the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Open Letter from Ben Santer

Posted by Jeff Id on December 3, 2009

I received a copy of this letter written by Ben Santer to the climate community by email.  tAV is an open blog so I’ll let him have his say.   From my perspective, I don’t trust Mr. Santer after his highly convenient clipping of data in his recent ‘prove models are accurate’ paper.  When the whole dataset is used the models are proven wrong.  The whole thing stinks and he is widely featured in the CRU emails.  I’ll just warn you that you might get a little pissed off, his writings below exonerate Phil Jones (hide the decline, hide temp data, code and illegally block FOIA) of any wrong doing.


Dear colleagues and friends,

I am sure that by now, all of you are aware of the hacking incident
which recently took place at the University of East Anglia’s Climatic
Research Unit (CRU). This was a criminal act. Over 3,000 emails and
documents were stolen. The identity of the hacker or hackers is still

The emails represented private correspondence between CRU scientists and
scientists at climate research centers around the world. Dozens of the
stolen emails are from over a decade of my own personal correspondence
with Professor Phil Jones, the Director of CRU.

I obtained my Ph.D. at the Climatic Research Unit. I went to CRU in 1983
because it was – and remains – one of the world’s premier institutions
for studying the nature and causes of climate change. During the course
of my Ph.D., I was privileged to work together with exceptional
scientists – with people like Tom Wigley, Phil Jones, Keith Briffa, and
Sarah Raper.

After completing my Ph.D. at CRU in 1987, I devoted much of my
scientific career to what is now called “climate fingerprinting”, which
seeks to understand the causes of recent climate change. At its core,
fingerprinting is a form of what people now call “data mining” – an
attempt to extract information and meaning from very large, complex
climate datasets. The emails stolen from the Climatic Research Unit are
now being subjected to a very different form of “data mining”. This
mining is taking place in the blogosphere, in the editorial pages of
various newspapers, and in radio and television programs. This form of
mining has little to do with extracting meaning from personal email
correspondence on complex scientific issues. This form of mining seeks
to find dirt – to skew true meaning, to distort, to misrepresent, to
take out of context. It seeks to destroy the reputations of exceptional
scientists – scientists like Professor Phil Jones.

I have known Phil for over 25 years. He is the antithesis of the
secretive, “data destroying” character being portrayed to the outside
world by the miners of dirt and disinformation. Phil Jones and Tom
Wigley (the second Director of the Climatic Research Unit) devoted
significant portions of their scientific careers to the construction of
the land component of the so-called “HadCRUT” dataset of land and ocean
surface temperatures. The U.K. Meteorological Office Hadley Centre
(MOHC) took the lead in developing the ocean surface temperature
component of HadCRUT.

The CRU and Hadley Centre efforts to construct the HadCRUT dataset have
been open and transparent, and are documented in dozens of peer-reviewed
scientific papers. This work has been tremendously influential. In my
personal opinion, it is some of the most important scientific research
ever published. It has provided hard scientific evidence for the warming
of our planet over the past 150 years.

Phil, Tom, and their CRU and MOHC colleagues conducted this research in
a very open and transparent manner. Like good scientists, they examined
the sensitivity of their results to many different subjective choices
made during the construction of the HadCRUT dataset. These choices
relate to such issues as how to account for changes over time in the
type of thermometer used to make temperature measurements, the
thermometer location, and the immediate physical surroundings of the
thermometer. They found that, no matter what choices they made in
dataset construction, their bottom-line finding – that the surface of
our planet is warming – was rock solid. This finding was supported by
many other independent lines of evidence, such as the retreat of snow
and sea-ice cover, the widespread melting and retreat of glaciers, the
rise in sea-level, and the increase in the amount of water vapor in the
atmosphere. All of these independent observations are physically
consistent with a warming planet.

Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary proof. The claim that our
Earth had warmed markedly during the 20th century was extraordinary, and
was subjected to extraordinary scrutiny. Groups at the National Climatic
Data Center in North Carolina (NCDC) and at the Goddard Institute for
Space Studies in New York (GISS) independently attempted to reproduce
the results of the Climatic Research Unit and the U.K. Meteorological
Office Hadley Centre. While the NCDC and GISS groups largely relied on
the same primary temperature measurements that had been used in the
development of the HadCRUT dataset, they made very different choices in
the treatment of the raw measurements. Although there were differences
in the details of the three groups’ results, the NCDC and GISS analyses
broadly confirmed the “warming Earth” findings of the CRU and MOHC

Other extraordinary claims – such as a claim by scientists at the
University of Alabama that Earth’s lower atmosphere cooled since 1979,
and that such cooling contradicts “warming Earth” findings – have not
withstood rigorous scientific examination.

In summary, Phil Jones and his colleagues have done a tremendous service
to the scientific community – and to the planet – by making surface
temperature datasets publicly available for scientific research. These
datasets have facilitated climate research around the world, and have
led to the publication of literally hundreds of important scientific papers.

Phil Jones is one of the gentlemen of our field. He has given decades of
his life not only to cutting-edge scientific research on the nature and
causes of climate change, but also to a variety of difficult and
time-consuming community service activities – such as his dedicated (and
repeated) service as a Lead Author for the Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change (IPCC).

Since the theft of the CRU emails and their public dissemination, Phil
has been subjected to the vilest personal attacks. These attacks are
without justification. They are deeply disturbing. They should be of
concern to all of you. We are now faced with powerful “forces of
unreason” – forces that (at least to date) have been unsuccessful in
challenging scientific findings of a warming Earth, and a “discernible
human influence” on global climate. These forces of unreason are now
shifting the focus of their attention to the scientists themselves. They
seek to discredit, to skew the truth, to misrepresent. They seek to
destroy scientific careers rather than to improve our understanding of
the nature and causes of climate change.

Yesterday, Phil temporarily stepped down as Director of the Climatic
Research Unit. Yesterday was a very sad day for climate science. When
the forces of unreason win, and force exceptional scientists like
Professor Phil Jones to leave their positions, we all lose. Climate
science loses. Our community loses. The world loses.

Now, more than at any other time in human history, we need sound
scientific information on the nature and causes of climate change. Phil
Jones and his colleagues at CRU have helped to provide such information.
I hope that all of you will join me in thanking Phil for everything he
has done – and will do in the future – for our scientific community. He
and his CRU colleagues deserve great credit.

With best regards,

Ben Santer
Benjamin D. Santer
Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

72 Responses to “Open Letter from Ben Santer”

  1. Jeff Id said

    Phil was also the recipient of 22 million public dollars in the last 20 years.

  2. Logan said

    you don’t really think someone is going to mistake that for Ben Santer, do you?

  3. Dan Hughes said

    hmmm . . . written as an employee of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

    The United States Department of Energy, the National Nuclear Security Administration, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory all must have reviewed and approved the letter.

    Seems like that would be one long Chain of Command and an almost uncountable number of Upper-Level Managements 🙂

  4. boballab said

    Here’s a Kleenex Ben.

    That email is the equivalant of Ken Lay telling the world how great a guy Bernie Madoff is and that he did no wrong.

  5. Mark T said

    I think Ben needs to look into the regulations regarding email when working for a government run entity. At least in the US, there are no “private” emails when public money is concerned. He works for LLNL and should know this.


  6. Kenneth Fritsch said

    Ben Santer’s comments say nothing – because they are all generalizations. If Ben were defending me, I would say thanks, Ben, but no thanks.

    I would also venture to guess that Ben is not as familiar with the temperature data sets as the length of his paragraph on that subject might want to indicate. Judging by the literature with which I am most familiar most of the adjustment concepts for temperature data sets came out of the scientists who worked with the GISS and GHCN data sets.

    These scientists do not well understand and are not as familiar with other climate scientists’ works as their professed legitimacy of a consensus would indicate. Ben, like other climate scientists/advocates is not defending Jones or any specific member of the consensus, but rather the consensus itself.

  7. Harold Vance said

    The claim that the emails represent “private correspondence” is a joke. Most of these scientists work at institutions that are publicly funded. They are working on the taxpayers’ dimes, and it is the prerogative of taxpayers to hold public servants such as Santer and Jones accountable.

    It is plain from Jones’ own messages that Jones worked hard to evade public scrutiny and accountability. He actively sought to defeat an important control that was put into place by the taxpayers. As such, he should suffer the consequences.

    There was a nasty jab directed at John Christy in paragraph #9. It serves as confirmation, imho, that Santer is unable to deal with criticism and skepticism in a mature manner. It is my opinion that scientists such as Santer polarize the debate and contribute to the tribalism that Judith Curry laments.

  8. hooray-henry said

    Pass the puke bag please

  9. DJA said

    Has this guy read the E-mails?
    No, I guess that he doesn’t need to having been with CRU since 1987. The behavior shown in the E-mails would have been quite normal within CRU despite being contrary to the usual process found in research.
    I wonder how many PhDs from CRU have been corrupted?

  10. Raven said

    Remember that Ben is the nice guy that wants to “beat the crap” out of Micheals.

    He is also the guy that said he would quit if his bosses did not allow him to obstruct FOI requests.

    This guy has zero credibility.

  11. timetochooseagain said

    “I devoted much of my scientific career to what is now called “climate fingerprinting”, which seeks to understand the causes of recent climate change. At its core, fingerprinting is a form of what people now call “data mining” – an attempt to extract information and meaning from very large, complex climate datasets.”

    Yes, data-mining. And truncation. Santer is addicted to truncation. The 08 paper was not the first time:

  12. rephelan said

    Nice try, Ben, but I’ve read the e-mails and the other documents. Like many others I’m trying to make sense of the computer code. I’m not buying.

  13. mrpkw said

    WHAT A LOAD OF POO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    “private correspondence” ????????????

    MALARKEY !!!!!!!

  14. AJStrata said

    LOL! Sound scientific approach includes hiding data and code, making unfounded and indefensible adjustments, generating spliced graphs without being completely transparent an suborning the peer-review process?

    Who is this guy kidding (besides himself).

    Folks might find this email exchange quite illuminating -seems not all was warm and cozy in alarmist land, and looks damn interesting when it comes to hockey sticks

  15. Dave said

    If you think work-place email is private, you are a genuine, grade-A, guvment inspected dumb-ass.

  16. SK said

    Why is he – and a lot of others – talking about private correspondence?

    The UAE informed their members (

    “As all documents and emails could potentially be released under the Act, you should ensure that those you create are clear and professional”

  17. Keith W. said

    It always bothers me when people cite the rise in water vapor in the atmosphere as proof of global warming. How many people do you know that water their lawns almost daily every summer or regularly wash their car? This was not common behavior in the 50’s and 60’s and earlier. Do you think that these modern habits might contribute to more water vapor in the atmosphere? How about the number of swimming pools? Pressure washers to wash cars and buildings? Gold courses, with water hazards and “oh, so green” fairways and greens? Artificial lakes and reservoirs, adding to the available surface area of the water table exposed to the atmosphere, allowing evaporation? Let’s not forget irrigation of crops in areas of the world where it was prohibitive to grow crops before. Might not the increase in water vapor be due to the increased presence of water in the environment allowing for more evaporation?

    If you look at land use, and resources used in shaping our modern world, the increased use of water in such a way as to expose it to the atmosphere where it can evaporate is definitely marked. And since water vapor is the number one “greenhouse gas” in terms of the energy it absorbs in the atmosphere, could we not point to the modern temperature increase as being possibly linked to our increased use of water in our lives, not carbon dioxide?

  18. Atomic Hairdryer said

    Says Gentle Ben-

    “The emails stolen from the Climatic Research Unit are
    now being subjected to a very different form of “data mining””

    Who seems to prefer to take auditors down dark alleys for rational debate, or simply beat the **** out of ‘sceptics’. But the data wasn’t ‘stolen’, because the data should be public property. This is not some academic debate about the mating habits of tree sloths, it’s about the biggest tax programme in US and global history.

    If these public spirited and concerned scientists had been a little more open, honest and most importantly ARCHIVED THE SODDING DATA we wouldn’t be in this mess. But then keeping log books is soo last century. Activism is much more fun, and more profitable.

  19. AJStrata said

    BTW, here is my post on those interesting email exchanges where Briffa & Cook challenged Mann on MWP in 2001.

  20. Kon Dealer said

    My heart pumps piss for you, Ben.

  21. Craigo said

    Good letter Ben. All the usual boxes ticked (rising seas, melting ice, independant data blah blah) although you probably could have thrown in peerrevieredpublished more directly. I like the new variant of robust: “rock solid” yeah good one Ben. Maybe Gavin will sprinkle it into comments at RC.

    I am however undecided if Phil will be enjoying some gentlemanly relief after this rub or be concerned that the dirt is about be thrown into his grave.

    Ah well bring on the “data mining”. Nothing like a bit of digging in the dirt to discover “sound scientific information”. You should try it Ben – really cleansing!

  22. Matt Y. said

    I hope that all of you will join me in thanking Phil for everything he has done…

    I’d be much more inclined to tell Phil to go f*** himself. (you were right about the letter making me mad) Only an a complete a**hole would even try to argue that Phil Jones has acted transparently.

    This sh*tbag is right about one thing, the temperature dataset is extremely important. And thanks to the royal douche this guy is on his knees for, that dataset is unreliable and forever unreproducable.

  23. boballab said

    Ben, Ben, Ben…..sigh.

    Of course we are digging!

    How else do you expect us to find were you and the rest of the Team buried the data.

    At first we all thought that the dog ATE the data but obviously that is not the case, the dog must have buried it, or why else would you be so worried about us digging?

  24. Tony Hansen said

    I noticed that he does not question the validity of any of the e-mails involving himself.

    And I must say that I greatly appreciate the moderate and controlled way that he presents his case.
    At no point does he use language that one would not expect from a well trained and well disciplined scientific mind.
    It is also painfully obvious that he has gone out of his way to be scrupulously fair to all sides in this matter.
    It is obvious to all that he is a man without any of the usual human biases and therefore a man we can trust absolutely.
    Or not.

  25. Arnold said

    It seems to me that he is making a farewell letter for Phil Jones, as if this is the final chapther. Does this mean he knows more?

    Santer says: “forces of unreason”
    That’s what he is calling us now. I dont understand why all these people think we are some kind of satans children.

  26. mack520 said

    please snip. What if Briffa’sdata is right? What if giss and hadcrut are wrong?

  27. RomanM said

    There seems to be a typo in the letter. I think he meant to say “climate fingerpainting” not “climate fingerprinting”. If it ain’t there, they’ll make it appear. 😉

  28. anonym said

    One can respect his personal loyalty to Phil Jones at a time when others seem to be settling on Jones as the appointed scapegoat. I’m not sure there is much else to commmend here.

  29. Carrick said

    Keith W:

    If you look at land use, and resources used in shaping our modern world, the increased use of water in such a way as to expose it to the atmosphere where it can evaporate is definitely marked. And since water vapor is the number one “greenhouse gas” in terms of the energy it absorbs in the atmosphere, could we not point to the modern temperature increase as being possibly linked to our increased use of water in our lives, not carbon dioxide?

    Or put another way, it may well be that resource overuse, such as overwatering lawns, deforestation, intensive agriculture and other changing land-use practices are likely to be a bigger threat to our environment (the sum over all local environments=the global one 8D ) than simply what are probably moderate effects from CO2.

    The trouble is, people in the environmental protection community are trying to treat CO2 control as if it were a “silver bullet” to fix one common, very visible problem in stead of a large number of locally generated problems. What is proposed won’t even work, but still manages to be way too expensive, and it’s in the end not even politically practicable.

    Beyond that, I wasn’t quite as irritated as you guys were with Dr. Santer’s letter. I would hope we could all tone down the rhetoric a bit here. Just saying.

  30. Jeff Id said

    These emails reveal a lot of uncertainty about the nature and quality of proxies well after the hide the decline incident. In my opinion they have full knowledge that they perform faith based science and they know they bias it. None of the tone here bothered me one bit.

    Jones, Mann and Briffa deserve whatever they get at this point. IMO they are not honest people.

  31. Douglas Hoyt said

    Mack520 asks “What if Briffa’sdata is right? What if giss and hadcrut are wrong?”

    I argue that is what is going on as follows:

    Here is some information on Mitchell’s temperature reconstruction for the Northern Hemisphere (0-80 N). It comes from his paper “A preliminary evaluation of atmospheric pollution as a cause of the global temperature fluctuation in the past century.” The paper appears in the book Global Effects of Environmental Pollution published in 1970. The book can be found on google.scholar.

    A quote from that paper: “By analysis of climatological data for stations distributed as uniformly as possible over the earth’s surface, it can be established that the mean temperature of the whole planetary atmosphere, at least in its surface layers, has fluctuated systematically during the last century [5]. The data reflect a net worldwide warming of about 0.6 C between the 1880s and 1940s, followed by a net cooling of about 0.2 C between the 1940s and 1959, the most recent year of data in our most recent analysis. Additional data for 1965-67, as published by Schlerlag [6], were later incorporated into the analysis in order to estimate the further movement of world mean temperature after 1960 (see Figure 1). On this tentative basis, it appears that the cooling trend which first set in during the 1940s has continued essentially up to the present time, and that the net temperature drop in the last quarter century has now accumulated to about 0.3 C.”

    Skipping now to his Figure 1, we can tabulate his temperature fluctuations which are given as decadal or 5 year means with 1880 set at 0.0 C. The results (as best as I read them) are in the second column and the Briffa raw MXD values in terms of temperature from email 939154709.txt are in the third column and, in the fourth column, Briffa raw values have 0.312 C added to all values to make 1880 have a zero anomaly so as to compare to the second column:

    Year Mitchell Briffa (raw) Briffa (adj)
    1870 0.22 -0.282 0.03
    1880 0.00 -0.312 0.00
    1890 0.01 -0.254 0.06
    1900 0.19 -0.198 0.11
    1910 0.17 -0.221 0.09
    1920 0.10 -0.210 0.10
    1925 0.38 -0.203 0.11
    1930 0.40 0.012 0.32
    1935 0.54 -0.001 0.31
    1940 0.52 0.026 0.34
    1945 0.60 -0.034 0.28
    1950 0.50 -0.126 0.19
    1955 0.40 -0.141 0.17
    1960 0.33 -0.170 0.14
    1965 0.27 -0.299 0.01
    1970 0.17 -0.440 -0.13

    The last temperature anomaly for 1970 comes from an NCAR publication from about 1975 where Mitchell estimates the 1970 temperature to be the same as for 1910.

    The correlation between Mitchell’s number’s and Briffa’s numbers is 0.77 or 60% of the variance is common. The amplitude of the Briffa temperature variations is about half of what Mitchell calculates. Briffa gets a 0.34 C warming to 1940 compared to 0.52 for Mitchell. Briffa’s cooling to 1970 is 0.47 C, compared to Mitchell’s cooling of 0.35 C.

    These results are suggestive that Briffa’s uncorrected MXD values are a good proxy for the temperature variations of the Northern Hemisphere land masses.

    Spirina, from Russia, also independently derived a temperature reconstruction for the northern hemisphere which is much like Mitchell’s reconstruction. The paper is
    Spirina, L. P., 1971. On the influence of volcanic dust on the thermal regime of the northern hemisphere (in Russian). Meterol. Gidrol., 10, 38-45.

    Looking at the plot in that paper, the temperature anomaly in 1900 is 0.0 C and in 1967 is about -0.05 C. There is a rise to a maximum of 0.4 C around 1935 followed by a steady decrease.

    Finally Budyko and Asakura also did a temperature reconstruction and it too agrees with Briffa, Mitchell, and Spirina.

  32. Duke C. said

    Looks like the climate science community is cracking down the middle.

    Micheal Mann has decided to throw Phil under the bus:

  33. John F. Pittman said

    #30 JeffID said These emails reveal a lot of uncertainty about the nature and quality of proxies well after the hide the decline incident…..

    JeffID, just posted a quote that shows that some of them know of some of the weakness of the data, proxies, reconstructions, but are also confident they were doing good science. It also appears that some authors were pushing other authors to state more than could be safely stated.

    I still think for the honest caught up in this mess “One should not complain of fleas when sleeping with dogs.” Some do appear honest, but not helpful to those outside the “clique.”

  34. Brian B said

    Ben is doubling down. Apparently learning the first rule of holes is not part of the CRU PhD program.

    RomanM in #27. Hilarious.

    Carrick in #29. I’m always irritated when someone lies to me.

  35. John F. Pittman said

    This has some intersting discussion on weaknesses of the proxies and the 4AR.

    Eystein emails
    John sent these remarks

    John emailed
    1. Reliance on Bristlecone pine –
    Response – the issues are in calibration period- they agree with other indicators for
    the rest of the record
    2. Centring of principle components leads to “hockeysticks”-
    Response – this makes only a small difference when standardised data used.
    Comment – Would be useful to know which reconstructions do and donot make this
    assumption- this could strengthen the response
    3. The divergence issue-
    Response – it is only apparent in high latitudes, and only with some trees.
    Comment- Do we know what happens if we eliminate those records with a divergence
    problem. The wider issue is whether or not it is reasonable to extend the
    reconstructions outside the calibration range.
    4. There are different ways of verifying reconstructions and assigning significance
    levels( calibration period or seprate verifying period, different statistics)
    Response ?
    Comment- it is difficult in the text to gauge how well reconstructions are validated –
    eg using the calibration period to estimate errors as opposed to an independent period
    clearly makes a difference. This is important where “likely”, “very likely”are used-
    based on what statistics? I think this is the area where I think the current response is
    5. Robustness- Burger and Cubasch show a wide range of results using different
    Response ?
    Mann makes a reasoned defence- there are other checks and tests which would rule out
    many of the arbitrary assumptions explored by Cubasch and Burger, but this is not clear
    in the response to M&M etc

  36. Jeff Id said

    #33 I read the quote. In my opinion this has a bit different meaning. Briffa has a way of stating paper killing obviousnesses followed by unsupportable results. I think he’s distancing himself from someone in a far less defensible position – mann hockey sticks.

    You may disagree, but what I see is recognition of the even deeper flaws in what are very potentially fraudulent details in these mathematical reconstructions. Don’t overstate, just support from a distance. He also stayed out of the NAS report.

    Briffa is the most clever of them all.

  37. DG said

    I’m not sure if this is of any use:

  38. John G. Bell said

    Mr. Santer,

    As you are in desperate need of legal knowledge let me define a term for you:

    STEAL – the wrongful or willful taking of money or property belonging to someone else with intent to deprive the owner of its use or benefit either temporarily or permanently.

    How can you say the emails were stolen? It would seem that the people who conspired to steal them were on “The Team”. Had they been deleted they would have been stolen from the people of Great Britain. What makes you think they are your property?

    It is way past time for you to get a lawyer so you can understand these things.

  39. Peter Dunford said

    I just found the email that must have made The Team hate John Daly so much tobe glad he’s dead. 0981859677.txt. I was searching for something else. This is probably not new to most of you, but I believe it bears repeating and is a little relevant to this post amongst many of late, if simply for the common sense. I defy anyone with an open mind and a modicum common sense to believe in tree-ring proxies in the face of the obvious. The people sent-to include Jones, Mann, Briffa and McItrick.

    Dear Chick & all

    > the first is Keith Briffa’s rather comprehensive treatment of getting
    > climate variations from tree rings: Annual climate variability in
    > the Holocene: “interpreting the message of ancient trees”, Quaternary
    > Science Reviews, 19 (2000) 87-105. It should deal with many of the
    > questions people raise about using them to determine temperatures.

    Take this from first principles.

    A tree only grows on land. That excludes 70% of the earth covered by
    water. A tree does no grow on ice. A tree does not grow in a desert. A
    tree does not grow on grassland-savannahs. A tree does not grow in
    alpine areas. A tree does not grow in the tundra

    We are left with perhaps 15% of the planet upon which forests
    grow/grew. That does not make any studies from tree rings global, or
    even hemispheric.

    The width and density of tree rings is dependent upon the following
    variables which cannot be reliably separated from each other.

    sunlight – if the sun varies, the ring will vary. But not at night of
    cloudiness – more clouds, less sun, less ring.
    pests/disease – a caterpillar or locust plague will reduce
    access to sunlight – competition within a forest can disadvantage or
    advantage some trees.
    moisture/rainfall – a key variable. Trees do not prosper in a drought
    even if there’s a heat wave.
    snow packing in spring around the base of the trees retards growth
    temperature – finally!

    The tree ring is a composite of all these variables, not merely of
    temperature. Therefore on the 15% of the planet covered by trees, their
    rings do not and cannot accurately record temperature in isolation from
    the other environmental variables.

    In my article on Greening Earth Society on the Hockey Stick, I point to
    other evidence which contradicts Mann’s theory. The Idso’s have produced
    more of that evidence, and a new article on Greening Earth has
    `unearthed’ even more.

    Mann’s theory simply does not stack up. But that was not the key issue.
    Anyone can put up a dud theory from time to time. What is at issue is
    the uncritical zeal with which the industry siezed on the theory before
    its scientific value had been properly tested. In one go, they tossed
    aside dozens of studies which confirmed the existence of the MWE and LIA
    as global events, and all on the basis of tree rings – a proxy which has
    all the deficiencies I have stated above.

    The worst thing I can say about any paper such as his is that it is `bad
    science’. Legal restraint prevents me going further. But in his case,
    only those restraints prevent me going *much* further.


    John Daly

    I didn’t know of him at the time, but in Memory of John Daly. Lets hear from the “yes, but”‘s.

  40. BarryW said

    ROFL! For shame. Dr. Jones has destroyed his own reputation. They may be able to rationalize some of the data manipulation but the attempts subvert their sacred ‘peer review’ and to harm the careers of those who disagree with them is unconscionable.

    This was a public institution’s property not the ‘private’ emails of the senders that were leaked. The leak was a minor transgression (if it was at all) compared to what you and your colleagues have done.

  41. TerryMN said

    Santer must be exhausted after shoveling all of that BS.

  42. stevemcintyre said

    If you’re concerned about Santer’s shoveling ability, please watch:

  43. 40 Shades of Green said

    Okay so Ben got his PHd from CRU / East Anglia and this institution has now become a lauging stock, then that would mean Ben’s PHd is, let us be charitable. devalued.

    Sounds like a big motive to try to whitewash his PHd supervisor to me.

  44. Carrick said

    You may disagree, but what I see is recognition of the even deeper flaws in what are very potentially fraudulent details in these mathematical reconstructions. Don’t overstate, just support from a distance. He also stayed out of the NAS report.

    Well since we’re in a hatefest here, I’d say part of the problem is Mann’s statistics kung fu isn’t quite as powerful as he’d like.

    As to the other, it’s your blog, I just think it doesn’t serve your cause for people to get too much into ad hominems. In public debate, the side that looks reasonable usually wins.

  45. Arnold said

    I think that Stevemcintyre makes a point here. I think a person like Ben Santer devalues himself with a cartoon like this.

  46. 40 Shades of Green said


    When I first got interested in climate science in January 2009, I googled Hockey Stick Controversy. The first skeptical article I came across, in postiion number three after Wikipedia and Real Climate, was from John Daly. It was a long essay where he cited 12 or 15 studies that showed a pronounced MWP. This was my first introduction to skeptical climate science. It is a tribute to John Daly that many years after his death, this article was in position number three on that particular search.

    With my appetite whetted, I googled some more and came across Climate Audit and Watts Up With That. Latterly I came across our esteemed host, Jeff Id, and the Air Vent is now my favourite climate skeptic site.

    I think that John is probably sitting in heaven watching climategate unfold with a big grin on his face.


    I hope you take this as a complement, but I think your own personal brand of scientific rigour and barely contained rage, makes you the spiritual son of the late great John Daly.

    So let us all raise a virtual glass to John and Jeff.

    40 Shades

  47. 40 Shades of Green said

    And to Steve and Anthony.

  48. Jeff Id said

    #44, Lack of quality moderation here is one of the regular complaints. People here are free to say whatever they want for the most part. Cussing and craziness are the only things censored. I’ve pointed out several times that my intent is not to optimize my own effect on the debate. Guys like yourself sure as heck don’t need me to help you express your views. In normal times, I learn more from the posts here than anything. You are one of those who should consider writing a guest post occasionally (at any blog you want) as you have a great deal to add.

    It will settle down soon enough and we’ll be back to science. After CA get’s rebooted, Steve’s posts will probably stir the whole thing up again.

  49. Ayrdale said

    History and science will ulimately decide who’s right. Climategate has bought us time, and if in Australia a general election is fought on the issue, the international spotlight will illuminate every facet of the science and the personnel behind it and their motives.

    In the short term anyway, science is the loser here…on the face of it the green left have hijacked the CRU, and there will be many more careers ruined yet.

  50. LLCool said

    More BS to add to the BS that is climate change.

  51. vjones said

    Dear Dr Santer,

    I for one read thoroughly the publicly-funded correspondence that was made available; it horrified me. I too obtained a PhD, only a few years after your own from a highly respected institution and my peers at that time would not have countenanced exchanges such as I read between yourself and the colleagues you so respect. They still would not.

    I find myself questioning the rigour of your training in scientific method if you think your colleagues have been beyond reproach and I would remind you that scientific method requires that the process of research should be should be objective to reduce biased interpretations of the results, something the hockeystick data clearly was not. Another basic expectation is to document, archive and share and all data and methodology so they are available for careful scrutiny by other scientists, thereby allowing other researchers the opportunity to verify results by attempting to reproduce them. This practice, called full disclosure, also allows statistical measures of the reliability of these data to be established. Oops, I think the emails show clearly the conspiracy to prevent that too.

    When designing a model, it is normal to base it around theories of what you think is happening; more often than not a model will actually do what you want it to do. In real science and engineering, however, real experiments are used to prove – or disprove – the validity of the model. The emails (e.g. 1255532032.txt) clearly show an unwillingness to accept that the real experiment on Earth does not follow the model. If you imagine the Earth is warming and you build a model to prove it what do you get? Fantasy in; fantasy out.

    It is also wise to read around your field and scientists should not be averse to reading a bit of history. While you may have less faith in the scientific data from the 1930-40s, there are very good historical accounts of reduced ice in the arctic, and going back further we see glacier retreat is often temporary and reversible.

    Finally, you should regard yourself as very fortunate to work in academia where you are sheltered from the harsh economic reality of financial penalties and regulations that so now constrain industry and threaten to strangle world economies.

    My one regret in writing this is that, due to the inherent policy and funding bias as a result of the uncertain science yourself and your colleagues have peddled, I am not in a position to express my doubts under my given name.

  52. Quantum said

    The tepid response of Dr. Santer is surprising, especially considering the stakes involved. The response is little more than a character reference.

    I could find only three substantive and relevant assertions.

    1. “All of these independent observations are physically
consistent with a warming planet.” Well, whoop-de-do. That’s what the planet does during interglacial periods. The issue is whether C02 emissions from industrial and transportation activities are going to cause catastrophic, apocalyptic warming.

    2. “… our Earth had warmed markedly during the 20th century” Markedly? The reader is left to their own subjective interpretation. What is extraordinary, the marked temperature rise, or just the claim itself? Politicians are saying doomsday is approaching — do you agree Dr. Santer? More to the point, what is your response to the substantive issues raised in the emails of the 40’s temp blip? MWP, Soon, Baliunas?

    3. “All of these independent observations are physically consistent with a warming planet.” Which proves what? Is this a tautology? Yes, rising mercury in a thermometer indicates warming.

    These wonderful SST datasets … are they in as bad as shape as “HARRY” says they are? Is HARRY mistaken? If the IPCC breezily copies from Wikipedia (Dr. Hanno) then surely Dr. Santer understands the concern over the integrity of the process.

    The world requires a strong, clear, inclusive, no hall of mirrors scientific confirmation that would justify trillions of dollars of wealth transfer and tyrannical travel restrictions such as those favored by the head of the British environmental agency, who sanctions the equivalent of a carbon coupon ration book to control your travel.

    Extraordinary demands to take away personal freedom and impose heavy taxation demand extraordinary confirmation. Do you get that, scientific community? For starters, Dr. Santer, you can tell me how much air travel raises the temperature of the earth, and how much the restrictions will lower it.

    P.S. How do you know the emails were stolen by a hacker, and not leaked? Are you confirming that?

  53. Carrick said


    Lack of quality moderation here is one of the regular complaints

    Nah, I’m not complaining about that at all.

    I”m a firm believer that people should be able to say what they want, and if it’s a rage-post, sometimes that can be cathartic [and so very entertaining 8D], so…

    I was once enmeshed in a rather heated public scientific controversy, and what I learned from that experience is if you (mostly) stay calm and reasonable, then the Eli Rabbits of the world just end up self immolating.

    Thank you for the compliment, though,and I may take you up on that offer!

  54. Steve Fitzpatrick said

    Rather a sad letter.

    Mostly sad because Ben Santer remains disconnected from reality. The things Jones (and Santer himself) were involved with, as proven by the UEA email messages, were intellectually dishonest, unprofessional, and did a terrible disservice to climate science and to science in general. The callous arrogance, hostility, and hubris portrayed in the email messages is shocking. That Santer remains convinced everything the Team did, and continues to do, was (and is) OK means that there is little hope for him to change.

    He is lost.

  55. Peter S said

    “P.S. If you disagree with me – I’m happy to meet you down a dark alley to discuss.”

    Thank goodness crocodiles aren’t threatened by global warming – the alarmists need all the tears they can get at the moment!

  56. Gary P said

    Once again he refers to “peer reviewed papers”. Does he have a clue?

    Does any hard science group ever talk about peer reviewed papers? My gut feeling when I see those three words is BS (Bad Science).

  57. John Norris said

    ” … scientists like Professor Phil Jones to leave their positions, we all lose. Climate science loses. Our community loses. The world loses.”

    Ben mentions a lot of losing. No mention of Phil losing the data though.

  58. Gary said

    So “CRU and Hadley Centre efforts to construct the HadCRUT dataset” in the peer reviewed literature is what it means to be open and transparent. But you can’t see the data, just descriptions of their hard work and the homogenized stew they cooked up. Self-delusion never fails to be fascinating.

  59. Jeff C. said

    Check out the propaganda cartoon Steve linked in #42. No only is it filled with specious arguments, it is just plain awful. My five-year old would probably kill me in my sleep if I made him sit through that steaming pile.

    The fact that Santer was willing to be associated with it speaks volumes.

  60. Jeff Id said

    #60 My son thought it was great. He’s 3 so —
    The hippo pooped daddy… hahahahaha

    After that, I thought about cooking him a veggie burger for dinner. How do you like that kid? Turns out we’re fresh out.

  61. RationalAmerican said

    Ben’s own contributions to Climategate are priceless:

    “One of the problems is that I’m caught in a real Catch-22 situation. At present, I’m damned and publicly vilified because I refused to provide McIntyre with the data he requested.”

    “I’d like to dictate my own research agenda. I don’t want that agenda driven by the constant need to respond to Christy, Douglass, and Singer. And I certainly don’t want to spend years of my life interacting with the likes of Steven McIntyre.

    I hope LLNL management will provide me with their full support. If they do not, I’m fully prepared to seek employment elsewhere.”

    It is my most sincere hope as an American taxpayer that LLNL management provide Bennie the opportunity to indeed seek employment elsewhere. Ben should further face criminal prosecution for his avoidance of the FOI request.

  62. Antonio San said

    “Phil Jones is one of the gentlemen of our field.”

    Imagine what a non-gentleman in their field would read like…!!!

  63. Viv Evans said

    If the data were ‘rock-solid’ that showed warming – then so must those data have been that showed cooling, no?

    You can have the most rock-solidly data in the world – if you ask the wrong questions based on a hypothesis which you are desperate to prove, then you will get results which do not accord with observed reality.

    Pity this wasn’t taught, apparently, to Dr Santer and all the student generations at UEA.

  64. J. Peden said

    “Phil Jones and Tom
    Wigley (the second Director of the Climatic Research Unit) devoted
    significant portions of their scientific careers to the construction of
    the land component of the so-called “HadCRUT” dataset of land and ocean
    surface temperatures.”

    Given that cartoon, Santer better consider “losing” a lot of his career work, too.

  65. Ben said

    It is quite strange that, in this text, Ben Santer does not address the question of the origin of such a warming of the planet. Most skeptics does not contest the warming (at least for the end of XXth century), only the responsability of CO2. That’s the real battlefield.

  66. Monroe said

    I’m an old guy whose computer skills are not great but I am so thrilled with this whole effort all of are making to “mine” the truth. Please keep up the good work!

  67. PaulM said

    Ben Santer is the man who wrote in 1228330629.txt:
    Phil has been complying with FOIA requests from McIntyre and his cronies for over two years“.
    True or false? A trustworthy guy or not?

  68. Kenneth Fritsch said

    Well since we’re in a hatefest here, I’d say part of the problem is Mann’s statistics kung fu isn’t quite as powerful as he’d like.

    Carrick, I am reminded when you say the above that I think Ben Santer and Eric Steig have both come across in various comments as true believers in the “cause” of AGW and its immediate mitigation. Combining that zeal and a more emotional and subjective approach of an advocate with science can be a tricky thing when it comes to keeping the science true and straight. As advocates with that frame of mind it also makes tempting the labeling of those who would disagree with you as evil or with an agenda. I see Ben and Eric as more emotionally attached to the cause whereas Mann appears more calculating in his actions – although I would guess as much into the cause as anyone in the consensus group.

    I think if people commenting critically of those scientists/advocates in the consensus on AGW can see how this zeal can work for those that they criticize they need to be aware of when they might be doing it themselves.

    To me the issue is that one should analyze the advocacy positions of these scientists and question whether that position and the zeal with which it is taken could potentially affect their judgments as scientists. Having said that, I do not find it helpful to call them names or deem them evil.

    A case in point was a young student whose email to Judith Curry was selected by Curry as something she appeared from her answer to agree. The student had evidently already made up her mind about the issue of AGW (and perhaps needs for mitigation) but her concern was the nasty turn of events that the exposed emails brought to the discussion. She seemed more concern with the issue of convincing the skeptics than doing science and letting the chips fall where they may – and Dr. Curry went along with this. When Curry posted these comments at CA I saw little in the way of criticsm – but quite frankly I was appalled and more so because I think many appear to consider it SOP.

  69. Michael D Smith said

    Ahh yes, Ben “a consensus of one” Santer, the man who single handedly changed the outcome of climate science:

  70. David C. Greene said

    Ben Santer is the one who got a “cherry-picked” section of temperature record into an earlier IPCC report to prove warming where the total record showed no trend.

  71. geraldo said

    How dare you bastardize science for political and monetary gain .It will be hard for people to ever trust a “scientific report ” again without wondering weather the scientist is lieing to get money ,fame and power.

  72. boballab said


    Maybe you ought to try that over on Real Climate where the ones that did the ‘Bastardization’ like to hang out

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