the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

FOIA from Both Sides

Posted by Jeff Id on November 24, 2009

An excellent historic accounting of Willis Eschenbachs experience with FOIA- all in order with the behind the scenes emails.  It’s well worth reading on Maurizio Morabito’s blog.

Willis vs. The CRU: A History of (FOI) Evasion


16 Responses to “FOIA from Both Sides”

  1. Thanks Jeff. This account of Willis E. is one of the best pieces I’ve seen. I thought as it was long it would lose my attention and interest but no! held me like a magnet. Let me quote three paragraphs that seem to sum it up:

    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.,/i>

    near the beginning, and, near the end:

    The main impression that I get from the emails is that the various scientists think that I and others are simply doing this to harass them. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have no desire to put any scientist to any extra effort beyond providing what science requires – a full accounting of the data, the methods, and in some cases the computer code used to do the research. Anything more is harassment … but anything less is scientific obstruction.

    As I said, the issue is not Trenberth or scientists talking smack. It is the illegal evasion of legitmate scientific requests for data needed to replicate a scientific study. Without replication, science cannot move forwards. And when you only give data to friends of yours, and not to people who actually might take a critical look at it, you know what you end up with? A “consensus” …

  2. Milan said

    Firstly, it isn’t clear that these emails contain evidence of any wrongdoing. Secondly, it hasn’t been established whether the documents are all genuine and unaltered. Thirdly, and most importantly, the consensus on anthropogenic climate change is bigger than any one specific institution. It is based on multiple lines of evidence that support the same conclusions – something that cannot be said about alternative hypotheses, such as that nothing is happening or that observed warming is not mostly being caused by greenhouse gasses.

    That said, you can be sure that climate change delayers and deniers will be milking these emails for years – using them to continue to cast doubt on the strength of the scientific consensus about climate change. Thankfully, it does seem as though the world’s political elites are increasingly aware of the strength of the scientific consensus and the incoherence of the views of those who deny it.

    More: http://www.sindark.com/2009/11/23/the-climatic-research-units-leaked-emails/

  3. Jeff Id said

    #2 There are several points I agree on and several I don’t. The main one I doubt open minded and informed people can agree with is the first. Perhaps you’re not aware of the scientific issues discussed within the emails but there is evidence to cover up results and maximize alarm by the scientists themselves. There is evidence of scientists blocking other papers from inclusion to promote self interest and there is evidence of collusion to block FOIA.

  4. elvis said

    They just programmed the climate curve (hockey stick) into the application which draws the curve – no matter what data it uses. This is the ‘trick’ they talk about in the emails. Here is the portion of the code, which manipulates the curve. It creates a mask, shich manipulets the data from 1904 on, dealing with the decline and then artificially magnifying the curve by 2.6 for the last years:

    original code (..FOIA..documents..osborn-tree6..briffa_sep98_d.pro)
    ;
    ; Apply a VERY ARTIFICAL correction for decline!!
    ;
    yrloc=[1400,findgen(19)*5.+1904]
    valadj=[0.,0.,0.,0.,0.,-0.1,-0.25,-0.3,0.,-0.1,0.3,0.8,1.2,1.7,2.5,2.6,2.6,$
    2.6,2.6,2.6]*0.75 ; fudge factor
    if n_elements(yrloc) ne n_elements(valadj) then message,’Oooops!’
    ;
    yearlyadj=interpol(valadj,yrloc,timey)

  5. elvis said

    The real scandal is not in the emails but the code!

    They just programmed the climate curve (hockey stick) into the application which draws the curve – no matter what data it uses. This is the ‘trick’ they talk about in the emails. Here is the portion of the code, which manipulates the curve. It creates a mask, shich manipulets the data from 1904 on, dealing with the decline and then artificially magnifying the curve by 2.6 for the last years:

    original code (..FOIA..documents..osborn-tree6..briffa_sep98_d.pro)
    ;
    ; Apply a VERY ARTIFICAL correction for decline!!
    ;
    yrloc=[1400,findgen(19)*5.+1904]
    valadj=[0.,0.,0.,0.,0.,-0.1,-0.25,-0.3,0.,-0.1,0.3,0.8,1.2,1.7,2.5,2.6,2.6,$
    2.6,2.6,2.6]*0.75 ; fudge factor
    if n_elements(yrloc) ne n_elements(valadj) then message,’Oooops!’
    ;
    yearlyadj=interpol(valadj,yrloc,timey)

  6. Jeff Id said

    #5 Your partly right. They used a different trick outlined by Jean at CA WRT the comment. This is a different trick to solve the same problem and Michael Mann used a third different trick all to do the same thing. What I can’t figure out is why not just say these trees ain’t temp and move on.

  7. dean said

    Elvis,

    Do we know how often they called this section of code? was it only for the Briffa Data or was it every time a dataset didn’t have the prerequisite hockeystick?

    Dean

  8. elvis said

    Dean,

    This trick is even in the different versions of the code. They copyed it into the new versions. In the older versions it is in a different place an with a slightly different wording in the comment. They made sure this manipulation takes place in every curve interpolation.

  9. Jeff Id said

    In the Jones trick as outlined by JeanS, my understanding is they backed up temp data to the chopped off MXD data and ran a filter through it so you can’t see the step.

  10. You know, it is very curious that the emails released have been the first to come under scrutiny, and in the light of those, the Team have dug their holes deeper and shot themselves in more of their feet.

    Now comes the code (Elvis, are you quoting the sideline remarks word for word?) which is proof of fraud!

    And this follows denials made AFTER the zipfile came to light.

    Please get that, Milan. As to those multiple lines of evidence you refer to, I’ve looked at every one and they all have gaping holes. I used to be a warmist, not just a lukewarmist but a highly-committed activist. So nobody has any ground to stand on to claim I am “in denial”. I changed my views because I examined the evidence for myself. And since it was a very long slog to do this, a slog that most folk have neither time nor scientific ability to do, I wrote it up to help others. Click my name.

  11. elvis said

    Skywalker,

    Yes, it’s their comments. They say “fudge factor” and “Apply a VERY ARTIFICAL correction for decline!!”
    And what’s really nice about this portion of code is that you can see, how the climate curve is CREATED artificially by these numbers in the code, to look like they want it to.

  12. curious said

    Milan – lets all agree “milking it for years” is the last thing we want.

    I suggest UEA stop fighting a pitiful and shameful rearguard action of delay and speed things up by getting all the code, data and correspondence into the public domain. This would have the double benefit of belatedly meeting some of their obligations under FOI/EIR law.

    It’d also show up the “delayers and deniers” for who they are. Can’t see a downside to it myself – What do you say?

  13. L Gardy LaRoche said

    Obama’s Science Czar John Holdren involved in unwinding “Climategate” scandal

    http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/17183

    ““In an email on October16, 2003 from John Holdren to Michael Mann and Tom Wigley we are told:

    ”“I’m forwarding for your entertainment an exchange that followed from my being quoted in the Harvard Crimson to the effect that you and your colleagues are right and my “Harvard” colleagues Soon and Baliunas are wrong about what the evidence shows concerning surface temperatures over the past millennium. The cover note to faculty and postdocs in a regular Wednesday breakfast discussion group on environmental science and public policy in Harvard’s Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences is more or less self-explanatory.”

    The Wednesday Breakfast Group

    “This is what Holdren sent to the Wednesday Breakfast group.

    “I append here an e-mail correspondence I have engaged in over the past few days trying to educate a Soon/Baliunas supporter who originally wrote to me asking how I could think that Soon and Baliunas are wrong and Mann et al. are right (a view attributed to me, correctly, in the Harvard Crimson). This individual apparently runs a web site on which he had been touting the Soon/Baliunas position.”

  14. Fred2 said

    Question:
    What is the state of comparable code and data from NASA/GISS? Is it public?

    Can GISS make the case all by itself? Or does it need CRU?

  15. Simo said

    Lucy Skywalker, cheers. wow.

  16. WTH said

    RE Elvis #4 & #5

    That code doesn’t get used – the very next line that uses yearlyadj is commented out and is replaced with code that doesn’t use it.

    See:
    http://www.jgc.org/blog/2009/11/about-that-cru-hack.html

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