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« The Report | Main | Some more climate scandals »
Tuesday
Dec012009

Cosa nostra

In email number 1092418712, we see Phil Jones invited to review a paper by sceptics McKitrick and Michaels. The email is from the editor of the International Journal of Climatology, Andrew Comrie.

===== Original Message From "Andrew Comrie" <comrie@xxxxxxxxx.xxx>
=====
Dear Prof. Jones,

IJOC040512 "A Socioeconomic Fingerprint on the Spatial Distribution of
Surface Air Temperature Trends"
Authors: RR McKitrick & PJ Michaels
Target review date: July 5, 2004

I know you are very busy, but do you have the time to review the above manuscript for the International Journal of Climatology? If yes, can you complete the review within about five to six weeks, say by the target review date listed above? I will send the manuscript electronically...

Jones replies that he will do it. Some time passes and we gather that with the review complete, Jones is now sending the paper to Mann. Mann replies as follows:

At 08:11 13/08/2004 -0400, you wrote:

Thanks a bunch Phil,

Along lines as my other email, would it be (?) for me to forward this to the chair of our  commitee confidentially, and for his internal purposes only, to help bolster the case against MM??

let me know...

thanks,

mike

So if I'm understanding this correctly, there is a formally convened committee of some kind for making the case against sceptics. This sounds a bit like a conspiracy theory, but I'm struggling to put another interpretation on these words. (As an aside, that question mark in the first line is strange too.)

Jones replies:

Mike,
I'd rather you didn't. I think it should be sufficient to forward the para from Andrew Conrie's email that says the paper has been rejected by all 3 reviewers. You can say that the paper was an extended and updated version of that which appeared in CR. Obviously, under no circumstances should any of this get back to Pielke.

Cheers

Phil

This is all very odd. What has Pielke got to do with it? Was he one of the other reviewers? It's anyone's guess.

But above all who are "our committee".

 

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Reader Comments (21)

My take on the (?) is pretty straightforward. It means 'possible' or 'questionable' or 'OK' and in context, it works. Pretty revealingm though!

Dec 1, 2009 at 9:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchuyler

That (?) stands for 'questionable'; as in not ethical, unethical, we know I shouldn't do that, so long as I don't get caught, . . .

Dec 1, 2009 at 9:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterBiker Trash

Papers sent for review are sent in confidence. Forwarding them elsewhere is a gross breach of scientific ethics, and every Journal policy I've ever seen.

Dec 1, 2009 at 9:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterGerard Harbison

Gerard

As I say, this appears to be post review. I'm not sure about the ethics of a reviewer forwarding a manuscript they've just rejected though. Probably a no-no.

Dec 1, 2009 at 9:53 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

the email was written during the period that the CCSP temperature trends panel as doing its work and a number of its authors, including jones and mann, were trying to squeeze out pielke. they did and pielke resigned. this email reflects part of their strategy. much more info at pielke's blog.

Dec 1, 2009 at 10:19 PM | Unregistered Commenterinside info

Klimascheiss

O Mensch! Gib acht!
Was spricht, die tiefe Mitternacht?
Ich schlief, ich schlief
Der Klimascheiss hat mich erwacht
Der Scheiss ist tief
Und tiefer als der Tag gedacht
Stark ist die Lüge
Wahrheit - stärker noch als Schmutzigkeit
Lüge spricht: Vergeh!
Doch alle Wahrheit will Ewigkeit
Will tiefe, tiefe Ewigkeit!

Friedrich Schietze

Dec 2, 2009 at 12:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterFriedrich Schietze

Lets call a spade a spade. It is a conspiracy.

Lets try and unravel the whodunit.

One Andrew Comrie forwards a paper from RR McKitrick & PJ Michaels to Jones to review for the International Journal of Climatology.

Enter Mann (who now also has "reviewed" it - together with Jones? Looks like.) - "Along lines as my other email, would it be (?) for me to forward this to the chair of our commitee confidentially, and for his internal purposes only, to help bolster the case against MM?? let me know... thanks, mike"

Questions - What is his "other" email? (Should be close to this one). Clue - he has forwarded that email to the "chair of their committee", confidentially of course.

Who is the "chair of their committee"?

RR McKitrick & PJ Michaels should know a thing or two about this? Why not ask them also to shed a little light?

What does (?) mean? OK? would it be OK to forward this (paper, along with review?) Why? To help bolster the case against MM. The case against MM has to be bolstered.

Jones - No. "I think it should be sufficient to forward the para from Andrew Conrie's email that says the paper has been rejected by all 3 reviewers."

Questions - who are the 3 reviewers Answer probably Conrie, Jones and Mann.

But this must not get back to Pielke.

Who is Andrew Comrie? Answer Dr. Andrew C. Comrie is a climatologist specializing in the geographic aspects of atmospheric environmental issues, ..is currently investigating links between climate and disease, ..impacts of climate change, climatological and human factors influencing air pollution at local and regional scales,.. His work has been funded by numerous federal, state and local agencies. ('Course they would fund such things generously)

Dec 2, 2009 at 4:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard

I assume this is related to Pielke's CCSP experience - his view of the process is here - http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2009/11/26/e-mail-documentation-of-the-successful-attempt-by-thomas-karl-director-of-the-u-s-national-climate-data-center-to-suppress-biases-and-uncertainties-in-the-assessment-surface-temperature-trends/

The way I read this is that Pielke's PoV (he's a classic "lukewarmer") would have been boosted by the MM paper if it had been accepted and that this would have ended up giving him more ammunition against the other people on the CCSP panel. As it was his section was totally replaced by one written by someone at the UK Met office

Dec 2, 2009 at 7:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterFrancisT

Richard

I think you go too far here. There is no suggestion here either that Mann or Comrie reviewed the paper.

Dec 2, 2009 at 7:02 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Interesting that Mann has to invent euphemisms to refer to this person. "the chair of our committee", "our supporters in higher places". Why not just call him "Bill" or "Ted", or whatever his name is?

I think it is obvious that this person or persons Mann refers to has specifically requested that his name not be used in any correspondence. THAT is weird. Normal people in their day-to-day jobs in business or academia don't do that. It smacks of a deeper conspiracy.

Dec 2, 2009 at 8:10 AM | Unregistered Commenternanny_govt_sucks

Gerard is right on the money. If MM's manuscript was still attached to the message Jones forwarded (and assuming Mann was not on the editorial board of IJoC at the time), Jones is in breach of one of the fundamental rules of scientific behaviour. Many ms under review will include the words "DO NOT QUOTE OR DISTRIBUTE", to remind people of their confidential nature. It would be interesting to know whether the MM ms bore this admonition. In any case, every scientist would know (even if not explicitly told in their instructions to reviewers) that this kind of sharing is absolutely unacceptable.

A nice irony is that this action is,. from a moral point of view, the same as "hacking" (at least as understood by UEA).

Dec 2, 2009 at 8:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterDr Slop

Bunch of complete frauds, but we knew that. Nice to see some front page coverage now: http://www.express.co.uk/ourpaper/view/2009-12-02

Dec 2, 2009 at 9:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterNeal Asher

Please note that as a scientist who has reviewed probably hundreds of manuscripts in my career (I am not a climatologist), the forwarding of an unpublished manuscript under review to someone other than a reviewer is a major breach of confidence and hence highly unethical. It is shameful if this has happened, and the Journal/Universities concerned may wish to take this further.

Dec 2, 2009 at 11:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterAbandon Ship!

Mind you, leaking private e-mails probably is also!

Dec 2, 2009 at 11:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterAbandon Ship!

Why do people keep saying "private" e-mails? They are work e-mails. The leaker/hacker had clearly chosen not to leak the personal stuff - the "can you buy a cauliflower on the way home" messages..

Dec 2, 2009 at 12:15 PM | Unregistered Commenterdearieme

Yes, I think that's right. These emails were all liable to release under FoI laws, although of course that presupposes that CRU didn't just delete them first.

Dec 2, 2009 at 12:48 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

From paragraph 3 onwards, this post - http://leg-iron.livejournal.com/264655.html - sums up well why the AGW industry will never be persuaded to change their minds.

Dec 2, 2009 at 1:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterGhillie

"...that presupposes that CRU didn't just delete them first..."

Suppose this lot had been put aside for concealment or deletion in the event that FOI requests had got too pressing, then carelessly handled or deliberately leaked before they disappeared?

Just taking my natural paranoia for an airing.

Dec 2, 2009 at 6:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeff Wood

This is probably a pretty dumb question, but after reading about Pielke's issues and knowing about the problems McIntyre et al. have had with the so-called scientists at CRU and elsewhere, do individual scientists have any recourse in court for the damage that has been done to their reputations and careers? These guys have been the victims of professional harm in the form of slander and now libel, and prevented from pursuing legitimate science. That's about as low as you can get.

Is there anything they can do about that?

Just thought I'd ask. :)

Dec 2, 2009 at 7:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterKay

I thought this was pretty clear.

Firstly the “(?)” – I don’t see an issue with this. I fairly often use the same mannerism in writing. I’m sure Mann is simply asking should he forward it to the chair, or will someone else do it. Basically asking for a clarification or instructions. Jones replies he doesn’t want Mann to forward it, and in fact doesn’t intend to forward it at all.

For the Pielke reference, wasn’t he in an IPCC group where his minority view paper was rewritten by someone else? The new version was circulated amongst the group for agreement, but Pielke never received his copy (and was never able to get a copy of the original email showing whether he was in fact included or not). It was a total ambush, and the rewrite was presented to Pielke as a fait accompli. Pielke, who from what I have been able to tell is a capable and principled man, resigned rather than go along with this nonsense.

I notice the comment:

“the email was written during the period that the CCSP temperature trends panel as doing its work and a number of its authors, including jones and mann, were trying to squeeze out pielke. they did and pielke resigned. this email reflects part of their strategy. much more info at pielke's blog.”

And one or two other comment along those lines. Pretty sure this is what the committee reference etc re Pielke is about.

Dec 4, 2009 at 3:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterRathtyen

Is it possible Mann was being investigated informally by UVirginia, and that's why he is now at Pen State?

Dec 18, 2009 at 1:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterMikeN

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