About a month ago, I posted some excerpts from an article in the Dec. 10 issue of the U.K.’s Times Higher Education, in which Martin Cohen had argued “that the consensus [about AGW] is less a triumph of science and rationality than of PR and fear-mongering”.
The other day, my mouse and I decided to revisit the article to see how the discussion was progessing – and it was still going strong.
One of the more recent contributors was Dr. Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen – a name that rang a bell because she was mentioned in the Climategate emails. Not only was Boehmer-Christiansen mentioned, but she was also the Subject of a thread [1256765544.txt] of emails circa Oct. 9/09, initiated by CRU’s Phil Jones.
He had written to Dr. Graham F. Haughton at Hull University, ostensibly complaining about the fact that although she had retired, Boehmer-Christiansen was using her affiliation with the university – and accusing her of having sent a “very malicious” E-mail . Haughton’s response was sympathetic but cool: he pointed out that she was entititled to use it (presumably because she was Reader Emeritus, Department of Geography – just as she had used the affiliation in her E-mail signature). But perhaps there are no Emeritus scholars in “climate science”, so Jones was not familiar with the term.
Notwithstanding Jones’s description of Boehmer-Christiansen’s E-mail (which had evidently been forwarded to him by a Stephanie Ferguson), all she had done was advise Ferguson (with copies to a few other people) of two blog postings – from two scientists.
From Boehmer-Christiansen’s E-mail to Ferguson:
I expect that a great deal of UKCIP work is based on the data provided by CRU (as does the work of the IPCC and of course UK climate policy). Some of this, very fundamentally, would now seem to be open to scientific challenge, and may even face future legal enquiries. It may be in the interest of UKCIP to inform itself in good time and become a little more ‘uncertain’ about its policy advice. Perhaps you can comment on the following and pass the allegations made on to the relevant people.
It is beyond my expertise to assess the claims made, but they would fit into my perception of the whole ‘man-made global warming’ cum energy policy debate.
Some excerpts from the postings Boehmer-Christiansen had included in full. The first was from an Australian biologist, Dr. Jennifer Marohasy, who had concluded:
This week’s claims by Steve McInyre that scientists associated with the UK Met. Office have been less than diligent are serious and suggest some of the most defended building blocks of the case for anthropogenic global warming are based on the indefensible when the methodology is laid bare.
This sorry saga also raises issues associated with how data is archived at the UK Met. Office with incomplete data sets that spuriously support the case for global warming being promoted while complete data sets are kept hidden from the public – including from scientific sceptics like Steve McIntyre.
It is indeed time leading scientists at the Climate Research Centre associated with the UK Met. Office explain how Mr McIntyre is in error or resign. [link added -hro]
And the second, from Dr. Patrick J. Michaels, Senior Fellow in Environmental Studies at the Cato Institute, who on Sept. 23/09 had posted at the National Review Online:
Interpreting climate data can be hard enough. What if some key data have been fiddled?
Imagine if there were no reliable records of global surface temperature. Raucous policy debates such as cap-and-trade would have no scientific basis, Al Gore would at this point be little more than a historical footnote, and President Obama would not be spending this U.N. session talking up a (likely unattainable) international climate deal in Copenhagen in December.
Steel yourself for the new reality, because the data needed to verify the gloom-and-doom warming forecasts have disappeared.
Or so it seems. Apparently, they were either lost or purged from some discarded computer. Only a very few people know what really happened, and they aren’t talking much. And what little they are saying makes no sense.
[the whole article is fascinating reading, and concludes:]
If we are to believe Jones’s note to the younger Pielke, CRU adjusted the original data and then lost or destroyed them over twenty years ago. The letter to Warwick Hughes may have been an outright lie. After all, Peter Webster received some of the data this year. So the question remains: What was destroyed or lost, when was it destroyed or lost, and why?
All of this is much more than an academic spat. It now appears likely that the U.S. Senate will drop cap-and-trade climate legislation from its docket this fall — whereupon the Obama Environmental Protection Agency is going to step in and issue regulations on carbon-dioxide emissions. Unlike a law, which can’t be challenged on a scientific basis, a regulation can. If there are no data, there’s no science. U.S. taxpayers deserve to know the answer to the question posed above. [link added -hro]
Needless to say, Jones was not a happy camper. But – as noted above – he had characterized Boehmer-Christiansen’s E-mail as “very malicious”. Oh, well … perhaps in the glorified (delusional?) world of climate modellers, “malicious” has a completely different meaning. Then again, considering the content of Jones’s messages to Haughton (which I’ll discuss in more detail in Part 2) one might be inclined to think he was engaging in a classic exercise in projection.