the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

It’s Not Skeptics, It’s Science

Posted by Jeff Id on December 2, 2009

It’s not just skeptics that wonder about the quality of temperature records. This recently released email (bottom) goes right to the heart of many peoples concern about the data source and quality.  Note the part where a scientist states (correctly) – especially low-frequency variability.  Low frequency variability of course means long term trend or specifically warming trend in this case.  There are many reasons to be concerned with how this data was processed and it will have a large effect on the total trend and interpretation of almost all climatology data.  Some popular scientists now being questioned would have us believe it’s unscientific to question sources.

Phil Jones now famously stated years ago:

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. There is IPR to consider.

And in one of the released emials he said:

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.

Now with respect to wanting to find problems, I am in full agreement with this as is any scientist worth their paycheck.  If problems are found and addressed things progress. If they cannot be found or only have minor impact, everyone agrees that the result is sound.  What is troubling about all the cloak and dagger in this is that THERE IS SIMPLY NO WAY TO DISCREDIT GOOD SCIENCE WHEN IT’S IN THE OPEN!!  It cannot be done.  Nothing in the open can harm a true result.  Snarky words have ZERO effect on results and scientists know this.

Why hide the data then? Why hide the decline?  It really gives a stink to the whole process.  Anyway, Ed Cook (not a skeptic) also expressed concerns with the CRU data.

>> At 04:34 PM 4/18/00 -0400, Ed Cook wrote:
>> >Dear Juerg,
>> >

[snip – off topic]

However, I must admit to having doubts about
>> >the quality of the early instrumental records despite the great efforts
>> >made to homogenize and correct them. This is especially the case with
>> >regards to low-frequency variability, but can also extend to individual
>> >values as well. I talked with Phil Jones about one suspect datum in the
>> >early portion of his extended NAO record that largely destroys any
>> >correlation with proxy-based NAO estimates (the sign of the instrumental
>> >index appears to be wrong to me). Yet, Phil is convinced that that datum is
>> >good and he may very well be right. Either way, more robust methods of
>> >association between series may be jusitified to guard anomalous values.

9 Responses to “It’s Not Skeptics, It’s Science”

  1. mrpkw said


    Chuckle !!!

    Nothing to see here, keep moving on !!

  2. Antonio San said

    Did you read that one? Hackers or CRU’s own mistake?

  3. CarlGullans said

    It seems that many of the scientists’ problems (before becoming politicized in response to the CA microscope) were that they trusted each other. Ed Cook is pretty sure that something is wrong (it is apparent from the tone of his e-mail), but he doesn’t bother challenging Jones’ statement. And while I am somewhat sympathetic about his choice to not doggedly go after a co-worker, sometimes you just have to do so when you are sure that something is wrong.

  4. UK John said

    The IPCC and Climate Science chose to get into bed with politicians, environmental campaigners, and the media. These are not people I instinctively trust, with good reason.

    It is now hard to distinguish a valid scientific theory from propaganda that supports a environmental or political objective, all parties espouse the “facts”.

    I will give you a small example:

    On the 24th November the British Met office issued a joint press statement on Climate Science ( I wonder why?)
    Authors were those of the highest reputation:-
    Prof. Julia Slingo, Chief Scientist, Met Office
    Prof. Alan Thorpe, Chief Executive, Natural Environment Research Council
    Lord Rees, President, the Royal Society

    This statement included the following passage:-

    “Year-on-year the evidence is growing that damaging climate and weather events — potentially intensified by global warming — are already happening and beginning to affect society and ecosystems. This includes:
    In the UK, heavier daily rainfall leading to local flooding such as in the summer of 2007.”
    Anybody reading this passage is left with the strong impression that the floods of 2007 were caused by Climate Change. But as I was unlucky enough to be directly involved in the Avon/Severn flooding I did keep up to date with any science reporting of the likely cause.

    However the only authoritative scientific analysis produced on the 2007 floods was produced by CEH a part of Prof. Alan Thorpe’s National Environmental Research Council.

    And I quote from this report:
    Lead author, Terry Marsh, comments: “The river floods of summer 2007 were a very singular episode, which does not form part of any clear historical trend or show consistency with currently favoured climate change scenarios.”

    Mr Marsh adds: “The exceptional river flooding last summer fuelled speculation that flood risk is increasing due to global warming. Due to the inherent variability of the UK climate, any extreme hydrological event cannot readily be linked directly to climate change.”

    So what do I make of all of that, why did these esteemed people feel they have to rush out statements that don’t bear up to even the simplest critical examination.

    They are not fools, so why do it? What is possessing them? I can only conclude they are supporting a political belief not science.

  5. TWAWKI said

    […] about the tipping point, Andrew Bolt talks about Googlegate, Alan JOnes of 2GB talks to TonyAbbott, Air vent on science, Climate Depot, Climate audit keeps auditing, Al Gore mocked at WUWT, hide the decline, leading US […]

  6. stan said

    No question that there was way to much trust and way too little curiosity. I think that this is the case for all kinds of scientists (and a lot of others) when they looked at AGW claims. They thought: These guys are the experts. They seem to all agree. Their reports all say things are getting bad. I’m a scientist. I wouldn’t say stuff like that if I weren’t absolutely sure. I know how careful I am. They must be right. Looks like AGW is a big problem.

    I think the gross incompetence that dominates so much of the work by Mann, Jones, Hansen et al will absolutely shock a lot of scientists in other fields. They are going to be gobsmacked. Once they see what was behind the curtain, they are likely to get really, really pissed. Because all of science is going to take a hit from the fallout from this.

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  8. dearieme said

    “..all of science is going to take a hit from the fallout from this.” And deservedly so, I’m afraid. If other scientists lazily support the AGW crew without bothering to think or read about it, serves them right.

  9. edward said

    Check out a Popular Mechanics Article from April 1950 that I found titled “Grandma’s right about the weather”. It described a “warm-up cycle” that began in 1920 and peaked in 1940 but that there was a general warming trend since 1912.

    Link at:

    Notable Quotes include (my comments are bolded and in italics):
    “All over the world glaciers are receding. Professor Kimble points out that some are melting so fast that they will disappear in a few more decades under present conditions”. (I guess that means they should all be gone by now since it’s been six decades)

    The article goes on
    “What does this all mean?… According to Dr. Clarence A Mills of the University of Cincinnati, the period of rising temperatures may result in smaller adults in the US, reversing a trend that has continued for centuries. There may also be a retardation of mental keenness and the rate of development.” (We can definitely say that those predictions have come true. In the 21st Century people will believe anything a scientist tells them)

    “However, there is a note of caution in Professor Kimble’s book. Some portion of these changes may be due to man-made conditions. To some extent, higher temperatures in towns and cities may result from the loss of heat by buildings. Heat engineers estimate that in a city the size of Montreal, the amount of man-made heat escaping into the lower atmosphere on a day when there is a good inversion could raise temperatures three or four degrees.” (Amazing that 60 years ago people understood the UHI effect better than we do today)

    “The Canadian Geographer hastens to add that our weather records go back only a short distance into history-actually only seconds on the clock of the earth’s life span”

    “The severe winter of 1948-1949 which will probably be remembered in some parts of the US as the year of the Great Blizzard, provides some evidence of an impending temperature recession. However, one year’s evidence is not enough to support a prediction of a reversal in the generation-old trend toward warmer weather”


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