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Posted at 4:50 PM ET, 02/24/2011

Commerce Dept. report clears U.S. scientists in 'climategate'

By Brian Vastag

An independent review of thousands of emails stolen from climate researchers has found that scientists at the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration did not manipulate data or otherwise engage in wrongdoing.

The report, issued by the Inspector General of the Department of Commerce, is at least the fifth report by various bodies in the United States and Britain to clear researchers at the heart of the so-called "Climategate" incident that galvanized vocal skeptics of the science of global warming.

In November 2009, someone stole and distributed thousands of emails from a computer at the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in England. The individual or individuals who stole the emails have not been identified.

The emails contained frank, even hostile, discussions among climate researchers about a handful of opponents who repeatedly questioned the huge body of research that confirms that the Earth has been warming.

The Inspector General's report found that NOAA researchers did not manipulate data, as has been widely claimed by climate change skeptics. The researchers involved also properly adhered to the agency's data review policies, the report concluded.

Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), a constant outspoken critic of climate science, requested the review.

Of the 1,073 email messages looked at, eight warranted detailed examination, the report said.

In one of the messages, Inhofe himself was the target of lampooning. The message contained "a photographic image, titled, 'marooned,' which depicted Senator Inhofe and five other persons -- several as characters from the television program Gilligan's Island -- as stranded on a melting ice cap at the North Pole or floating nearby in the ocean," the report said.

In reponse, the report said, "NOAA management recently took action to address the scientists' conduct." A spokeswoman for NOAA said that the agency would provide no further information on what action was taken.

Inhofe released a statement thanking the Inspector General and highlighting the eight messages singled out for detailed review. In the statement, Inhofe says, "This report shows that some NOAA employees potentially violated federal contract law and engaged in data manipulation."

However, the Inspector General concluded that there was no evidence of any such manipulation.

"We're highlighting emails that deserve further investigation," said David Lungren, a spokesman for Inhofe on the Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee, when asked to explain.

The Inspector General did find that NOAA provided unclear answers to a question of whether NOAA funds were properly distributed to the Climatic Research Unit.

"Auditing NOAA's contracting with CRU was not within the scope of our inquiry, but in light of these circumstances it is important for NOAA to be assured that CRU fully complied with the applicable U.S. contracting rules and requirements. Moreover, NOAA could not tell us the universe of climate-related contracts it has issued over the past ten years to parties and institutions such as CRU," the report said.


By Brian Vastag  | February 24, 2011; 4:50 PM ET
 
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Comments

Here in Virginia, though, our delusional Attorney General is investigating science for being... well, science.

Cucinneli would have gotten treatment before Reagan ended mental health care and shoved all the patients out into the street.

Posted by: PoliticalPrisoner2012 | February 24, 2011 8:10 PM | Report abuse

The deniers who have been accusing NASA/NOAA of "cooking" temperature data to exaggerate warming are for the most part a bunch of incompetent loudmouths.

Anyone with decent programming skills can verify the NASA/NOAA global-average temperature calculations for themselves by downloading NOAA's freely-available temperature data and documenation from ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/ghcn/v2/ and then writing their own global temperature calculation program. All the data, information, and development software needed to do this are freely available on-line.

And that is exactly what I did -- I wrote my own global-temperature calculation program using the free GNU C++ compiler and, and I generated my own global-temperature results. I was able to do this over a weekend in my spare time.

Here are my results (computed from *raw* temperature data) compared to NASA's official results: http://img98.imageshack.us/img98/1028/ghcnrawmyresultsnasares.jpg

I coded up a very straightforward gridding/averaging program and was able to replicate NASA's official results very closely. And it wasn't very hard at all.

I was able to perform more temperature data analysis in just a few days than the whole climate-denier community has been able to do in *years*.

Folks, verifying NASA/NOAA temperature calculations just isn't that hard -- an on-the-ball college freshman compsci/engineering/science major would have no trouble doing this.

So the rhetorical question is, "Why can't deniers perform their own temperature computations?". They've had *years* to do what took me not much more than a weekend in my spare time.

Posted by: caerbannog | February 24, 2011 9:57 PM | Report abuse

@PoliticalPrisoner2012, you're repeating a lie. Inform yourself about the Short-Doyle Act of 1957, signed into law by Gov. Goodwin Knight, long before Ronald Reagan even contemplated running for public office in California. The act was supposed to improve care for mental health patients, but the effects were quite the opposite. Most of the releases of mental patients during the 1960s and later occurred due to chronic under-funding of services by ... you guessed it — Democrats. Ah, facts are such stubborn things.

Posted by: tonyr4096 | February 25, 2011 6:14 AM | Report abuse

@caerbannog, although NOAA and NASA may not have cooked the results, they certainly cherry-picked the raw data. Weather reporting stations have been moved or decommissioned over the years, breaking data continuity, and many stations don't meet the NWS standards for placement, being influenced by nearby blacktop surfaces, air conditioning exhausts, and other features that weren't there when the stations were originally constructed. It's also known that temperature readings were often skipped during periods of extreme weather before remote temperature readouts were developed, resulting in data skew. It's no surprise your program produced similar results to those published by the NASA. Being as expert as you claim to be with computer programming, no doubt you're aware of the acronym "GIGO": Garbage In — Garbage Out. Anyway, since the launch of satellite remote telemetry, beginning in the 1960s, changes in ocean temperature readings have stayed essentially constant, within a tenth of a degree Celsius. Where's the climate change? There isn't any.

Posted by: tonyr4096 | February 25, 2011 6:30 AM | Report abuse

@tonyr4096:

"Weather reporting stations have been moved or decommissioned over the years, breaking data continuity"

And yet somehow the trends in satellite data match the trends in the ground-based data very well indeed, as do the trends in the newer network of ultra-high-quality US ground stations specifically sited for climate monitoring.

Strange, that.

Posted by: chrisd3 | February 25, 2011 7:13 AM | Report abuse

Dear Sen. Inhofe:

The laws of physics are not a matter of public opinion. Or politics.

Very Truly Yours,

God

Posted by: fishellb | February 25, 2011 9:27 AM | Report abuse

RE: Inhofe released a statement thanking the Inspector General and highlighting the eight messages singled out for detailed review. In the statement, Inhofe says, "This report shows that some NOAA employees potentially violated federal contract law and engaged in data manipulation."

However, the Inspector General concluded that there was no evidence of any such manipulation.

Inhofe continues to lie regardless of the facts in black and white. That needs to be the headline to smoke out this fraud.

Posted by: FoundingMother | February 25, 2011 10:45 AM | Report abuse

@caerbannog, although NOAA and NASA may not have cooked the results, they certainly cherry-picked the raw data. Weather reporting stations have been moved or decommissioned over the years, breaking data continuity, and many stations don't meet the NWS standards for placement, being influenced by nearby blacktop surfaces, air conditioning exhausts, and other features that weren't there when the stations were originally constructed. It's also known that temperature readings were often skipped during periods of extreme weather before remote temperature readouts were developed, resulting in data skew. It's no surprise your program produced similar results to those published by the NASA. Being as expert as you claim to be with computer programming, no doubt you're aware of the acronym "GIGO": Garbage In — Garbage Out. Anyway, since the launch of satellite remote telemetry, beginning in the 1960s, changes in ocean temperature readings have stayed essentially constant, within a tenth of a degree Celsius. Where's the climate change? There isn't any.

######################

tonyr4096,

You are talking through your hat. All you are doing is parroting incompetent Anthony Watts talking points. You don't have the slightest comprehension as to how global-average temperatures are calculated from surface temperature data.

And BTW, With my software, I have compared rural vs. urban station results -- virtually no difference. The supposed "dropped station" problem? My software allows me to compare results for all stations vs. only stations that are still actively reporting data -- guess what? Virtually no difference. Raw vs. Adjusted data? Got that one nailed too. Only modest differences between raw and adjusted data results.

Regarding all of your objections (which are nothing more than parroted talking-points), all I have to say is, "Been there, done that, wore out the t-shirt".

You are in way over your head here -- I suggest that you give it up while you are "only" wayyyy behind.

And regarding your no-thought copy-paste talking point re: ocean temperatures, consider this. Average sea levels (as measured very precisely by satellites) have been rising steadily. There are two ways to increase sea-levels. One is thermal expansion of the oceans. The other is increased glacier/ice-sheet melt/runoff. Right now, thermal expansion is the primary driver of sea-level rise. It's rather hard to get thermal expansion without an increase in temperature.

Your claims about ocean temperatures are nullified by the laws of physics. Go take an introductory physics class and try again.

Posted by: caerbannog | February 25, 2011 1:13 PM | Report abuse

@fishellb, LOL! Actually some yahoo state rep in Montana recently did introduce a bill to repeal AGW. Hey, if we're going to legislate laws of physics, why not reduce gravity to solve America's obesity problem? Don't totally deregulate it though please, or we'll all go flying off the Earth.

Posted by: imback | February 25, 2011 11:20 PM | Report abuse

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