Sunday, March 07, 2010

Evidence of adverse editorial selection by the CRU Email theives

Tim Osborn is one of the Climeros'** targets [thanks to Marco for that, although Eli has chosen to exercise his dyslexia a bit] because of various Emails made public after the theft of the CRU file, but the questions has always been what was edited out of the Emails that have been made public. One of the constant whines from our friends the Climero's has been about how Osborn, as a member of the International Journal of Climatology editorial board maneuvered to get Santer, et al. published as a full paper, rather than as a reply to Douglass, Christy, Singer and not Knox. Santer has already had his say on this at Real Climate, Osborn has his in his submission to the Parliamentary Committee on Science and Technology pointing to what was made public by the theives

"just heard back from Glenn. He's prepared to treat it as a new submission rather than a comment on Douglass et al."

provided undue favour to Santer, because Douglass et al. would not have a right to reply if the Santer article was treated in this way.
and what was not
This is false. What was not released in the disclosed emails, however, was my discussion with the journal's editor, where I note:

"He (Santer) has done a substantial amount of new work that will be included, hence it is more than just a comment on Douglass et al."

With this proper context, it now becomes clear that the reason for treating the Santer article as a new submission was because it deserved to be treated in that way - it reported many new scientific findings. It is worth also noting that treating the Santer article as a new submission does not in any way reduce the opportunity for Douglass et al. to respond to Santer - via a comment on Santer et al. or via their own new submission to this journal or any other.This is strong evidence that the quote miners who stole the CRU Emails have been, let us say, economical with the electrons, providing misleading selections.

**They are big and I is small and that is not fair, oh nos!


Ben said...

But it's not as much fun when the context is there!

So few e-mails released, so much context obscured...

Marco said...

"Climero"? I like the dyslexia in this case.

carrot eater said...

You might be giving them too much credit here.

Deech56 said...

Instructions to reviewers. Oh the conspiracy.

OK, I have been involved in reviews of R&D contracts, and instructions are always given to reviewers. If there are weaknesses, you cannot give a perfect score, strengths/weaknesses have to support the score given. That kind of thing.

This is an interesting submission from Osborn. Worth reading the whole thing; everything he writes is familiar to anyone in science.

Tim Curtin said...

Eli, you repeat the canard about "theft" of emails from CRU. You of all people should know that when one works for a public-funded institution, all staff communications are the property of the institution. It is known that CRU broke the Law (FOIA) by refusing to disclose its data products including its selection of particular data sets from the original raw data (as opposed to the raw data it used, which was and is available from the originators). Evidently somebody at CRU was unhappy with this non-disclosure despite repeated FOI requests, and leaked, not "stole", the emails in question.

Anonymous said...

"Evidently somebody at CRU was unhappy with this non-disclosure..."

Evidence please.

Oh, there is none. A canard then.

Billy T

EliRabett said...

Tim, Eli has been lead to believe that you are an economist by training. Surely you know that most theft is by employees.


dhogaza said...

Gosh, Tim Curtin drops by to lie.

I'm so shocked I won't be able to sleep tonight...

I mean, the fact that felonious release of data represents a "canard" rather than a statement of fact .. wow.

Anonymous said...

"the fact that felonious release of data"

Evidence please.

Oh, there is none.

Billy G

bigcitylib said...

Charles Arthur of The Guardian published a "concordance" of the search terms the thieves used to gather up and select CRU emails. Seems to have disappeared from the website though.

Anonymous said...

'This is strong evidence that the quote miners who stole the CRU Emails have been, let us say, economical with the electrons, providing misleading selections.'

It's perfectly obvious that those who hacked the CRU server & stole the emails in the run-up to Copenhagen were working for / funded by the Denial Industry. It was a Denial Industry stunt. That's why they edited the emails to hide context.

IIRC the link to the hacked emails was posted on The AirVent [sounds like plausible deniability] and difficult to for investigators to investigate.

BTW Isn't editing quotes to hide context mostly what McIntyre & Watts do? Perhaps they.... But surely.....

Random mouse

Anonymous said...

re: Curtin and anonymouse:
I don't think the bunny saw a duck but proof of theft. As per Sherlock, eliminate and what's left is the answer.

A disgruntled employee would have to act quickly . Using one's own workstation wouls leave an electronic fingerprint. So would copying . The only chance would be to use someone elses computer. Said employee would also need time to edit the thousands of emails to create the lie. Doing this at someone else's work station would be pretty foolish. The emails were hacked from outside.

If the emails were edited, and we now see proof they were, they were stolen. Because they were edited specifically to maliciously damage the reputations of specific individuals , we can conclude that whoever stole them was connected to one of the denialist/think tank circles.

See: no ducks.

John McManus

Anonymous said...


That's some pretty good deducing, though there are plenty of other explanations. Where is the proof that the emails were edited? Odd because even the scientists who wrote them have not disputed their contents. Perhaps the context, but not the fact that they wrote them.

It would not have to be a disgruntled employee, just one with a conscience who disagreed with the status quo. And there are many many ways to cover ones tracks if one knows what they are doing and has the time. And if they worked there, they could have been planning this for years. No different that industrial espionage. Secrets are stolen all the time by employees with no trace of the thief.

So, there is no proof that they were hacked. Just speculation.

Your "evidence" isn't even circumstantial. It's your opinion, nothing more.


Anonymous said...

Science,science,science... all about the "Zience!". In your dreams...? I wonder if you wabbits will be able to get your furry heads & ears around this guys thoughts about the Big Betrug?

Gotta Fly...

Anonymous said...

No John:

Which is it? Edited or cherry picked? There is a difference.

Nowhere in Dr. Osborn's submission can I find where he states his emails were edited. Taken out of context? Perhaps. Cherry picked? Yes. But not edited. The verbiage was not changed. What is true is that the emails were clearly and carefully selected for effect.

I do not put much stock into the content of these emails at face value because it is clear that the person responsible has an agenda, and part of that agenda is obviously the timing of their release.

With that said, nothing about this changes the possibility that they were released from within.

That you see nothing wrong with the content is the same "denialist" way of thinking that you accuse those that don't agree with your side. Are they damning at face value? No. But they are evidence that all is not as pure and true as we were led to believe. The truth is always in the middle. The emails are not proof of anything, but where there is smoke there is fire. And there is smoke.

These guys are not saints and to continue to try to convince yourself, and others, they are is hurting the overall cause. Just own the mistakes, and move on without trying desperately to deflect. The perception is there is something amiss. Simply denying this and trying to sweep it under the proverbial rug isn't going to make it go away. It is arrogant to think it will. It will, in fact, make it worse.


The truth is always in the middle :) said...

Anonymous said...

You ignor others involved who have said their emails have been truncated. Tim isn't the only one.

Editors don't just change phraseology and check spelling, they weed stuff. Big manuscritps become manageable in the editing process. Here the editing is not to clarify but to obfuscate. That Hector is dishonest.

Even with some M&M eating creature editing like mad , no dishonest motives or actions can be assigned to anyone but the email thieves.

The truth is not in the middle. The emails were stolen by shadowy figures too cowardly to admit their sins. Then they were dishonestly edited and cherrypicked to completely change their meaning. No Hector, the fault rests with the denialists.

John McManus

Anonymous said...


I don't ignore the others. I have not heard or read of any that claim to have had their emails "edited." I will give you cherry picked, that is clear. And I am not defending the individual(s) who released the information, but the fact is at this point there is no proof they were stolen or hacked.

But the truth IS in the middle. The scientists in question are indeed guilty of having an agenda outside of the basic science. That is clear. Their efforts long ago crossed over into activism for their cause, and this gives the impression the work is slanted to fit the agenda. If you deny this, you are not being honest with yourself. Just like the current political environment in the US, the debate is completely polarized. It is either black or white, no shades of gray allowed. And that is simply not reality. No, the truth is that we should be acting to be better as a species, but the alarmist view is simply hyperbole. What we should be doing is somewhere between panic and nothing. In other words, the middle.

The scientists and alarmists must share some of the blame for this due to their arrogance on the subject. Their inability to admit that they might have bias or may not be perfect has come back to bite them. Again, it is intellectually dishonest to say they are without fault. I have heard time and again how scientists working for big oil/coal skew data for a price. Why is it such a stretch to think government funded science is any different? Same currency, different supplier.

So, John, there is plenty of fault to go around. For the record, I do not deny that AGW is real. It may well be. I am skeptical, though, that the doom and gloom is warranted. Like it or not, when the finalized and fully reviewed report from the IPCC states glaciers will melt in 30 years, and the alarmists are trumpeting this "fact" to motivate the masses, it doesn't sit well to find out they were off by 7 generations. And before you compare that mistake to some typo made by a reporter, remember that this error was to be used to form international policy and the reporter's error will be forgotten by the end of the day.


Anonymous said...

I know rabbits don't go for fish mush but starlings take what they can get... Here is more WWF science, as they openly tell us what they really want for us, the masses of unwashed folks. With rational men dead, according to scientists and the truth fading from our collective memory... Just when will you tell us all what you really have planned for mankind? Read this and get more openness from the godless side of the issue.

At some point we will stop asking for proof and just act the social scientists say? Look at the faces of these men. What do you see? Gotta Fly, Starling bye-bye

Anonymous said...

Those greedy rednecks have cleaned out practically every giant sea bass and grouper from So. California's kelp forests. They have done such a good job of eliminating the big fish that some of the best habitat left for fish like those are off-limits oil-drilling-rigs in the Santa Barbara channel!

Recreational fisherman have done far more damage to the Southern California marine environment than the oil companies have.

I'd gladly take some more offshore oil drilling rigs in exchange for reasonable regulation on the recreational fisherman who have demonstrated for decades that they simply can't control themselves.

I'd much rather see our offshore resources managed by Scripps scientists than by the knuckle-draggers featured in your picture above. Those fishermen have nobody but themselves to blame for their plight.

Anonymous said...

Here's some more info about those poor oppressed fishermen!

guthrie said...

Hector - ultimately the problem is that what to you looks like activism for a cause looks to us like being honestly convinced by the weight of evidence and the need therefore for action. There is nothing that can be done about this, it is a gulf in communication caused by differeingt outlooks/ philosophies/ exposure to evidence or whatever.

Anonymous said...


I understand your point. But the problem is that it is difficult to relate the science to the average citizen. I see it this way. There is a need for action, no question. The issue becomes, how much and how fast. 10 years ago, the alarms were loud. We need to act now or we are screwed, even in the short term. But those short term doomsday scenarios--more active hurricane seasons, droughts etc.--have not materialized, at least not to the point predicted just a short time ago. Again, this is in the eye of the general public, not a trained scientist. So, you have many who think the whole thing is over-hyped. That the scientific evidence has been overblown to achieve the desired effects--changing the way we live as a species to save the world. Awfully big task.

The general public needs to be convinced, but the movement took it too far, tried to make too many sweeping changes at once, and now that the perception is that there is something funny going on, the public has retreated. People tend to get angry when they feel they have been deceived. Whether or not they actually have is not the point, whether they THINK they have is the point. And it cannot all be blamed of well-funded oil shills etc. Some of this has to be put back on the scientists for allowing the political figures to run, unchecked, with the message. Because even if the scientist don't have an agenda, the politicians do. And that is what spoils the purity of the science.

So there is a problem, and it is one which I have said would come up for many years. Sound the alarm and at the first moment people think it is false, you are done. Had there been a more metered approach, the damage control would not now be so extensive. Frankly, if we need to act in a matter of months or even years, it would seem to me we are better off spending time on adaptation because the world will simply never move that quickly. It is a virtual impossibility.


rocco said...


Can you post a few examples of those short term doomsday predictions? - e.g. predictions of significant anthropogenic signal in hurricanes or drought that was supposed to manifest in ~10 years?

Gaz said...

Tim: "It is known that CRU broke the Law (FOIA)..."

Yes, this is why they were prosecuted for it and found guilty.

Oh, wait, hang on...

Anonymous said...


Let's start here...

From paragraph 1...

"The years 1995 to 2000 experienced the highest level of North Atlantic hurricane activity in the reliable record. Compared with the generally low activity of the previous 24 years (1971 to 1994), the past 6 years have seen a doubling of overall activity for the whole basin, a 2.5-fold increase in major hurricanes (>=50 meters per second), and a fivefold increase in hurricanes affecting the Caribbean. The greater activity results from simultaneous increases in North Atlantic sea-surface temperatures and decreases in vertical wind shear. Because these changes exhibit a multidecadal time scale, the present high level of hurricane activity is likely to persist for an additional ~10 to 40 years. The shift in climate calls for a reevaluation of preparedness and mitigation strategies."

Sounds a lot to me like these folks are saying, in 2001, that we should see nothing but a continuing high level of storms, or an increase, directly due to AGW for the next 10-40 years. We are ten in from that and it's been, with a few exceptions, a pretty average decade which finished at a 30 year low for activity and a hard downward trend since a peak in 2005.

And from the last paragraph...

"Government officials, emergency managers, and residents of the Atlantic hurricane basin should be aware of the apparent shift in climate and evaluate preparedness and mitigation efforts in order to respond appropriately in a regime where the hurricane threat is much greater than it was in the 1970s through early 1990s."

Again, sounds an awful lot like we need to be preparing for the worst "right now" (2001).

Perhaps I need to be more clear. I actually read more than the average person on this subject. I am aware that most studies I have found do not directly attribute hurricane frequency to AGW, but many have and do insist that intensity will be greater.

Here is an example from a source I trust you know...

Now, please note that they are careful to not associate this single event that it is the direct result of AGW. Fine, I agree. But they strongly hint that the trend of more intense hurricanes is upon us in the "future" which can mean any number of things--very general term. The fact is, we have had minimal storms, and not even the Galveston storm was particularly strong--Cat 3 I believe. It hit in just right, or wrong, spot.

Lastly I would point you to a source more widely referenced and known by, once again, the general public. Remember them, the people you need to convince? And the politicians. Remember them, the people that are jacking your efforts all to hell? That would be Eli's friend Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth." In his pretty coffee table book, he devotes roughly 40 pages chronicling the weather events of 2004-2005. When reading them, one is left with the impression that we have reached the point of no return and we can expect to see more and more of this as the years pass. You cannot read it and not get that message. And for years this has been the tip of the AGW arrow. He won a freaking Nobel prize for the movie forchrissakes. People put stock into such things. So, I think you could see where the people who read such things might take home the idea that the world is sliding out of control.

Yet here we are, ten years later, and things have really not changed that dramatically as far as hurricane season is concerned. Lotta snow though.


rocco said...


May I remind you, you were asked to provide specific examples of predictions of significant decadal rise in hurricane activity or drought due to GHGs.

Anonymous said...


...the present high level of hurricane activity is likely to persist for an additional ~10 to 40 years...

Seems like a specific prediction to me. And it's basis is AGW. Where is the problem?

Why do the semantics play such a role for you? Anyone paying attention to the political outcry for the last 15 years has been given the impression that all these feedback events would increase both in the short and long term. That simply has not happened. We are talking about the larger message to "the people", not minutiae debated between scientists. So though I agree that there might not be a short term correlation, I have provided you with examples of more than one prediction as stated through the mainstream outlets. Unless you disagree that people actually took Gore's work seriously and that his book and movie are full of such predictions. Kind of convenient to ignore the loudest voice in the room.


rocco said...


Where is the problem? The paper says:

"One may ask whether the increase in activity since 1995 is due to anthropogenic global warming. The historical multidecadal-scale variability in Atlantic hurricane activity is much greater than what would be "expected" from a gradual temperature increase attributed to global warming (5). There have been various studies investigating the potential effect of long-term global warming on the number and strength of Atlantic-basin hurricanes. The results are inconclusive"

There is no short term prediction related to AGW.

Did Gore make any specific short term predictions w.r.t. anthropogenic influence on hurricanes or drought that were recently falsified?

Anonymous said...

Yes Rocco, I know what it says. I posted it. Doesn't change that fact that it predicts higher than "normal" for the next 10-40 years at the end of the article. Why simply ignore the contradiction. Is it inconclusive, or will we see higher than normal hurricane seasons for the next 10-40 years--in other words, conclusive? Which is it?

As for Gore, I assume you are kidding. His book uses the WEATHER EVENTS (read: not climate) of 04-05 to tell us that the end is nigh. 40+ pages of pictures and text, all of which make the case that what we saw with Katrina et al stands to be the norm. If you somehow think there is not that level of angst and hyperbole, I suggest you go back and take another look. If he is going to be your mouthpiece, you are going to have to live with his take, however out of touch it may be--see "millions" of degree temps at the earth's core as an example. Which is why I suggest scientists begin to distance themselves from him and others like him. Do what you want, but as long as scientists are in bed with the politicians, you get their baggage to carry with you on your journey. Good luck. You will need it.


rocco said...


What contradiction? The paper clearly states that natural multidecadal variability in Atlantic is greater than any possible anthropogenic signal so far. It makes no prediction regarding anthropogenic influence on hurricanes.

As for Al Gore, I never saw or read anything from him, but if he made so many "doomsday" short term predictions that have now been falsified, it should not be a problem for you to show some of them.

Anonymous said...


You haven't read the book? Yet, sadly, it's the single most well known publication on the subject to date as far as the general public is concerned. Why is it that so many AGW proponents seem to distance themselves from Gore when he becomes inconvenient, but embrace him when it serves the cause? Not sure I get it.

The contradiction is, at one point the report says that effect on hurricanes is INconclusive. Then, shortly thereafter, they make the CONCLUSION that greater than normal activity, or worse, can be expected for the next 10-40 years. You can't say it's inconclusive then turn around and make a conclusion. That would be a contradiction.

As for Gore, there are a great many special things he has said that are completely false or misleading on he subject, both in terms of the near future and the distant. Too many to list off hand. But I will go dig up some and answer your question though I am sure you won't satisfied. It's his use of current (2004) weather to try to represent current (2004) climate conditions which is most egregious.

Bottom line is, you seem to be missing my point altogether. Perhaps you have heard the saying "the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, but expecting the same results?" The AGW community has been beating the same drum for a long time, but there has been little progress as a direct result. Why continue? It isn't working. And I have no political axe to grind. I have kids I would like to see benefit from a better world, but fear is not the way to motivate. It's failed as a means to the overall end, that being better care of the planet.

My thoughts, for those that give a sh*t (probably none of you)...

Invite and welcome the investigation into the science if you are so confident. Open all the doors publicly and openly. Advertise THAT, not your insistence that you are right. Make your fight about the equity of the representation for not just your side, but invite all to the party. You clearly are sure of your position, so what is there to lose? Use the political capital you have, e.g. Gore and the like, and get them to be willing to debate--the man preaches, he does not discuss. AND EDUCATE THEM THOROUGHLY so they can communicate your opinions without over the top rhetoric and talking points. If it's done this way, you can win support. Be humble, not arrogant. Admit you don't know everything. Nobody does. It's ok, really. But continuing to refuse to accept that there are a great many intelligent people who think the very fact that you refuse to acknowledge any position but your own is suspicious is not getting it done.

Rocco, Gore is the King of "the science is settled." If you know anything about science, it is rarely, if ever, settled. I learned that from a hardcore AGW blogger. "Science doesn't do proof" I think is how he put it.

Thus ends the lecture. Take it for what it's worth. But keep in mind, I agree we need to be better people. Yet you try to beat me up on Gore. Just think of all the people out there who don't give a crap either way.

The ultimate goal is to find a way for all to agree we need to be better stewards. The current method is failing. Pick a different way.


EliRabett said...

Yeah, Eli read the books. Page numbers please.

rocco said...


You know, it would save you a great deal of time, if you:

1. Actually bothered to read the paper we are discussing, because its conclusions are based on analysis of _natural_ variability, not AGW.

2. Stopped addressing me as if I'm a part of some "AGW community". I'm new to the debate. I'm interested in facts, not lecturing. If the "AGW community" overhyped its case with "short term doomsday scenarios" that "have not materialized", I want to know.