University of East Anglia

Post image for Climategate Update

Citing the potential for “financial harm,” the University of East Anglia last week denied a Freedom of Information request by “Hockey Stick” debunker Stephen McIntyre for the controversial Yamal temperature data. This is the third time he has been rebuffed by the University, which was scandalized by last year’s Climategate controversy over, among other things, inappropriate avoidance of FOI requests.

The University of Virginia last week said it will use “all available exemptions” to avoid having to turn over documents related to debunked “Hockey Stick” creator Michael Mann in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by the American Tradition Institute. This stands in stark contrast to the University’s treatment of Dr. Patrick Michaels, a climate skeptic. When Greenpeace asked filed a FIOA for his records, the University was willing to comply readily.

The University of East Anglia’s carefully selected “International Panel” released their report on the ClimateGate scientific fraud scandal today.  At eight pages, it’s not even a thorough whitewash.  They don’t even make a minimal effort to rebut the obvious appearance of widespread data manipulation, suppression of dissenting research through improper means, and intentional avoidance of complying with Freedom of Information requests.  It appears that they concluded that the only way they could produce a whitewash and protect the interests of the establishment was by making only the most superficial investigation.  Perhaps they realized that doing more than taking the representations of Phil Jones and the others on trust would involve them in the moral difficulty of having to choose between being honest and maintaining their exoneration.

The seven panel members only looked at eleven published articles from CRU selected on the advice of the Royal Society.  And all eight panel members didn’t read all eleven papers.  Instead, “Every paper was read by a minimum of three Panel members at least one of whom was familiar with the general area to which the paper related.  At least one of the other two was a generalist with no special climate science expertise but with experience of some of the general techniques and methods employed in the work.”  Perhaps the third reader was a chimpanzee.  Yes, they have done a thorough and professional whitewash.

However, the report makes one concession, which is quite damning: “We cannot help remarking that it is very surprising that research in an area that depends so heavily on statistical methods has not been carried out in close collaboration with professional statisticians.”  In fact, the handling of the historical temperature data and production of the Hadley/CRU temperature record by Jones et al. and the handling of the paleoclimatological data and fabrication of the hockey stick by Michael Mann et al. was only possible because they hid their data and methods from professional statisticians.  When professional statisticians were able to look at Mann’s methods and data, the result was the Wegman report, which was devastating.