Subject: Re: CEI formal petition to derail EPA GHG endangerment finding with charge that destruction of CRU raw data undermines integrity of global temperature record
Date: Fri, 09 Oct 2009 11:07:56 -0700
I've known Rick Piltz for many years. He's a good guy. I believe he used
to work with Mike MacCracken at the U.S. Global Change Research Program.
I'm really sorry that you have to go through all this stuff, Phil. Next
time I see Pat Michaels at a scientific meeting, I'll be tempted to beat
the crap out of him. Very tempted.
I'll help you to deal with Michaels and the CEI in any way that I can.
The only reason these guys are going after you is because your work is
of crucial importance - it changed the way the world thinks about human
effects on climate. Your work mattered in the 1980s, and it matters now.
With best wishes,
> Thanks for backing me up with whoever Rick is. I forwarded the message
> to Rick. So if you want to add anything else feel free to do so.
> We have more stations going into the latest CRU data than we did in the
> In Lecce next week for 2 days at a GKSS summer school led by Hans VS!
>> Dear Rick,
>> I am prepared to help in any way that I can.
>> As I see it, there are two key issues here.
>> First, the CEI and Pat Michaels are arguing that Phil Jones and
>> colleagues at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) willfully and
>> intentionally "destroyed" some of the raw surface temperature data used
>> in the construction of the gridded surface temperature datasets.
>> Second, the CEI and Pat Michaels contend that the CRU surface
>> temperature datasets provided the sole basis for IPCC "discernible human
>> influence" conclusions.
>> Both of these arguments are factually incorrect. First, there was no
>> intentional destruction of the primary source data. I am sure that, over
>> 20 years ago, Phil could not have foreseen that the raw station data
>> might be the subject of legal proceedings by the CEI and Pat Michaels.
>> Raw data were NOT secretly destroyed to avoid efforts by other
>> scientists to replicate the CRU and Hadley Centre-based estimates of
>> global-scale changes in near-surface temperature. In fact, a key point
>> here is that other groups (primarily at NCDC and at GISS, but also in
>> Russia) WERE able to replicate the major findings of the CRU and Hadley
>> Centre groups. The NCDC and GISS groups performed this replication
>> completely independently. They made different choices in the complex
>> process of choosing input data, adjusting raw station data for known
>> inhomogeneities (such as urbanization effects, changes in
>> instrumentation, site location, and observation time), and gridding
>> procedures. NCDC and GISS-based estimates of global surface temperature
>> changes are in good accord with the HadCRUT results.
>> I'm sure that Pat Michaels does not have the primary source data used in
>> his Ph.D. thesis. Perhaps one of us should request the datasets used in
>> Michaels' Ph.D. work, and then ask the University of Wisconsin to
>> withdraw Michaels' Ph.D. if he fails to produce every dataset and
>> computer program used in the course of his thesis research.
>> I'm equally sure that John Christy and Roy Spencer have not preserved
>> every single version of their MSU-based estimates of tropospheric
>> temperature change. Nor is it likely that Christy and Spencer have
>> preserved for posterity each and every computer program they used to
>> generate UAH tropospheric temperature datasets.
>> [One irony here is that the Christy/Spencer claim that the troposphere
>> had cooled over the satellite era did not stand up to rigorous
>> scientific scrutiny. Christy and Spencer have made a scientific career
>> out of being wrong. In contrast, CRU's claim of a pronounced increase in
>> global-mean surface temperature over the 20th century HAS withstood the
>> test of time.]
>> The CEI and Michaels are applying impossible legal standards to science.
>> They are essentially claiming that if we do not retain - and make
>> available to self-appointed auditors - every piece of information about
>> every scientific paper we have ever published, we are perpetrating some
>> vast deception on the American public. I think most ordinary citizens
>> understand that few among us have preserved every bank statement and
>> every utility bill we've received in the last 20 years.
>> The second argument - that "discernible human influence" findings are
>> like a house of cards, resting solely on one observational dataset - is
>> also invalid. The IPCC Third Assessment Report (TAR) considers MULTIPLE
>> observational estimates of global-scale near-surface temperature
>> changes. It does not rely on HadCRUT data alone - as is immediately
>> obvious from Figure 2.1b of the TAR, which shows CRU, NCDC, and GISS
>> global-mean temperature changes.
>> As pointed out in numerous scientific assessments (e.g., the IPCC TAR
>> and Fourth Assessment Reports, the U.S. Climate Change Science Program
>> Synthesis and Assessment Report 1.1, and the CCSP "State of Knowledge"
>> Report), rigorous statistical fingerprint studies have now been
>> performed with a whole range of climate variables - and not with surface
>> temperature only. Examples include variables like ocean heat content,
>> atmospheric water vapor, surface specific humidity, continental river
>> runoff, sea-level pressure patterns, stratospheric and tropospheric
>> temperature, tropopause height, zonal-mean precipitation over land, and
>> Arctic sea-ice extent. The bottom-line message from this body of work is
>> that natural causes alone CANNOT plausibly explain the climate changes
>> we have actually observed. The climate system is telling us an
>> internally- and physically-consistent story. The integrity and
>> reliability of this story does NOT rest on a single observational
>> dataset, as Michaels and the CEI incorrectly claim.
>> Michaels should and does know better. I can only conclude from his
>> behavior - and from his participation in this legal action - that he is
>> being intentionally dishonest. His intervention seems to be timed to
>> influence opinion in the run-up to the Copenhagen meeting, and to garner
>> publicity for himself. In my personal opinion, Michaels should be kicked
>> out of the AMS, the University of Virginia, and the scientific community
>> as a whole. He cannot on the one hand engage in vicious public attacks
>> on the reputations of individual scientists (in the past he has attacked
>> Tom Karl, Tom Wigley, Jim Hansen, Mike Mann, myself, and numerous
>> others), and on the other hand expect to be treated as a valued member
>> of our professional societies.
>> The sad thing here is that Phil Jones is one of the true gentlemen of
>> our field. I have known Phil for most of my scientific career. He is the
>> antithesis of the secretive, "data destroying" character the CEI and
>> Michaels are trying to portray to the outside world. Phil and Tom Wigley
>> have devoted significant portions of their scientific careers to the
>> construction of the land surface temperature component of the HadCRUT
>> dataset. They have conducted this research in a very open and
>> transparent manner - examining sensitivities to different gridding
>> algorithms, different ways of adjusting for urbanization effects, use of
>> various subsets of data, different ways of dealing with changes in
>> spatial coverage over time, etc. They have thoroughly and
>> comprehensively documented all of their dataset construction choices.
>> They have done a tremendous service to the scientific community - and to
>> the planet - by making gridded surface temperature datasets available
>> for scientific research. They deserve medals as big as soup plates - not
>> the kind of crap they are receiving from Pat Michaels and the CEI.
>> The bottom line, Rick, is that I am incensed at the "data destruction"
>> allegations that are being unfairly and incorrectly leveled against Phil
>> and Tom by the CEI and Pat Michaels. Please let me know how you think I
>> can be most effective in rebutting such allegations. Whatever you need
>> from me - you've got it.
>> I hope you don't mind, but I'm also copying my email to John Mitchell at
>> the Hadley Centre. I know that John also feels very strongly about these
>> With best regards,
>> Rick Piltz wrote:
>>> I expect that you have already been made aware of the petition to EPA
>>> from the Competitive Enterprise Institute (and Pat Michaels) calling for
>>> a re-opening of public comment on EPA's prospective "endangerment"
>>> finding on greenhouse gases. CEI is charging that the CRU at East Anglia
>>> has destroyed the raw data for a portion of the global temperature
>>> record, thus destroying the integrity of the IPCC assessments and any
>>> other work that treats the UK Jones-Wigley global temperature data
>>> record as scientifically legitimate. I have attached the petition in
>>> PDF, with a statements by CEI and Michaels.
>>> The story was reported in Environment & Energy Daily yesterday (below).
>>> They called me for it, presumably because I am on their call list as
>>> someone who gets in the face of the global warming disinformation
>>> campaign, among other things. I hit CEI, but I don't have a technical
>>> response to their allegations.
>>> Who is responding to this charge on behalf of the science community?
>>> Surely someone will have to, if only because EPA will need to know
>>> exactly what to say. And really I believe all of you, as the
>>> authoritative experts, should be prepared to do that in a way that has
>>> some collective coherence.
>>> I am going to be writing about this on my Climate Science Watch Website
>>> as soon as I think I can do so appropriately. I am most interested in
>>> what you have to say to set the record straight and put things in
>>> perspective -- either on or off the record, whichever you wish. Will
>>> someone please explain this to me?
>>> Best regrads,
>>> *1. CLIMATE: Free-market group attacks data behind EPA
>>> 'endangerment' proposal (E&E News PM, 10/07/2009)
>>>REDACTED*Robin Bravender, E&E reporter*
>>> A free-market advocacy group has launched another attack on the science
>>> behind U.S. EPA's proposed finding that greenhouse gases endanger human
>>> health and welfare.
>>> The Competitive Enterprise Institute -- a vocal foe of EPA's efforts to
>>> finalize its "endangerment finding" -- *petitioned*
>>> the agency this week to reopen the public comment period on the
>>> proposal, arguing that critical data used to formulate the plan have
>>> been destroyed and that the available data are therefore unreliable.
>>> *At issue is a set of raw data from the Climatic Research Unit at the
>>> University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, that includes surface
>>> temperature averages from weather stations around the world. *According
>>> to CEI, the data provided a foundation for the 1996 second assessment
>>> report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which EPA used
>>> when drafting its endangerment proposal.
>>> According to the Web site for East Anglia's research unit, "Data storage
>>> availability in the 1980s meant that we were not able to keep the
>>> multiple sources for some sites, only the station series after
>>> adjustment for homogeneity issues. We, therefore, do not hold the
>>> original raw data but only the value-added (i.e. quality controlled and
>>> homogenized) data."
>>> CEI general counsel Sam Kazman said this lack of raw data calls the
>>> endangerment finding into question. *"EPA is resting its case on
>>> international studies that in turn relied on CRU data. But CRU's
>>> suspicious destruction of its original data, disclosed at this late
>>> date, makes that information totally unreliable," he said.* "If EPA
>>> doesn't re-examine the implications of this, it's stumbling blindly into
>>> the most important regulatory issue we face."
>>> *In a statement filed with CEI's petition, Cato Institute senior fellow
>>> Patrick Michaels called the development a "totally new element" in the
>>> endangerment debate. "It violates basic scientific principles and throws
>>> even more doubt onto the contention that anthropogenic greenhouse gas
>>> emissions endanger human welfare," he wrote.
>>> *Michaels is a University of Virginia professor and author of the book,
>>> "The Satanic Gases: Clearing the Air about Global Warming." He stepped
>>> down from his post as Virginia's state climatologist in 2007 after he
>>> came under fire for publicly doubting global warming while taking money
>>> from the utility industry (/ Greenwire/
>>> Representatives of East Anglia University's Climatic Research Unit were
>>> not available to comment on the CEI petition.
>>> EPA spokeswoman Adora Andy said the agency will evaluate the petition.
>>> "But after initial review of the statement their position rests upon,"
>>> Andy added, "it certainly does not appear to justify upheaval."
>>> The petition is the latest in a string of CEI challenges to the
>>> proceedings surrounding the endangerment finding and other Obama
>>> administration climate policies. Last week, the group threatened to sue
>>> the administration over documents related to the costs of a federal
>>> cap-and-trade program to curb greenhouse gas emissions. And in June, the
>>> group accused EPA officials of suppressing dissenting views from an EPA
>>> environmental economist during the run-up to the release of the
>>> endangerment proposal.
>>> Rick Piltz, director of the watchdog group Climate Science Watch and a
>>> former official at the U.S. Climate Change Science Program, said that
>>> although the research unit's data are among key data sets used by the
>>> IPCC, "it's not the only data set that they use." He also said EPA drew
>>> on "multifaceted, robust" data in the technical support document
>>> underlying the finding.
>>> EPA's endangerment finding relies most heavily on IPCC's 2007 fourth
>>> assessment; synthesis and assessment products of the U.S. Climate Change
>>> Science Program; National Research Council reports under the U.S.
>>> National Academy of Sciences; the EPA annual report on U.S. greenhouse
>>> gas emission inventories; and the EPA assessment of the effects of
>>> global change on regional U.S. air quality, according to the agency's
>>> technical support document.
>>> "You do not need to reopen the IPCC reports and the technical support
>>> document on the EPA endangerment finding because of something having to
>>> do with the raw data from the temperature record from East Anglia
>>> University in the 1980s," Piltz said, adding that the IPCC carefully
>>> vets its data.
>>> Piltz said CEI is on an ideological mission to head off EPA attempts to
>>> finalize the endangerment finding and is "grasping at straws" by
>>> challenging the IPCC data.
>>> "Their bottom line is an antiregulatory ideology," Piltz said. "When
>>> they use science, they use it tactically, and they will go to war with
>>> the mainstream science community."
>>> Republican senators also weighed in yesterday, urging EPA to reopen the
>>> public comment period on the endangerment finding to investigate the
>>> scientific merit of the research data.
>>> "It's astonishing that EPA, so confident in the scientific integrity of
>>> its work, refuses to be transparent with the public about the most
>>> consequential rulemaking of our time," said Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.),
>>> ranking member of the Environment and Public Works Committee. Inhofe
>>> sent a joint press release with Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) accusing EPA
>>> of relying upon flawed data.
>>> "Now the evidence shows that scientists interested in testing some of
>>> EPA's assertions can't engage in basic scientific work, such as assuring
>>> reproducibility and objectivity, because the data they seek have been
>>> destroyed," Inhofe said. "In order to conform to federal law and basic
>>> standards of scientific integrity, EPA must reopen the record so the
>>> public can judge whether EPA's claims are based on the best available
>>> scientific information."
>>> Rick Piltz
>>> Director, Climate Science Watch
>>> sponsored project of the Government Accountability Project, Washington,
>>> DC, dedicated to holding public officials accountable for using climate
>>> science and related research effectively and with integrity in
>>> responding to the challenges posed by global climate disruption.
>>> The right to search for truth implies also a duty; one must not conceal
>>> any part of what one has recognized to be true.
>>> --Albert Einstein
>> Benjamin D. Santer
>> Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison
>> Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
>> P.O. Box 808, Mail Stop L-103
>> Livermore, CA 94550, U.S.A.
>> Tel: (925) 422-3840
>> FAX: (925) 422-7675
>> email: REDACTED
Benjamin D. Santer
Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
P.O. Box 808, Mail Stop L-103
Livermore, CA 94550, U.S.A.
Tel: (925) 422-3840
FAX: (925) 422-7675