In case you missed it, another cache of leaked emails from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia has been posted. Several Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) skeptic sites have posted summaries at Watts Up With That, Dr. Roy Spencer, Roger Pielke Jr. and Jo Nova and the AGW propaganda sites of Real Climate and Skeptical Science have posted their ‘nothing to see here’ rebuttals.
I have downloaded the file (and you can too by going here) and The AGW skeptic sites listed above will do a better job than I can of thoroughly dissecting the emails so you should visit those sites for yourself to see the highlights. In this post I will focus on one particularly damning email and I encourage you to download the files and view them yourself but before you do, I’d like to provide you with a list of the characters that you’ll see mentioned in these emails.
Gavin Schmidt is a “climate scientist” (although his degrees are in Mathematics) and works for the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS). He runs the attack website Real Climate.
Michael Mann is a “climate scientist” (although his degrees are in Mathematics, Physics and Geology) who works for Penn State and was implicated in the first Climate Gate. Mann was behind the now debunked hockey stick graph that used flawed data to show that global temperatures were rising.
Phil Jones is a climate scientist who works for CRU and, like Mann, was implicated in the first Climate Gate.
Kevin Trenberth is the head of Climate Analysis Section of the National Center for Atmospheric Research.
James Hansen heads the GISS and has degrees in Astronomy, Mathematics and Physics. Recently he was arrested at a protest outside the White House against the proposed TransCanada pipeline.
Raymond Pierrehumbert is a professor at the University of Chicago and assists Gavin Schmidt in running Real Climate.
Keith Briffa is a climatologist at CRU and was responsible for the flawed tree ring study that led to Mann’s hockey stick graph. Briffa cherry picked his data to use the only tree that showed warming and that was used to generate the hockey stick graph.
All of these characters contributed to the work of fiction called the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report which is mentioned in many of the emails.
I will not argue the merits of the scientific research on this post but instead will use the following email to show the lack of scientific skill and integrity of one of the main players in the AGW cult. If these are in question then we have to question his conclusions.
Don’t Let the Data and Statistics Get in the Way
This is from email #1885 in the dataset and I was alerted to this gem from a Telegraph article. This email is from Phil Jones who may be considered one of the top 5 climate scientists in the world who is leading the AGW push and in this email we see many examples where he lacks basic technical skills.
From: Phil Jones
Sent: 20 December 2007 13:58
To: Bob Ward
Subject: Re: More nonsense on climate change
Quickly re-reading this it sounds as though I’m getting at you. I’m not – just at the idiots who continue to spout this nonsense.It isn’t an issue with climatologists. All understand. If I tried topublish this I would be told by my peers it was obvious and banal.
I will try and hide it in a paper at some point. I could put it on theCRU web site. I’ll see how I feel after the Christmas Pud. I would have thought that this writer would have know better!
I keep on seeing people saying this same stupid thing. I’m not adept enough (totally inept) with excel to do this now as no-one who knows how to is here.What you have to do is to take the numbers in column C (the years)and then those in D (the anomalies for each year), plot themand then work out the linear trend. The slope is upwards. I had someonedo this in early 2006, and the trend was upwards then. It will benow. Trend won’t be statistically significant, but the trend is up.
First, we see that he doesn’t know how to plot data from an Excel spreadsheet. Plotting data in Excel is not a skill required by all humans and I’d guess that a majority of people in the world do not know how to do this but they don’t have the word ‘scientist’ listed in their job description. A scientist who doesn’t know how to plot data in Excel is equivalent to:
A race car driver who can’t use a clutch,
A chef who can’t operate a stand mixer,
A professional tennis player who can’t put top spin on the ball,
A Navy Seal who can’t load a gun,
An astronomer who doesn’t understand the celestial coordinate system,
An auto mechanic who can’t change the oil in a car,
An electrician who can’t read a wiring diagram,
A plumber who can’t use a pipe wrench.
You get my point. This is pretty basic stuff for a scientist and especially one who requires data trends to prove his hypothesis. And I find it troubling that he isn’t the only person at CRU who doesn’t possess this skill since he stated in the email that “no one who knows how to is here.” It makes you wonder if CRU is comprised mainly of Marketing and Public Relations professionals instead of scientists.
But the deficiencies don’t stop there. Mr. Jones states that the “trend is up” but also states that the trend won’t be “statistically significant.” In science, if the data results aren’t statistically significant then you can’t make statements about trends. Mr. Jones makes the claim in the email that there is a trend even though he doesn’t have the skill to plot the data and even when someone can be found to plot them he feels the data won’t show statistical significance. A real scientist will not make these bold statements before he has plotted the data, generated a trend line (in a y=mx+b form), determined correlation via R-squared and performed statistical analysis to say within a certain confidence (usually 90%) whether the data supports the hypothesis. Sounds like Mr. Jones has a bias and will come to his own conclusions no matter what the science and the data show. That is a big problem!
There is another part to this email from Bob Ward who seems troubled that the data can’t support their thesis.
date: Thu, 20 Dec 2007 15:07:00 -0000
from: “Bob Ward”
subject: RE: More nonsense on climate change
to: “Phil Jones”
Thanks for responding so comprehensively. I have plotted the data before, and as youobserve, the trend is up but the result isn’t statistically significant, which I thinkmakes it open to attack. I think the problem is that NOAA made the following statement inits report on the 2006 data:
“However, uncertainties in the global calculations due largely to gaps in data coveragemake 2006 statistically indistinguishable from 2005 and several other recent warm years asshown by the error bars on the global time series.”
I’m not sure how to argue against this point – it appears to imply that there is nostatistically significant trend in the global temperature record over the past few years.
Mr. Ward admits that the lack of statistically significant trends in the global temperature record makes it difficult to make the claims that temperatures are rising. Well, I have to agree with him here and I’ve pointed this out in a previous post (unlike Mr. Jones, I have no problem plotting data in Excel).
Obviously they need to finesse the data into closer alignment with their Theory.
They have a lot of practice doing just that! When you get the media to buy into an hypothesis that can be proved though any weather event (higher temps, snow, hurricanes, drought, floods, etc. are all magically caused by CO2) then you don’t need to focus so much on the science.
The AGW cult is losing their pull with some in the MSM and the truth is coming out.
Excellent post. Al Gore aside, I’ve always thought that historically, we’re likelier to be chopping our way out of blocks of ice than paddling away from rising sea levels. Statistically insignificant trends would logically seem to require an equally insignificant response–unless there’s an ulterior motive in play.
I think your last comment is dead on. I don’t think the AGW “cause” has ever been about the environment but about redistributing wealth from rich countries to poorer countries through carbon credits and taxes. There is a long read article i read a couple days ago which goes into other goals of the Green movement.
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