Monday, 15 February 2010

Recommended reading

Phil Jones Interview
For the first time since the CRU-hack last autumn Professor Phil Jones of the University of East Anglia answered to questions about the affair and some of the claims made by climate sceptics in a written interview with the BBC : Q&A with Professor Phil Jones
I noticed that instead of linking to the direct source many climate sceptics prefer linking to the distorted version by Jonathan Leake in Times Online. Deltoid’s Tim Lambert takes a closer look at some of the problems with Leake’s version of the facts : Leakegate scandal gets bigger.
UPDATE There's even more : Leakegate, the case for fraud
Don’t hesitate also to compare the original version with what has been made out of it on Watts Up With Watts. The original piece isn’t quite the bombshell sceptics want to make out of it, isn’t it ?

Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick
Part of the CRU-mails involve the climate sceptical work of Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick.
Even though i think everyone who reads it can see it doesn't give the impression, many climate sceptics claim the Wegman-report is and an independent review on the Hockey stick affair. Deep Climate takes a closer look at the Wegman-report and finds that indeed is nowhere close to being independent. Very interesting reading : Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, part 1: In the beginning and Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, part 2: The story behind the Barton-Whitfield investigation and the Wegman Panel

FOI : Harassment ?
One of the things Phil Jones was most criticised for was his response towards the many requests he received under the freedom of information act and the fact the high number of FOI-requests started to feel like an harassment. The impression is even higher because many of the request were about data which CRU only processed while the raw data were available elsewhere and should be requested from the original source. Because of this, it isn’t always that easy to fulfil such a request as cthulhu explains.
Contrary to the naïve believe i read all over the internet, fulfilling a FOI can be much more work than just taking the data out of the drawer. From my own experience i can say that it can incredibly time-consuming to collect historic data. For a project at my previous job i needed to find as much interesting data as we had in our archives.
The only way to do so was literally digging in the archive and sieving out the data i could use. After i gave up looking any further, my best estimate is in two weeks i managed to collect 70-80 % of all the data available. Before you go all crazy : It does not mean the other data is missing, it just means it would have been too great an effort to find them. Some of them are hidden in metres and metres of papers and reports, other are in an old database that has been out of order for years, etc.
For the younger generation : the prehistoric thing the girl on the picture is holding in her left hand is called a floppy. It was like a USB-stick but in the times before the DVD, the CD-ROM and the 3½-floppy. They were used in the early 1990’s.
Anyway, all this just to say fulfilling a FOI-request can take an awful lot of time and it looks like indeed the FOI’s were being used to harass scientists and keep them from doing their job. Eli Rabett, Bart Verheggen and Susan of the promising new blog The Policy Lass have more to say about this.


Tim Lambert debating Christopher Monckton
It’s often hard to debate a science-sceptic (it’s not just true for climate-sceptics) as they will often try to throw as much dirt as possible as they know the opponent isn’t able to address all of it in into the time-amount of a debate, which often will give the wrong impression what they said was correct or even that they won the debate. I’ve long been planning to write a more extensive post about this actually.
Even though knowing this, Deltoid’s Tim Lambert did debate Viscount Monckton. From the parts i heard Tim Lambert did reasonably well and the McLuhan moment is an instant classic. The debate isn’t online (at least as far as i know) but you can watch a part of the final summing up

IPCC-Gates
Real Climate on IPCC errors : facts and spin

edit : adding the "two weeks part" which fell off in the original post (or why the sentence was so weird)

15 comments:

  1. Sorry Jules.

    FOIA at CRU.

    CRU had a limit of 18 hours on an FOIA.

    As I explained on Rabbet I FOIAed CRU for some material on their policies. The request was denied because they THOUGHT it would take more than 18 hours.

    Further if you took the time to read the mails and follow the trail you would see that the number of FOIA requests prior to July 2009 was small. a handful.

    In 2005 when Jones learned about FOIA, before any were issued he planned ways to avoid them.
    He then received 1 FOIA from Willis in 2007.
    1 from McIntyre in 2007.

    in 2008 he recieved an FOIA from Holland related to IPCC correspondence.

    before CRU did ANY WORK on the matter Palmer decided that the request would be denied on two issues:

    A. confidentiality
    B. Time to comply

    Before that denial was issued on June 2nd Jones asked mann and others to delete these mails.
    TIME ENOUGH TO DELETE THEM BUT NOT TIME ENOUGH TO PRODUCE THEM. hey, that just occurred to me. THANKS JULES!

    BTW the ICO has found this denial to be problamtic.

    Finally in 2009 you get the large number of requests.

    1 request from Mcintyre for DATA ALREADY SENT TO WEBSTER. not 18 hours of work.

    then about 3 requests for the same data.

    All denied. NONE used the excuse of too much time although that was available to them.

    The 40-50 requests for CONFIDENTIALITY AGREEMENTS. this request was answered by posting 4-5 agreements and jones writing a 1000 word response.

    ReplyDelete
  2. steven:

    "The 40-50 requests for CONFIDENTIALITY AGREEMENTS. this request was answered by posting 4-5 agreements and jones writing a 1000 word response."

    And what's your excuse for saying that CRU should've answered all 40--50 such requests? That CRU is obligated to spend weeks or months just to rummage for these confidentiality agreements, while doing zero work in the meantime? Or that CRU should keep a quick search engine of every darn thing that every goon with an FOIA request might want to search for, so that they can fulfil all 40--50 requests in a jiffy?

    And here's the thing. If McIntyre and friends really wanted the third-party data, they could've gone straight to the third parties to ask for the data.

    Why didn't they? What purpose is served by asking for those confidentiality agreements?

    Perhaps it's because the data weren't what McIntyre and friends actually wanted?

    * * *

    Jules:

    Have you seen this blog called climategate.nl? I just came across it, and if the Google Translator is any guide, it sounds pretty wingnut. Anyway, you may want to look at it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Jules you are painfully unaware of the facts. It really is pathetic.

    You wrote:

    "And what's your excuse for saying that CRU should've answered all 40--50 such requests? That CRU is obligated to spend weeks or months just to rummage for these confidentiality agreements, while doing zero work in the meantime? "

    in fact CRU DID answer the request. Don't you read?
    They are allowed to deny a request if it takes more than 18 hours. They are allowed to combine multiple requests which they did. They posted the 4-5 AGREEMENTS they could find online and Jones wrote a 1200 word explanation of why they could not even give us the NAMES of which countries to contact. And they promised to contact countries.
    Don't you read?

    COntinuing:

    "Or that CRU should keep a quick search engine of every darn thing that every goon with an FOIA request might want to search for, so that they can fulfil all 40--50 requests in a jiffy?"

    1. Jones knew the agreements existed in 2002. IN 2002 in coorespondence with Mcintyre he spoke of the agreements and then passed an early version onto McIntyre.
    2. In 2004 he knew the agreements existed and he discussed with Hughes that he thought the data should be released under WMO guidelines.
    3. in 2005, he decided against releasing the data.
    4. between 2005 and 2008 he released the data to Rutherford and Webster.
    5. In 2008 Mcintyre asked for the same data that webster was given and Jones said its at GHCN. But WHICH STATIONS? He also said that Webster got the data because he was an academic and Mcintyre wasnt. He said the confidentiality agreements PRECLUDED release to non academics.
    6. Peilke, McKittrick and Mcullogh (All academics) requested the data.
    7. CRU changed their excuse and argued that the agreements precluded release to anyone.

    THAT"S when we asked for the agreements.

    8. IN Nov of 2009, CRU admitted that the excuse they have given ( only academics could get it ) was false.

    So, am I arguing that CRU should keep good records? Well, guess what they have a data management policy. Should they follow their own rules? yup. Should Jones keep legal documents he refers to make decisions? yes. It would keep him from making stuff up. Its called a filing drawer.
    Should a man who is on the standing advisory board of NOAA on data archiving and access keep good records himself? yes.

    ReplyDelete
  4. CONTINUED:

    Continuing:


    "And here's the thing. If McIntyre and friends really wanted the third-party data, they could've gone straight to the third parties to ask for the data. "

    1. We asked for the NAMES of who to go to so that we could in fact do this. They could not supply them
    2. Jones said they had agreements with countries. he didnt say who. he couldnt say who. He found 4-5 countries. only 1 of those precluded release. With over 200 countries to ask it made MORE SENSE to ask CRU for the agreements. 40 mails written to one office as opposed to 200 mails to 200 spearate offices.

    3. In the end Mcintyre asked for just the "open" version of the data. Data not covered by agreements. CRU said it could not do that as it would take more than 18 hours.

    "Why didn't they? What purpose is served by asking for those confidentiality agreements?"

    If you read the thread, you would see. The idea of getting the agreements was simple.
    1. To see the ACTUAL TERMS. We knew the data had been released to webster. How did Jones do this? At first they said the agreements precluded release to non academics. This was a lie. So 3 academics requested the data. They were denied and the argument changed. They argued no one could get the data. BUT, we knew webster had got it So what were the ACTUAL TERMS

    2 CRU agrued that 2% of the data was confidential. So we issued the FOIA to get a list of countries we would have to contact. Which countries had agreements.


    "Perhaps it's because the data weren't what McIntyre and friends actually wanted?"

    Guess what Jules? MOTIVES DONT MATTER. FOIA doesnt care about motives. But on the evidence of motive you lose as well. In 2007 we had a similar fight with Jones to get his data for his 1990 paper. Same players. Jones tried a sorry set of excuses and in the end released the data for that paper. The result, Mcintyre did a series of posts examining it.

    ReplyDelete
  5. "The idea of getting the agreements was simple.
    "1. To see the ACTUAL TERMS."

    In other words, according to you, even for the cases where CRU did tell McIntyre and friends whom to contact, they still felt compelled to pester CRU, instead of, like, simply contacting the third parties for the data.

    So, was it really the data that McIntyre and friends wanted?

    "MOTIVES DONT MATTER. FOIA doesnt care about motives."

    No, but this blog post does care about motives.

    By the way, I'm not Jules.

    ReplyDelete
  6. You talk about FOI-harrasments in the early 90'ties but the FOI in the UK was part of Labour's manifesto in 1997 and eventualy became mandatory much later. It's a well known fact that McIntyre became interested in the climate debate in 2002.
    You're claim about exchanging data in the early 90'ties only relied on higly unreliable floppies is simply not true. From the mid-80ties universities were interconnected and for the layman the're were thousands of BBSses wich relied on error-correction modems , software compression (ZIP) and the sofisticated ZMODEM protocol. In the late 80ties i installed - as part of my job several systems - that worked realy well.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Steven,

    You claim that "IN Nov of 2009, CRU admitted that the excuse they have given ( only academics could get it ) was false."
    Indeed, they weren't allowed to give it to anyone:

    http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/23949/response/66116/attach/3/CRU%20data%20agreements%20100119.pdf
    Specifically:
    "UKMO data / software so obtained may be used solely for the purpose for which they were supplied. They may not be used for any other projects unless specific prior permission has been obtained in writing from the UKMO by a NERC Data Centre. Note that this applies
    even for other bona fide academic work." (not even other academics!)

    and

    "Please do not supply this data to third parties, unless authorized by us."

    and

    "The condition is that you do not use them commercially or give them to a third party."

    ReplyDelete
  8. In other words, according to you, even for the cases where CRU did tell McIntyre and friends whom to contact, they still felt compelled to pester CRU, instead of, like, simply contacting the third parties for the data.

    WRONG. Can't ANY of you people read. CRU could not name the countries. We had a go at trying to figure it out, but CRU could not supply the list.

    They found 4 agreements and posted them. One agreement with Bahrain, one with Spain, one with Norway and one with UK territories I recall.

    Of these agreements only the one with Spain barred release. Oh yes, it barred the kind of release that JONES made to Webster and Jones made to Rutherford. They could Not FIND any other agreements and so they could not say WHICH countries had them and WHICH did not. This is
    WHY in July they decided that they had better go find out what the status of the data was. Please, DAFS

    http://climateaudit.org/2009/07/24/cru-refuses-data-once-again/



    http://climateaudit.org/2009/07/25/cru-then-and-now/

    http://climateaudit.org/2009/08/04/dr-phil-confidential-agent/

    http://climateaudit.org/2009/08/12/the-confidentiality-agreements/

    http://climateaudit.org/2009/08/13/cru-in-wonderland-refusing-ross-mckitrick/

    http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/availability/

    HERE IS WHAT YOU DONT GET.

    jones made a release to webster. Mcintyre asked for the same data that was given to webster. Confidentiality agreements were NOT such a big deal when it came to releasing to webster. All mcintyre asked for was the same data webster got. Instead, jones LIED and said he had agreements which precluded release to Non academics. When asked to produce such agreements....crickets.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Marco:

    "You claim that "IN Nov of 2009, CRU admitted that the excuse they have given ( only academics could get it ) was false."
    Indeed, they weren't allowed to give it to anyone:"

    Again, you people are short on the facts. CRU posted 4 documents purporting to be confidentiality agreements. ONE of those 4 had terms which prevented any kind of release.

    1. Jones violated this agreement by sending data to Rutherford and Webster.

    2. Jones lied about the terms of the agreements and represented that the agreements precluded release to non academics.

    The other 3 agreements had no such terms, as I recall. but DAFS.


    Here is the thing. When somebody like Jules who should be better with facts, gets something SO BASIC as the 18 hour limit wrong, you guys should just say " opps, sorry, there is an 18 hour limit"
    Instead, I get to drag the whole affair up again and you guys try to bumble your way through a time line and set of documents you have no knowledge of

    ReplyDelete
  10. steven:

    "They found 4 agreements and posted them. One agreement with Bahrain, one with Spain, one with Norway and one with UK territories I recall.

    "Of these agreements only the one with Spain barred release."

    Then what about the other 3 agreements which didn't bar release? Since, by your own admission, these 3 agreements with Bahrain, Norway, and the UK didn't preclude any release of data to non-academics, why couldn't McIntyre try to get the data directly from the institutes at Bahrain, Norway, and the UK?

    In fact, even in the case of Spain, McIntyre definitely knew the exact institute to get the data from, since he's seen the confidentiality agreement. So why didn't he simply try to get the data from the Spanish institute?

    Again, it's clear that the goal of McIntyre and friends' FOI requests wasn't actually to get the data. So what was the real aim of the FOI requests?

    -- bi

    ReplyDelete
  11. Steven, do you have problems understanding English?
    My Spanish is a bit behind, so I can't check that one, but the other three EXPLICITELY request NOT to hand the data to third parties.

    Webster and Rutherford, planning a co-publication with Jones, would by many not be considered third parties.

    ReplyDelete
  12. @Bi
    You ask, "So why didn't he simply try to get the data from the Spanish institute?"

    Simple, in climate science there is no such thing as "the" data. It is always somebodies version of "the" data. So getting the data from Spain (which is easy) is no guarantee that this would be the version that Jones uses. So the best way of getting the original data that Jones uses is asking Jones himself...

    ReplyDelete
  13. "So the best way of getting the original data that Jones uses is asking Jones himself..."

    The best way of securing a positive answer to such a request is to exhibit an interest in constructive knowledgebuilding. The absence of smearing and accusing the whole profession would be imperative, of course.

    I'm afraid McIntyre doesn't come even close to that description (http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/mcintyre-concerted-efforts-to-derail-the-science-and-harass-scientists/)

    Bart

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hans Erren:

    "Simple, in climate science there is no such thing as 'the' data. It is always somebodies version of 'the' data. So getting the data from Spain (which is easy) is no guarantee that this would be the version that Jones uses."

    So what exactly prevents one from asking Jones which specific version of the Spanish data that Jones was using, and then directly asking the Spanish institute for that specific version?

    Guys, your excuses for pestering CRU are getting hilarious...

    -- bi

    ReplyDelete
  15. Everyone,
    may i ask you to be polite in communicating with each other ?
    I will moderate comments if necessary.

    Frank,
    i know the site climategate.nl and your impression is right. The thing that surprises me is that at the moment they are so focussed on trying to get subsidized by the Dutch government. "not for the website, but for a six month project in which the website will play an important role". Guess we'll be hearing more of them in future :)

    ReplyDelete