Tuesday, November 22, 2011

More stolen emails; since it worked for a while last time...

Latest (Sat.&Sun.&Mon.) update: After a quick check, it looks like Barry Bickmore best summed up this batch: Contrarians File for Intellectual Bankruptcy. (First batch best post was by Peter Watts.) Mr. Steele didn't reply to my email note (from the "Wed. update" below), and didn't print my comment, but did provide a list someone had compiled of links to "bombshell" excerpts - I looked at the first 3 ("you don't have to drink the whole carton of milk to tell that it's sour" ), and 2 of them could be rebutted just by looking at the email they were excerpted from, printed right below the excerpt. I put out a couple calls to check on the third; see all three at end of this post (and in comment). The "'Going out of business' sale" is hoppin', over on the right.

Wed. update: RealClimate
contextualized the excerpts, in post & in comments. Also, I submitted a comment (3 times; though as of Sat., it hadn't appeared. I also emailed.) at local emeritus denier Russ Steele's blog asking him to provide 3-5 excerpts he considered egregious, offering to look into them.

Excerpts & findings have been appended to this post.

Here's the UEA statement:
"If genuine, ... these emails have the appearance of having been held back after the theft of data and emails in 2009 to be released at a time designed to cause maximum disruption to the imminent international climate talks.

This appears to be a carefully-timed attempt to reignite controversy over the science behind climate change when that science has been vindicated by three separate independent inquiries and number of studies – including, most recently, the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature group.

As in 2009, extracts from emails have been taken completely out of context. Following the previous release of emails scientists highlighted by the controversy have been vindicated by independent review, and claims that their science cannot or should not be trusted are entirely unsupported. They, the University and the wider research community have stood by the science throughout, and continue to do so."

The 3 email excerpts I checked, from top of Mr. Steele's reprinted list:
(I've left a comment there, linking back to this post)
  • A claim is that an email from Phil Jones says that the media, especially BBC, has an alarmist bias. But from looking at the email, he doesn't say BBC has an alarmist bias, he just says that it rarely includes a counter-quote for "balance" anymore, any more than it does for flat-earth troglodytes - plus Jones's email goes on to say: "There is, however, still a vociferous and small majority [minority - ed.] of climate change skeptics (also called deniers, but these almost entirely exclude any climate-trained climate scientists) who engage the public/govt/media through web sites. M...ost of these skeptics/deniers do not write regular scientific papers in peer-review journals. ..."
    A terminology hint for the reasonable: When the science indicates a need for alarm, people who care about their children and grandchildren (and, if young to middle-aged, their own quality of life) call it "alarming", not "alarmist".
  • From: Tom Wigley on Sat, 25 Jun 2005 -"... If I were on the greenhouse deniers’ side, I would be inclined to focus on the wide range of paleo results [prior to 1850] and the differences between them as an argument for dismissing them all. ..." This is the excerpt I asked for input on, though Wigley's overall views are clear from the rest of the email: "On the science side, the key point is that the M&M [global warming doubters] criticisms [of the 'hockey stick' finding] are unfounded."
    I asked over at Tamino's, and got a response, and then asked Wigley himself - read the (first) comment below for his assessment.
  • Claim - [Phil] Jones says 2-degree C limit ‘plucked out of thin air’
    This is an obvious misinterpretation. Jones meant we don't know exactly what exact temp. rise we can handle without getting dangerous effects; and he said right afterward that he thought the chosen limit of a 2degrees C (almost 4 F) rise is too high.
    (His correspondent, Kremer, concurred - saying that there were practical, not scientific, reasons to peg the limit so high. Kremer responded to Jones saying, "A colleague of yours...wrote an interesting article on the “tipping points” which gives an indication that the 2 deg. C is rather at the upper end if we want to avoid dangerous climate change (especially as far as Arctic Sea Ice is concerned) but already that will be hard to get…and to set a goal below 450 ppm equivalent seems to me too unrealistic to put forward.")
If this isn't jumping the shark, I'm not sure what is.

Anyone who has a child - and anyone who has a future - has a stake in the future.

1 comment:

Anna Haynes said...

I asked Wigley about the excerpt touted from his email. From his reply:
"Selecting quotes out of context is standard procedure [for these people] ... The more relevant email excerpt would be:

“The support for the hockey stick is not just the paleo reconstructions, but also the model results. If one takes the best estimates of past forcing off the shelf, then the model results show the hockey stick shape. No tuning or fudging here; this is a totally independent analysis, and critics of the paleo data, if they disbelieve these data, have to explain why models get the same result.”

“With regard to the [excerpt's having called out] differences between different paleo reconstructions, this obviously does not mean that they are all wrong. Some are better than others. ...[e.g.] The Mann et al. reconstructions are (again in my view) pretty good ....I note that these differences are well known and have not in any way been hidden. just look at fig. 6.10 in the Jansen et al. chapter in IPCC (2007).”
[fig. 6.10 (particularly fig. 10b) can be seen at http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/pubs/ipcc2007/ipcc2007.html ]
“The criticisms of the hockey stick by M&M, by the way, have been convincingly demolished in the literature.”

For the criticisms being demolished, he gave 2 key references:
* Ammann C.M. and Wahl, E.R., 2007: Importance of the geophysical context for statistical evaluation of climate reconstruction procedures. Climatic Change 85, 71–88, doi:10.1007/s10584-007-9276-x.
* Wahl, E.R and Ammann, C.M., 2007: Robustness of the Mann, Bradley, Hughes reconstruction of Northern Hemisphere surface temperatures: Examination of criticisms based on the nature and processing of proxy climate evidence. Climatic Change 85, 33–69, doi:10.1007/s10584-006-9105-7