Climategate: first anniversary

Posted: November 19, 2010 by tallbloke in climate

Lest it be forgot. 🙂

I thought I’d post my favourite email from the archive. For me it has it all, the hubris, the uncertainty, the plotting, the denunciation, the recipient list…

Feel free to post your own favourites in comments, here’s the source whch auto redacts email addresses. Edit out phone numbers too please:

Cartoons by Josh

With permission from Josh.


From: Michael Mann <>
To: Kevin Trenberth <>
Subject: Re: BBC U-turn on climate
Date: Wed, 14 Oct 2009 10:25:25 -0400
Cc: Tom Wigley <>, Stephen H Schneider <>, Myles Allen <>, peter stott <>, “Philip D. Jones” <>, Benjamin Santer <>, Thomas R Karl <>, Gavin Schmidt <>, James Hansen <>, Michael Oppenheimer <>

Kevin, that’s an interesting point.

As the plot from Gavin I sent shows, we can easily
account for the observed surface cooling in terms of the natural variability seen in the
CMIP3 ensemble (i.e. the observed cold dip falls well within it). So in that sense, we can
“explain” it. But this raises the interesting question, is there something going on here w/
the energy & radiation budget which is inconsistent with the modes of internal variability
that leads to similar temporary cooling periods within the models. I’m not sure that this
has been addressed–has it?


On Oct 14, 2009, at 10:17 AM, Kevin Trenberth wrote:

Hi Tom
How come you do not agree with a statement that says we are no where close to knowing where
energy is going or whether clouds are changing to make the planet brighter. We are not
close to balancing the energy budget. The fact that we can not account for what is
happening in the climate system makes any consideration of geoengineering quite hopeless as
we will never be able to tell if it is successful or not! It is a travesty!
Tom Wigley wrote:

Dear all,

At the risk of overload, here are some notes of mine on the recent

lack of warming. I look at this in two ways. The first is to look at

the difference between the observed and expected anthropogenic trend relative to the pdf
for unforced variability. The second is to remove ENSO, volcanoes and TSI variations
from the observed data.

Both methods show that what we are seeing is not unusual. The second

method leaves a significant warming over the past decade.

These sums complement Kevin’s energy work.

Kevin says … “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment
and it is a travesty that we can’t”. I do not

agree with this.



Kevin Trenberth wrote:

Hi all

Well I have my own article on where the heck is global warming? We are asking that here
in Boulder where we have broken records the past two days for the coldest days on
record. We had 4 inches of snow. The high the last 2 days was below 30F and the normal
is 69F, and it smashed the previous records for these days by 10F. The low was about
18F and also a record low, well below the previous record low. This is January weather
(see the Rockies baseball playoff game was canceled on saturday and then played last
night in below freezing weather).

Trenberth, K. E., 2009: An imperative for climate change planning: tracking Earth’s
global energy. /Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability/, *1*, 19-27,
doi:10.1016/j.cosust.2009.06.001. [PDF]
(A PDF of the published version can be obtained from the author.)

The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a
travesty that we can’t. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on
2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our
observing system is inadequate.

That said there is a LOT of nonsense about the PDO. People like CPC are tracking PDO on
a monthly basis but it is highly correlated with ENSO. Most of what they are seeing is
the change in ENSO not real PDO. It surely isn’t decadal. The PDO is already reversing
with the switch to El Nino. The PDO index became positive in September for first time
since Sept 2007. see


Michael Mann wrote:

extremely disappointing to see something like this appear on BBC. its particularly odd,
since climate is usually Richard Black’s beat at BBC (and he does a great job). from
what I can tell, this guy was formerly a weather person at the Met Office.

We may do something about this on RealClimate, but meanwhile it might be appropriate for
the Met Office to have a say about this, I might ask Richard Black what’s up here?


On Oct 12, 2009, at 2:32 AM, Stephen H Schneider wrote:

Hi all. Any of you want to explain decadal natural variability and signal to noise and
sampling errors to this new “IPCC Lead Author” from the BBC? As we enter an El Nino
year and as soon, as the sunspots get over their temporary–presumed–vacation worth a
few tenths of a Watt per meter squared reduced forcing, there will likely be another
dramatic upward spike like 1992-2000. I heard someone–Mike Schlesinger maybe??–was
willing to bet alot of money on it happening in next 5 years?? Meanwhile the past 10
years of global mean temperature trend stasis still saw what, 9 of the warmest in
reconstructed 1000 year record and Greenland and the sea ice of the North in big
retreat?? Some of you observational folks probably do need to straighten this out as my
student suggests below. Such “fun”, Cheers, Steve

Stephen H. Schneider

Melvin and Joan Lane Professor for Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies,

Professor, Department of Biology and

Senior Fellow, Woods Institute for the Environment

Mailing address:

Yang & Yamazaki Environment & Energy Building – MC 4205

473 Via Ortega


—– Forwarded Message —–

From: “Narasimha D. Rao” < <[3]>>

To: “Stephen H Schneider” < <[4]>>

Sent: Sunday, October 11, 2009 10:25:53 AM GMT -08:00 US/Canada Pacific

Subject: BBC U-turn on climate


You may be aware of this already. Paul Hudson, BBCs reporter on climate change, on
Friday wrote that theres been no warming since 1998, and that pacific oscillations will
force cooling for the next 20-30 years. It is not outrageously biased in presentation as
are other skeptics views.



BBC has significant influence on public opinion outside the US.

Do you think this merits an op-ed response in the BBC from a scientist?



PhD Candidate,

Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources (E-IPER)

Stanford University

  1. Joe Lalonde says:

    See what happens when you miss paying the gas bill.
    The dam planet gets cooler and spoils the fun of the kids playing climate masters.

  2. johnnythelowery says:

    face it CRU. The whole thing is a travestite!!! Pseudo Science all dressed up!

  3. j ferguson says:

    I’ve been perplexed by the inability or perhaps unwillingness of the CAGWers to recognize the signals in the Climategate noise. There’s a strong signal above.

    The insiders quoted seem so much like the raindance which doesn’t produce rain. ‘Must be doing it wrong. Nothing wrong with the theory.

  4. Douglas DC says:

    J Ferguson- Rain dances only work f you have Native American blood. My Cowboy/Indian
    Pop woudl look at the sky and say “Time fer a rain dance, son and pproceed to do one.
    Yes, it was 90% or so accurate. (Of Course I didn’t know he’d already lstend to the weather report on the Farm Report..)
    Agree with all of the above…

  5. j ferguson says:

    Tallbloke and all, Please forgive this diversion, but the provocation was too great.

    I worked for a guy who owned a lot of land in Arizona. It had been much drier than usual and rain was really needed. So the Chamber of Commerce hired one of the local Native Americans to dance. He did. A cloud formed very suddenly and the ensuing rain drenched everyone. The paint on the dancer washed off making a real mess.

    He was asked why not water-resistant paint? The dance had never worked before.

  6. tallbloke says:

    There is a huge debate on climategate raging on Judith Curry’s blog. I’ve been stoking the fire. The two threads total around a thousand comments so far…

  7. tallbloke says:
    November 24, 2010 at 8:16 am
    That FIRE is because of GW 🙂

  8. John A. Jauregui says:

    Facts: Nitrogen constitutes 78% of the atmosphere, oxygen 21% and trace gases just 1%. Water vapor is the most significant trace gas and the most significant green house gas (GHG). According to IPCC technical reports carbon dioxide is the least significant trace gas both by volume and by Global Warming Potential (GWP).

    Question: What are the chances an infinitesimal (.04%) trace gas (CO2), essential to photosynthesis and therefore life on this planet, is responsible for runaway Global Warming?

    Answer: Infinitesimal

    Discussion: The IPCC now agrees. See the IPCC Technical Report section entitled Global Warming Potential (GWP). And the GWP for CO2? Just 1, (one), unity, the lowest of all green house gases (GHG). What’s more, trace gases which include GHG constitute less than 1% of the atmosphere. Of that 1%, water vapor, the most powerful GHG, makes ups 40% of the total. Carbon dioxide is 1/10th of that amount, an insignificant .04%. If carbon dioxide levels were cut in half to 200PPM, all plant growth would stop according to agricultural scientists. It’s no accident that commercial green house owner/operators invest heavily in CO2 generators to increase production, revenues and profits. Prof. Michael Mann’s Bristle cone tree proxy data (Hockey stick) proves nothing has done more to GREEN (verb) the planet over the past few decades than moderate sun-driven warming (see solar inertial motion) together with elevated levels of CO2, regardless of the source. None of these facts have been reported in the national media. Why?

  9. John A. Jauregui says:
    November 25, 2010 at 6:28 am
    You are absolutely right:
    CO2 follows temperature, not the other way. Open a coke and you´ll see it: The more you have it in your warm hand the more gas will go out when you open it.
    CO2 is the transparent gas we all exhale (SOOT is black=Carbon dust) and plants breath with delight, to give us back what they exhale instead= Oxygen we breath in.
    CO2 is a TRACE GAS in the atmosphere, it is the 0.038% of it.
    There is no such a thing as “greenhouse effect”, “greenhouse gases are gases IN a greenhouse”, where heated gases are trapped and relatively isolated not to lose its heat so rapidly. If greenhouse effect were to be true, as Svante Arrhenius figured it out: CO2 “like the window panes in a greenhouse”, but…the trouble is that those panes would be only 3.8 panes out of 10000, there would be 9996.2 HOLES.

    CO2 is a gas essential to life. All carbohydrates are made of it. The sugar you eat, the bread you have eaten in your breakfast this morning, even the jeans you wear (these are made from 100% cotton, a polymer of glucose, made of CO2…you didn´t know it, did you?)
    You and I, we are made of CARBON and WATER.
    CO2 is heavier than Air, so it can not go up, up and away to cover the earth.
    The atmosphere, the air can not hold heat, its volumetric heat capacity, per cubic cemtimeter is 0.00192 joules, while water is 4.186, i.e., 3227 times.
    This is the reason why people used hot water bottles to warm their feet and not hot air bottles.
    Global Warmers models (a la Hansen) expected a kind of heated CO2 piggy bank to form in the tropical atmosphere, it never happened simply because it can not.
    If global warmers were to succeed in achieving their SUPPOSED goal of lowering CO2 level to nothing, life would disappear from the face of the earth.
    So, if no CO2 NO YOU!

    Instead Temperatures follow the EMF (Earth Magnetic Field):
    Just because there is nobody who has ever prohibited to one

  10. Sorry!, I pressed the wrong button.
    ….to one….wavelength/frequency of the electromagnetic field to change into another: Electricity into Heat, etc. So there is no logical reason why we whould only expect heat to come ONLY from LWR (Infrared); so, we must not confuse the effect with its cause.