrees, I will still not pass on the data. We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it. … Cheers Phil

Willis Eisenbach, the guy making all this trouble with his nitpicky demands to see data and methodology (as he is legally entitled to, as regards any taxpayer-funded enterprise), explains what is so egregiously wrong with this sort of thinking:

eople seem to be missing the real issue in the CRU emails. Gavin over at realclimate keeps distracting people by saying the issue is the scientists being nasty to each other, and what Trenberth said, and the Nature “trick”, and the like. Those are side trails. To me, the main issue is the frontal attack on the heart of science, which is transparency.

Science works by one person making a claim, and backing it up with the data and methods that they used to make the claim. Other scientists attack the work by (among other things) trying to replicate the first scientist’s work. If they can’t replicate it, it doesn’t stand. So blocking the FOIA allowed Phil Jones to claim that his temperature record (HadCRUT3) was valid science.

This is not just trivial gamesmanship, this is central to the very idea of scientific inquiry. This is an attack on the heart of science, by keeping people who disagree with you from ever checking your work and seeing if your math is correct.

Indeed. But the media is blowing this off as if it's no big deal that "scientists" not only refuse to show their work, but in fact conspire illegally to frustrate legal and valid FOIA requests.

Thanks to JackStraw.

In Case You Missed It... Yesterday I linked CBSNews recap of the scandal. I failed to highlight something I thought was important: An intriguing theory about how the leak happened.

The two main theories are 1 hacker and 2 insider-whistleblower. The new theory is a variation on insider-whistleblower. Given that the file seems to contain a LOT of data, and doesn't have any personal emails in it, that suggests someone took a lot of time to include only pertinent emails.

The theory, then, is this: The file was in fact prepared in response to FOIA requests/demands. In a provisional way -- okay, guys, let's prepare a response to the requests, in case we actually have to disclose this stuff.

So a team went through and attempted to comply.

Now, what happens, per this theory, is this: The decision is made to not release the file, to continue the cover-up and illegal withholding of information.

At this point someone decides "The hell with that" -- perhaps this person was on the team assembling the file -- and releases it himself.

Makes a great deal of sense, I think. Particularly when you consider that crackers (hackers -- hackers like being called "crackers") generally boast of their work, and take credit (under their cracker-handle), and that wasn't done here.


Bonus: Climate "models" can so totally predict the future.

Which is, conveniently, unknowable.

You know what they can't predict? The past.

Which is unfortunately quite knowable, and so we can check their "predictions" against actual records.

They all fail. They all fail.


None of the multiple computer simulations used by a UN climate-change agency for assessments of global warming appears good enough to predict how India’s monsoon will behave, two Indian scientists have said.

The researchers examined 10 simulations of future climate scenarios used by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and found none could reproduce correctly the behaviour of even 20th-century rainfall.

Not a single model could simulate realistically key features of the Indian monsoon...

In attempts to assess impacts of global warming, the IPCC considered 17 models of how climate would evolve as carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere rose. Some models predict more rainfall over India, but with great uncertainty.

“The models have very serious problems in simulating even 20th century monsoon patterns,” said Madhavan Rajeevan, a senior scientist at the National Atmospheric Research Laboratory, Tirupati, and a co-author of the paper.

“When a model (computer simulation) cannot even show with reasonable accuracy monsoon behaviour in the past, there’s a big question mark over its ability to predict future patterns,” Rajeevan told The Telegraph.


Well, our models can't "predict" what happened in the past five years, but, you know, they're gold-standard 100 years in the future.


Thanks to Arthur.

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posted by Ace at 03:48 PM

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