the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Odd email.

Posted by Jeff Id on November 26, 2009

Urban warming isn’t important or real?  They spend all their time in these emails addressing ‘skeptics’ rather than asking if the data might have a problem.

From: Tom Wigley
To: Phil Jones
Subject: LAND vs OCEAN
Date: Fri, 06 Nov 2009 17:36:15 -0700

We probably need to say more about this. Land warming since
1980 has been twice the ocean warming — and skeptics might
claim that this proves that urban warming is real and important.

See attached note.




Attachment Converted: “c:\eudora\attach\LANDvsOCEAN.doc”


16 Responses to “Odd email.”

  1. Carrick said

    Tom Wigley appears to spend a lot of time encouraging the team to do what they should be doing already.

  2. Gary said

    The skeptics might be right. Maybe they should have said more about UHI effects instead of sweeping it under the rug.

  3. Jeff Id said

    #1 I agree. There are several scientists who make these points here. In one email he pretty thoroughly scolds climate modelers for disingenuous presentation of a model as being closer to actual temp than they are. Mike and Gavin both backed down.

  4. Brian B said

    At first I was ready to give Wigley a great deal of credit.
    But what is disconcerting is that he frequently recognizes the problems and exhorts the Team to behave properly and then turns right around and shills for and defends them whether they do or don’t (and usually they don’t).

  5. lucia said

    Mike and Gavin both backed down.

    Not a peep in public though. And, though it’s a fine point, later ‘proofs’ that the current slow warming is entirely consistent with models hinges on the method of “testing” models implicit in the graph Wigley calls deceptive.

  6. Joe NS said

    Somewhat off topic, but here is a really intriguing observation from comments at Real Clear Politics on Carol Browner’s so-what response to Climategate:

    “jallen wrote:

    Consider – The emails were not a result of a hacker’s activity. They were also not going to be produced under a FOIA request.

    Rather, they are the residual emails comprising those which had already been *sanitized* from the CRU systems to illegally prepare for a future (likely successful) FOIA request.

    Note that there is a very small percentage of personal chatter that typically make up close collegagues’s communication. Therefore, it points to a previous culling.

    These are deleted emails from a sanitized batch which were foolishly or purposely archived and/or discovered by an insider (perhaps the sanitizer himself). The insider then had pangs of conscience or an axe to grind and released them surreptitiously.”

    Neat? This suggestion by “jallen” is another I’d never entertained, i.e., that the file had been culled AT Hadley with the intention of destroying it en bloc. That leaves open the possibility that not only was the file NOT hacked but that Jones et al. may have a pretty good notion of whp “Whistleblower” is/are.

    What an irony it would be if Jones et al. themselves had prepared the file! Or if until the very moment of its appearance, they were congratulating themselves over cigars and brandy on how they had hidden for good the hiding of the decline!!

  7. AndyL said

    Re 6: More likely this was prepared as the minimum they would release if the FOIA forced them to release emails

  8. Joe NS said

    Continuing from #6, allow me to repeat something I wrote in another thread here: Nothing in the zip file is “irrelevant.’ Posters have asked what about all the other stuff in the file that “seems” to have nothing to do with chicanery: announcements of meetings etc. Well, I ask, who was at those meetings? What was discussed? Are they’re minutes, perhaps in hardcopy only, to what was discussed. If “jallen’s” ingenious suggestion that the zip file was put together by the Team with the intention of deleting it or secreting it someplace off-line (after all, you can never tell when you might actually need it, particularly “Harry_Read_Me”), then there HAS to be a meaning some sort connecting everything in it.

    Yes, I know, this “3 Days of the Condor” imagining, but it is almiost as much fun as it is truly scary.

  9. Joe NS said

    #7, Andy, yes, Jeff first raised the possibility you are suggesting a couple of days ago, and I was highly taken with it. But something about the suggestion always nagged at me as implausible, namely, why would they have put together the most damaging material in one easy to get at place? After all, even Steve McIntyre could not have known about, hence requested, the “Harry_Read_Me” file or Jones’ flabbergastingly stupid emails, could he? Even he, I dare say, never expected to find that blatant stuff like we’ve all read actually existed.

    No. It seems to me the file makes most sense if one reasons as “jallen” does: It was put together by a person or persons who knew what the absolutely most damaging material was, with the intention of segregating and secreting it. Either that, or, appalling to consider, true, there is (was) material much worse in the record. Good grief!

  10. Layman Lurker said

    #5 Lucia

    Would you consider doing a post on this to bring it to light?

  11. Pouncer said

    Assume for a minute the release was intended to damage CRU. What would be the easy way to do so?

    I suggest that omitting exculpatory email and working code from the data that was dumped would make the dump unrepresentatively bad.

    If, for instance, there was a message saying, “Hey guys, I’m thinking Wegman was right and we need to get a statistician in here to check our math” that would be good, right? If a malicious hacker found, and deleted, that mail, that would make CRU look bad, right?

    So, the CRU response SHOULD be to find such exculpatory mail and release that, too.

    Say, too, there is a “harry_read_meTWO” file of code with lots of comments like “Oh man, I’ve been stupid, HERE’s how it should work — once we get the directory structure straight it runs like a watch. Don’t ever f**k with the directory tree again.” That would be interesting, and if a hacker deliberately excluded it, would shift our perception of CRU.

    So, again, we should expect the honest folks at CRU to have incentive to release MORE, and better, code, right?

  12. Espen said

    Hmm. Let me be the devil’s advocate here: Isn’t it perfectly normal and just as expected that land temperatures rise (and fall) faster than sea temperatures?

  13. Joe NS said


    “So, again, we should expect the honest folks at CRU to have incentive to release MORE, and better, code, right?”

    Speaking heuristically, I believe “we should expect” is not the very first verb that springs to mind. Something in a passive voice, perhaps. I suggest “we would be frickin’ astonished.”

  14. timetochooseagain said

    12-Eh, yeah kinda-doesn’t mean that the data biases aren’t important though.

  15. […] Odd email. « the Air Vent9 hours ago by Jeff Id  There are several scientists who make these points here. In one email he pretty thoroughly scolds climate modelers for disingenuous presentation of a model as being closer to actual temp than they are. Mike and Gavin both backed down. … – […]

  16. Green Man said

    Actually you may be missing some more fun, in this now infamous email:

    …Phil, Here are some speculations on correcting SSTs to partly explain the 1940s warming blip. If you look at the attached plot you will see that the land also shows the 1940s blip (as I’m sure you know). So, if we could reduce the ocean blip by, say, 0.15 degC, then this would be significant for the global mean — but we’d still have to explain the land blip. I’ve chosen 0.15 here deliberately… (the rest is easily searchable)

    You see them discussing adjusting the 1940s SST temperatures to match sea surface and land surface, but in the email above, also looking at land and sea temps, there is no discussion of an adjustment, why the difference?

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