While much of the mainstream media (MSM) is still sounding apoplectic apologetic about the ‘Global Warming Guilt’ scientists being caught in large scale fraud and subversion of the peer-review process, the documents leaked last week from UK’s University of East Anglia’s (UEA) Climatic Research Unit (CRU) (I so do not want to use the term ‘ClimateGate’!), others are not so idle.
‘Watts Up With That?’, a well-regarded blog run by the outspoken and highly respected Anthony Watts, posted a story by Chris Horner of The American Spectator, entitled: ‘CEI Files Notice of Intent to Sue NASA GISS’.
Why, and how is it important?
CEI is the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a think-tank, which has focused on verifying whether or not ‘the government’ is releasing accurate statements, especially when it comes to issues with impact as pervasive as ‘Global Warming’ or ‘AGW’ or ‘ACC’ (whatever you want to call it).
NASA is the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (yes, the astronaut people) and GISS is NASA’s Goddart Institute for Space Studies. And, in their own words, “Research at GISS emphasizes a broad study of global climate change.“
Dr. Hansen heads up GISS, and is perhaps one of the best known voices on this side of the Atlantic pond (aside from politicians and celebs) calling for drastic action to save us all from the inevitable catastrophe caused by man-made ‘climate change’.
The article starts out:
Today, on behalf of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, I filed three Notices of Intent to File Suit against NASA and its Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), for those bodies’ refusal – for nearly three years – to provide documents requested under the Freedom of Information Act.
The information sought is directly relevant to the exploding “ClimateGate” scandal revealing document destruction, coordinated efforts in the U.S. and UK to avoid complying with both countries’ freedom of information laws, and apparent and widespread intent to defraud at the highest levels of international climate science bodies. Numerous informed commenters had alleged such behavior for years, all of which appears to be affirmed by leaked emails, computer codes and other data from the Climatic Research Unit of the UK’s East Anglia University.
So – this is why it matters:
‘Good scientists’ - even the CRU scientists know this, as per the leaked documents – always hand over the ‘raw data’ (that means, exactly as it was collected (along with the methodology used, conditions under which it was collected), before it was processed or ‘normalized’ (scientific meaning of the word) in any way-shape-or-form), what they did with it and why, and their results along with their hypothesis and conclusions when they submit their work for peer-review.
This is really, really important: errors or mistakes (not to mention fraud) can occur at any point of the work. It can occur at the very point of data-collection. For example, if a thermocouple ‘x’ were used to measure temperatures at 5 out of 15 points, and thermocouple ‘y’ was collected for the rest, it will be necessary for any reviewer to read up on both thermocouples to make sure they behave exactly the same way under all conditions.
Simplification: consider 2 thermometers commonly used to measure fever. One is an old fashioned mercury one, the other is the modern, stick-in-the-ear one. If one takes a child’s temperature using the ear thermometer, they may get a different temperature than if they use the old-fashioned mercury one under the child’s arm. Therefore, one would have to document taking the child’s temperature simultaneously with both temperatures and record the readings. Then, one would ‘analyze the difference’ between the readings to see what the difference in readings is. Then, if one recorded 5 temperatures with the ear thermometer, and 15 with the mercury one, then one would have to ‘normalize’ one set of the readings (by adding or subtracting the ‘normal difference’ between their readings) before one could lump all 20 together as one dataset.
When doing peer-review of another scientist’s work, making sure there were no errors or mistakes in how the data was collected (like lumping together readings from the two thermometers in the example above), that there were no mistakes in making any ‘normalization’, and so on. And, since errors or mistakes can occur at any point from here on, all the ‘work’ has to be subjected to scrutiny by one’s peers.
‘Good scientists’ consider this to be a necessary part of any peer-review process.
Yet, the ‘leaked documents’ demonstrate that many of their studies, on which so much policy is being based, have been submitted for ‘peer-review’ without supplying any of their actual data to the peer doing the reviewing!
That means that their work was not FULLY ‘peer-reviewed’!
That means we ought not put much weight in that body of work!
But, even worse: the leaked emails show that, in multiple instances, some of these ‘alarmist scientists’ stated they would rather delete their data than release it for scientific review!!!
That is NOT what ‘good scientists’ do!
Which brings us to the point of the Notice of Intent to File Suit:
CEI, using ‘Freedom of Information Act’ FoIA, requested GISS to release much of the data it used to make its predictions of doom and cataclysms. It appears that, for years, GISS has not released it.
In addition, CEI appears to have requested access to the records of ‘discussions’ between various GISS employees about how the data was collected, processed and analyzed. It would seem that they requested sort of similar-type material like was leaked, except from GISS instead of CRU. And, it appears that GISS has not released it, either.
And, though I am no lawyer and people ought to draw their own conclusions, but it does seem to me that CEI is citing the information from the ‘leaked files’ that this ‘cabal of scientists’ was willing to deleted information requested under FoIA (which might constitute a pattern of behaviour among this group of scientists) to put NASA’s GISS on notice that if they do not release the requested information (as the law demands they do), they will indeed face a lawsuit.
As they say, we do live in interesting times…