Friday, November 20, 2009

That CRU data hack

Love it or hate it, it's going to be a pretty big story. I was mildly amused to see that Wattatwat doesn't even know the difference between the Hadley Centre and CRU - the answer is about 300 miles, according to Google. And also, it seems that only one of them has an adequate firewall...

Remember, never say anything in an email if you aren't prepared to see it plastered over the internet subsequently!

30 comments:

Magnus Westerstrand said...

how do you know if an email is "real"?

James Annan said...

In general, with difficulty. But have no doubt, this is real.

Magnus Westerstrand said...

The hack for sure... but every single mail? It gives me headache...

James Annan said...

Easier to hack than to forge that much, especially as any demonstrable forgeries slipped in there would completely devalue the whole thing.

FWIW, now I have checked, the little in there that I wrote is genuine, but there is nothing remotely embarrassing in it, sorry to disappoint!

skanky said...

"even know the difference between the Hadley Centre and CRU"

They don't even share any common words.

"now I have checked, the little in there that I wrote is genuine, but there is nothing remotely embarrassing in it,"

You thought there might have been?
(shock, scandal, conspiracy, etc.)

bigcitylib said...

I email everybody is upset with, Jones on using "Mike's Trick" to hide a "decline" is real. Jones has explained that he was talking about adding instrument data to the end of proxy data.

Bolt has the "worst stuff" and it seems very bland to me. Folks don't like DeFreitas or Pielke. Etc.

http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/hadley_hacked#63657

D said...

Oh, those sneaky alarmists! They were trying to "hide the decline" in tree growth by publishing scientific papers about the divergence problem and discussing this topic in TAR and AR4...

bigcitylib said...

More specifically, from an email from Mann on Sept 22 1999:


"I am perfectly amenable to keeping Keith's series in the plot, and can ask
Ian Macadam (Chris?) to add it to the plot he has been preparing (nobody
liked my own color/plotting conventions so I've given up doing this myself).
The key thing is making sure the series are vertically aligned in a reasonable
way. I had been using the entire 20th century, but in the case of Keith's,
we need to align the first half of the 20th century w/ the corresponding mean
values of the other series, due to the late 20th century decline."

Hank Roberts said...

Well, I see the inept hack missed the Seekrit Server with the really incriminating Soros email, diktats from the Socialist Vegetarian Overlords, all the fund transfers, the real estate documents showing the climatologists have been buying up low-lying tropical resort islands for their own selfish use after scaring all the natives off of them with the sea level hoax, and so on.

Others, not of course me, might conclude that if this kind of convincing documentation doesn't exist, Denial Depot owes it to the world to create it and put it up somewhere it can be stolen.

Lumo said...

Great to hear that you were instantly sure that all the files were real. So was I.

James Annan said...

Oh, do you still have an internet account? That has spoilt my morning.

P. Lewis said...

Ad hominems from a scientist about another are to be deplored. Wattatwat indeed.

Hmm, come to think of it, Wattatwat indeed! Personally, I'd always preferred Dim Watt when I've had to mention that inerudite incandescent (90% heat, no light -- but that doesn't add up? Does he ever?) filament. But now ...

Anyway, as I was saying, ad hom...

Steve Bloom said...

They confuse Hadley and CRU because of HadCRUT.

James Annan said...

Steve - yes I had actually worked that out myself. It's sort of like confusing the USA and France because Nato exists, though. No wonder some people think it's all some big conspiracy if we all work together for GISSCRUHadleyNatureScienceGoreCommunistWorldGovernmentIPCC.org

P. Lewis - point taken, although he's hardly a scientist (but why should that matter?). Anyway, I don't see why I shouldn't be rude about idiots if I feel like it. Plenty of people have been ruder about me, and some of them may even have been right!

James Annan said...

"Plenty of people have been ruder about me, and some of them may even have been right!"

And on reading this comment, jules just called me a "f@#$ing imbecile". So there you are :-)

P. Lewis said...

James, I did wonder whether the sarcasm would filter through. Intonation is so difficult in writing.

It was actually a backhanded compliment, of sorts, on your choice of ad hom above mine.

It's really difficult to reign in the ad homs when you're dealing with a serial idiot (as you say). I try to reign them in. I sometimes succeed and sometimes I don't. Perhaps Mr Watts (the wannabe scientist, which I know he isn't -- apart from the wannabe aspect) should be an exception to the name mangling ad hom.

(And fair play to 'er indoors, she who must be obeyed, the wiser sage ;-)

P. Lewis said...

The thing lost in all this so far, it seems to me (certainly amongst the opining tripe pushers and their fawning acolytes), is that the CRU/UEA has published its FoIA Publication Scheme that details its routinely published material (using a publication model that all UK higher education establishments follow), as it is required to do so by law and as approved by the Information Commissioner.

Now, by honing one's FoI request to the CRU/UEA (and you’d have to hone it down, otherwise cost would rapidly become prohibitive), material not covered in the CRU/UEA's published FoIA Publication Scheme (other than any material that may be covered in the legal exemptions and that part of the act covering vexatious requests (Section 1.14) and those requests disproportionately expensive to meet (Section 1.13)) may be obtainable by contacting the CRU/UEA's Information Policy and Compliance Manager. If such a request is refused, then a legal avenue of appeal is available.

Was this done? It doesn’t look like.

In the absence of such requests, this was plainly an act of thievery and wanton vandalism, not whistleblowing. Anyway, a whistleblower (with internal/priveleged sight of such documentation) could easily have informed any number of septics privately or publicly to submit a request under the FoIA for such-and-such’s communications on a specified date.

viento said...

Of course this hack doesnt stop temperatures from rising, but people that consider themselves empowered to intimidate editors and reviewers when they feel a manuscript or a paper is not 'correct' are a shame for the whole
scientific community.

It is strange that your only reaction to this is to highlight that some blog confuses CRU and Hadley Centre.

Francis Turner said...

Well James, it may not be embarrassing but it is quite possible to find out what you & Tamino & others have written about ENSO/McLean etc. And indeed to do a diff and see what's changed between the August draft and the October one.

James Annan said...

Francis, are you saying that the manuscripts themselves are in the hacked files? I haven't found them - the mails just seem to be the text part without attachments.

Viento, surely writing to the editor is the obvious - indeed only reasonable - course of action when one wants to complain about their behaviour...

viento said...

James,

is it therefore in your view acceptable for a director of CRU to try that another reviewer (your subordinate) incorporates your (possibly negative) comments about a manuscript?
is it acceptable to launch an orchestrated action to convince colleages not to submit manuscripts or even cite (!) papers from a certain journal (Climate Research) because it has published a paper you dont like? is this scientific aceptable behaviour?
I dont think so, I do think this is shameful and nor acceptable

James Annan said...

Viento,

I think the former is wrong - can you say where it occurred? It would be unusual (but not unheard-of) for a 3rd party to even know who was reviewing a manuscript.

I don't think there is much wrong in deciding that papers published in an unreliable journal with shoddy peer review should be distrusted - in fact this is very much the status quo in all areas of science. It is worrying that the AGU seems to be heading down this way...I doubt that a single paper would be sufficient to change most peoples' opinions, however, and no journal is immune from making mistakes.

viento said...

James,
an email from Jones to Mann, dated Feb 26 15:59:12 2004 ( you can search for this pattern in the file).

Jones is saying that 'Tim' is reviewing a manuscript for Science and he (Jones) will make sure that Tim incorpates his comments to the review. Tim doesnt seem to be very cooperative, so I guess Jones will have to lean on him. Note that Jones is higher in the CRU hierarchy. The manuscript was finally published and this shows that 'Tim' was indeed honest. One cannot say the same of other people at CRU

viento said...

James, concerning the episode about Climate Research I see a difference. If you as individual think the journal is shoddy and you as indivual dont want to publish or cite in that journal, I think this is perfectly ok. One is free to choose the journal to submit a manuscript. A quite different thing is to try to convince colleagues, in a systematic way, to avoid that journal or even cite papers from that journal to reduce its impact factor. The mafia would call this ' to make an offer you cannot reject'.

Francis Turner said...

James, the paper itself does not appear but there is a link to the submissions page at JGL in one of the emails. Clicking on that link allows one (with a bit of additional clicking) to download the paper in the 2 forms noted. The referee notes are in one of the mails that's also where the link is.

It might actually be interesting to see what some of the more statistically competent "skeptics" think of the McLean paper, I haven't read it but reading your "comment" it sounds exactly like the sort of half baked stats that such people go after Mann & co for.

Francis Turner said...

s/JGR/JGL/ in my previous comment - I must be turning Japanese and failing to mind my Rs and Ls

James Annan said...

Francis,

Thanks, I hadn't spotted that. I think the original paper was on the web somewhere anyway.

Viento,

The only way that anyone would learn who was reviewing a paper would be if the reviewer had asked for their opinion. In that case, it looks like the reviewer is retrospectively worried about whether he should have shared the paper and can/should include others' comments, but many journal policies allow this although I think it would be a relatively rare event.

viento said...

James,
with all respect..
of course very probably the reviewer may have commented over the coffee break that he was reviewing paper. He may even have openly told he was reviewing a particular manuscript. That does not justify an targeted attempt to influence him.
You are trying to justify what cannot be justified. It are a victim, again, of the groupthink mindset.

James Annan said...

Viento,

It's clearly a breach of confidence and the email should not have been sent. But I think you are reading too much into the rest of it.

KnowYourPlanet said...

Why not just look at the CRU data here http://www.knowyourplanet.com/climate-data its there, you can call your local weather station and ask them to confirm the measurements going back. I challenge people do this this, not one has proven the CRU data wrong. Would you be the first? If so, send me a mail on mark@knowyourplanet.com