Things I thought

Monday 23 November 2009

A Challenge

I forgot to include this in my last post.

I'm challenging any Climate Deniers who believe that the Hadley CRU e-mails show a concerted effort to manipulate data in favour of AGW to pick the e-mail they think shows, beyond all doubt, that such collusion/lying has taken place, and post a link to it here in the comments.

So far, all I have seen are examples of normal scientific practice where the reader has misunderstood the context and nature of the comments (the misreading of the "trick" e-mail being the most obvious blunder).

I look forward to seeing the incontrevertible evidence of conspiracy...

Edit: Tuesday 24th November.

People seem curiously reticent about actually picking an e-mail. I even had one commenter over at the Telegraph admit that 'none of the e-mails' showed any evidence of fraud.

So I'm upping the stakes: If you can find one, which shows beyond reasonable doubt that the Hadley scientists have been manipulating data solely to support the theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming, then I will donate £50 to the charity of your choosing.

Let's be clear, though. I'm looking for that e-mail where the Hadley bunch take results they know to be accurate, and fraudulently alter them to support their hypothesis.

Edit: Friday 27th November

So far, nobody has taken me up on my challenge ("because nobody reads your shitty blog" comes the perfectly accurate reply). However, someone has asked me to clarify the conditions of success.

I will pay £50 to the charity (or church, or political campaign, as I've realised asking climate deniers to pick an actual charity they like might be a bit unfair) of your choice if you can find a evidence amongst the stolen Hadley data which shows that:

1.) Data was manipulated


2.) That manipulation made the evidence in favour of AGW appear stronger than it was in reality


3.) There was no scientific reason for the manipulation of that data.

I readily admit that these criteria are subjective. For the third one, I will go away and research whether there was a scientific reason for manipulation. If there wasn't one, you get your money.

But think about the odds you are getting! If you win, you get £50 for the charity, group or cause of your choice. What's more, you'll make me look like a complete tool - and considering what a smug, arrogant tosser I am, I have a feeling this is an even better prize than the money. If you lose, you lose nothing. Those are odds of infinity to one. I know the climate denier camp isn't great at calculating risk and probability, but even you lot must see the value there.

Good luck!


  1. Wait, so you believe this fairytale that we are in a massive global warming trend that will devistate the world. You do realize that the earth has been here alot longer than us and the idea that we have a significant effect is just a little self absorbed. I think the scientists need to look for a more credible reason for our planets climate change then worrying that we have increased a degree in 40 years. I think there is more to the question than just a short sighted answer with blinders.

  2. To dale bart: Amen! We humans have such fragile egos. It's about time we stop trying to pass misguided legislation to solve a problem that may or may not affect us in a hundred years or so and start focusing on things that we know are a problem right now.

  3. I have never understood this argument: that human beings can't change the planet because it is so big, and we are so small.. We have always altered our surroundings, indeed, the extent to which we do so is what makes us unique as a species. And now, the negative effects of that alteration may make our planet unliveable.

    The planet itself, and some form of life, will continue. Indeed, mankind will probably survive as well. But the comfortable, wonderful world in which we live will be changed forever.

    And, Molly, global warming *is* a problem right now - witness the increased incidence of catastrophic weather events. Right now is also the only time we have to do anything about it.

  4. Even the most "optomistic" estimates of the likely results if the proposals to crushingly limit allowable CO2 emissions say that if they are FULLY implemented the change will be less than 1 degree C.

    "increased incidence of catastrophic weather events?" Really? If you look at historical data on hurricanes, you won't find that to be the case, in either frequency or destructiveness.

    Al Gore published "Earth in the Balance" in 1992. That's 17 years since he declared that disaster is imminent if we don't DO SOMETHING. So why, 17 years later, does he still own several mansions and the one that is his primary residence uses as much energy as 20 average American homes?

    Al Gore doesn't believe his own words. Why should I?

    Also, global temperature data over the last 10 years show DECREASING temperatures, not increasing. The warmest year of the last 20 was 1998.

    P.S. I have not yet seen, much less read, any of the recently hacked e-mails, so I won't be pointing you to anything in any of those.

  5. The catastrophic weather events you are citing JonnieMarbles are a climate change not a change in temperature. Somehow I don't think that unprecedented levels of snow in the Middle East is a warming issue. No, what is driving the "climate change" I believe has alot more to do the earth itself.

    Yellowstone is getting so hot most of the park is off limits to walk on. Earthquake activity is increasing in some places that haven't had earthquakes in years and stronger in others. Tsunamis happening more and more frequently. I think the earth itself is having a episode and the scientists know it and all this global warming and climate change is a smoke screen.

    I bet if they took temperature readings that they would release to the public from the arctic ocean floor they would find a slowly growing temperature change.

    I let you marinate on that one a little.

  6. Jonnie - have you read through any of the emails?

    Can you be more specific on what your criteria are for "beyond reasonable doubt that the Hadley scientists have been manipulating data solely to support the theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming"

    Even George Monbiot thinks the content of the emails is damning.

    And yet worse is contained in the other files such as the 'HARRYREADME' file; which shows how an incredible number of fudges were carried out on the data and the code used to process the data.

    I don't think anyone will win your 'competition' because you've already decided what the answer is, regardless of what evidence is produced.

  7. I've not read them all, but I read the ones that were flagged up as 'damning' on blogs such as Watts Up With That. They all turned out to be perfectly innocuous. Of course, my methodology is slightly different from yours.

    For example, when I read the "hide the decline" e-mail, my first question was "The decline in what?". You see, if I am trying to ascertain whether a serious, possibly criminal case of fraud has been committed I like to know what the evidence I'm looking at actually means, particularly if that evidence is scientific in nature and so something I'm at risk of misunderstanding on first glance. The denier camp was happy to fall upon this as 'proof' that the Hadley scientists had been "hiding the decline" in temperatures since 1960. The real decline was in the correlation between tree ring proxy data and recorded temperatures - so the Hadley scientists decided to use the recorded temperatures.

    Has there been an apology from James Delingpole, Watts Up With That et al? Has there bollocks.

    I set this up because, if there is real actual evidence of fraud out there, it will change my life. I will stop campaigning on Climate Change. I won't stop campaigning - I will go out and campaign against the arms trade, or third world debt. That's why, fi there's fraud, it is well worth my £50 to find that out. But there just isn't any.

    I agree with George Monbiot: the implications of these documents for peer review are worrying, and the attempt to circumnavigate FOI is reprehensible, though hardly unusual. Like Monbiot, I don't see how this damages the central science of climate change one little bit.

    If "worse" is contained in the readme file, post it! There must be something you care enough about to want to give £50 of someone else's money to. Any charity you want - I'll donate it to the Ayn Rand Institute For Murdering Orphans if you actually show me some proof!

    "you've already decided what the answer is, regardless of what evidence is produced."

    Have you heard of a psychological phenomenon called "projection"? Alternatively, have you heard of a charecteristic of situations called "irony"?

    See the main post for a more detailed criteria of proof.

  8. Inthomp,

    "Also, global temperature data over the last 10 years show DECREASING temperatures, not increasing. The warmest year of the last 20 was 1998."

    1998 was a strong outlier year, due to the El Nino effect, and the hottest year in the last 2000, according to the best available data (actually, this isn't quite true, the hottest year may have been 2005, depending on whether you listen to GISS or someone else).

    In either case, to say that global temperatures have been 'decreasing' since 1998 show either an ignorance of, or an attempt to distort, the data.

  9. The climate models do not predict that each and every year will be the hottest year on record. But, of course, when we do have another hottest year on record (which we will, some time in the next 5 years) the skeptic mantra will change back from "The earth is cooling!" to "one record year doesn't mean anything!"

    It doesn't. But the fact that 8 out of the ten hottest are in the last ten years suggests something pretty serious is happening.

  10. Hot the Middle East ..huh they are supposed to be hot...West Coast America they are supposed to be hot too.. maybe in the southern hemisphere, no wait them too ... Where Maine was not 90 degrees how about Alaska, Quebec, Greenland, Siberia,... no wait that is because they are supposed to be cold ... fluctuations in temperature happen no one fully understands the complexity of earth's climate and there is little exact data of changes over the last 500,000 years just broad statistics we have from geological studies... so we have no absolute idea whether this isn't a normal pattern or not ... and also love how you people just ignore me as a conspiracy theorist but no one can answer to the recent earth activity that scientists haven't addressed

  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. i have edited this post as i have a better understanding now of what the data means.

    someone else pointed out the "HARRY_READ_ME" file.

    it basically consists of code and programming notes that correlate with the "hide the decline" email.

    in some of the notes, it clearly states the decline as being to do with tree-ring density data showing temperatures being lower than they should be . it is also stated that the data after 1960 should not be used.

    perhaps this isn't enough for you, i don't know, but reading some of your posts, i just want to point out that by 'decline' he is referring to tree-ring denisty and the problems with using it as an indicator for temperature, however using the data before 1960.

    basically they are fudging the data as the tree-ring data shows a decrease in temperature.

    i personally don't know what to make of this whole event. as with most people, i'm not a climate research scientist, so i can't really make a judgement. i do however think they have something to answer for.

  13. Lit's called the divergence problem: after 1960 the correlation between tree ring density and observed temperature declines. Before 1960 the tree ring density data and the stuff pulled off thermometers correlates nicely. There may be an argument for using real data from 1850 when it first becomes available rather than from 1960. I don't know if this would affect the graph at all - presumably not as there is high pre 1960 correlation.

    Either way it seems weird to argue that when tree ring density and thermometer data diverge we should use the tree ring data. I would, however, say that the divergence problem gives me some doubts about the usefulness of tree ring data as a proxy, which I guess is the benefit of using multi proxy analysis.

  14. Though I do want to say thank you, Kieran, for actually entering the contest, rather than just alluding to a mysterious collection of 'proof' elsewhere.

  15. You know, simply the subversion of the peer review process and possible destruction of or willingness to destroy data and discussing using strategies to HIDE themselves, their work, and their data from peers inside and outside their field...that is all enough to label these researchers as political activists and anti-science practitioners.


    valadj=[0.,0.,0.,0.,0.,-0.1,-0.25,-0.3,0.,- 0.1,0.3,0.8,1.2,1.7,2.5,2.6,2.6,$
    2.6,2.6,2.6]*0.75 ; fudge factor


    Scientists discussing favoring CONSISTENT simulations over REALISTIC simulations.
    "It's a political decision"


    From the file pl_declinepro": "Now apply a completely artificial adjustment for the decline only where coefficient is positive!)"



    "I am sending what I have now even though I am not at all happy with it. It is obviously only part way there. Getting the data to produce Figures and work out how to design them is going to be time very consuming and I will rely entirely on Tim here to do them"


    At 09:41 AM 2/2/2005, Phil Jones wrote:

    I presume congratulations are in order - so congrats etc !
    Just sent loads of station data to Scott. Make sure he documents everything better
    this time ! And don't leave stuff lying around on ftp sites - you never know who is
    them. The two MMs have been after the CRU station data for years. If they ever hear
    is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I'll delete the file rather than
    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. Tom Wigley has sent me a worried
    email when he heard about it - thought people could ask him for his model code. He
    has retired officially from UEA so he can hide behind that. IPR should be relevant
    but I can see me getting into an argument with someone at UEA who'll say we must adhere
    to it ! [snip]


    Are you now addressing the New Zealand fudged charts/data too?

  16. P.S. - I read your whole post and every reply on this blog post, so I know you said you really want to know if this AGW is a fraud and if so you'll go support other causes.

    Look, I don't believe it is quite true. I really see a religious zeal going on with the AGW. The believers are just that, believers (they have FAITH) and are acting like religious people do when you attack, question or debate with them.

  17. The US government are behind the publication of these emails, it's far easier to smear the experts than defend their lack of action.

    ...and only when we have swallowed the last grain of wheat will we finally realise we can't eat money.

  18. From the file

    ; Apply a VERY ARTIFICAL correction for decline!!
    2.6,2.6,2.6]*0.75 ; fudge factor

    If you could please forward the money to Oxfam, I'm sure they'd be very grateful.

  19. Jonnie, any response?

    Also, something I've been pointing out elsewhere:

    Since the very climate scientists that study the ice cores have shown that CO2 rise matches but TRAILS global temperature rises and declines by about 800 years and does not drive temp, CRU not only needs to show verifiable/reproducible temp riseing but also needs to show/explain the cause/driver. They have never shown the temp rise they claim to be happening is being driven by CO2. That has only been an implication held over from the Gore presentation that falsified/hid the fact that CO2 was lagging temp. NOBODY HAS EVER PROVEN CO2 RISE DRIVES TEMP RISE.

  20. We've now found two emails that show CRU (and possibly others) gets funding from Shell Oil. That seems odd.

  21. "Either way it seems weird to argue that when tree ring density and thermometer data diverge we should use the tree ring data. I would, however, say that the divergence problem gives me some doubts about the usefulness of tree ring data as a proxy, which I guess is the benefit of using multi proxy analysis."

    I think you just won £50 there!

    We are asked to believe that current temperatures are unprecedented on the basis of tree ring proxies. In the "Nature trick" the evidence that tree ring proxies are not reliable is removed from the chart, not by deleting it, as you suggest, but by padding the endpoint with instrumental data. (Doesn't matter either way, of course; it's the fact that inconvenient facts are hidden to improve the rhetorical effect).

    Nobody has really suggested that proxy data should be used in place of instrumental, you're just saying that. (Although I'm sure you'll point me to someone if I'm wrong). But I'm sure you'll agree that it is incumbent upon honest scientists to show and explain the limitations of their data and methods when they advise policy makers. Hiding those limitations is dishonest, right?

    So, you have a tick against 1, 2 and 3 and you won a prize. Congratulations!

  22. Hello guys. Sorry I'm only just getting around to responding, life got in the way, as it does.


    The evidence you provide is an excellent example of seeing only what you want to see. I don't know what the 'fudge factor' is - indeed, it could mean just about anything. But you are assuming it must mean they are 'fudging' the numbers, in other words, fraudulently manipulating data. But saying that something has a "*.75; fudge factor" does not support that conclusion. The problem for me is that I do not understand the programming language being used. If you do, I would be delighted if you would explain it to me.

    Another fantastic example of this kind of self-fulfilling thinking is your quoting of the phrase "a political decision" from one e-mail that you claim is talking about 'consistent' rather than 'realistic' models. Anyone who reads the actual e-mail:

    Will see that what they are talking about is mapping out a range of possible CO2 emissions futures, futures that will be decided by politicians - a "political decision".

    We also have:
    ""Now apply a completely artificial adjustment for the decline only where coefficient is positive!)""

    Which I find it odd that you have included, considering the way that 'hide the decline' has been debunked. Again, as I don't know shit about programming, I can't comment on what this is actually aiming to do, particularly as I can't find the file on the internet!

    The FOI stuff does give me pause, though the way these files have been twisted shows exactly why they wanted to keep the information out of the hands of unscrupulous people.

    "Since the very climate scientists that study the ice cores have shown that CO2 rise matches but TRAILS global temperature rises and declines by about 800 years and does not drive temp"

    Actually, it does both. I think i already addressed this elsewhere, but the msot likely explanation for that graph is that an initial heat trigger - say the warming of the sun - caused the release of CO2, which then drove temperatures up further. Like water vapour, CO2 is both a climate reactant and a climate driver.

    I'm sorry if you feel I am being disingenuos by saying that I would go and do something else if AGW was proven false, but it's true. The world that I want to make a better place is the real world and, unlike a dismal few of my compatriots, I do not see climate change as a lever for social progress (though, you know, that would be nice) but as the pre-eminent threat to our world, our civilization and our way of life. A fellow activist put it well the other day when he said:

    "The boat is going in the wrong direction, and we need to turn it round, but first, there is a hole in the hull and if we don't patch it up, there won't be a boat at all."

  23. "We've now found two emails that show CRU (and possibly others) gets funding from Shell Oil. That seems odd."

    Can you point me in their direction? That is certainly interesting info.

  24. Tiggs,

    ; Apply a VERY ARTIFICAL correction for decline!!"

    If we corrected for a decline between 1881-1940, that would diminish the case for AGW rather than bolstering it. If they're fudging data, they would need to decrease, not increase, the pre 1950 data. I suppose your piece might count as evidence that CRU has been covering up the extent of AGW so we don't all panic, but I don't think that's what you're arguing for, and it doesn't win £50 (though donating to lovely anti global warming Oxfam would have warmed my cockles no end).

  25. "We are asked to believe that current temperatures are unprecedented on the basis of tree ring proxies."

    Actually, we are asked to believe that on the basis of a variety of proxies including tree rings, corals, and ice cores. That's why they call it a multi-proxy analysis!

    "(Doesn't matter either way, of course; it's the fact that inconvenient facts are hidden to improve the rhetorical effect)."

    Inaccurate data was hidden to improve accuracy. In this situation the accurate case and the rhetorically effective one happen to be the same. One of the things that the deniers keep fucking up in their quest for evidence of conspiracy is that scientific data and facts change all of the time and, just because they change in a way which further supports the AGW hypothesis, that doesn't mean they were made up. In every case we have examined so far, there has been a good reason for altering the data.

    "Nobody has really suggested that proxy data should be used in place of instrumental, you're just saying that."

    You're right: the people trumpetting "hide the decline" as evidence of scientific fraud don't actually know what the words mean. But, if they did, then the only reasonable inference to draw from their criticism would be that they believe tree ring proxies to be more reliable than thermometers. You are completely right, though. I deliberately overestimated the intelligence of the denier movement.

    Now, of course, there is the other point of view you seem to be suggesting: that we remove tree rings entirely as a proxy and solely focus on coral and ice cores pre 1850. The severe limitation of this approach is that we only get readings for parts of the ocean and areas which contain permafrost. Trees have the advantage of being almost everywhere on dry land.

    So, perhaps, you can argue that we have no way of verifying any kind of data about global temperatures before 1850, despite the high correlation between tree ring density and observed temperature 1850-1960, and everywhere but the northern hemisphere after that.

    But, of course, doing so wouldn't help your cause. We would, in effect, be saying that the only temperature record was the instrumental temperature record. And that shows temperatures rising increasingly quickly as the century progressed. In other words, even if you throw all of the proxy temperature data out, the best evidence left available strongly supports AGW.

  26. Here is a blog post which explains better the CO2 leader/follower illusion:

  27. As bad as the emails are, the Fortran code and comments are damning. Jonnie, I have dug deeply into the code as well as the comments and it isn't looking good for CRU. As if the obvious code manipulation and deletion wasn't bad enough, the comments in the HARRY file scream foul in many many locations.

    No offense, but I won't play your game as i think it is impossible to see the the multitude of mistakes that are glaringly obvious to me. And I am neither a skeptic or a liberal, I am a scientist and merely seek truth in the scientific method. Scientists as I fight a hard enough battle as it is and these false scientists have destroyed far more than the climate change battle. They have bastardized science in general and that disgusts me.

    Good luck with your contest.


  28. Marbles,

    I too have been a supporter of AGW for about 20 years- until 2 years ago when I discovered the "Hockey stick" was a data artifact. I'm a mechanical design engineer- I don't have to believe everything I am fed, I can research this stuff myself if I have the time and can be bothered.

    The reason why the decline in tree ring width after 1960 on the Yamal dataset is so important is that if using tree rings as a proxy for temperature was accurate, it should match the temperatures for the last 48 years just as well as it matches the temperature variations over the previous 1000 years. If tree ring width is not following the current temperature changes, how do we know it tracked temperature changes 100 years or more ago?

    But aside from that, Mann selected only 12 trees to use for his tree ring proxy temperatures, out of more than 500 trees. If you plot the temperature variations of all the trees sampled, you get a very different picture: Below is the summary of the data from ALL the trees. And by the way, Mann didn't have anything to do with the data collection or the research, he just picked out some of the data to use for his paper on global warming.

    SUGGESTED DATA CITATION: Hantemirov, R.M. and S.G. Shiyatov, 2003,
    Yamal Peninsula Multimillennial Summer Temperature Reconstruction,
    From the beginning of the first century bc to about the start of the sixth century ad, generally warm conditions prevailed. Then began a quasi 400-year oscillation of temperature, cooling occurring in about 550–700, 950–1100, 1350–1500 and 1700–1900. Warming occurred in the intermediate periods and during the twentieth century. The more northerly tree-line suggests that the most favourable conditions during the last two millennia apparently occurred at around ad 500 and during the period 1200–1300. It is interesting to note that the current position of the tree-line in Yamal is south of the position it has attained during most of the last three and a half millennia, and it may well be that it has not yet shifted fully in response to the warming of the last century.

    The full data set can be found here:

  29. Marbles,

    I came across a link to your contest on another blog and just wanted to let you know it is a waste of time. I personally am happy about the climategate emails because they have created new conversations on the subject but like all the others, they miss the most important issue of the AGW debate. The issue isn't whether or not the earch is warming/cooling. The issues is if man is causing the trend.

    I have a bachelors and a masters degree in natural science fields and thus have a strong understanding of scientific concepts, processes, and how to critic scientific papers. I have also researched the AGW subject very extensively and can say without doubt that the science just does not support the theory that CO2 emissions can have a significant effect on climate change. The prehistoric and geologic records do not support it, the chemistry and physics do not support it, and current data does not support it.

    I would be more than happy to have a friendly debate on the issue ( with you or any of your readers that would prove far more productive than your contest.

    By the way I'm not just some biased nut who only looks for contradicting evidence on AGW. For a few years I had actually bought into the AGW movement until one day, being a scientist, I wanted to have a more solid understanding of the subject and started doing some research. The more I looked into the hard science the quicker the theory started to fall apart. I found it a disgrace how science was being manipulated for research funding and political gain so I am now more than willing to enlighten people who obviously do not have all the facts.