Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, part 2: The story behind the Barton-Whitfield investigation and the Wegman Panel

[Updated Feb. 8: (editing and extension of summary and document list update)]

Perhaps the most disturbing episode in the “hockey stick” controversy was the investigation of climate scientists by the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee under Republican representatives Joe Barton and Ed Whitfield, and a subsequent report for that same committee  by an “independent” panel led by George Mason University statistics professor Edward Wegman. In light of various renewed “skeptic” allegations of scientific misconduct against Michael Mann and Phil Jones, and my recent revelation of possible plagiarism and other questionable scholarship in the Wegman report, a complete review of the events of 2005-2006 would seem to be in order.

In short, the Energy and Commerce Committee refused the offer of a proper scientific review from the National Academy of Sciences in favour of an investigative process that was ad hoc, biased and unscientific. And the report resulting from that process  is tainted with highly questionable scholarship.

I can now fill in important gaps in the timelines of the initial investigation and the Wegman panel. But more importantly my review has led to some startling conclusions:

  • Not only was the original Barton-Whitfield investigation (in the form of intimidating letters) inspired by the allegations of “climate science auditor”  Steve McIntyre, but the defining impetus seems to have been a little known Cooler Heads Coalition-Marshall Institute sponsored presentation by McIntyre and sidekick economist Ross McKitrick in Washington barely a month beforehand.
  • Energy and Commerce Committee Republican staffer Peter Spencer played a key but hitherto undisclosed role in the investigation and the subsequent Wegman panel report, and  apparently acted as the main source and gatekeeper of climate science information for the panel.
  • Steve McIntyre was in communication with the Wegman panel, at least concerning technical questions around replication of his work. The full extent of McIntyre’s communications or meetings with Spencer or other staffers, as well as Wegman panelists, is still unknown. However, the record shows there were at least two intriguing opportunities for face-to-face meetings in Washington during the Wegman panel’s mandate.

All this, along with new information about the circumstances of the Wegman panel’s formation and mandate, raises serious doubts about the supposed independence of the Wegman panel.

In my last post, I laid out some inconvenient facts about McIntyre’s fellow travellers on his way to taking his place in the pantheon of climate skeptics. As noted there, McIntyre (and McKitrick) had achieved some measure of fame with their lionization by the Wall Street Journal in early 2005. In the received wisdom about the subsequent Barton-Whitfield investigation, Antonio Regalado’s front page article is seen as its prime impetus.

However, although the WSJ undoubtedly raised awareness of McIntyre’s work, there are compelling reasons to consider that explanation incomplete. The letters are considerably more detailed and raise additional issues from those discussed in the WSJ article. Did something happen in the four-month gap between the time the article appeared in February 2005 and the issuance of the Barton-Whitfield letters in late June 2005?

M&M go to Washington – again

A careful search of McIntyre’s blog ClimateAudit provided at least part of the answer to both concerns, as seen in this brief post from May 7, 2005:

Ross McKitrick and I will be making two presentations in Washington on May 11 sponsored by Cooler Heads Coalition/George Marshall Institute: 12.20 at the National Press Club and 3 pm somewhere on Capitol Hill.

This was to be the duo’s second trip for the Washington think tanks; the first had taken place in November 2003, as discussed in M&M, part 1.

The afternoon Capitol Hill meeting remains somewhat mysterious, but M&M’s presentation and the Press Club discussion transcript are both available.  Once again, Jeff Keuter of the Marshall Institute and Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute  were on hand with an effusive welcome; Ebell noted that McKitrick had appeared more often for such presentations than anyone else.

In his portion of the Press Club discussion, McIntyre laid out his complaints concerning access to Mann’s data and computer code, as previously aired in Antonio Regalado’s  Wall Street Journal article.

But he also had some new issues to raise. Presaging Wegman’s later “social network” analysis, McIntyre expanded his comments to the whole “hockey team” and laid out a list of studies he claimed could not be considered “independent” because of overlapping authorship (p. 17). (He also boasted that he thought taking on the team was an “even match”).

McIntyre went on to complain that the IPCC had failed to do “due diligence” in “checking” the data or constituent studies and claimed that the National Science Foundation, funder of much of Mann’s work, had failed to enforce disclosure rules that, in McIntyre’s opinion, compelled Mann to release his computer code.

McIntyre also presented some dubious technical analysis, purporting to show various techniques of “cherrypicking” among paleoclimatologists, and even spliced the UAH satellite temperature  data onto the Moberg reconstruction to show that recent temperatures were not much warmer than the medieval warm period and that recent trends were modest (remember this was early 2005, before application of important corrections later that year).

As for the genesis of his interest in the “hockey stick”, McIntyre compared it to a mining promotion. This echoed his invocation of the Bre-X scandal in the WSJ article. But then he went even further.

There is no magic bullet for it, but it is astonishing to me how little due diligence there is in this, compared to the due diligence in a prospectus or any kind of public offering of stock, even by cruddy little mining companies. Peer reviewers merely give advice to the editor as to whether a paper should be published.

This betrays an utter lack of comprehension of how science actually works. But McIntyre was not done – he even invoked the Enron scandal and described his “epiphany” of a simlar lack of due diligence in climate science.

Epiphany indeed. It so happened that the Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee had investigated one aspect of the  Enron  scandal in 2002. But  the Enron comparison was perhaps unnecessary, as that same Subcommittee had looked at climate issues once before, as we shall see.

In any event, with McIntyre’s analysis in hand and with the impetus of the May 2005 roundtable, committee chair “Smokey” Joe Barton and subcommittee chair Ed Whitfield swung into action.  They tapped staffer Peter Spencer to help organize an investigation of  “hockey stick” authors Michael Mann, Raymond Bradley and Malcolm Hughes, and to serve as committee contact.

Spencer, a staffer attached to the Republican cohort of the  Energy and Commerce Committee, was an obvious choice. Under previous chairman Billy Tauzin, he had been instrumental in organizing an Oversight and Investigations subcommittee hearing on the use of climate models in the U.S. National Assessment in 2002. That session heard from a “balanced” panel of five scientists that included climate science critics Patrick Michaels and Roger Pielke, Sr.  (Spencer has kept up his interest in climate science; he accepted a trip to the 2009 Heartland Institute International Conference on Climate Change in New York, with Barton’s approval).

The Barton investigation began with a set of detailed letters of inquiry sent to the three authors, Mann, Bradley and Hughes, that focused not only on data and computer code, but details of funding and past research associations.  The letter sent to Mann asked for details on all research and funding thereof. A couple of specific requests invoked Regalado’s Wall Street Journal article and the Energy and Environment article, but in line with McIntyre’s more recent concerns, Mann was also asked to elucidate his IPCC role.

Again, following McIntyre’s newly raised concerns, letters were also sent to Rajenda  Pachauri, IPCC chair, and Arden Bement, director of the National Science Foundation.

Each letter to the scientists started out identically:

Questions have been raised, according to a February 14, 2005 article in The Wall Street Journal, about the significance of methodological flaws and data errors in your studies of the historical record of temperatures and climate change.

Here’s how McIntyre announced the letters on his website:

Several people have drawn attention to letters from the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee to Mann, Bradley, Hughes, the director of the U.S. National Science Foundation and the chairman of the IPCC, which were posted up at the Committee website on Friday here.

The letters refer to the Wall Street Journal [this would presumably be the article of Feb. 14, 2005, in which Mann said that he would not be "intimidated" into releasing his algorithm, rather than the recent editorial], as well as to our articles.

The only hint that McIntyre has ever given of any contact with Barton’s committee staff was in Paul Thacker’s analysis of the WSJ article, published in Environmental Science and Technology.

McIntyre says that after he was profiled in the Wall Street Journal, he received a phone call from the congressional staff of Rep. Barton. ”They wanted to know if I had spoken to the Wall Street Journal and if the article was true,” McIntyre tells ES&T.

Even here, McIntyre appeared to be suggesting that his only role was the confirmation of the WSJ article contents. But McIntyre has never mentioned the May 11 sessions, a notable departure from his usual practice of breathlessly blogging about every trip in glorious detail. Indeed, everyone involved appears to have gone to great pains to cover up the full story behind the Barton investigation, and the role of McKitrick and McIntyre’s sponsors, the  Competitive Enterprise Institute and the Marshall Institute.

Everyone, that is, except CEI head Myron Ebell, who openly boasted at the time to the BBC:

Myron Ebell, of the Competitiveness Enterprise Institute and a prominent global warming sceptic, told BBC News: “We’ve always wanted to get the science on trial,” and “we would like to figure out a way to get this into a court of law,” adding “this could work.”

That same article quotes shocked reaction from scientists. Raymond Bradley, thought the letters were meant to “undermine confidence in the IPCC,” while paleoclimatologist Thomas Crowley discerned a “more general intent to intimidate climate researchers.”

On July 15, 2005, National Academy of Sciences president Ralph Ciccerone sent Barton a letter that noted scientists’ concerns along with a better way forward:

A Congressional investigation, based on the authority of the House Commerce Committee is probably not the best way to resolve a scientific issue, and a focus on individual scientists can be intimidating.

If the House Commerce Committee would like to have additional information regarding the state of scientific knowledge in the area of research being conducted by Drs. Mann, Hughes, and Bradley, the National Academy of Sciences would be willing to create an independent expert panel (according to our standard rigorous study process) to assess the state of scientific knowledge in this area, or perhaps one of the professional scientific societies could take on this task for you.

But, as Thacker noted, there was no interest from Barton:

Attempting to resolve the issue, The National Research Council [operational arm of the joint National Academies] has even offered to perform an independent review of the controversy for Barton. Bill Colglazier, the council’s executive director, declares, ”It was a sincere good-faith offer, but [the congressman] didn’t seem too positive on this”.

At the same time, Representative Sherwood Boehlert, chairman of the House Science Committee, issued an opening salvo in what was to become a running war between the two committees.  He expressed his “strenuous objections” to Barton’s “misguided and illegitimate investigation,”  and stated that Barton’s unprecedented approach raised “the specter of politicians opening investigations against any scientist who reaches a conclusion that makes the political elite uncomfortable.”

Nevertheless, Mann and the others all furnished formal detailed replies to Barton (you can read them, along with other reaction from scientists, at the RealClimate post “Scientists respond to Barton”).

And then, on the surface at least, things became very quiet and were not to heat up until 2006, with its duel of competing reports and hearings. The Science Committee hearings (and National Academy of Sciences report) would come in March 2006, while Barton shot back with a report by a panel led by Edward Wegman and his own set of hearings in July 2006.

An “independent” panel

When I first started re-examining the Wegman report, I was struck by the paucity of information about its mandate, formation and operation. The report itself seemed to describe a highly informal process, to put it mildly.

The Chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce along with Chairman of the Subcommittee of Oversight and Investigations have been interested in discovering whether or not the criticisms of Mann et al. are valid and if so, what are the implications. To this end, Committee staff asked for advice as to the validity of the complaints of McIntyre and McKitrick [MM] and related implications. Dr. Wegman formed an ad hoc Committee (Drs. Edward J. Wegman – George Mason University, David W. Scott – Rice University, and Yasmin H. Said – The Johns Hopkins University). The Committee was organized with our own initiative as a pro bono committee. [p. 2]

Although there appeared to be no official information beyond this, I wondered if the reference to Barton’s staff might hold a clue to missing details. I had discovered Peter Spencer’s involvement by noticing his name as the contact in the Barton-Whitfield letters; now, I decided to see if there might be evidence of his involvement in the Wegman panel. And that’s how I found a hitherto unnoticed 2007 symposium presentation by Wegman co-panelist (and protege) Yasmin Said, which was considerably more forthcoming. Said gave crucial – and in my opinion, shocking – details about the inception and process of the Wegman panel. [The presentation has since been removed from the GMU website, but it is available here.]

Here’s Said on the background of the Wegman panel:

Dr. Edward Wegman was approached by Dr. Jerry Coffey on 1 September 2005 concerning possible testimony in Congress about a statistical issue associated with paleoclimate reconstruction.
– This approach was based on independent recommendations from Dr. Fritz Scheuren, ASA 100th President and from the National Academy of Science where Dr. Wegman chaired CATS.

It turns out that go-between Coffey is a statistical expert who worked in government for most of his career. Wegman and Coffey have likely known each other a long time; they are both active members of the Washington branch of the American Statistical Society.

But Coffey is also a dyed-in-the-wool “Tea Party” Republican and gun nut, as his page at the Republican Party Virginia Network makes clear. A recent comment for the Virginia Republican Defenders of the Second Amendment group reads:

The place for ammunition shoppers to be Saturday was the Gun Show at the Showplace in Richmond. Everybody had ammunition and there were even some bargains.

Said left unexplained the supposed “recommendations” and their context. Were these recommendations made in the specific context of a study on paleoclimatology? Did Coffey ask for these recommendations or did someone else?

Also unexplained was the necessity of a preliminary approach to Wegman by a third party.  But Coffey’s qualifications for the job are evident in comments at, with his reference to the  “Gore global warming boondoggle” and his recommendations of climate science reading material:

My favorite short read on global warming is Lawrence Solomon’s “The Deniers.” I particularly enjoyed the chapter on Ed Wegman since I had a ringside seat when Ed’s analysis got started. Others [sic] books you might enjoy are the last couple by Patrick Michaels; Fred Singer and Dennis Avery on the 1500 year cycle; and [Roy] Spencer’s latest.

Said goes on:

After the initial contact, Dr. Wegman received materials and a visit from Congressional Staffer Peter Spencer.

Peter Spencer explained that the House Committee on Oversight and Investigations was interested in understanding whether the criticism of the paleoclimate temperature reconstruction
published by Dr. Michael Mann and his associates was meritorious.
• This curve was used in the 2001 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to reinforce concerns about global warming.
• There had been some criticism of the statistical methodology, but this was not being taken seriously within the climate change community.

– Because of the public policy implications, the House Committee wanted an independent expert opinion.
• Dr. Wegman was asked if he would be willing to take on this task and would he form a small team to look into the issue.
• He agreed and recruited Dr. David W. Scott and me as well as one other participant, who later dropped out.
• We were warned that we should be prepared for criticism and that we should have thick skins.
Peter Spencer began sending us a daunting amount of material for us to review over the next 9 months. [Emphasis added]

So there you have it.  This supposedly “independent” panel began with a sounding out by a rabid Republican partisan and convinced climate “skeptic”. And Wegman agreed to a process that not only excluded climate scientists, but also involved Peter Spencer as a key conduit and gatekeeper providing climate science documentation and commentary. And all this was done by a House committee that had refused to even acknowledge the offer of a proper scientific review from the National Academy of Sciences.

Nevertheless, Said insisted that the approach of the panel was one of an “honest broker” (where have I heard that one before?) and that it had an “unbiased perspective.”  She admitted that none of her team had “any real expertise in paleoclimate reconstruction, but were arguably pretty good statisticians.” As if that could repair the lack of domain knowledge, so painfully obvious in the panel’s report.

Said also opined that the panelists saw themselves as “referees” in the “hockey game,” which she characterized as a “debate” going on in “weblogs.” Well, certainly one side of the debate was; the other (scientific) side was also producing more and more corroborating and refining evidence with each passing year. But maybe Spencer was not passing that along.

Perhaps the most unintentionally humorous statement (among many others) was this:

[Mann's] main adversaries were Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, both Canadian citizens, who were usually unkindly referred to as the “Canadians.”

Gee, thanks for that. I didn’t know my nationality considered a term of opprobrium in Washington, DC.

The conduct of the Wegman panel also casts doubt on their independence and impartiality.

We have been to Michael Mann’s University of Virginia website and downloaded the materials there. Unfortunately, we did not find adequate material to reproduce the MBH98 materials.

We have been able to reproduce the results of McIntyre and McKitrick (2005b). While at first the McIntyre code was specific to the file structure of his computer, with his assistance we were able to run the code on our own machines and reproduce and extend some of his results.

By all accounts, Wegman did not even bother to contact Mann, and yet worked directly with McIntyre in order to “reproduce” his results.

Hail, hail the gang’s all here

The extent of McIntyre’s communication with the Wegman panel, or indeed with Peter Spencer and other Republican staffers, is not known (although it should certainly be ascertained). However, it is worth noting that on at least two occasions all of the principals were together at events in the Washington area.

The U.S. Climate Change Program workshop in November 2005 was one such meeting. The list of participants includes both McIntyre and staffer Spencer. George Mason University was well represented; Wegman and Said were only two of several professors from that institution. Another George Mason-connected personage was none other than climate skeptic and Science & Environment Policy Project head Fred Singer, who was  Distinguished Research Professor at George Mason’s Institute for Humane Studies from 1994 on. (Indeed, the Institute is only one of 40 libertarian research centres and affiliates hosted at George Mason).

Also present were two staffers from the U.S. House Committee on Science and Technology, Christopher King and James Paul. Perhaps, then, this is the occasion where word of the Wegman panel first got out. Be that as it may, in that same month Science  Committee chair Sherwood Boehlert requested that the National Academy of Science review the matter. This led to the  comprehensive National Academy of Sciences report Surface Temperature Reconstructions for the Last 2,000 Years by a distinguished panel led by Gerald North.

That led to competing sets of hearings in 2006 – and another “hail-hail-the-gang’s-all-here” moment in Washington at the Science Committee hearings. That was reported by a ClimateAudit fan in a post that is the only one ever to  mention Peter Spencer.

First of all, having followed the global warming controversy for the last five years, I was thrilled to meet many of the heavyweight skeptics: Fred Singer, Myron Ebell, Willie Soon, John Christy, Steve and Ross. I also enjoyed chatting with various staffers from the hill (Peter Spencer – House Energy & Commerce Committee …)

The subsequent House Energy and Commerce Committee hearings in July 2006 provided another round in the political debate. As related in the Government Accountability Project report Redacting the Science of ClimateChange [p. 62, See full 1.5 MB PDF]:

According to Lauren Morello of the Environment and Energy Daily, the hearing was scheduled for a time when the committee knew that Mann could not attend. [Environment and Energy Daily (July 20, 2006)]

All these various indications of a biased process and the apparent role of Peter Spencer,  entirely support Sherwood Boehlert’s characterization of the Barton investigation as  “misguided and illegitimate.” And this new information may go some way towards resolving some of the enduring mysteries about the whole affair.

For one thing, new light is cast on a key Wegman et al section on tree-ring proxies I discussed in Wegman and Rapp on Tree-Rings: A Divergence Problem, part 1. There I showed that the section was largely derived, without attribution, from “hockey stick” co-author Raymond Bradley’s paleoclimatology text book, but with significant errors and distortions interspersed in the text (see also this side-by-side comparison of the two texts).

Ascertaining the exact process whereby this occurred may require close questioning of the responsible author, along with careful examination of earlier drafts. But it is also clear that all documentation supplied by Spencer, whether or not  included the Wegman bibliography, should be identified and then carefully checked and reviewed. It may well be that one of these contains a previously undiscovered main intermediate antecedent for the section in question.

And to come full circle, one of the entries in Wegman’s bibliography turns out to be none other than McIntyre and McKitrick’s May 2005 presentation. Although McIntyre is not cited, it is reasonable to infer that McIntyre’s discussion of co-authorship in climate science may have inspired Wegman’s social network analysis. (A bizarre footnote: for some reason, Wegman’s bibliographic entry lists the incorrect date of September 7, not May 11).

In coming months, I’ll examine in detail various aspects of the Wegman Report,  its antecedents (whether attributed or not), and update  other  developments.

Meanwhile, there is now ample evidence to suggest that the so-called climate science “auditors” and “investigators,” along with their hidden sponsors, should themselves be thoroughly investigated.  And high time too.

[Updated Feb. 8: (editing and extension of summary and document list update)]


Key documents:

The Hockey Stick Debate: Lessons in Disclosure and Due Diligence, Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, Marshall Institute, May 11, 2005. [Presentation: PDF, Roundtable transcript: PDF]

Ad Hoc Committee Report on the ‘Hockey Stick’ Global Climate Reconstruction, Edward J. Wegman, David W. Scott and Yasmin H. Said. [PDF]

Experiences with Congressional Testimony: Statistics and The Hockey Stick, Yasmin Said, September, 2007. [PDF]

Wegman-Bradley Tree Ring Comparison [PDF]

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155 responses to “Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, part 2: The story behind the Barton-Whitfield investigation and the Wegman Panel

  1. Bentley Strange

    What a joke ! Can’t get over that fraudulent presentation, the “Hokey Stick” (sorry about the mis-spelling). Face it, you’re a desperate, desperate man, how much are you paid to do this, it can’t be enough unless you like being an utter prat.

  2. Excellent work “Deep”.

  3. This badly needs an abstract to summarise the basic findings. In short, you’re saying Barton and staff went out of their way to find Wegman, who they knew would tell them what they wanted to hear? And that ensuing panel was not as independent as advertised?

    Is the ‘breathless’ language up top for satirical effect (like using ‘mysterious’ twice in one sentence?)

    [DC: Point taken. I would say:

    In short, the Energy and Commerce Committee refused the offer of a proper scientific review from the National Academy of Sciences in favour of an investigative process that was ad hoc, biased and unscientific. And the report resulting from that process is tainted with highly questionable scholarship.

    So I have. As for "mysterious" I took that out, but the Capitol Hill meeting was (and is) mysterious. ]

  4. Typo–”or perhaps one 01 the professional scientific societies could take”–swap the “01″ for “of”.

    [DC: Fixed. Thanks.]

  5. Thankyou Deep for keeping at this. Your findings are deeply distubing. These people really do seem to be intent on weilding political power to intimidate scientists and to suppress research they find inconvenient.

  6. “utter prat”

    I had to look that one up in the urban dictionary. Cute. It sounds like a state in India, e.g., Uttar Pradesh.

    Nice post DC.

  7. “Cooler Heads Coalition-Marshall Institute”, “Competitive Enterprise Institute”,
    “rabid Republican partisan”,
    ““Tea Party” Republican and gun nut”.
    - DC

    Can anyone take these kind of posts seriously anymore?

    AGW advocates often proclaim how they are supported by the science. But ask a question about the science and the paranoid ad-homs begin.

    DC, pop on over to the website for the Guardian newspaper. They are far to the left of the Globe and Mail and (without the inane ad homs) are doing a serious and credible look at the issue of the release of the CRU e-mails and the ongoing controversy going on at the IPCC.

  8. Pingback: DeSmogBlog » Blog Archive » Wegman’s Report Highly Politicized – and Fatally Flawed

  9. I am aghast! Two statisticians and both of them members of the American Statistical Society!

    I have in my hand a list of 205 card-carrying members of the American Statistical Society.

    You have now written two long posts that demonstrate precisely nothing about McIntyre being in the pay of Big Oil.

    You went to the Joe McCarthy School of Journalism, I gather.

    [DC: Your ability to completely miss the point is touching. ]

  10. Notice how Darryl really does like to attribute the term “ad hom” to everything said by those who do not agree with his ideology? Do you even know what an ad hominem is? Your posts suggest not.

    Can you explain what Steve M meant when he said ‘James Hansen and his disciples have a more jihadist approach’? Or your ‘friend’ Bentley above making reference to ‘prat’. Yet, you and others demand that we take him and McI seriously. That is a double standard if there ever was one.

    Did you actually go to the web sites of the groups/persons in question (CEI etc.)? Seems not. Let me take a wild guess, you are a fan of Inhofe.

    As for M&M asking questions about the science, you really did not read the article did you? They were attacking the science and scientists, not questioning the science. The Wegman “report” was a means to an end. That and the fact they did not even go about ‘questioning’ the science in a legitimate and impartial manner. Besides there are legitimate and appropriate means of questioning the science, but M&M somehow repeatedly choose to ignore those avenues.

    So now we are questioning the motives and modus operandi of M&M et al., and so far they are flunking, big time. If we are required to permit M&M to ‘question’, please do let us exercise the same right without getting all indignant on us. And so sorry if the findings are unpleasant to hear (sarc).

    As for the Guardian, yes, they are doing a pretty good job, well, for the most part. “The release” of the CRU emails? Uh huh, try again…the theft of the CRU emails. Interesting how McI was only too happy to share material obtained illegally. IMO, by doing so McI was aiding and abetting criminal activity.

    • That and the fact they did not even go about ‘questioning’ the science in a legitimate and impartial manner. -Maple Leaf

      Simply questioning any aspect of climate science is considered heresy, so your claim is moot.

      Besides there are legitimate and appropriate means of questioning the science, but M&M somehow repeatedly choose to ignore those avenues. – Maple Leaf

      Not with climate science. Which is one of the reasons the false claims about the Himalayan glaciers, Amazon rainforest and African drought crept into the definitive IPCC report despite being overseen by several hundred of the world’s top climate experts.

      So now we are questioning the motives and modus operandi of M&M et al., and so far they are flunking, big time. – Maple Leaf

      Their motives have been impugned since they asked their first question and filed their first FOI.

      And regarding the CRU e-mails, they may have been released by a whistleblower. But I will await the results of the police investigation unlike Sir David King who felt no need to await the facts before casting aspersions.

  11. SDI is an important marker in Wegman’s career when you remember that the Marshall Institute was founded by Seitz, Nierenberg and Jastrow to support SDI.

    [DC: Now you're piling on more to do. Thanks, I think.]

  12. So, how much money has McIntyre taken in?

    I get guilt-by-association. I am old enough to remember McCarthyism first hand.

    [DC: All the more surprising, then, that you fail to recognize its modern incarnation: ]

  13. Two points.

    (1) Is it really “news” that an “independent” panel set up by politicians is made of people sympathetic to those politicians’ stance?

    (2) When Wegman’s results were discussed at RealClimate, there was no mention of “highly questionable scholarship”. To the contrary, the RC authors somehow agreed with Wegman’s findings: “Since no one has ever disputed MM05’s arithmetic (only their inferences), [Wegman] along with the everyone else found that, yes, centering conventions make a difference to the first PC”. Are you saying RC was wrong?

    [DC: (1) Well, I'm glad you agree that the claim of independence was bogus. I just thought it would be good to present the available evidence. And Boehlert was one politician who showed how to do it properly - ask an impartial qualified body to do the review.

    (2) This is only a relatively narrow point (and one I'm on the record as agreeing with). RC did criticize much of the Wegman report at the time. I don't know how carefully they read section 2 at the time. The huge swathes of text without attribution were certainly suspicious, but perhaps they concentrated more on other parts. ]

  14. This post is nothing but a deflection from the glaring problems smacking the alarmist AGW crowd in the face. The credibility of the IPCC, CRU, the work of M. Mann, etc. are on the line and all you can come up with is McI and McK are oil industry hacks? You are in worse trouble than you think. sheese. There ARE good climate scientist, but there are apparently a lot of bad ones as well. You’d be better off ferreting out the bad ones and admonishing them before there is no recovery for “climate science”.

    [DC: I would say the credibility of those attacking "the IPCC, CRU and the work of Mann" is on the line.

    Anyway, I don't think we would agree on the list of "bad" climate scientists. ]

  15. Fair enough, DC.

  16. ask an impartial qualified body

    Trouble is, no “impartial body” can be found since all scientists alarmed by their climate projections become ipso facto less than impartial.

    [DC: I see. So only non-scientists and "skeptics" can be entrusted to do this. I think we can trust the NAS to do a better job.]

    I would therefore stay away from the intentions of Wegman and concentrate on his findings, something I understand not even RealClimate had any issues with (provided the appropriate caveats).

    [DC: As I explained to you before, there was agreement on one narrow point. To give you one example, Wegman rejected Wahl and Ammann as relevant to the issues at hand, whereas RC (in the post you referenced) cited it as central to the arguments.]

    Incidentally, according that that RC blog the analysis of the PC centering’s impact was the “sole” task for Wegman: so if everybody agrees on his findings on that point, I think we can move on.

    [DC: Depends how you define impact - see above.

    Also the task was not clear and referred to MM "criticsms" based on various papers (some not in scientific journals) and even MM's blogs, according to Wegman et al 's report. Presumably Wegman thought that the social network analysis fit the mandate. I don't recall Barton complaining about it.

    Of course the complete lack of any documentation of the panel's task - not even a letter - makes it difficult to speak of a definite task in any case. ]

    ps the credibility of those attacking the IPCC, CRU and the work of Mann cannot be “on the line”. Different people might “attack” the IPCC and/or CRU and/or Mann at different times for different reasons and each one of them must be analyzed for its own merits. On the other hand, the credibility of the IPCC, CRU and the work of Mann can be “on the line”, evaluated every time they make a statement.

    [DC: You are quite tedious, aren't you? Let me say then that the credibility of all the people, organizations and media outlets critiqued in these posts are on the line. ]

  17. (1) Is it really “news” that an “independent” panel set up by politicians is made of people sympathetic to those politicians’ stance?

    No. That’s why, when it comes to matters of science, Congress typically asks the National Academy of Sciences to investigate.

    That’s what Bush did, for instance, regarding differences between the satellite temps and surface temps. The NRC include John Christy as one of the five panel members, and in the end, they agree unanimously that there had been real problems with the Christy/UAH temperature product and that, after correction, the satellite and surface temp reconstructions largely agree.

    That wasn’t the answer Bush had been wanting – I’m sure he’d been led to believe that satellite temp reconstructions really *did* prove that the world wasn’t warming, and was probably annoyed at the result.

    Give Barton credit for knowing that a truly independent investigation by the NRC would not yield pleasing (from his POV) results. He knew he had to come up with someone willing to cook the books, and found him.

    • How do you know what “answer Bush had been wanting”? Is this another example of the telepathic powers of AGW-advocates?

      [DC: I suggest you look at Phil Cooney's bio for insight into the Bush administration's position on climate change for the period in question. ]

  18. [DC: Nice try.]

  19. [DC: Edited.]

    “By all accounts, Wegman did not even bother to contact Mann, and yet worked directly with McIntyre in order to “reproduce” his results.”

    Can Michael Mann verify that he wasn’t contacted?

    [DC: He already did, in his statement on the Wegman report:

    Barton’s report also reveals that his panel collaborated closely with the two Canadians, yet made no attempt to contact me or my collaborators at any point.


  20. Who funds this blog?

    [DC: Perhaps I should assume that is a joke. But just in case, the answer still is: no one - there is no funding. ]

  21. Thanks DC.

    It’s unbelievable. It’s got to the point now where, 100 years from now, budding historians will be writing their dissertations and theses on the early 21st Century campaign against science.

    Great work so far. I just wish it wasn’t so. I’m sure you do, too.

    • Well, either that or denying even the possibility of making fire by rubbing sticks together, whilst freezing in the dark..

    • It won’t be 100 years from now, and the Right’s attack on science started long before 2000. You can start with opposition to anti-pollution legislation, then the propaganda war over tobacco. You will find some of the same figures involved in the tobacco wars that are now major players in climate denial. History will not be kind to them.

  22. Harry, M&M are guilty because of their actions. Their associations also show them to be biased and to have an agenda– that is not scientific, amongst other things.

    Go here,

    download the comprehensive document (115 pages) compiled by John Mashey. You should find the evidence against M&M compelling and damning. If that does not convince you that something is amiss, then I’m afraid you are just as bad as they are.

    • Anyone attempting to buttress an arguement using a purely activist website like DeSmog as their source can not be taken very seriously.

      [DC: You should look at the actual evidence. I've not had time to peruse John Mashey's entire document, but judging by what I've read so far, it is a compelling and well-documented "big picture" analysis of the "skeptic" PR and lobbying effort. ]

  23. Your website and the DeSmogBlog who is parroting you seem to discover another skeptic induced scandal every second day. Just too bad nobody else is taking the hook. This to be compared to how the IPCC gets hit right, left and center day in day out. If I were a bookie, I wouldn’t place to many bets on the warmists these days. However I am just a hydrologist who knows that the warmists are definitely not up to snuff in my area of expertise (as well as others it seems).

    • That’s strange – I thought there was meant to be a giant media conspiracy to promote global warming and marginalize the skeptics?

      Would be interesting to know how they get it wrong in your field. Certainly, from a geological perspective, the idea of a slow and steady sea level rise looks a tad optimistic; perhaps they are being a bit cautious over the hydrogeology?

    • Never mind the bookies. How about putting your money where your big mouth is? The coming decade will be warmer on average than the last. Wanna bet on that?

  24. “However I am just a hydrologist who knows that the warmists are definitely not up to snuff in my area of expertise”

    All bow to Charly. You give my colleagues who are hydrologists and hydro meteorologists a bad name Charly.

    You seem to be spouting an awful lot of rhetoric here, lots of bluster and no substance. I’m sure that you are more thorough with your work though. I would challenge you on the “up to snuff’ comment, but that would be OT.

    Have you read any of Mashey’s document? Nah, why concern yourself with inconvenient truths eh?

  25. If I were a bookie, I wouldn’t place to many bets on the warmists these days.

    I would. Skeptics at UAH have announced that January is the warmest in their dataset, and February is continuing that.

    2000-2009 is the warmest on record – despite an extended solar minimum.

    Oh, of course, arctic sea ice has “recovered”


  26. Hi Deep, thanks for all the work.

    BTW, would it be OK if I do a Japanese translation of your articles on the Wegman report? Climate change stuff in Japan is really sparse (just two blogs) and I thought this information will be valuable. I could identify myself through email.

    [DC: Oops - I forgot to reply until now. By all means go ahead, if you feel it worth your while.]

  27. WegmanGate!

  28. So only non-scientists and “skeptics” can be entrusted

    Oh please…shall we talk about that other independent analyst called Nicholas Stern (wasn’t Sir or Lord at the time)? (Who knows, perhaps you’ll respond with independent Kenneth Starr, and so on and so forth…)

    I haven’t said one side of the argument is to be automatically trusted more than the other. I am really wondering if and how any scientist that really believes data and theories indicate a potentially catastrophic future, could ever provide an impartial and dispassionate analysis of the problem. What kind of person would be able to do that? And so…can we really “trust the NAS to do a better job“?

    the credibility of all the people, organizations and media outlets critiqued in these posts are on the line

    That’s better 8-)

    there was agreement on one narrow point

    Was there disagreement on any of Wegman’s findings, as opposed as to what he (they) found relevant or irrelevant to the argument? In other words…if we put aside materials, methods and discussion, what of Wegman’s results did RC at the time (and you, now) not agree with?

    (this also in reply to Dhogaza…where’s the evidence of “cooking the books” and should anybody really care if the results, as opposed to their interpretation, are deemed correct by all?)

    [DC: That's a big topic, and is certainly worth a retrospective in itself.

    First of all, I will point out that there is a disagreement as to what the task actually was.

    On specific findings (see. pp. 48-50 of the Wegman report, there are several that certainly would be disputed by RC at least implicitly (e.g. the social network analysis criticizing the paleoclimatology community as "tightly coupled" in finding 6). However, RC appeared to take the position that these was not part of the task and chose not to address this and other similar findings.

    Finding 7 (obviously a key finding) states:

    Our committee believes that the assessments that the decade of the 1990s was the hottest decade in a millennium and that 1998 was the hottest year in a millennium cannot be supported by the MBH98/99 analysis. As mentioned earlier in our background section, tree ring proxies are typically calibrated to remove low frequency variations. The cycle of Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age that was widely recognized in 1990 has disappeared from the MBH98/99 analyses, thus making possible the hottest decade/hottest year claim. However, the methodology of MBH98/99 suppresses this low frequency information. The paucity of data in the more remote past makes the hottest-in-a-millennium claims essentially unverifiable.

    RC's Gavin Schmidt stated, addressing specifically the above reasoning:

    [Response: Yes. The whole point of Esper et al was to demonstrate that tree ring composites can have low frequency variability. The whole point of the MBH approach was to use multiple proxies that would bring together information from different archives and hopefully compensate for the different weakness in each separate archive. However, the first paragraph you quote is very poor in its understanding - the IPCC 1990 graphic was a schematic, not a reconstruction, and the understanding that the medieval climate anomaly was not as coherent in time or space than the 20th Century change had begun well before MBH - and was most recently demonstrated in D'Arrigo et al and Osborne and Briffa. - gavin]

    There is a lot more that could be said on the Wegman findings and testimony, but I’m going to leave it there for now, and and accord myself the last word. I’ll return to this topic in a separate post. Thanks!]

  29. “you seem to discover another skeptic induced scandal every second day”

    You mean like a Gate du Jour?

  30. You spend hours concocting a series of events does that nothing but suggest ‘guilt by association’.

    You then use that to claim the panel was not ‘independent’ and imply that the results were not legitimate even though other scientists have agreed with the Wegman critique.

    Take this exchange from the July 19, 2006 House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearing (North is under oath):

    CHAIRMAN BARTON. I understand that. It looks like my time is expired, so I want to ask one more question. Dr. North, do you dispute the conclusions or the methodology of Dr. Wegman’s report?

    DR. NORTH. No, we don’t. We don’t disagree with their criticism. In fact, pretty much the same thing is said in our report. But again, just because the claims are made, doesn’t mean they are false.

    Spin as much as you like. The Wegman reports conclusions were sound .
    [DC: Not all of them.]

    • A good portion of the Wegman report was a “social networking analysis” intended to show that the paleoclimate field is so incestuous that its conclusions aren’t independent. The fact that the Wegman report was co-written and reviewed by Wegman’s buddies and flunkies should raise a few alarm bells. The fact that Wegman was receiving guidance from Republican staffers should raise bells. The fact that the report uses large tracts of unattributed content from Bradley while altering his conclusions should raise further bells. Doesn’t sound too “transparent” does it? Reading the Wegman report is like being lectured by the blackest of pots.

      Regarding “conclusions,” here’s a few quotes from the NRC panel that never seem to make it into “Skeptics” talking points:

      “In practice, this [PCA] method, though not recommended, does not appear to unduly influence reconstructions of hemispheric mean temperature; reconstructions performed without using principal component analysis are qualitatively similar to the original curves presented by Mann et al.”

      NRC Report

      “There is a long history of making an inference from data using pretty crude methods and coming up with the right answer. Most of the great discoveries have been made this way. The Mann et al., results were not ‘wrong’ and the science was not ‘bad’. They simply made choices in their analysis which were not precisely the ones we (in hindsight) might have made. It turns out that their choices led them to essentially the right answer (at least as compared with later studies which used perhaps better choices).”

      Gerald North

      “Mann’s methods were all quite reasonable choices. I think in some cases a lot of work by others in following up on that have showed that some of those choices could have been made better, but they were quite plausible at the time. I would not have been embarrassed by the work at the time, had I been involved in it and I certainly saw nothing that spoke to me of any manipulation or anything other than an honest attempt at constructing a data analysis procedure.”

      Peter Bloomfield

      “It was really the first analysis of its type, the first time that anyone had tried to do a continual time reconstruction of a large scale average temperature of that sort, so it’s not surprising that they could have probably done some detailed aspects of it better, but it was a really remarkable contribution and basically gave birth to a debate that’s ongoing that’s really teaching us a lot about how climate has changed.”

      Kurt Kuffey

      More here:

      [DC:Even Wegman did not criticize the PCA approach per se, only Mann's "short-centred" version.

      Curiously, though, the panel's task was somehow defined narrowly enough to exclude the one paper, Wahl and Amman 2006, that had demonstrated the fact that "conventional" PCA made little difference to the MBH result. And yet the mandate was broad enough to bring in social network analysis and other arguably less relevant aspects. This is a subject I will expand upon in a future post.]

    • cce, nice quotations. Interesting how the various analyses of MBH98 get misconstrued, and how irrelevant they are in light of Mann, et al. 2008, 2009.

      Glad to see your site up again.

      I don’t know how many readers live in one of the US eastern seaboard states, but we are having quite the weather event.

  31. It is clear the people such as Singer, Michaels, Soon, McKittrick, etc. are making money by knowingly lying to the public and to its officials. Steve McI is a different breed. For the most part, he is doing what he does for the personal attention he gets from his devout followers.

    The problem I have with Steve McI is that he works under the assumption that scientists are either ignorant of their expertise or somehow they are involved in a vast conspiracy or group think exercise. Just look at his Yamal comments.

    If only Steve McI behaved in a mature, professional manner then I might be able to agree with Dr. Curry that there is a place for him in the discussion. Unfortunately, he appears to be incapable of such.

    It is also quite illogical for people to think that scientists are all in a group think. Scientists become famous for proving the establishment wrong and yet there is an overwhelming consensus by the publishing experts and every international scientific body.

    Before anybody replies with the tired “but they get rich from being pro-AGW” argument, when is the last time you saw scientists such as Mann driving a Mercedes into a three car garage in a posh gated neighborhood? LOL.

  32. A little backstory that may not be known by non-US readers is that Sherry Boehlert is very much a member of an endangered species: the moderate Republican. For years he was known as an actual “friend of science”, through hos committee work and his support of scientific principles in general and agencies such as the NSF in particular. He also supported various environmental initiatives. Many were sad to see him retire, and it is hard to replace his voice within the Republican caucus.

    Great series, DC. You must be on the right track to attract so much, um, attention.

  33. Hydrologist? Is that like a well driller with a Ph.D.?

    Seriously, why is it that anybody who can type a post is suddenly an expert on climate change? The only other area where there is this kind of an attack on science is in evolution theory. However, the religious goofs don’t seem to make much of a dent in the theory. Perhaps that is because biological evolution is a more mature science, but even then, every time a revision is made in evolutionary pathways, the religionists claim the theory has been invalidated.

    I guess my question, if it is actually answerable, is why is it when someone like [sorry 'bout this] Sarah Palin, who is both a creationist and a AGW denier, speaks out on both subjects, more people pay attention to the climate BS she spouts and leaves the religious nonsense alone. Is it because we are so afraid of offending someone’s religious sensibilities?

    Or is it perhaps because I haven’t had enough coffee this morning, and I’m not making sense?

  34. Pingback: Hitting Back Against the New War on Science | The Intersection | Discover Magazine

  35. DC: It might be the right time to get from you a list of all the Wegman’s conclusions, separated in “sound” and “unsound”…

    [DC: As noted above, I will get to that (I realize you haven't had a chance to read my other comment response yet, but now that we're caught up - time to move on for now. Thanks!]

  36. Suggestion for readers:

    Don’t feed, reply to, acknowledge the sad trolls.



  37. Pingback: Michael Mann and the Hockey Stick « Later On

  38. Hmmm.

    ‘Wegmangate’, or ‘M&Mgate’? ;)

  39. Pingback: Trolls, drawing and quartering, and other vexatious charactersmorego « The Policy Lass

  40. Speaking of Congressional investigations of Dr. Mann, Inhofe sent a letter to the IG — Inspector General — at NSF asking about “possible research misconduct” on Feb.3.

    [DC:See Eli Rabett's The Real Climnate McCarthy for discussion of this.]

  41. If the NY Times, the Guardian, the Telegraph, etc. feel they need to interview RPJr & Monckton every time Dr. Mann breaks wind then its fair to send this information to the newspapers and request they write a balanced story about how the hockey sticks critics were a set up job instigated by Smokey Joe Barton. If they refuse, well then we should bombard the editors with requests that they be sacked.

    What should come of all this? Censure for Barton. And, some uncomfortable wiggling seats from Mann’s critics.

  42. I suppose if yo had anything even remotely resembling evidence it woul be in a newspaper and not a blog. This thing reads like a dictionary crossed with the formate of a modern novel. Weaving interplay with no real connection of events to each other.

    You seem to want to create some grand conspiracy of personal connections and basic conversation without grasping the obvious that like minds will travel in similar circles.

    I will give you this, you have an active imagination and you seem to be doing a good job at making the AGW movement look like UFO conpsiracists.

    [DC: That's pretty rich coming from someone whose hero appears to be Lord Christopher "AGW-is-a-socialist-conspiracy-for-world-government" Monckton, and posts videos comparing Al Gore to Hitler. I think we've had enough of you. It's time for you to go - thanks!]

    • If one wishes to talk of the *real* conspiracy theorists, Monckton is claiming that NASA destroyed its own rocket carrying a satellite which was going to monitor CO2. Another mission is in the works. And don’t try and invoke the, “but he was just joking card”. Went through one of his slide shows the other day, ~80% of his slides contained lies, cherry-picking, distortion or misrepresentations.

      DC and John Mashey have amassed more than enough evidence and facts for someone (e.g., Romm) to take to the Hill and request a hearing.

      The denialists could soon be contending with a FraudGate of their very own making.

  43. Originally posted at Tamino:

    “M&M got at least one person affiliated with GOP to make a bogus request. Does the name Sarah Ferguson (and no I am not referring to the royal). She goes by SarahF at CA, do a search. How many more are/were there?

    Also, this is definitely worth a read:

    Rush Limbaugh calling for “every scientist at every university in this country that’s been involved in this be named and fired, drawn and quartered.” I had no idea until reading her post what he meant by that.

    So he can incite people to torture and/or murder climate scientists someone with no consequences?! Come on, people have been sent to prison for less.

    If we get through this without losing a climate scientist at the hands of a madman we’ll be very lucky, and going by Limbaugh’s call to violence I do not think that is an exaggeration.

    I’m shocked and disgusted.”

    In happier news, Carrot Eater and dhogaza and others are giving Mosher a hiding over at Eli’s over the FOIs and ethics. Small pleasures in a dark time for science.

  44. Sorry, but I missed the part where you showed that M&M’s conclusions were incorrect.

    [DC: Off topic, but will be addressed in future post, as mentioned above. Meanwhile, see Wahl and Ammann 2007.

    In particular, reconstructed hemispheric temperatures are demonstrated to be largely unaffected by the use or non-use of PCs to summarize proxy evidence from the data-rich North American region. When proxy PCs are employed, neither the time period used to “center” the data before PC calculation nor the way the PC calculations are performed significantly affects the results, as long as the full extent of the climate information actually in the proxy data is represented by the PC time series. Clear convergence of the resulting climate reconstructions is a strong indicator for achieving this criterion.


    • which leaves entirely unaltered the primary conclusion of Mann et al. (as well as many other reconstructions) that both the 20th century upward trend and high late-20th century hemispheric surface temperatures are anomalous over at least the last 600 years.

      Funny, the the actual argument is mainly about the 400 years previous to this, the Medieval Warm Period, which Mann and Briffa claimed did not seem to exist, and which nobody seems to back up. Near as I can tell, the paper you cite agrees with McIntyre.

      [DC: M&Ms actual "correction" only applied to the 600-year reconstruction in MBH98. Also note the phrase "at least". Finally, the general conclusion has been pushed ever farther back in time with successive studies.]

    • I am sort of doubting you there, but since it will take a little effort to search up where I think you are wrong, I am happy to wait for the appropriate post. Give me a little time to get my ducks in a row anyway.

      [DC: There will be on or two posts on specific Wegman findings in about a week. (BTW, I had to fish this out of the spam filter - sorry for the delay.)]

  45. DC: Bless you for handing off issues to people who’ve already answered them. This non-duplication of effort is enormously important.

  46. Mapleleaf, do you have a link to that Monckton lunacy about OCO being a deliberate sabotage plot by NASA.

  47. Mapleleaf, do you have a link to that Monckton lunacy about OCO being a deliberate sabotage plot by NASA.

    You can find a link to it in this message-board post:

    (Poe’s law comes to mind here)

  48. >>”Before anybody replies with the tired “but they get rich from being pro-AGW” argument, when is the last time you saw scientists such as Mann driving a Mercedes into a three car garage in a posh gated neighborhood? LOL.”<<

    LOL indeed.

    [DC: More falsehoods from the Wall Street Journal - what a surprise.

    See Mitchell Anderson at

    Somehow a $57,000 grant to Mann got exaggerated into $500,000. The WSJ lies are really getting tiresome. ]

  49. RE SkipSmith.

    LOL indeed.

    That’s not money that Dr. Mann gets to pocket – that’s money that pays for his research, including salaries for other researchers in his lab (and maybe indirect costs – the article does not make that clear). ARRA funds come with a mandate that record keeping be done to document people who have been hired or jobs saved.

    Principle Investigators (PIs) get a portion of each grant as salary, but additional grants do not lead to a higher salary – PSU sets the salary level and if more grant money is received and goes towards the PI’s salary, salary support from other grants must be cut (put into other categories within the grant). Can’t have more than 100% support.

    You are the victim of a snow job.

    • I was a grad student at PSU between 1987 and 1990 and my three office mates and I did a rough calculation that the grant we were working under needed to cover each of us for about $125,000 for that three year period. So $500,000 of that grant was to support us. That grant paid for my full tuition (out of state), stipend for teaching/research, new computers to run models we were coding, and conference/research travel. (For example I took a one week trip to the Hurricane Research Division to collect and analyze data. That trip included airfare, car, hotel, and meals.)

      I lived in a modest one bedroom apartment off campus. My monthly stipend at the time was about $1000 which covered the rent, groceries, and the left over was for beer and wings, mostly.

      I think at that time my thesis advisor was making about $65,000 which came from salary and grants.

    • I Canada and in my experience, it is my understanding that unless you are a dedicated research chair or privately funded research chair, as a university professor your salary is paid for by the university, and not by government or private grants.

      All the government funded initiatives that I have been involved in have provided funds to support, first and foremost support grad students. The funds are equipment, field work, publishing costs, and travel costs and other overheads. The PIs and professors involved have not received a dime in terms of their salaries. And trust me, there is much accountability!

    • MapleLeaf, it depends. There are 100% soft money positions, but those are generally at research institutes. Universities may pay salaries, but some of the money from grants goes to offset the salaries and fringe benefits of the investigators (professors of various stripes). The more grant money, the less the university may need to pay out of its own coffers. My NIH experience is that all grant and contract applications contain line items for salaries of everyone involved in the project.

    • Yes. NSF/NASA grants I have applied for have always had a line item for salary/stipend. Generally, the amount is equal to my “overtime” rate schedule which is far less than my standard salary schedule (as an hourly rate) at the College.

      The expectation is that the payment would provide me “release time” from current overload courses so my overall income will not change.

      It is quite clear that the naysayers have no clue as to how grant money is spent and how little actually is pocketed by the scientists.

      I would much more money if I spoke for a few hours at a Heartland Institute, CEI, or GMI conference.

  50. Pingback: “Hockey Stick” DeBunkers Iced « 350 or bust

  51. That’s not money that Dr. Mann gets to pocket – that’s money that pays for his research, including salaries for other researchers in his lab (and maybe indirect costs – the article does not make that clear).

    Every grant I’ve seen in the non-profit sector includes a portion for administrative overhead …

    • There definitely were indirect (overhead) costs, but I was not sure if the numbers that were quoted included these. Different people report different numbers: the PI touts the direct costs and the university press office and the granting institution use the fully-burdened cost. (When I ask a university contractor how much a given initiative will cost I have always have to ask whether the estimate they give is the total cost or just direct.)

      It’s outrageous that the “skeptical” press treats these institutional grants as money in the PI’s pocket, but I guess these things are a bit arcane for the average person.

  52. Different people report different numbers

    Good point …

    It’s outrageous that the “skeptical” press treats these institutional grants as money in the PI’s pocket, but I guess these things are a bit arcane for the average person.

    How about “lies that” rather than “treats these”. We need to stop being so nice :)

    • I guess I was going by the idea that they don’t know any better, but given their track records….

      And it doesn’t matter how many times the truth is pointed out. Oh, and a local radio host (a FB Fo’F), last name Avery, challenged me to a radio debate with his father. I replied that scientific debates take place in the scientific literature.

  53. Using WSJ logic…

    Looks like that “fraud” and “alarmist” Pielke has personally received $7 million in government funding to support the AGW hoax.

    Hoax and fear-mongerer Lindzen? About $3 mil from the evil government. This doesn’t include his industry funding, which I’m sure is from greenie sources.

    • Mark,

      It would not hurt to write to them and point out your findings. They are guilty of bias, no doubt about it, that and applying a double standard.

  54. Rally for Climate justice

    [DC: Well, well. Look at what just crawled out from under the rock.

    This is a "Rally for Academic Integrity" attacking Michael Mann at Penn State on Friday, Feb. 12,

    The event is sponsored by PSU Young Americans for Freedom and The 9-12 Project of Central PA.

    Young Americans for Freedom is associated with the Young America's Foundation. Some excerpts from SourceWatch:

    On its website YAF states that it is "committed to ensuring that increasing numbers of young Americans understand and are inspired by the ideas of individual freedom, a strong national defense, free enterprise, and traditional values."

    YAF sponsors conservative speakers - including John Stossel, Ann Coulter and David Horowitz - to visit university campuses. It also " distributes books and studies, holds conferences and seminars, and provides students with scholarship assistance." However, YAF does not actually pay for speakers.

    Recently, YAF has been one of the major supporters of the intellectual diversity movement that has infiltrated discussion on college and university campuses across the country ...

    YAF is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organisation.

    It is affiliated to a 501(c)(4) organisation - Young Americans for Freedom - which "engages in more activist programs such as political training and programs and more partisan activities such as demonstrations and conventions".

    9-12 Project is the creation of Glenn Beck, who has a plan.

    And so the assault on science and reason continues. ]

    • If Mann goes somewhere else, his grants go with him. I’m sure PSU would not like that.

    • Yet again, conservatives cannot see that a business as usual approach regrading GHG emissions is far more costly than a free market solution such as cap and trade.
      How to Talk to a Conservative about Climate Change v.2

    • The anti-science Right are going all-out to destroy anyone they can. No matter how often Mann, Jones, etc., are exonerated, they will be attacked again and again.

      Is there not some law to stop this? Can they keep doing this forever?

      How about Inhofe and Barton? They’ve been perverting the democratic process. Are they immune?

    • TrueSceptic asks:

      How about Inhofe and Barton? They’ve been perverting the democratic process. Are they immune?

      As a matter of fact, they are immune. The Congresscritters hid behind Congressional Immunity back in the days of Joseph McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee.

  55. I think they meant to call it … “Rally for Climate Witchhunt”.

  56. Dean:
    “Dr Mann, we want you to teach a general-ed Earth science course for non-science majors next semester”.


    “Just think of all the Young Republicans you will be able to flunk.”

    “I’ll do it!”

    • That’s not bad, actually. “But Ayn Rand proves in her novel ‘Atlas Shrugs’ that anything you scientists might demonstrates pales against her libertarian faux philosophy, just as Michael Crichton in his science fiction novel proved that all climate science, and population ecology, etc are commie plots!”

  57. Grants.

    Just for the record, in the US, the vast majority basic science faculty (non medical-school faculty) are appointed on 9-month salaries. With a grant from the NSF, the PI can pay him/herself 2 months of summer salary (for a total of 11 months), and with an NIH grant, the PI can pay him/herself 3 months of summer salary.

    So let’s say I make $90,000/year for 9 month salary. If I have one or more NIH grants, with a typical budget of $200,000/year direct, I can (if I can afford it) pay myself $10,000/month for 3 months of summer salary, raising my salary to $120,000.

    So, in fact, some of that NIH grant does go directly into the pocket of the PI, but only to pay the 3 months of salary not covered by the institution for which he/she works.

    If you don’t have grants, tough luck dude.

    • Thanks, Rob; that’s an important distinction. I am used to dealing with medical school faculty, so YMMV. In any case, having grant support does not represent any kind of monetary windfall.

  58. Pingback: Climate Anti-Science Activities, 1989-2010 - Sargasso

  59. Hi,

    Just in case it is of interest. One of McIntyre’s “brave campaigners for freedom of information” was senior politician Senator Sarah Ferguson of Jersey, Channel Islands – she describes herself as an “independent thinker” but she follows, WUWT and climateaudit!

    Here’s her comment in which she says

    “I assume that the reference number means that this is the 100th email Palmer has received! This will presumably totally foul up his plans for a vacation!

    When I passed this info around our local climate campaign group J-CAN. I copied my email to Senator Ferguson out of politeness. This was her reply:

    Of course I did – I do put my money where my mouth is! I believe in transparent government – especially when you are dealing with taxpayers money and Jones has had about £13 Million in taxpayers money.

    Still, it’s nice to know you are paying attention to rational and investigative sites Nick – I find good reading too – not to mention the Blackboard!


    Sarah Ferguson
    [Email redacted]

    Ms Ferguson is not a sinister person but she is obsessed with the notion that action to reduce emissions will wreck the economies of the world and seems to believe that we can’t screw things up badly because… why? Because it would conflict with her chosen beliefs.

    Faced with Callaghan’s Magnum in Dirty Harry she would “felt lucky” and taken the chance that the gun was empty.

    • Hi Nick,

      Thanks for submitting this. I have looked into Ms. Ferguson’s role in the vexatious FOI ‘requests’. I was unable to find any direct links between her and the Republican party as had been alleged elsewhere.

      Anyhow, I do not believe that she is being totally candid with you. First, IMO, she was complicit in taking part in making vexatious requests to CRU as the behest of McI. Why vexatious and complicit? Because we know from her posts at CA that she had no intention of doing anything with the data and that she derived pleasure in how many emails/requests they had received and that those requests would be CRU busy. That is not consistent with making a request with honorable intentions.

      As for her bemoaning how much Jones received. First, check those numbers, “skeptics” have inflated how much funding Mann has received for research. Second, those funds were probably for the lab as a whole (not just Jones) and for a long period of time. Third, how much the UK or Italy or Korea chooses to spend on climate research is non of her damn business; she is a citizen of the USA not the UK; how the UK chooses to spend their tax dollars has nothing to do with her or CA. Fourth, she is applying a double standard, it seems that it is OK for the US Feds to to provide millions in subsidies to the FF industry, but not OK for the UK government to spend money on addressing AGW and furthering our understanding of our climate system?

      The fact that Ms. Ferguson talks about reading Lucia’s blackboard only undermines here credibility and impartiality.

      CA, Steve McI in particular have been shown to be soliciting, encouraging and orchestrating the submission of vexatious FOIA requests to CRU and the Met Office. If you wish to submit evidence to Sir Russell regarding the vexatious FOIAs orchestrated by CA, you can do so at:

      You can bring these FOI transgressions by CA and it followers to the attention of Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) at:

      If you have any information or evidence regarding the hack you can contact the Norfolk Police at:

      It is important that they understand that there are two sides to this story, and that CA and its principals were malicious and acted to disrupt, harass and intimidate CRU.

  60. DC, I am amazed people bother to read your comments. I read your criticisms of Wegman and was gabsmocked that you thought those items were remarkable. Absolutely nothing in your criticisms of Wegman were serious.

    And there is nothing in this blog post that causes a problem for anyone. If you really think McIntyre or others are deserving of investigation, have at it. I see no evidence of wrongdoing here.

    [DC: No evidence?

    This was a biased, secretive investigation by Barton-Whitfield. One of Wegman's team has admitted that staffer Peter Spencer controlled the flow of climate science documentation to Wegman's team. The vetting of Wegman by a Republican partisan also needs to be explained. The process was illegitimate from the start.

    And we have presented clear evidence of unattributed use of material from one of the "hockey stick" author Raymond Bradley by Wegman et al, together with distortions and other errors used to attack that same author's scientific credibility.

    As for McIntyre, he has been far from transparent concerning his role in the entire affair and his dealings with Spencer or other Republican staffers. And in general, he has not been transparent about his co-operation with Tom Harris/APCO Worldwide, the Fraser Institute and other think tanks and lobbying firms. ]

    The skeptics have long upheld the standards of science, such as archiving and sharing data. The alarmists have openly attacked the openness and transparency of science and they are paying the price. When the philosophers of science turn against one camp in a scientific debate, the debate is over. At least one philosopher of science is criticizing the alarmists far more than skeptics. See

    [DC: I take great exception to this piece. Jerome Ravetz refers to "evangelical science" and even asserts:

    Rather, they propounded, as a proven fact, Anthropogenic Carbon-based Global Warming. There is little room for uncertainty in this thesis; it effectively needs hockey-stick behaviour in all indicators of global temperature, so that it is all due to industrialisation.

    This is a gross misinterpretation of the science and is the usual skeptic "straw man" "all-or-nothing" argument. I suggest you read the IPCC AR4 report and try and understand what it actually says about attribution of warming in the 20th century.

    There's a lot more that could be siad about this piece, but it's off topic, so let's leave it at that.

    As for "skeptics" upholding the "standards of science" - many of them they don't actually do any science. ]

    On the other hand, Phil Jones and Michael Mann are being investigated and for good reasons. If you want to know more Michael Mann’s misdeeds, read

    [DC: That's the same article that was published by the National Post in January 2005 before the M&M GRL article was even published. I wonder how that happened.

    M&M have not offered any evidence, either then or now, that Mann is guilty of research misconduct. The Penn State investigation appears to have been instigated by a swarming of emails, which apparently contained no actual documented instances of misconduct.

    In general, your comments are vague and unsubstantiated (not to mention off-topic). I may be less lenient in future. ]

  61. North and his statistician, Bloomfield, testified before Congress that the NAS panel and the Wegman panel basically agreed.

    CHAIRMAN BARTON. I understand that. It looks like my time is expired, so I want to ask one more question. Dr. North, do you dispute the conclusions or the methodology of Dr. Wegman’s report?
    DR. NORTH. No, we don’t. We don’t disagree with their criticism. In fact, pretty much the same thing is said in our report. But again, just because the claims are made, doesn’t mean they are false.
    CHAIRMAN BARTON. I understand that you can have the right conclusion and that it not be–
    DR. NORTH. It happens all the time in science.
    CHAIRMAN BARTON. Yes, and not be substantiated by what you purport to be the facts but have we established–we know that Dr. Wegman has said that Dr. Mann’s methodology is incorrect. Do you agree with that? I mean, it doesn’t mean Dr. Mann’s conclusions are wrong, but we can stipulate now that we have–and if you want to ask your statistician expert from North Carolina that Dr. Mann’s methodology cannot be documented and cannot be verified by independent review.
    DR. NORTH. Do you mind if he speaks?
    CHAIRMAN BARTON. Yes, if he would like to come to the microphone.
    MR. BLOOMFIELD. Thank you. Yes, Peter Bloomfield. Our committee reviewed the methodology used by Dr. Mann and his coworkers and we felt that some of the choices they made were inappropriate. We had much the same misgivings about his work that was documented at much greater length by Dr. Wegman.

    [DC: Once again, this agreement between the two was solely on Wegman's findings concerning certain statistical issues, mainly the short-centred PCA step in Mann's CFR methodology.

    It does not apply to Wegman's other findings about MBH or climate science in general, which differ considerably from those of North's panel, as noted above.

    Also, as previously mentioned, Wegman did not address certain aspects of M&M's analysis and "hockey stick" critique raised by Wahl and Ammann. As mentioned before I will address this in a future post, so for now I will accord myself the last word on this. In the mean time, please refer to Wahl and Ammann May 11 2005 press release and related papers on M&M. Thanks!]

  62. Further info: I sent Sarah the link below to the Times UK story about Phil Jones’s tribulations

    “The harassment attack (similar methodology to a “denial of service” attack in hacker circles) that you were a part of (probably unwittingly).”

    Ms Ferguson replied:

    In this day of computers and digitised information, if CRU had kept their data records correctly replying to 60 requests would have been a doddle. I do note though that the responsibility for keeping the records is being taken away from CRU. The problem is that they apparently do not have proper records of any adjustments to the data, they have apparently lost/deleted the data and have behaved as if they were the sole arbiters of climate science. This is not how good science and the scientific method are conducted.



    Sarah Ferguson

    • Ah, Ms Ferguson is duly unaware that the law requires one to spend at least 18 hours on each request. 18 hours. Times 60. 1080 hours. With a supposed 40 hour work week, that’s more than 27 weeks.
      She also is duly unaware that CRU does *not* have the responsibility to keep the raw data, but does have all the adjusted data, and has the procedures to calculate the raw data back.

      Ignorance is a really bad excuse when you make such bold statements as she does.

  63. Maple leaf:
    Re she is a citizen of the USA not the UK;

    Senator Ferguson is not American. She is a senior politician in the “States of Jersey” – the government of Jersey, Channel Islands (Great Britain). We are a “Crown Dependency” of the UK.

    However, if she were American, I think Senator Ferguson would be more likely to vote Republican than Democrat – based on her voting record to date…

  64. Thanks Nick, and sorry. When I first encountered her name, the person was saying that she had ties with the GOP in the USA…maybe she does, but I took that to mean that she was a senator in the USA. Jeez, that is why I could not find anything about her on the GOP site.

    So she probably does have a right to opine about UK tax money is spent?

  65. Marco

    >the law requires one to spend at least
    >18 hours on each request

    It does? Please explain.

    [DC:Here is my understanding of the situation.

    If evaluation and fulfilment of the request is complex (as these were due to various issues such as data ownership ) to the point where more than 18 hours would be required, the law requires that at least 18 hours be expended. By splitting up the requests into smaller pieces, the FOI attack ensured maximum disruption.

    U.K. FOI rules should perhaps be clarified so that data originating at, and owned by other entities, must be requested from those entities.

    Alternative approaches for CRU:
    - CRU could use only publicly available sources, such as GHCN.
    - CRU could obtain requisite permissions so that all underlying data can be placed in a public archive.

    It appears the second approach is being worked on by CRU. ]

  66. Mapleleaf – the Channel islands are odd little places, which should have had their tax haven status removed decades ago. Then I might be prepared to pay more attention to the rantings of a local politican there.

  67. So she probably does have a right to opine about UK tax money is spent?

    Anyone can have an opinion but, as Jersey is not part of the UK, and our government is separate, she has no power over UK tax revenues being spent.

    • Thanks Nick. Have you told her that?

    • MapleLeaf // February 15, 2010 at 5:08 pm

      Thanks Nick. Have you told her that?

      She knows – she’s one of the smarter ones in our Government. As climate change is an international sort of thing, I think anyone should be able to criticise spending anywhere on the subject, preferably the spending on denialist misdirection, pseudo-science and propaganda.

    • Nick,

      She may be smart, but she is certainly not behaving that way. Have you considered reporting her to the ICO?

      [DC: I'm not sure what anyone can do about vexatious or frivolous FOI requests, especially third parties who aren't involved. Certainly the requests can be refused on those grounds, but I don't even see any consequences within in the law for that sort of behaviour. Or am I missing something? Certainly ICO should consider changes to discourage this sort of FOI attack, but right now there appear to be no consequences. ]

  68. I don’t agree with Scott Mandia that McIntyre is a different breed from McKittrick and Lindzen. The money trail is not known, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there, especially since there are so many more ways to disguise it in Canada (e.g. Friends of Science). McIntyre has been working very hard at this for years, going out of his way to attack scientists. I doubt if the quarters in his “tip jar” even pay expenses.

    I like the way Buffalo Beast describes far right funder Richard Mellon Sciafe: “Hang around him long enough and write down his rants, and he’ll give you a million dollars”. There are lots of wealthy guys like him, and this is the crowd that McIntyre likes to be around. Exhibit A: The Marshall Institute.

    [DC: I tend to think McKitrick has profited more, especially relative to the time that McIntyre devotes to his blog. However. there have been some pay days for McIntyre: Fraser Institute (ISPM), Erice, Heartland and Marshall Institute. I'm not sure that either is getting rich from this.

    As for Friends of Science, recall that Barry Cooper's University of Calgary's climate "research" account that was used by APCO Worldwide to produce the FoS Climate Catastrophe Cancelled video. So a complete accounting might be revealing. ]

  69. Mike, as for funding: actually Scaife doles the money out in ways that make think thanks compete. Take a look at the funding analyses parts of the latest attachment at Plagiarism? Conspiracies? Felonies? at DeSmogBlog. Scaife is featured.

  70. Gavin's Pussycat

    Actually I don’t think the law requires one to spend 18 hours on a FOI request. 18 hours is the limit under which one must provide the information for free (or at copying cost). Over 18 hours one can charge the hourly rate, negotiate a more focused request requiring less work, or refuse.

    So the best DoI attack is lots of requests needing 17.5 working hours to answer :-(

    But note that requests may be aggregated if they come from the same source within 60 days. If they then exceed 18 hours in the aggregate, the above applies.

  71. Pingback: Die Klimakrise » Es regnet “-gates”

  72. Aggregation:Denial of Service attacks in networking are much easier to detect if they originate from teh same source.

    That’s why they invented DFoS (Distributed Denial of Service ) attacks using bots and such, that come from multiple directions.

  73. Thanks for the link, John Mashey, and for your excellent work. I think the things that you, DC, DeSmogBlog and others have uncovered are really critical to this discussion. They are being totally ignored by MSM, including, of course, NYT. I’m open to ideas about how to communicate this knowledge to the public. It’s disgraceful that only a few percent of Americans have any idea about the backgrounds and pay stubs of the deniers.

    Do you know Martin Litton of Portola Valley, the old lion of the Sierra Club? Great guy, and an old friend. He liked this thing I wrote, too,

  74. DDoS: yes, for sure, sorry. Bad typing.

    Mike: sorry, I don’t know Litton…but if you’re ever in Portola Valley, make sure you visit our recently-built LEED-Platinum Town Center.
    As for communication … I counsel patience.

  75. DC, you should take the lead in FOIA requests for all emails, docs and records of meetings wrt AGW and the committee, to Barton, Whitfield, Inhofe and Wegman.

    [DC: My understanding is that congressional members and committee staff are above these type of requests. George Mason University email may be subject to FOI requests, but that's likely a dead end, since Wegman and Said probably used private email addresses in communicating with Peter Spencer.

    In the end, an official investigation of wrongdoing (e.g. misleading congress) is the only route forward. In my opinion, Barton and Whitfield's statements concerning the "independence" of the Wegman committee would be clear instances of that. But I'm not a lawyer. ]

    • You might be aware of the MPs’ expenses scandal in the UK. The evidence was obtained under FOI (after initial leaks published by a newspaper).

      [DC: But it's U.S. law that applies here. Anyone out there know what is and isn't possible? ]

  76. Pingback: Morano sends lies from UK Times and Daily Mail around the world « Deep Climate

  77. Anybody out there just happen to run into emails between the relevant parties? ;)

  78. Pingback: ‘Biggest scam of the generation’: Beck and Hannity pile on BBC interview as proof of the global-warming ‘hoax’

  79. Pingback: Climategate revisited « Later On

  80. DC -

    What physical basis is there for expecting the 4th PC of a group of proxies to be a linear function of global temperature anomaly?

    [DC: The PCA methodology did not focus on any particular PC; rather, the first number of emerging PCs that fulfill the criteria of the methodology as a set are to be retained. M&M 2003 did not properly apply MBH98 methodology and therefore truncated the retained data in the North American tree ring network (see for example Wahl and Ammann for further information). It's not a question of "expectation" - it's a question of applying the methodology properly. What basis did M&M use to base their so-called "correction" of MBH98 on hard-coding of retention of only 2 PCs? I think it likely that McIntyre did not understand the MBH98 methodology. ]

  81. Gavin's Pussycat

    DeepClimate, you may want to keep a close eye also on the show trial that is in preparation with the British Parliament.
    There are clear similarities with the Barton / Wegman investigation, including being a political hack job competing with the legitimate investigation and trying to pre-empt it, and McIntyre liking it and talking it up, while trash-talking Muir Russell.
    Now is the time to secure the evidence; later on may be harder. This zombie will have to be killed too.

    [DC: Indeed, the parallels are all too apparent. I'm aware of McIntyre's attempts to discredit Muir-Russell, but I'm only vaguely aware of the other initiative (something instigated by Lord Lawson, IIRC). ]

  82. Gavin’s Pussycat – what show trial? I’m British and willing to join in the fight as required.

  83. On another discussion elsewhere a scientist recounted a story of how he had been told by his boss to retrieve some data from another scientist. That scientist couldn’t find the data and the boss was horrified saying data must be kept for at least ten years, That struck me, so I just went looking for any other info and sure enough here are good practice rules for a high profile research centre, the John Innes Centre:
    “JIC expects primary data to be held securely for a minimum period of ten years after the completion of a research project.”

    Imperial College London has a similar requirement:
    “e. Primary data are the property of Imperial College and should remain in the laboratory where it was generated for as long as reference needs to be made to it and for no less than ten years.”

    BBSRC Statement on Safeguarding Good Scientific Practice:
    “…data generated in the course of research must be kept securely in paper or electronic form. BBSRC expects data to be securely held for a period of ten years after the completion of a research project,…”

    Now, wasn’t a lot of the data that Phil Jones is accused of malfeasance over, a lot older than ten years?

  84. guthrie, this:
    Yes, Lawson and Peiser seem to be behind this.

  85. Guthrie, more important to dig into the backgrounds: who is behind this, how did the list of questions come about, how were speakers selected… the kind of questions that had, for Barton / Wegman, ‘interesting’ answers.

    Attending wouldn’t harm, of course. I’m afraid for Jones, he’s a media disaster. And this will be a show trial.

    • Jones, for once, needs to stop thinking like a scientist. They will have him for lunch otherwise.

      I wonder if anyone is willing to help him prepare?

    • Hopefully he shows up with UEA counsel …

    • Gavin's Pussycat

      I would hope not, they’re the ones that messed up the worst. He would need the kind of media-savvy scientist-lawyer that doesn’t exist.

    • Well, we know that Lawson and Pieser are involved, so the links are kind of clear, even if I don’t know precisely who whispered in whose ear. Westminster is a rather closed place unless you are willing to spend years learning your way around.
      I’m still waiting for the FOI commissioner to get back to me about who said the CRU had broken the law and why they said it. They gave themselves the usual freedom of info rules, so they have until mid march to reply.

      [DC: I would say Lawson probably managed to sweet talk the Science committee into setting this up and inviting him. I've been looking into GWPF - looks pretty dubious to me. This is a charitable research and education foundation that has produced no original work, and whose main activity appears to be to run an upscale version of ClimateDepot. Sound familiar? ]

    • Gavin's Pussycat

      Guthrie, there is more info on your FoI question at the UEA CRU site now. Basically, what we suspected.

    • Aye someone linked to it on deltoid, sounds a bit like they were in a hurry and had their own axe to grind, or were just incompetent at media management. I find it disturbing how media naive so many people seem to be. And Jones et als unguarded comments in privatew emails just prove they were scientists trying to get on with their job.

    • Gavin's Pussycat

      Yep, media idiots the lot of them.

      It’s sad really. Why shouldn’t someone like Phil Jones be allowed to be a media idiot? Look at his CV / pub list. That‘s what he should be doing — in peace.

      If Al Gore has any sense about best resource use, he’ll set up a climatology media center taking as its job defending the scientists and giving them working peace. Should have been in place years ago.

    • Gavin's Pussycat

      So it didn’t become the slaughter I feared. Hmmm. There is something to be said for being the underdog.

      [DC: I still wonder which committee members invited Lawson and Peiser. I suppose one can tell by looking to see who treated them sympathetically, once the transcript is available. Still, it seems to me that climate contrarians are definitely in the minority on that committee, fortunately. ]

    • Well, Jones’ testimony was the final straw for Mosher. Didn’t see that coming. ;-)

    • Ian Forrester

      A video transcript of the testimony is here:

      Can someone identify the panel members?

      I haven’t viewed it all yet, it must be over 3 hours long.

      [DC: Jones portion is on YouTube apparently, divided into short segments. I imagine the U.K. ST Committee will also post transcripts of all the presentations and Q&A. ]

    • Well, Jones’ testimony was the final straw for Mosher. Didn’t see that coming.

      Would you care to elaborate?

      [DC: Good question to answer - or just a link would do! ]

    • Dhogaza writes: “Would you care to elaborate?”

      Loath as I am to send anyone their way, here’s the link:

      The scales have apparently fallen from Mosher’s eyes and since Jones does not follow the McIntyre definition of “share the data”, he’s no longer willing to give Jones the benefit of the doubt. I am shocked, shocked to see this development, as if anyone at WUWT was actually defending Jones.

    • Deech56, thanks … I think.

      Mosher’s posturing, it’s how he’s felt about the climate science community since he came up with the “Piltdown Mann” name.

      So now he’s no longer pretending, but pretends he wasn’t pretending earlier. Or something like that.

    • I wish I was as smart as they were and knew more about climate and about analyzing data than the climatologists. If Mann and the rest would just open up their work for blog review, it would be so much more sound and would end up in journals even better than Science and PNAS, like E&E, for example.

      The argument that “If they would only do it our way, we would accept the scientists’ conclusions” is really getting old.

      The “posturing” point is apt. It seems that some critics want to be considered experts without actually spending the effort learning about the subject. I’ve seen posters in some quarters assign equal weight to the Wegman and NAS reports. Simply astounding. I swear we’ve fallen down the rabett [sic] hole.

  86. Now, wasn’t a lot of the data that Phil Jones is accused of malfeasance over, a lot older than ten years?

    Yes, the denialsphere is all aghast at the fact that some tapes (I presume, given the era) were lost during an office move in the 1980s.

  87. Gavin's Pussycat

    Did those same rules even exist back then?

    • I imagine they were, but if data was on paper then the paperwork would probably be stored in archive boxes. What I find surprising is that actual, real-life, archive policies within context of the actual period and standard scientific practice across the board haven’t been considered before AFAIK. In fact, I haven’t even seen any kind of relevant list of ‘standard scientific practices’ anywhere, especially with specific regard to research science as opposed to applied science. Context is everything, and whenever context is made clear it’s almost like finding the signal in the noise.

  88. To put it bluntly, professional skeptics and their followers are crackers. I think it comes down to the fact that people who think and behave in, I’ll say it, evil and underhanded ways often see conspiracies everywhere. They are projecting their mindview on the world. Therefore, they imagine, those they hate must necessesarily be thinking the same way.

    That’s not to say that conspiracies don’t exist; to the contrary, they are ironically common to the mindset described above, very often these days a virulent, right-wing mindset. And unfortuantely their hate, rage and suspecion only seems to snowball with time. Thus a large majority of the other half of the population is certifiable. This is an example of what Limabugh-type politics can do to a society.

  89. By the way, I was reminded of an amusing tidbit.
    One of the references included by the Wegman panel of experts was:

    “Crok, Marcel (2005) “Proof that mankind causes climate change is refuted: Kyoto protocol based on flawed statistics,” Natuurwetenschap & Techniek, February 2005.

    Sounds good, but of course, that’s the English title for a Dutch article…

    Crok had studied chemistry (but from Google Scholar had never published any peer-reviewed papers), was Editor-in-Chief of a tennis magazine, and (2003-2009) a science writer for NWT, a Dutch popular-science magazine. The reference is not to the original Dutch version, but to an English translation, hosted at McKitrick’s website, mentioned by McIntyre:

    So, exactly how would a reference like that get into a serious paper?

    [DC: It was listed under "Other Literature, including the Popular Press", which includes contrarian pieces from the Washington Times, Wall Street Journal and the Financial Post (a.k.a. the finacial section of the National Post). Bizarrely, that section, not "Academic papers and books", also includes IPCC TAR and NOAA/USSCP "Prospectus for Temperature Trends in the Lower Atmosphere: Understanding and Reconciling the Differences".

    The translation is the same one that appeared in the National Post, as discussed in M&M, Part 1. (I also noted Crok's resume there, but I decided to leave out the details about Dutch publication of the article). How this came about is one of the enduring mysteries concerning the National Post's role as M&M's public relations promoter. But you can see why Wegman and McKitrick would rather point to NWT and avoid that whole issue. ]

  90. Yes; of course, my question at the end should have had a smiley with it… Given the choice of

    1) The Wegman panel found this Dutch article in literature review, all by themselves.
    2) Peter Spencer found it.
    3) McIntyre provided it.

    Two choices seem rather unlikely… :-)

    [DC: It could have been McKitrick - let's just call #3 M&M (or should that be M|M). ]

  91. regarding Marcel Crok, just a few days after the CRU-hack, he has launched a denialist website with the usual copycat articles from the usual suspects.
    So far, not any good in depth analyis is to be found there and comments are from the same usual Dutch commenters, lacking any scientfic background.
    What makes me wonder/speculate, it is if he had knowledege that there was a hack to be come and was therefore launching is website.

  92. Wegman once worked for the Office of Naval Research and Scott has worked for the National Security Agency. This does not prove their report is invalid – the NAS already did that. But, these institutions do have certain mind set.

    The other panel member, Yasmin H. Said, is, I think, from Saudi Arabia, no bastion of liberalism. She works now at GMU with Wegman. He was her Ph.D. advisor. I think she was just a short term visitor at John Hopkins. The job market is pretty tough. In 2005 she gave a talk at the Eleventh U.S. Army Conference on Applied Statistics, the same year she got her Ph.D. I cannot imagine asking one’s recent grade student to serve on such a panel – though she is very accomplished.

    One might consider if social network theory would apply. “We conjecture that certain styles of co-authorship lead to the possibility of group-think, reduced creativity, and the possibility of less rigorous reviewing processes.” See:

    I do not mean to personally disparage any of these people. I don’t think they did anything dishonest. But it may be helpful to understand their mind set.

    Also, Wegman acknowledges contributions from “John T. Rigsby, III, Naval Surface Warfare Center, and Denise M. Reeves, MITRE Corporation.” MITRE is a defense contractor near GMU. Group-think anyone?

  93. Rigsby also got his Ph.D. at GMU in statistics, but I don’t think Wegman was his advisor.

    Wegman lists on his vita counsulting for the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization in the mid 1980′s. I recall reading in Climate Cover Up that a handful of pro-SDI physists setup the Marshall Institute for the purpose of countering the overwhelming opposition to SDI by physists.
    Lot’s of people worked on SDi in the 80′s, so there is no reason to beleave Wegman had any contact with the Marshall founders. But, the mind set issue is interesting.

    If you haven’t read Wegman’s paper on social networks I linked to above, you really should.

    [DC: Yes, I have read the Said et al paper (Said is lead author, and Wegman communicating author as far as I can tell). It recycles the Wegman report network analysis of Mann's social network, as well as a social network analysis of Wegman's own co-author network, done by co-author Walid K. Sharabati, another Wegman student.

    The paper sailed through peer review in six days. ]

  94. Mike, that was 2009, not 2008 for Reeves.
    And Rigsby did his MS in Statistics @ GMU, and has coauthored papers with Wegman.

    You might want to go back to some of the earlier posts, as this stuff was unearthed a while ago, to avoid wasting time.
    I.e., there may or may not be groupthink amongst agencies, but one doesn’t need that:

    Wegman, Scott (a long-time collaborator), and 3 of Wegman’s grad students.

    [DC: To be fair, I didn't update the original entry with that information, so it was easy to miss. I do have an analysis of the sources of Wegman et al's section 2.3 on social networks. That will be discussed in an upcoming post and that might be a good place to discuss these issues.

    In the mean time, here is a condensed version of the text of Wegman's written answers to questions posed by Rep. Bart Stupak (reduced from 11Mb to 56K, by eliminating the figures and appendices). There Wegman argues that the "mentor" style of co-authorship results in better scholarship than Mann's "entrepreneurial" style (the same argument is made in Said et al). ]

  95. Social network analysis plagiarism: hmm.
    Hmm, unlike the tree-ring material, it’s hard to think that part would have come from M&M … but one would sure guess Said was involved in that.

    [DC: I haven't looked in detail, but my impression is that social network analysis can't be related to any M&M papers. However, it ties into M&M's comments about lack of independence (e.g. in their second Marshall presentation). Also Rigsby had done previous social network analysis (according to Said's refs). So it appears the GMU group was already working on this type of analysis using "block analysis" software.

    Add in M&M's "team"/lack of independence meme, et volia.

    On tree-ring background material, there is reason to believe there was an intermediate author, but I tend to think it probably wasn't M&M. It is unlikely that the full truth will emerge without close questioning of the principals.

    At some point, GMU should assume its responsibilities and promulgate its own investigation and resolve these issues. If PSU and EAU have ordered investigations based on flimsy or non-existent evidence, surely GMU has a moral obligation to follow up on this much more compelling prima facie evidence of misconduct. ]

  96. For those interested, here is a complete analysis, with identification of sources, of background material on social network analysis in both the Wegman report and Said et al follow up article on author/co-author relationships (published in the peer-reviewed journal, Computational Statistics & Data Analysis).

    - Wegman et al – Social Networks

    - Said et al – Social Networks

    I thought I had seen it all, but the extent of material lifted from other sources without attribution is truly shocking.

    To be continued soon … but I don’t see how George Mason University can avoid a complete investigation of the matter. After all, that second paper was suppoerted by federal funding, and all four authors (Said, Wegman, Sharabati and Rigsby) were at GMU at the time.

  97. (I think you know all this, but it’s worth recording):

    The earlier papers I know of were:
    Rigsby & Solka (2003) “Computer Networks and Social Network Block Structures” and
    Rigsby and Solka, “Actor Allegiance and Blockmodel Strength”, 2004.

    Solka has a former PhD student of Wegman’s.

    In addition, as part of Wegman’s replies to Congressman Stupak’s questions, he attached a paper by Sharabati who wrote (in 2006):

    “Of all the work that has been done on social networks, very few investigations have considered coauthorship network. Therefore, what we are about to observe in this paper is a brand new approach in the social networks field.”

    That paper is item 7 in Sharabati @ Purdue.

    Whether that is a brand-new approach, I cannot say, but it is totally misleading to think there have been very few co-authorship studies. Even if one knew nothing about this field, that is clear from the simple search:
    GoogleScholar: social network co authorship.

    Note that the SWSR paper got submitted Computational Statistics & Data Analysis, where Wegman’s C.V says:

    “Associate Editor of Computational Statistics and Data Analysis, 1986-present”

    Somehow, the other Elsevier journal Social Networks seems a more appropriate venue, with an impact factor of ~2 vs ~1.

    I offer a conjecture about how all this can happen.
    Disciplines like graph theory & network analysis (& statistics) are fundamental techniques that can be applied to a wide range of disciplines.

    Someone may know a basic math technique X and have applied it in discipline Y, but have little familiarity with the literature of field Z that also happens to use the same math.

    Sometimes, the same math acquires a weird range of different terminology, as described by The Literature of Cluster Analysis (1978). In some cases (social network analysis), similar terminology did cross disciplines due to random personal connections, which is a good reminder of something any sociologist would know: coauthorship relationship is only one of many relevant relationships in *human* networks. (This may seem obscure, but one of the authors of that is an in-law of mine who is both a psychologist and good statistician who has published much on cluster analysis and we talked about this stuff back then.)

    1) So far, I can find no evidence that the GMU group was actually doing research before 2005 in social network analysis of people (as opposed to computers or the general math). This could be proved wrong.

    2) Sharabati’s claim is just ludicrous. Coauthorship networks have been studied for decades, among other things, because the data exists and is far easier than finding committee memberships, reviewing relationships, etc, etc.

    3) It is not uncommon for someone with some mathematical tool to charge into a new area and not realize the extent to which the topic has already been studied. Of course, PhD students sometimes think their work breaks newer ground than it really does. PhD advisors are supposed to help avoid such things.

    4) Put another way, the Wegman Report:
    a) Talked about climate science without much interaction with climate scientists.
    b) Talked about social networks (human), apparently without talking with social scientists who have long studied those.

    Wegman and co frequently made a big deal about the importance of interdisciplinary teams with relevant expertise. I agree…

  98. Interestingly, a cursory glance at the bibliography of the Wegman report does not reveal any authority (in auditing parlance) in social network analysis.

    Do we have any evidence that the Wegman’s team has read anything about sociology of science?

    [DC: The total lack of attribution is pretty damning. Sure, the reviewers knew nothing about social networks or paleoclimatology. But now could they not question a five-page section on social network analysis that had nary a citation or reference?

    Wegman's analysis is no more than hand-waving speculation. I would say, though, that Wegman's own social network would be worthy of analysis by a real sociologist. ]

  99. Pingback: Wegman and Said on social networks: More dubious scholarship « Deep Climate

  100. Pingback: Wegman report update, part 2: GMU dissertation review | Deep Climate

  101. Interestingly, the “unnoticed 2007 symposium presentation” is no longer on-line.

  102. Pingback: George Mason University’s endless inquiry | Deep Climate

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