NOAA vs Lamar Smith

Two posts in one day; I haven’t done that for a while. Must be because I’ve drifted back into the climate wars. I kind of wish I was more interested in sociology, because some of what I’ve experienced in the last week or so has been quite fascinating. One reason I thought I would write this post is to highlight an article by Michael Tobis – a guest author here – on the Lamar Smith vs NOAA saga. If you want to know some details, you can read Michael’s article. My own take is that I find all these type of things frustrating and annoying. We have plenty of scientific evidence and a strong consensus amongst relevant experts. If we choose to ignore that – for whatever reason – we’ve only got ourselves to blame.

I was going, however, to comment on something else. Last year, Democrat Congressman Raul Grijalva requested information from seven scientists, including Judith Curry. It was perceived as a witchhunt and he admitted that he’d overreached and backed off. The American Meteorological Society wrote a letter, that Judith Curry appreciated and regarded as very good. The letter ends with

The AMS maintains that peer-review is the appropriate me chanism to assess the validity and quality of scientific research, regardless of the funding sources supporting that research as long as those funding sources and any potential conflicts of interest are fully disclosed.

which I think is pretty spot on.

Lamar Smith’s targetting of NOAA, and in particular Thomas Karl, is also regarded as a witchhunt. The American Meteorological Society has written another letter. It also ends with

We encourage you and the Committee to help promote scientific advancement and to welcome the self-correcting nature of the peer-review process within the international scientific community.

which, again, I think is pretty spot on.

Judith has commented on this particular situation. Judith’s conclusion:

I’ve heard enough behind the scenes (including discussions with NOAA employees) that I am siding with Rep. Smith on this one.

Why? Apparently because

The politicization of climate science has gotten extreme. I don’t know where to start in trying to ameliorate this situation, but Congressional oversight and investigation into what is going on in government labs does not seem inappropriate under these circumstances.

foxeshenhouseSo, the politicization of science is so extreme that oversight by partisan politicians does not seem innapropriate? Really? Personally I find it extremely disappointing that someone who has suffered such a witchhunt, would condone another. I also don’t understand the logic. The only possible difference is that NOAA scientists are formally government employees, while university scientists are not. However, no scientist should experience political pressure, government employee or not. The idea that such a partisan political investigation is somehow appropriate, seems utterly bizarre.

One might hope that anyone who can hold such an inconsistent position would largely lose credibility. I suspect that in this case, it will lead to more of Judith’s special Op-Eds; special because somehow when Judith writes them, they’re apolitical.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Climate change, ClimateBall, Comedy, Judith Curry, Science and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

106 Responses to NOAA vs Lamar Smith

  1. And the witch hunt Judith Curry experienced was only asking for her sources of funding. Lamar Smith is asking for any communication on Karl et al. (2015) over 7 years from everyone in NOAA.

    Union of Concerned Scientists:

    On October 13, the committee subpoenaed nearly seven years of internal deliberations and communications among scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, including “all documents and communications” related to NOAA’s measurement of our climate.

    “All documents and communications” would presumably include emails, preliminary drafts, peer review comments, notes, audio recordings, and a treasure trove of other material. This would mean thousands upon thousands of records for employees to identify and go through and analyze for no clearly stated purpose.

    NOAA was given two weeks to comply.

    With emphasis on “for no clearly stated purpose”. There is no initial suspicion that could justify the investigation.

    Going though 7 years of any communication is a lot of work. Climate Science Defense Fund about an earlier FOIA harassment of two specific persons:

    But defeat in Virginia hardly slowed E&E Legal [the American Tradition Institute] down, because “while they lose repeatedly, in one way they are successful: they confuse the public debate, and force universities and scientists to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars defending themselves.”[8] There is also a substantial time element – in Arizona, Dr. Hughes and Dr. Overpeck spent ten weeks and six weeks, respectively, culling and reviewing emails potentially responsive to E&E Legal’s requests.

    NOAA has a lot of important work to do. They are working on the official release of the monthly land dataset GHCNv4, which includes much more stations and thus allows for a higher quality and more regional detail, needed for adaptation and understanding natural variability (which is often more local in nature). They are working on GHCN-daily, a global dataset needed to study changes in extreme weather. We need to understand this well to avoid casualties, economic damage and misadaptation. And NOAA is working on a dataset where all atmospheric observations are combined, so that we can understand the physical relationships between them much better. And I would add personally, the people at NOAA are very knowledgeable and I would thus like them to help me write a new WMO Guidance on homogenization to help national weather services produce high quality datasets. This harassment keeps them from doing their work for the American taxpayer.

    This harassment campaign of Lamar Smith thus directly puts American families and communities in harms way. Next to the indirect effect of the harassment which will dissuade good people with fresh ideas to study the climate system.

    Lamar Smith is up for election in 2016, last time he only got 60% of the votes and 30% of the eligible votes. 2016 the election will be combined with the presidential election, where the turnout is generally higher. It would be a good idea to accurately inform his constituents so that they can make up this mind if he it really representing their interests or the interests of Lamar’s donors.

  2. Victor,
    Indeed, although I think it is generally accepted that Grijalva initially overreached and then backed off, asking only for funding information. Asking for data and funding information seems quite reasonable. Asking for years worth of communication (which was probably never intended to be public) does not.

  3. JCH says:

    You guys need to read about the constitutional power of a congressional subcommittee/committee to investigate. It is virtually unlimited. They do not need probable cause. They do not need much of a reason at all. The courts are highly reluctant to reign in the power of the congress to investigate – it would violate balance of powers. I believe there was once a case where congressional staffer broke into a private home to search for documents. The courts spanked them for that, but it’s an example of how bad it has to get.

    Most Americans are repulsed by this when they learn about it as it violates all of the protections they think they have from the government concerning unreasonable search and seizure and privacy. Accordingly, the congress has self-limited itself most of time. This congress is most likely incapable of that. This congress will most likely make a complete ass of itself, so let them. In history, the public usually punishes them at the next election, but not always.

  4. JCH,
    Interesting. That I didn’t know. I assumed that they’d have to have some kind of probably cause.

  5. This document appears to say what JCH has just suggested.

    Put simply, Congress can compel the production of documents and sworn testimony from almost anyone at almost any time. And unlike the judicial process overseen by the courts, the congressional system offers relatively few procedural protections for those individuals or companies who find themselves subject to, what founder and early Supreme Court Justice James Wilson called, “the grand inquest of the state.”1 As an independent and coequal branch of government, Congress’s investigative power is largely unchecked by the courts, as a matter of constitutional design.

  6. Strange to call not balancing power of a Congressional chairman by the courts part of the balance of power. To be honest, I do not care much what the official legal case is. That there is no initial suspicion that could justify the investigation is important for me. Abuse of government power for political reasons is government abuse of power. If I would live in Texas, I would want to get rid of such a supporter of an intrusive Big government.

    For me science is also one of the powers. Next to the legislative, executive, courts and the press, independent science is an important power balance that can inform the sovereign about our best understanding of reality and do not leave this to the perversions those in power would like them to believe. Independent science is an important pillar of a rational democratic open society.

  7. Willard says:

    > I also don’t understand the logic.

    Special pleading is a form of fallacious argument that involves an attempt to cite something as an exception to a generally accepted rule, principle, etc. without justifying the exception.

    The lack of criticism may be a simple oversight (e.g., a reference to common sense) or an application of a double standard.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special_pleading

    ClimateBall ™ helps understand ClimateBall ™ moves like Judy’s.

  8. Willard,
    Yes, that seems plausible. I should probably stop using “I don’t understand …” when what I really want to say “This doesn’t make any sense!”.

  9. JCH says:

    If you look at procedure, NOAA is essentially negotiating for better terms. The NSF, for instance, succeeded in getting Smith to agree to sending staffers to the NSF to review confidential documents versus just turning them over to Smith. Though, I believe Smith is now back to a version of his original demand.

    One can hope that the greater body, the House, will rein in Smith to avoid a negative reaction by voters for his naked attacks on science, but with this congress that easily could not happen. The current idiot-moron quotient is pretty high. Paul Ryan is next to worthless, but if he were what he claims to be, this would be the first test he could pass.

  10. Willard says:

    > I should probably stop using “I don’t understand …” when what I really want to say “This doesn’t make any sense!”.

    I would advise against “it makes no sense” – it channels your inner Chewbacca:

    http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/tagged/chewbacca

    Double standards are not incomprehensible, otherwise nothing Judy does to justify her INTEGRITY ™ gambit would ever make sense.

    Also bear in mind that the special pleading can become dynamic:

    I’m not an activist.
    I am an activist, but not an advocate.
    I’m an advocate, but a responsible one.
    I am responsible because I am an expert in expertise.
    I only advocate for INTEGRITY ™.
    I don’t advocate for any specific policy.

    So on and so forth.

  11. Joshua says:

    ==> “Personally I find it extremely disappointing that someone who has suffered such a witchhunt, would condone another”

    Judith’s double-standard w/r/t politicizing climate science isn’t surprising even it is rather remarkable it scope. And it only enlarged the scope when she wrote a comment expressing appreciation for a letter that appealed to the authority of peer-review in her defense. A work of art and a thing of beauty, that was.

    Sometimes you just have to stand back and marvel at the power of motivated reasoning to bias the thinking of smart people who are well-trained in the scientific method for controlling for biases.

    Anyway, what I see is for the most part, both sides hand-wringing about political investigations against their “side” and applauding political investigations against the “other side.” There are exceptions to that pattern, of course. Personally, I think that the claims of witchhunt on both sides are mostly drama-queening. The endless posts in the “skept-o-sphere” where “skeptics” filled threads with pearl-clutching from feinting couches about how they were all going to wind up in jail was really sumptin.

    Although Smith’s investigation will probably have longer legs than the calls for a RICO investigation or certainly Grijalva’s investigation (in a sense making the self-victimization of Judith and other “skeptics” more strikingly self-victimizing), I don’t think that in the end Smith’s investigation will change the long-term climate change policy trajectory much at all either. Or what about the NY investigation into Exxon Mobil?

    http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/11/05/454917914/new-york-attorney-general-investigating-exxonmobil-on-climate-change

    Most of this, IMO, is political posturing that will have little if any real impact long term. If anything, all it will do is further entrench combatants in their polarized postures.

  12. Joshua says:

    My creative typo skills endure…fainting couches.

  13. Joshua says:

    I once tried suggesting to Brandon that saying “That doesn’t make sense to me” or even better, “I don’t understand what you’re saying,” might be less sub-optimal than “That makes no sense.”

    Didn’t go too well.

  14. Didn’t go too well.

    That’s no great surprise. I’ve never had a discussion with Brandon that has gone well.

  15. I would advise against “it makes no sense” – it channels your inner Chewbacca:

    Okay, yes. I was really meaning that I should be more direct and say what I really think, rather than simply implying it.

  16. Mal Adapted says:

    JCH:

    One can hope that the greater body, the House, will rein in Smith to avoid a negative reaction by voters for his naked attacks on science, but with this congress that easily could not happen.

    Well, the Ranking Member of Smith’s committee. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), sent him a pretty forthright letter of protest, for which she should be thanked. But every member of the House needs to hear from outraged constituents, urging them to stand up to Smith. I used the contact page on my Congresscritter’s website to let him know how I felt. I encourage all climate realists in the US to do the same with their Representatives.

  17. snarkrates says:

    Aunt Judy never fails to disappoint. Her science is unilluminating and unimportant. Her logic is twisted. Her understanding of the scientific method nonexistent, and her ethics lacking.

  18. firstdano says:

    That’ll teach Grijalva to back off once the chihuauahs start yapping and nipping at his heels.

    :o/

    Best,

    D

  19. christian says:

    @ All,

    Please, can anyone help me about this? Metoffice correct the same, its okay, NOAA or Karl et al. correct this, its bad?

    Sorry, whats the Problem with some Americans?

    In dont get it

  20. pete,best says:

    I see this as the dying days of political denial. Momentum is with the other side and no amount of lobbying will change that by the sounds of it. Be cheerful for in our politically economically driven system fossil fuel was for 250 years the way but now its the way to a cleaner future. Sure its going to take time and we may see a 2c warmer world but at least it wont be catastrophic for all of us (some of us yes). Its the worlds largest industry and its got massive clout politically and economically and some ppl dont want that to change but it will because the rest of us see it as necessary to do so.

  21. Christian,
    It’s not just in the US. In the UK we have people like Christopher Booker and James Delingpole who also make claims against the Met Office. Admittedly the government hasn’t been drawn in, but it’s not as if we don’t see somewhat similar things here.

  22. Mal Adapted says:

    christian:

    Sorry, whats the Problem with some Americans?

    As an American, I attribute the high incidence of AGW-denial among my countrymen to two underlying values:

    1. We cherish a founding myth of rugged individualists wresting prosperity from a bountiful, untamed wilderness (the indigenes having been mostly killed off by Old World diseases well in advance of Europeans arriving in their vicinity). For the first half of our history, natural resources were available for the taking, and externalities could easily be ignored. If there was too much competition from your neighbors, or local pollution became bothersome, you could migrate to “the frontier”. The frontier closed more than a century ago, but we haven’t let go of the myth.

    2. We harbor a belief in egalitarianism and a prejudice against elites. We privilege “common sense” over “book learning”. We are confident our opinions, on any subject, are as good as those of someone who has spent years studying the subject. IOW, the Dunning-Kruger effect is ubiquitous among us. It allows us to be easily fooled by those with both common sense and book learning, but without scruples.

    The upshot is that we feel entitled to the material prosperity our forebears created by exploiting natural resources as if they were inexhaustible, and pretending externalities didn’t exist. We all imagine we can become not just prosperous but rich, with a little luck and a modest amount of pluck. And we present an easy opportunity for self-interested parties to sell us flattering images of ourselves, while directing our attention away from the man behind the curtain.

    Seen in that light, it’s not really surprising that we don’t want to be told our prosperity has a cost we’ve so far been able to avoid paying but that is now coming due, and that those of us who’ve gotten rich did it by privatizing the market value of natural resources while socializing much of the cost of exploiting them. Accordingly, all too many of us angrily reject the message and seek to kill the messenger.

  23. John Mashey says:

    To see how things have changed,
    in 2005, Joe Barfton and Whitfield tried to intimidate Mann, Breadley and Huighes (and others) over the hockey stick, demanding all sorts of things.
    There was a lot of pushback, especially from Rep. Sherry Boehlert(R-NY), who basically told them that if they wanted science, don’t hassle individual scientists, ask NAS to set up an NRC panel.

    Now, the question is whether or not there is a single Boehlert left in the House.

  24. GarryD says:

    ATTP your are a reasonable voice on climate change but you seem to be defending something which might not be good scientific practice? Dr. Leif Svalgaard as context (advocates that science is hard and mandates skill which is practiced and requires exceptional discipline) wrote that climate science is difficult “it will likely take another 100 years to explain climate change because of the complexity and lack of knowledge”. He is arguably no one’s fool on either side of this argument (“not the sun” killed many skeptical arguments once he entered the fray)? If his opinion is only 1/3 correct on the years needed to be scientifically informed, why we hide the decision making process of federally funded programs? If the science is settled the 95% certainty will be the release of the process driving NOAA? Remember Gruber? Humans cause negative changes to the Earth’s environment is impossible to hide. Exponential population growth (1.5 billion to 7.5 in 70 years) with correspondent resource utilization and infrastructure development hurts the planet for sure. Don’t you believe that “end justifies the means” methods weaken science? Physicists like R.G. Brown of Duke despairs that both sides in the climate discussion routinely demonstrate poor basic skill or judgement. Specifically “To be blunt, climate science in general makes claims of “confidence” across the board that cannot possibly be justified using axiomatic statistics. I’m asserting that there are a small mountain of things we don’t know about the climate system, as well as things that we can see happening that we cannot explain or quantitatively predict or understand (such as the multi-decadal oscillations) that clearly have a major impact on both the local time development of the climate and its global trajectory”. He makes this argument while pointing out honestly “I am sure which the outcome is correct”. He is dead certain that the science product as presented is being poorly presented to the knowledgeable. Keeping the process hidden reminds me of M.I.T.’s Johnathan Gruber’s numerous video’s on the new healthcare law. Are worst off by knowing what Gruber found the the truth?

  25. climatehawk1 says:

    May be the dying days of denial, but as with evolution, the Confederate flag, gay rights, and other issues, the remaining folks just circle the wagons and get even more stubborn. Plus, climate science denial has the added lure, for politicians, of a big pot of dark campaign money.

  26. TonyL says:

    The difference between Raul Grijalva / Judith Curry and the Lamar Smith / NOAA is the following:

    1) Judith Curry is a private citizen and the 4th Amendment of the US Constitution protects citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures. This is why Rep. Grijalva query was considered intimation and an unreasonable. It does not matter whether or not Judith Curry received funding from oil companies or anyone else because it is a private and legal transaction.

    2) Thomas Karl is a federal employee and works for NOAA. NOAA is under the U.S. Dept of Commerce, which is subject to Executive orders from the President. President Obama has clearly stated he would use Executive orders to “make progress” on climate change. He has already directed the EPA to issue new regulations on coal-fired power plants. It is entirely conceivable that the President could issue direction to NOAA to find some data that shows the pause does not exist. The pause is rather inconvenient for his policy objectives, and hence the desire to remove it.

    I doubt the President would overtly misdirect science, but then again I wouldn’t expect Presidents to break into offices (Nixon) or perjurer themselves (Clinton). How many of you believe G.W. Bush lied about WMDs in Iraq to start the war? In the world of big game politics, some mighty hard ball is played. And the President may not be completely misdirecting science to achieve some policy goals – he could just be looking for some “good marketing” material, and the Karl et al “pause busting” paper has been trumpeted far and wide.

    In the balance of power between the President and Congress, if Congress suspects some shenanigans, then they can investigate. The request for NOAA emails from Congress is probably looking for such policy corruption of science. I am sure that many would never consider NOAA corruptible and all their scientists are honorable, but I do recall that James Hansen has been arrested many times for protesting; breaking the law for a good cause. It is plausible that Thomas Karl may have smudged the numbers a little and ignored high quality buoy data in favor of lower quality ship inlet data that has a warming trend. After all, it is a noble cause, saving the world and all that.

    So the difference in this case was that Raul Grijalva in Congress was going after a private citizen, and that is unacceptable. But Congress is *supposed* balance against the President, and since the President can direct NOAA, Congress should be wary, very wary.

  27. Ethan Allen says:

    Mal Adapted,

    Your link goes to NSF letters not the latest NOAA letter to the Hillbilly From Texas …
    http://democrats.science.house.gov/press-release/ranking-member-johnson-letter-chairman-smith-noaa-subpoena

  28. TonyL.
    Except Judith Curry and Thomas Karl are both scientists. Thomas Karl is being targetting because of a single paper he has published. If someone is concerned about the politicization of science, then they really should not support this. Just because some scientists are government employees does not mean that they should be subject to political pressure.

  29. Garry,

    If his opinion is only 1/3 correct on the years needed to be scientifically informed, why we hide the decision making process of federally funded programs? If the science is settled the 95% certainty will be the release of the process driving NOAA?

    Are you suggesting why not provide the emails? A number of reasons. Firstly science is settled in the peer-reviewed literature, not by checking people’s emails. What matters is what is presented and whether or not it can be reproduced/replicated. All that is needed to do this for Karl et al. is available publicly. Another reason is that scientists should be free to communicate amongst themselves while making their decisions without fear of having their emails taken out of context and being used against them.

    I’ll comment on this

    ignored high quality buoy data in favor of lower quality ship inlet data that has a warming trend.

    I don’t think he ignored any. I believe Karl et al. used all the data. The only controversy was that he adjusted one set of data up to match the other. Why this is controversial is beyond me, given that adjusting one up, would be the same (given that we’re dealing with anomalies) adjusting the other down.

  30. Lars Karlsson says:

    TonyL: “It is plausible that Thomas Karl may have smudged the numbers a little and ignored high quality buoy data in favor of lower quality ship inlet data that has a warming trend.”

    I have seen a lot of people making this or similar claims, but I have not seen anybody actually providing a detailed and informed argument to support such claims. I have also gone back and looked at the paper by Karl and others, and to the paper about sea surface temperature that they in turn reference, and I haven’t found any indication that they have done anything questionable. TonyL, could you please explain what the problem is with their method?

  31. toby52 says:

    “It is plausible that Thomas Karl may have smudged the numbers a little and ignored high quality buoy data in favor of lower quality ship inlet data that has a warming trend. After all, it is a noble cause, saving the world and all that.”

    is it “plausible”? Really? Where is the evidence? And, if this is the case, is a congressional staffer with no scientific training the right person to do that investigation?

    There are two models that could be followed, both in the cases of the Hockey Stick. There was a scientific report by a committee under Douglas North, at the request of Congress and under the supervision of the National Research Council. Why cannot Smith follow that model if he is concerned? There was another biased and plagiarised report from Edward Wegman directly reporting to a Republican Congressman, now widely discredited and with a worse reputation than what it was supposed to investigate.

    The scientific data to do a NRC investigation is available. So why are e-mails going back 6 years required? There is also the issue of scientific correspondence being selectively leaked to biased media outlets in order to discredit the scientists’ reputations. I am sure your faith in politicians does not make you put them above such shenannigans.

  32. TonyL,
    Lars makes a good point. Criticism in science works by looking through the scientific results and finding something to actually criticise. It doesn’t work by implying that someone might have smudged the numbers.

  33. Toby52 makes the same good point as Lars.

  34. Ethan Allen says:

    Actually, I want the House to hold Kathryn D. Sullivan in contempt of Congress …
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kathryn_D._Sullivan
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contempt_of_Congress#Subpoena

    It then goes to Channing D. Phillips …
    http://www.justice.gov/usao/district/dc

    who just happens to be the son of …
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Channing_E._Phillips

    and maybe Channing D. Phillips’s boss has something to say on this issue …
    http://www.justice.gov/ag

    and maybe her boss has some rather unkind words for the Hillbilly From Texas …
    https://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/president-obama

    who then invokes executive privilege …
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_privilege

    Like he did with Eric Holden’s contempt of Congress …
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Holder#Contempt_of_Congress

    “”It is unfortunate that some were so quick to make baseless accusations before they possessed the facts about these operations – accusations that turned out to be without foundation and that have caused a great deal of unnecessary harm and confusion.”

    End result? No fine and no time for Dr. Sullivan. No internal NOAA communications to Congress.

    In, fact, the MSM plays this one up as THE “Republican War On Science” and we get another D as POTUS.

    Oh, Lamar Smith is an actual scientist, a Christian Scientist that is …
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lamar_S._Smith#Personal_life

    not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  35. snarkrates says:

    Tony L.: ” It is plausible that Thomas Karl may have smudged the numbers a little and ignored high quality buoy data in favor of lower quality ship inlet data that has a warming trend. After all, it is a noble cause, saving the world and all that.”

    This is precisely why ignorant food tubes like you should be kept away from scientists trying to do their jobs. You don’t even understand what Karl et al. have done! The issue is NOT whether one dataset shows warming and the other does not. The issue is that you do not have data for the buoys going far into the past and the buoy data systematically deviate from the ship-based data. You have a fricking systematic error that is estimable. The proper thing to do is correct the newer dataset–and that is what Karl et al. have done

  36. Lars Karlsson says:

    For the record, this is how the ships-vs-buoy correction is described in the paper:

    “First, several studies have examined the differences between buoy- and ship-based data, noting that the ship data are systematically warmer than the buoy data (15–17). This is particularly important, as much of the sea surface is now sampled by both observing systems, and surface-drifting and moored buoys have increased the overall global coverage by up to 15% (see supplemental material for details). These changes have resulted in a time-dependent bias in the global SST record, and various corrections have been developed to account for
    the bias (18). Recently, a new correction (13) was developed and applied in the Extended Reconstructed Sea Surface Temperature dataset version 4, which we use in our analysis. In essence, the bias correction involved calculating the average difference between collocated buoy and ship SSTs. The average difference globally was -0.12°C, a correction which is applied to the buoy SSTs at every grid cell in ERSST version 4. [Notably, IPCC (1) used a global analysis from the UK Met Office that found the same average shipbuoy difference globally, although the corrections in that analysis were constrained by differences observed within each ocean basin (18).] More generally, buoy data have been proven to be more accurate and reliable than ship data, with better known instrument characteristics and automated sampling (16). Therefore, ERSST version 4 also considers this smaller buoy uncertainty in the reconstruction (13).”

  37. JCH says:

    From the supplemental material for the Karl paper:

    …The factor that contributed the largest change in SST trends over this period was continuing to make corrections to ship data after 1941.These corrections are based on information derived from night marine air temperature. This correction cools the ship data a bit more in 1998-2000 than it does in the later years, which thereby adds to the warming trend. To evaluate the robustness of this correction, trends of the corrected and uncorrected ship data were compared to co-located buoy data without the offset added. As the buoy data did not include the offset the buoy data are independent of the ship data. The trend of uncorrected ship minus buoy data was -0.066°C dec-1 over the period 2000-2014, while the trend in corrected ship minus buoy data was -0.002°C dec-1.

    This close agreement in the trend of the corrected ship data indicates that these time dependent ship adjustments did indeed correct an artifact in ship data impacting the trend over this hiatus period. …

  38. Lars Karlsson says:

    Interesting point JCH. So there was a correction of the ship data (which is a different correction than the one for combining ship and buoy data), and this correction made the trends in ship data and buoy data to be more in agreement. This correction also adds to the trend since 1998.

    So if one considers the buoy data more reliable (as one should do), then one should also accept the higher trend.

  39. JCH says:

    That’s how I read it, but I’m not real reliable on this stuff.

  40. The juicy science bits are nowadays in the supplemental information, while the main article becomes a summary more and more. JCH and Lars, I would say that you interpreted that paragraph right. It is not unambiguous what “this period” means, but it seems save to assume that they mean the last 15 years or so. The trend in the buoys can naturally also be wrong, but when these two trends in ships and buoys become more similar, it seems more likely than not, that the independently computed adjustment for ships was an improvement.

  41. Kestrel27 says:

    I agree with TonyL. Forget that this is about climate for a moment because it is a matter of principle. Karl is a government employee employed by a government funded organisation; for that reason it is entirely legitimate that he and his organisation should have to respond to questioning from Congress. In the UK someone in the same position would be asked, in practice required, to appear before a House of Commons select committee. Far from being illegitimate pressure this is democracy in action. Of course I accept that Karl and the NOAA may feel pressure but that is an inevitable part being accountable under the democratic process. The author of this blog is simply wrong on this one.

    I would add that scientists are not in any special position. Climate science is clearly political because of the difficult political decisions it makes necessary. One would have thought that all involved in the area would have realised this by now and accepted it. Nor does it look good to that part of the outside world that is fence sitting or sceptical about climate change that the NOAA seems reluctant to be accountable under the democratic process.

  42. Kestrel27,
    Science isn’t meant to be democratic. Science is meant to present results that represent reality as accurately as possible, whether people like the result or not. If you think climate science is already clearly political (and I think you have little evidence for this as far as science specificially is concerned) then I find it hard to see why a partisan political enquiry would someone help to ameliorate this.

  43. Kestrel27 says:

    I agree with you that science isn’t meant to be democratic. However, where it reveals facts that require politicians to take difficult policy decisions it clearly has a political dimension. It is that dimension that makes it legitimate for politicians to question scientists via the democratic process. The same does of course apply to specialists in any other field. I may be wrong but I have a feeling you might agree with this if we were discussing any subject other than climate.

    The world is full of groups of experts who claim special privileges for themselves, one of them often being that their conclusions should be accepted without question. I view it as one of the more worthwhile functions of democracy to disabuse them of that notion. Of course the views of experts should be treated with respect, often a scarce commodity in debates about climate change, but to say their views should not be open to question seems wrong to me, and to have a slightly totalitarian flavour.

  44. Kestrel27,

    It is that dimension that makes it legitimate for politicians to question scientists via the democratic process.

    Of course, but then you question the science itself, not the background chatter that may have taken place between scientists. All that is needed to assess the value/credibility of Karl et al. is in the public domain.

    The world is full of groups of experts who claim special privileges for themselves, one of them often being that their conclusions should be accepted without question. I view it as one of the more worthwhile functions of democracy to disabuse them of that notion.

    Absolutely, but this is about the scientific process, not about whether or not Karl et al. is right or wrong.

    A major problem here, IMO, is that no congressional committee has the technical ability to assess this work from a scientific perspective.

  45. Kestrel27 says:

    I think we should probably bring this exchange to a close but I will make two points. First, I accept that the request for internal communications may have gone too far. I don’t think this would be possible in the UK. On the other hand it may be only by examining the process that you can assess the correctness or otherwise of the conclusion.

    Secondly, I entirely accept that the exercise may be a waste of time because of a lack of knowledge and expertise on the congressional committee. It is an unavoidable feature of democracy that quite often experts are examined by non-experts who are not up to doing the job properly. To get a little Churchillian, democracy is still the least bad system there is!

  46. On the other hand it may be only by examining the process that you can assess the correctness or otherwise of the conclusion.

    This would only be reasonable if there was evidence of actual fraud, such as creating fake data. Since all the data is public and the method is known, this is clearly irrelevant.

  47. snarkrates says:

    I would note that there is a big difference between Congressional testimony and a quote-mining operation whose sole purpose is to find “gotchas” to quote out of context.

    As Cardinal Richelieu said, “If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him. ”

    And compared to Lamar Smith, Richelieu was a frigging saint.

  48. Kestrel27 says:

    It may be just a cynical fishing expedition but I wouldn’t mind having a small bet that some on committee think they have evidence of fraud even if they’re wrong.

  49. snarkrates says:

    Kestrel27,
    These are Republicans–no evidence required. The mere existence of a Congressional Subpoena is sufficient for the denizens of Faux News to sputter with rage about the vast conspiracy of the scientific community.

  50. TonyL says:

    Kestrel27 makes excellent points, and I agree with them. This is not about science, scientists, or climate – it is about the integrity of science and avoiding powerful people from manipulating information to steer the citizens. If Bush lied about WMDs, then that was wrong, even if everyone in the US wanted some revenge. Even if you hate fossil fuels and love renewables, it is wrong to manipulate the data no matter how much you believe in the cause. No one is saying Karl manipulated the data, but he did make what appears to be questionable decisions. ARGO shows no ocean warming the last 15 years. Other climate scientists are questioning Karl’s pair . The normal scientific process may be correcting science as we speak. But the question remains as to why Karl did what he did in his paper. Was there political influence?

  51. This is not about science, scientists, or climate – it is about the integrity of science and avoiding powerful people from manipulating information to steer the citizens.

    And how does an investigation by partisan politicians somehow resolve this, even if this is true.

    No one is saying Karl manipulated the data, but he did make what appears to be questionable decisons.

    What decisions? If you’re talking about the buoy ship decision, it’s irrelevant. It doesn’t decisions influence the trend. Even if he did make questionable decisions, you resolve that in the literature. The data exists. The method is known.

    ARGO shows no ocean warming the last 15 years.

    No it does not. This is nonsense. If you’re going to say things like this, then you’re illustrating your ignorance.

    But the question remains as to why Karl did what he did in his paper. Was there political influence?

    These questions are only coming from people like yourself, maybe Judith Curry, and politicians. Most scientists would not consider that a valid question.

  52. Lars Karlsson says:

    TonyL: “No one is saying Karl manipulated the data, but he did make what appears to be questionable decisions.”

    Some people are saying that. This is what Lamar Smith said (my bold):

    “It was inconvenient for this administration that climate data has clearly showed no warming for the past two decades. The American people have every right to be suspicious when NOAA alters data to get the politically correct results they want and then refuses to reveal how those decisions were made. NOAA needs to come clean about why they altered the data to get the results they needed to advance this administration’s extreme climate change agenda. The agency has yet to identify any legal basis for withholding these documents.”

    No “whether” or “if”. Only “when” and “why”.

  53. Marco says:

    “But the question remains as to why Karl did what he did in his paper”

    Because scientists know that you need to adjust data for various factors to get the (scientifically) correct results – note also that this was work done over many years.

    It is only when that (scientifically) correct result is politically inconvenient that certain people start complaining and also ask:
    “Was there political influence?”

    It is my impression that these type of questions usually come from people who *would* use their political influence to get the science to agree with their ideology, people like Lamar Smith.

    Most telling is that people who claim there to be “questionable decisions” usually cannot do much better than to refer to some data being shifted up rather than other data being shifted down – this argument was so scientifically incompetent that I almost started to wonder whether those who originally made the claim perhaps got their degrees from some kind of diploma mill. Until I realized that they actually did not complain about data being shifted up in the beginning of the record. Immediately it was clear that ideology played a big role: less warming fits the ideology, so no complaints, more warming does not fit the ideology, so MbW (for those who do not know: Must be Wrong).

  54. pbjamm says:

    Kestrel27 : “However, where it reveals facts that require politicians to take difficult policy decisions it clearly has a political dimension.”

    I fundamentally disagree with this. The facts presented by climate scientists do not require action. We can do nothing at all about this issue and it looks more likely every day that that is what will be done. All the facts tell us is what is happening and what is likely to happen in the future depending on what we do (or dont do). Policy in response to the facts is political but the facts are what they are. I am perfectly happy to discuss action/inaction with people as long as they accept the facts. Arguing about facts is a complete waste of time.

  55. Willard says:

    > I agree with TonyL. Forget that this is about climate for a moment because it is a matter of principle.

    TonyL has not argued from principle, but from the law.

  56. Willard says:

    > I would add that scientists are not in any special position. Climate science is clearly political because of the difficult political decisions it makes necessary.

    Yet this does not seem to apply to Judy. Fancy that.

  57. Willard says:

    > This is not about science, scientists, or climate – it is about the integrity of science and avoiding powerful people from manipulating information to steer the citizens.

    INTEGRITY ™ – But the Constitution

  58. Willard says: “INTEGRITY ™ – But the Constitution

    In Germany the government abuse of power of Lamar Smith would be unconstitutional. The Americans were so smart to put Freedom of Science and Research into the German constitution.

    Kestrel27 says: “Far from being illegitimate pressure this is democracy in action.

    Is Germany not a democracy or is the situation somewhat more subtle?

    The stifling of Canadian scientists and the destructions of scientific libraries by Prime Minister Harper may have been legal. It is still reprehensible. It was good that the Canadian electorate punished that abuse of government power to hurt the open society. I hope the voters in Texas will show the same good judgement with Lamar Smith.

  59. anoilman says:

    Victor Venema says: Harper’s gone, and freedom was instantly restored with the Liberal government.

    Silence was achieved by putting the scientists under NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement) which is standard in business. Foreign scientists wishing to use Canadian data were also subjected to NDA. The could publish, but not speak in public or to reporters.

    If under the freaking amazing rare circumstance that they were permitted to speak, they were followed around by Political Minders to ensure that they only spoke on issues they were permitted to, and in the prescribed fashion. Saddam Hussein used similar tactics to keep his scientists in line during WMD inspections. In fact Saddam’s use of minders was the first time I’d heard of the practice.

    This is not to say that governments in Canada haven’t been silencing inconvenient information, but Harper was the first to do it broadly, and in such an authoritarian way.

    Why conservatives applaud authoritarianism is beyond me. Its not associated with nice or successful regimes in history. Lets just say it. Evil. Its evil, and I’d been brought up to despise it by school system in Canada, and the US.

  60. JCH says:

    A commenter on Climate Etc. claimed a parliamentary committee in Great Britain comparable to Lamar Smith’s would get complete cooperation from the equivalent of NOAA, including giving them the emails. Claimed it had happened in the past.

  61. JCH,
    I don’t know if that is true, or not. I suspect they still have to do an FOI request to actually get emails. They can probably insist the public sector scientists appear before a committee, but that’s probably true in the US too.

  62. JCH says:

    I think what he was saying is no worker for a government entity would ever refuse to comply. In the US there is a significant history of people, initially anyway, refusing to comply. Kissinger, for instance, initially refused to comply.

    We revolted. It’ in our blood.

    It’s a negotiation for better terms, or, in some cases, a resolve to go to jail on principle.

  63. Willard says:

    > Harper’s gone

    Archives too:

    The Harper government has dismantled one of the world’s top aquatic and fishery libraries as part of its agenda to reduce government as well as limit the role of environmental science in policy decision-making.

    http://thetyee.ca/News/2013/12/09/Dismantling-Fishery-Library/

  64. Michael Lloyd says:

    JCH wrote:

    “A commenter on Climate Etc. claimed a parliamentary committee in Great Britain comparable to Lamar Smith’s would get complete cooperation from the equivalent of NOAA, including giving them the emails. Claimed it had happened in the past.”

    I am not aware of any UK Select Committee asking for emails in respect of any inquiry into Climate Science.

    aTTP replied:

    “I don’t know if that is true, or not. I suspect they still have to do an FOI request to actually get emails. They can probably insist the public sector scientists appear before a committee, but that’s probably true in the US too.”

    UK Parliament Select Committees have unlimited powers to ” ‘send for persons, papers and records’ relevant to their terms of reference.” There is no direct requirement to use FOI legislation.

    There are, however, questions that may arise over the enforcement of such powers. The following paper consider the options for enforcement and in the process covers some of the issues as to whether the powers of Select Committees have been appropriately exercised and the latter point is, I think, precisely what aTTP is addressing in his post.

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmselect/cmliaisn/697/697we36.htm

  65. TonyL says:

    Let me try another angle since some here just don’t seem to get it. I want the government investigating itself all the time. I want the Democrats all up in G.W. Bush’s business. I want the Republicans all up in Obama’s business, or Hilary’s business, and all up NOAA’s. If you do not want this, then you should. This is very important and this is how we keep the government accountable.

    It is very difficult for people to investigate the government. We do not want the government investigating private citizens (i.e., Judith Curry, you, or me) without probable cause (that’s why the Constitution is the way it is). This is why Congressman Grijalva’s investigation of climate skeptics (private citizens) was wrong, and why Congressman Smith’s investigation of NOAA is appropriate. It does not matter why Smith wants information – he can investigate NOAA because he doesn’t like Thomas Karl’s hair color for all I care.

    This has nothing to do with science or the scientific method. NOAA withholding information (data, methods, communications, email, etc.) from Congress that is what I would consider one of the highest violations of public trust that can be done. There is no scientific, moral, legal, or ethical reason for them to refuse. For NOAA to refuse Congress immediately rings warning bells and causes great concern. Congress should smash heads and hold individuals personally responsible for this refusal.

  66. snarkrates says:

    TonyL., What utter complete horsecrap. Do you really think that Lamar Smith has the credentials–hell, the brain cells–to assess the validity of a scientific study? Should we also look forward to Representative Smith’s investigation of the Higgs Boson?

    Congress has a responsibility–it is to make sure that funding allocated to agencies in the executive branch is spent responsibly. In the absence of fraud, waste and abuse, Congress has ZERO role. Zero. Rather than trying to make sure the country is getting its money’s worth, Smith and his denialist buddies are trying to intimidate scientists to keep them from doing their job.
    Dude, this is science. Science is self regulating. Every submission is peer reviewed. The community then decides whether the result is worthwhile and in the process whether they can reproduce it. The last thing we need is imbeciles like Lamar Smith jamming their thumbs into the clockwork. Maybe you should learn a little bit how science works.

  67. Kevin O'Neill says:

    TonyL – the data and methods are *already* publicly available. The fact Lamar Smith would ask for them should tell you this is a nothing more than harassment.

  68. dhogaza says:

    TonyL wants a world where no person in their right mind would want to work as a government scientist or do work funded by government.

    There’s a book about doing government science under conditions which, while much worse in detail and degree, isn’t that much different in philosophy to what TonyL would like to see: “In The First Circle”.

  69. > We do not want the government investigating private citizens (i.e., Judith Curry, you, or me) […]

    Let me try to find this other angle to make sure anyone can get that this is misleading at best:

    The Georgia Institute of Technology (commonly referred to as Georgia Tech, Tech, or GT) is a ­public research university in Atlanta, Georgia, in the United States.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgia_Institute_of_Technology

    There’s no need to condone what G did to notice the double standard in TonyL’s argumentation.

  70. anoilman says:

    Willard says: “The Harper government has dismantled one of the world’s top aquatic and fishery libraries as part of its agenda to reduce government as well as limit the role of environmental science in policy decision-making.”

    A Purge..
    http://www.academicmatters.ca/2013/05/harpers-attack-on-science-no-science-no-evidence-no-truth-no-democracy/

    I knew people in oceanography at a facility that was axed. One had received an award for his work on Global Warming.

  71. I think the response to TonyL’s comment have said what I was going to say. I’ll just add a few things.

    Let me try another angle since some here just don’t seem to get it.

    We get it. We disagree.

    This has nothing to do with science or the scientific method.

    Agreed, but it is damaging it.

    NOAA withholding information (data, methods, communications, email, etc.) from Congress that is what I would consider one of the highest violations of public trust that can be done. There is no scientific, moral, legal, or ethical reason for them to refuse.

    All the data and methods are public. There is a perfectly valid reason for them refusing.

    For NOAA to refuse Congress immediately rings warning bells and causes great concern.

    Only for conspiracy theorists.

  72. TonyL says:

    First, I hope my HTML tags come through cleanly.

    ATTP:

    How is Congress’ investigation of NOAA damaging science?

    While you say, “All the data and methods are public. There is a perfectly valid reason for them refusing.” but you do not state the reason. I am curious as to what you think is a valid reason.

    As for conspiracy, the space between “the truth and whole truth” to “all out fraud” is very wide. Where would you put NOAA, the IPCC, and Congress on a scale from zero (complete fraud) to ten (the whole truth)? I am speculating that Lamar Smith puts NOAA in the 5 to 7 range — they are not telling the whole truth, and hence the reason for investigating them.

    Snarkrates:

    In the absence of fraud, waste and abuse, Congress has ZERO role.

    If Lamar Smith suspects some sort of fraud (a 9 on my scale above would qualify as “some”), then it seems you are saying that you would condone an investigation. I agree.

    Willard:

    Georgia Tech is a State, as in the State of Georgia, university. The separation of powers between the federal government and state governments is the almost the same as people. Congress is a Federal power investigating NOAA, a Federal organization. Can you see the difference now? If the State of Georgia wanted to investigate Judith Curry, then I’m all for it. Remember, I like it when the government investigates itself and its employees.

  73. Joseph says:

    Sorry to butt in but what the heck does “some fraud” mean, Rick? Either the adjustments are fraudulent or they are not. Either the pause essentially disappears (which is what Rep. Smith is so concerned about) because of the adjustments or it doesn’t..

  74. TonyL says:

    Joseph:

    Please do not be deceptive in asserting that fraud is binary. Fraud is a form of deception and exists in a continuum. See Wikipedia.

  75. Joshua says:

    TonyL

    ==> “We do not want the government investigating private citizens (i.e., Judith Curry, you, or me) without probable cause (that’s why the Constitution is the way it is).”

    So what’s the issue here? The criterion of probable cause or the criterion of being a private citizen? Do you want the government investigating government employees without probable cause?

    The problem with how many “skeptics” have argued w/r/t the Smith and Grijalva investigations, respectively, is that they criticize the politicization of science on the one hand and then applaud it on the other.

  76. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) is either a tragic Dunning-Kruger victim, or he’s betrayed humanity:

    Even if we ignore the fact that NOAA has already provided their data and code, Lamar Smith’s shameless threats of “criminal enforcement” just for saying we’re continuing to warm blatantly ignores rising ocean heat content, which reveals ~90% of the heat added to Earth’s climate. Or maybe the senseless witch hunt sparked by Lamar Smith and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) will just expand to include ARGO, GRACE, TOPEX/Jason, and even the dataset co-authored by Prof. Judith Curry:

    In fact, years before Karl et al. 2015 was published, I publicly stated that there hasn’t been a statistically significant change in the global surface warming rate. If publicly stating that as a “public servant” has become a crime, then I was guilty before Karl et al.

    Lamar Smith, if you and your revolting anti-science “committee” keep shaming the United States by threatening American scientists for criminal enforcement just for stating that the world continues to warm, YOU’LL HAVE TO GO THROUGH ME FIRST!

  77. TonyL,

    Please do not be deceptive in asserting that fraud is binary. Fraud is a form of deception and exists in a continuum. See Wikipedia.

    We’re talking science here. Scientific fraud is pretty well defined. Either you did it, or you didn’t. It would include, for example, faking data. Simply being wrong, or publishing something that others disagree with is NOT fraud.

  78. TonyL,

    How is Congress’ investigation of NOAA damaging science?

    Because if a scientist feels that this might happen to them if they publish something that is inconvenient, then that is damaging to science. Scientists should be free to publish whatever they want, whatever the political implications. If scientists become nervous of doing so, then that is damaging science, IMO.

  79. Marco says:

    “How is Congress’ investigation of NOAA damaging science?”

    Simple answer: in the way the investigation is formulated, it already claims to have established fraud has taken place. It is telling government scientists that if they come with results that are inconvenient to the major ruling party, they will be openly accused of fraud and must give over any documents that can be twisted to support that claim. Science is not helped by such political games.

    Note that Grijalva did not claim any of the scientists he targeted *had* done anything nefarious, in contrast to Lamar Smith. Also note that Grijalva targeted ‘private individuals’ who had *testified in congress*. One could argue that he had probable cause, in that Willie Soon (another one of those who testified) had failed to disclose industrial funding in numerous papers. Not that this changes the fact that it was a fishing expedition, but one that was formulated a lot more benign than that of Smith, who openly *declares* there has been fraud and now he just wants all documents so he can twist them to fit that claim.

  80. anoilman says:

    TonyL: Science stands on its own. You provide the work and ‘generally’ the data required to reproduce it. I say ‘generally’ because some data is private (owned) or secret (military).

    Nothing else is needed in science. Go getters and interested parties can then reproduce your results, and may even take that data on for their own purposes. This is how all science is done. This is how errors and fraud are spotted, like so;
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sch%C3%B6n_scandal

    It takes a professional eye and an extremely good knowledge of the material to spot any mistakes.

    Reuse of the data by experts makes it incredibly unlikely to get away with fraud. The data and evidence is constantly reviewed and reused. Never blindly.. unless you want to get visit from the screw up fairy. You have to know it cold. This is how science determines mistakes, and discovers improvements.

    This is how it has always been done. Here’s Tyndall 1861;
    http://hannahlab.org/papers/Tyndall_1861.pdf

    I’m sure anyone here could reproduce his results, but it would be a huge amount of work.

    Going though anything more than the papers and data is harassment and clearly unnecessary.

  81. anoilman says:

    Meanwhile… back at the science fair;

  82. snarkrates says:

    TonyL: “If Lamar Smith suspects some sort of fraud (a 9 on my scale above would qualify as “some”), then it seems you are saying that you would condone an investigation. I agree.”
    Actually, my standards for evidence are a bit higher than the mere suspicions of a moron, conspiracy theorist and nutjob ideologue. The data are publicly available. The article made it through peer review and editorial scrutiny at a prestigious scientific journal. The authors are experienced scientists with a long track record of good research. Where, I would ask, is the evidence of anything untoward?

    Oh, yeah. Right. You guys don’t deal in evidence.

  83. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) just keeps digging:

  84. Lars Karlsson says:

    According to WP, Lamar Smith claims to have a whistle blower.

    “n a second letter in less than a week to Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, Smith urged her to pressure NOAA to comply with his subpoena for internal communications. Smith says whistleblowers have come forward with new information on the climate study’s path to publication in June.The study refuted claims that global warming had “paused” or slowed over the past decade, undercutting a popular argument used by those who refute the scientific consensus that man-made pollution is behind global warming.”

  85. pbjamm says:

    If he really has multiple whistleblowers he would lay it all on the table instead of bluffing with his cards so close to his chest.

  86. JCH says:

    Professor Curry indicated she had spoken with somebody(s) at NOAA, which is why she supports Smith. There was a small spat about one of NOAA’s SST groups showing no warming. It was several months ago. I figured she would be talking about people in that group, but who knows.

  87. TonyL says:

    pbjamm:

    Why would Lamar Smith “lay it all on the table”? Clearly, it does not seem you understand how to play politics. NOAA is under subpoena for information. Smith has upped the stakes and claims he has insider information. That is probably true, but the unknown is how much does he have? By laying out his cards and information then he would show how much he has, and if it is not much than NOAA can continue to stall or obstruct. If he has a lot, then they’ll roll over and plead ignorance or that there was some sort innocent misunderstanding. If he holds his information close and reveals noting, then NOAA can potentially be caught in a perjury or obstruction of Congress trap, both of which can have severe individual consequences for anyone involved.

    At this time, it is probably in NOAA’s best interest to confess and fully confess. Assuming they’ve been “caught”, they will probably get forgiveness, get a smack on the wrist and forced to promise not to do it again. Any other action than a full confession on Karl’s and/or NOAA’s part is legally unwise. I am sure their attorneys are counseling them now about the how few of options they have.

  88. JCH says:

    Confess to what? Lol. If they altered historical data, the whole world would already know. It’s publicly available.

    Most likely the whistleblowers are disgruntled NOAA employees who have had poor careers because of their ineptness, so they suckered Curry and Smith into giving them 15 minutes of fame.

    No, Smith has to sell his bag full crap to his uppers. It will be a good test for whether or not Paul Ryan has any backbone at all. Probably not, but one can hope

    Also, since the early days of the country, the executive branch has been looking for a committee chair dumb enough to earn a total judicial rebuke. In Smith, they may have their huckleberry.

  89. anoilman says:

    TonyL: Bunk… There’s nothing to confess. Nothing wrong.

    Ocean heat data is gathered by and for the military. Its used to sink subs. If its wrong, your navy is worthless. I mean… you lost the war already, time to pay the Russians not to attack. Lost.

    In Canada I had a constant parade of US Naval officers coming by showing and talking about ocean heat content, databases, predictive algorithms, etc.

    Its treason for these guys to fake anything. Let alone pull the wool over every allied navy, which have no interest in taking part, and also have their own Phd peers to review the data. It makes no sense. And lastly… to what end? Render the US defenseless? Or fake Global Warming. For what? Giggles? Get real.

    To be honest we heard ALL the same rhetoric before with surface temperature adjustments. It all sounds like a conspiracy until you guys get a clue and move on. In the mean time;

    By the way.. I know a guy who worked with Michael Mann who says he faked it all!

  90. Marco says:

    “Most likely the whistleblowers are disgruntled NOAA employees who have had poor careers because of their ineptness, so they suckered Curry and Smith into giving them 15 minutes of fame.”

    Not necessarily. It may well be there have been mails sent back and forth pointing out some remaining questions, or perhaps someone found a comma wrong somewhere in a data point that could perhaps change the calculated values for January 1923 a little bit. Stuff like that. Science is never finished, new insights and data comes in every minute, so who knows what was discussed and is now inflated?

  91. JCH says:

    Marco – they went to Professor Curry. That would be a very odd place for somebody with a great career and excellent credentials to go. People like that are running away from Professor Curry; they use normal channels, not abnormal channels.

  92. Joshua says:

    TonyL –

    ==> “Why would Lamar Smith “lay it all on the table”? ”

    Hmmm. Because he’s interested in determining the validity of the accusations being made, as opposed to pursuing a political agenda?

  93. Marco says:

    “Marco – they went to Professor Curry.”
    Not sure these are the same people as Smith claims blew the whistle?

  94. Joshua says:

    ==> “Not sure these are the same people as Smith claims blew the whistle?”

    It’s my impression that Smith’s “whistleblowers” are the same folks Judith referenced when she talked about people providing inside information in support of Smith’s investigation.

    Let Smith’s investigation and the support for it among Judith and other “skeptics” serve as perhaps the clearest evidence yet that many “skeptics” are blind to their double standard when they talk about the evils of government, politicians, “politicization of science,” etc.

    Motivated reasoning is a work of art and a thing of beauty.

  95. It’s disappointing but sadly not surprising that some contrarians actually support Rep. Lamar Smith’s disgusting witch hunt. After all, WUWT has shown that their interest in “science” doesn’t extend much further than finding some slimy way to get their hands on private communications between scientists and then finding using any badly worded private statements to publicly smear and libel those scientists. WUWT did this with the SkS hacks and with “climategate” which WUWT tried to repeat several times after seeing the traffic boost WUWT got from the first one. The only difference this time is that instead of using slimy hackers, WUWT is cheering on a slimy anti-science bully who also seems to be convinced that he can uncover a devious conspiracy if only he can read enough private emails from scientists. Rep. E. B. Johnson stood up to Rep. Lamar Smith’s anti-science bullying and pointed out that he’s just using the same slimy tactic once again:

    Scientists should “confess” to what, exactly? I answered Rep. Smith’s vile accusations with a comprehensive (and hopefully accessible) explanation of how we know there isn’t anything to confess:

    But as you can tell from that conversation, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) and his charming radio host don’t seem interested in science or evidence. They only seem interested in smearing scientists, so it doesn’t matter that OHC is rising, or that JMA and BEST yield similar trends, or that NOAA’s “suspicious” adjustments actually lower the rate of global surface warming since 1880. They’ll never address those points with anything but misdirection, and neither will any of Rep. Smith’s supporters here in these comments or anywhere else. Their only purpose is to publicly insist that scientists “confess.” It doesn’t matter that this smear is completely baseless because their only real goal is to get the public to associate “climate scientists” with criminals who need to confess and who deserve “criminal enforcement”.

    Disgusting. Again, if you want to baselessly smear scientists and threaten us with criminal enforcement then YOU’LL HAVE TO GO THROUGH ME FIRST!

  96. JCH says:

    ““Marco – they went to Professor Curry.”
    Not sure these are the same people as Smith claims blew the whistle?”

    I believe the first mention of NOAA insiders providing information that would support Smith’s investigation was when Professor Curry claimed people in NOAA were talking to her. Then Smith announced there were whistleblowers. So you could be right, but I suspect this is an easy trail for a bloodhound.

  97. JCH says:

    Joshua – I’ll give you ten of my very best yawns.

  98. anoilman says:

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned this, but…

    Asking for personal information, emails, etc, is just fishing for grub in the lead up to the Paris talks.

    Isn’t that the traditional time for deniers to pants the scientific community?

  99. Pingback: There is no tribe! | …and Then There's Physics

  100. > Georgia Tech is a State, as in the State of Georgia, university. The separation of powers between the federal government and state governments is the almost the same as people. Congress is a Federal power investigating NOAA, a Federal organization. Can you see the difference now?

    I certainly can see the difference between “Georgia Tech is a State, as in the State of Georgia, university” and “Judith Curry is a private citizen and the 4th Amendment of the US Constitution.” Karl is also a private citizen and the 4th Amendment of the US Constitution etc.

    Also, it’s quite possible for a federal agency to investigate state institutions, for instance:

    The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released today a list of the higher education institutions under investigation for possible violations of federal law over the handling of sexual violence and harassment complaints.

    http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-department-education-releases-list-higher-education-institutions-open-title-ix-sexual-violence-investigations

  101. JCH says:

    Ave you guys read the Washington Post article on what may be behind this? There was a disagreement over code to do with the land record, which had little to do with erasing the pause.

  102. Ethan Allen says:

    JCH,

    How about this one from Lamar Smith himself in the barfing Washington Times (which I saw but was also posted in a separate thread here) …
    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/nov/26/lamar-smith-noaas-climate-change-science-fiction/

    One main theme in that op-ed is the RSS/UAH temperature proxy records (i. e. no trend). At some point an independent group of scientists needs to publish in the peer reviewed literature a sensitivity analysis on error propagation and accuracy of said proxy records. I currently have about two orders of magnitude more respect for the GMSL satellite altimetry effort (only 3 satellites to date using P, J1 and J2) because of significant temporal overlap (forming reasonably ‘stiff’ hinges) and its direct measurement nature). The RSS/UAH currently has how many satellites of proxy measurements and assumed temperature proxy profiles to get from the closest actual proxy measurement height to the LTL? Those few dozen satellites also have an abysmal record of sufficient overlap IMHO, leading to what I would believe is a ‘rosary’ like effect of ‘pinned’ hinges. These satellite proxy time series may, in fact, be reasonably correct for their intended height, the LTL but the LTL is not the Earth’s surface. The radiosonde data are predominately land based for weather models boundary conditions, thus a large fraction of Earth’s surface is rather poorly represented via the existing radiosonde datasets. These are the typical aspersions or darts thrown at the satellite records, but we do need a formal paper coupled with some AOGCM combined air/sea temperature data comparing surface versus height (both real proxy height and extrapolated LTL proxy height).

    Lamar Smith is rather convinced that there emails from Obama’s offices to the DOC and/or NOAA and that there are other emails between NOAA scientists and NOAA management. Those emails may have absolutely nothing to do wrt the Karl paper, but for lying denying conspiracy theorists that’s ironclad rock solid PROOF for aspersion casting.

    I am absolutely certain that the Executive Branch will stand ground and that this could take several years to resolve via litigation (as has happened in the past, see my many linked post above + several CRS reports + other fairly recent legal scholars writings on ‘separation of powers’ doctrines). The science will have moved on as well as the observational datasets.

    I am of the belief that Lamar Smith knows all this litigation stuff already. We’ll have to see how hard he presses this issue after COP21 (which is rather ironic political timing if you were to ask me). The Lamar Smith timeline to date (note dates and frequency thereof wrt COP21)…

    12/11/2015 COP21 End
    12/1/2015 Full Committee Hearing – Pitfalls of Unilateral Negotiations at the Paris Climate Change Conference
    11/30/2015 COP21 Start
    11/24/2015 AAAS letter to Lamar Smith
    11/23/2015 8th Letter from Lamar Smith
    11/20/2015 2nd NOAA response
    11/19/2015 2nd Johnson response
    11/18/2015 Full Committee Hearing: The Administration’s Empty Promises for the International Climate Treaty
    11/18/2015 7th Letter from Lamar Smith
    11/13/2015 6th Letter from Lamar Smith
    11/4/2015 AMS letter to Lamar Smith
    11/4/2015 5th Letter from Lamar Smith
    10/27/2015 1st NOAA response
    10/23/2015 1st Johnson response
    10/13/2015 Subpoena
    10/13/2015 4th Letter from Lamar Smith
    9/25/2015 3rd Letter from Lamar Smith
    9/10/2015 2nd Letter from Lamar Smith
    7/14/2015 !st Letter from Lamar Smith
    6/26/2015 Possible artifacts of data biases in the recent global surface warming hiatus (Science)
    6/16/2015 1st Committee briefing by NOAA on the Karl paper
    6/4/2015 Possible artifacts of data biases in the recent global surface warming hiatus (Science Express)
    4/15/2015 Full Committee Hearing – The President’s UN Climate Pledge: Scientifically Justified or a New Tax on Americans? (Judith Curry ‘hiatus’ continues and ‘natural variability’)

  103. Ethan Allen says:

    Coal CEO Thanks Lamar Smith, Asks Him to Expand Probe of Climate Scientists
    https://theintercept.com/2015/11/27/lamar-smith-murray/

    “Murray, speaking at a gathering in Austin last week for global warming deniers organized by the Texas Public Policy Foundation, said he wanted to “congratulate” Smith on his subpoena of Kathryn Sullivan, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

    Murray then declared that the American Meteorology Association and Union of Concerned Scientists, two private nonprofits that serve the scientific community, also “need to be investigated.”

    “They’re crony capitalists, they’re making a fortune off of you the taxpayer,” said Murray, who stood up to praise the Texas congressman again on the next day of the conference. After receiving the second round of compliments, Smith thanked the coal executive and took a seat next to him.”

    Well, the UCS, AMS and the AAAS are all 501(c)(3) non-profits so I’ll assume that they don’t fit the definition of crony capitalists.

    However, someone who might fit the definition of crony capitalist is Robert E. Murray …
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_E._Murray
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas_Public_Policy_Foundation

  104. JCH says:

    Well, Smith has horrible timing. If RSS behaves as in the past, November and December will send spike, and upward thrust, right up the place he least expects.

  105. Going way back to November 7, 2015 … with the discussion of Congressional subpoena rights and such, finishing with ATTP says: wrote: “Yes, that seems plausible. I should probably stop using “I don’t understand …” when what I really want to say “This doesn’t make any sense!”.”
    _________________
    That’s where the “Fourth Estate” is supposed to step in to expose and report such atrocious behavior, publicize it and then We The People step in to express our displeasure and a chastened “representative of the people” powers down. It’s the America Way.

    Unfortunately, our Fourth Estate, new media, is mostly owned by megalomaniacs that can’t see past their own dicks, but believe they should be masters of the universe.
    We The People likewise seem to have become too obsessed about themselves to worry about all stuff like the health of our planet and the world we leave for our kids.

    “It’s all rigged anyways, so lets roll over and let the ruthless rule”
    and so it goes . . . When We The People do speak up, they do listen. That’s why the seething apathy is so heartbreaking to watch.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s