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« Environment correspondents | Main | Police are climate change experts »

Mosher's story

Is up at BigJournalism.

Whodunnit? He isn't saying:

Several days before the Climategate files were made public, Mosher says he had been given the files from an undisclosed source. “[The] file came to me in the form of a CD, and I was asked by people to take a look at it and give my opinion whether it was a hoax or not.”


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  • Response
    This development may horrify the old guard, but peer-to-peer review was just what forced the release of the Climategate files ? and as a consequence revealed the uncertainty of the science and the co-opting of the process that legitimizes global warming research. It was a collective of climate blogs, centered on ...
  • Response

Reader Comments (44)

Which people?

Jan 12, 2010 at 2:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterJJ

"Mosher went one step further. “Prior to [the emails] being public, I got confirmation from sources inside CRU that the files I held were real.”" I suppose "sources" might refer to one person, but it would more naturally refer to more than one.

Jan 12, 2010 at 3:42 PM | Unregistered Commenterdearieme

I don't know who the leak is, but I'm sticking to the theory that I posted when this thing first broke. When you look at the Harry read me files you see a software engineer that is very unhappy about what he is being asked to do. He implies very stongly that he considers much of it to be fraudulent. But he is only doing the job that his superiors, like Jones, are telling him to do. My thought is that one of those software engineers wrapped up the package and began to look for a sympathetic source through which he could distribute it.

My second choice is Briffa. His disagreements with Mann, as demonstrated in his emails, makes me think that he was never completely on board with the fraud. He was often pushed into producing what the cabal needed.

But as long as we are guessing again, I'm going to make another prediction. I'm going to predict that one of the core members of the cabal will run up the white flag within the next year. He will come out and state that he believes that the climate sensitivity numbers used by the IPCC are clearly too large.

Kevin Trenberth has already dipped his toe into the surrender pool when he states this:

"why is the temperature not continuing to go up? The stock answer is that natural variability plays a key role [1] and there was a major La Niña event early in 2008 that led to the month of January having the lowest anomaly in global temperature since 2000. While this is true, it is an incomplete explanation. In particular, what are the physical processes? From an energy standpoint, there should be an explanation that accounts for where the radiative forcing has gone."

While Trenberth still insists on supporting AGW, he admits that he cannot account for the current flat trend.

Jan 12, 2010 at 5:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterTilo Reber


Trenberth goes on to say they haven't a clue where the energy is going: "What are the physical processes? Where did the heat go? But the resulting evaporative cooling means the heat goes into atmosphere and should be radiated to space: so we should be able to track it with sky temperature data. That data is unfortunately wanting, and so too are the cloud data. The ocean data are also lacking..." What an admission. After all those years of research, they don't know where the energy is going! AGW is dead by their own admission.

The science is far from settled.

Jan 12, 2010 at 5:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

My money was 50:50 Briffa and Harry Harris. But I think Tom Melvin (Briffa's co-author) is a strong outsider. He was described as a loose cannon within CRU.

Jan 12, 2010 at 5:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

One could argue that Mann and Jones destroyed Briffa's career. Its been alleged that the Briffa reconstruction that SMc eviscerated was actually a repackaging of Briffa's work by Mann. Its got Mann's signature statistical canards all over it. I think Briffa allowed Mann to Mann-handle him into agreeing to publish something that he didn't agree with. So Briffa's got motive. But it's equally plausible that someone sympathetic to Briffa was the whistleblower.

Jan 12, 2010 at 6:07 PM | Unregistered Commentermpaul

Please don't speculate about the identity of the leaker.
Protect him instead.

Jan 12, 2010 at 6:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Silver

Dang, now I agree with the "Harry" whistleblower theory.

He's a computer guy, so he has the skills to find the individual email files and copy them all, copy the data, and the skills to use proxy servers to hide his IP address. Plus that sounds like an IT guy to see that a bunch of crap is going down and call them out on it.

I'm sticking with this theory :)

Jan 12, 2010 at 6:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterDr. Robert

Its futile to speculate about who it was, at a time when the full extent of the fraud has still not been investigated in depth by those most closely concerned, like Steve McIntyre. Also, younger scientists at the fringes of this CRU cabal need time to think about how to break cover and come out denouncing the 'science'.
Its their future work and lives I'd worry about.

Who 'did' climateGate will be revealed in due course, I'm sure.
In the meantime, lets find more scientific nails for the coffin of what is known as 'The Team'

Jan 12, 2010 at 6:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterViv Evans

It really kinda annoys me that the rest of us are just left here to eat the lousy crumbs of speculation. My appetite can't be possibly be satisfied by this. The person who disclosed everything must be known by more than just Mosher. He's probably known by the whole P2P network, I bet .
What an ending for us readers. This is crap.

Jan 12, 2010 at 6:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterP Gosselin


I'm sure you've read it, but I've been reading this for a couple of days now:

To me, this puts so many nails in The Team's coffin that I can't see them ever getting out. It is particularly damning to Phil Jones and M. Mann. I wish I could print this out and post it on every wall in the world.

Jan 12, 2010 at 6:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterDr. Robert

"Please don't speculate about the identity of the leaker.
Protect him instead."

I don't want to protect him in secret. I want to defend him in the open. He is a hero. He is a whistleblower that went around a bunch of lawbreakers that were breaking the FOI laws. Ultimately it is up to him. But in his shoes I would have stepped forward to claim credit long ago. I suppose that the other side of my argument is that there are some very fascist laws in Britain and the fair result may not happen.

Jan 12, 2010 at 6:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterTilo Reber

Viv Evans:
"In the meantime, lets find more scientific nails for the coffin of what is known as 'The Team'"

Okay, here:

How is that for shameless self promotion? LOL.

Jan 12, 2010 at 7:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterTilo Reber

You could have made it even more shameless and made it a clickable link.
allow me.


Jan 12, 2010 at 7:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterMikeE

Tilo: I agree; the whistleblower is a hero. He will go down in history.

Jan 12, 2010 at 7:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

But didn't a BBC weatherman with AGW contrary views claim to have been sent copies of the emails before even Mosher? And thought little of it?

Kindest Regards.

Jan 12, 2010 at 7:43 PM | Unregistered Commentera jones

Steven Mosher has a very interesting post over on Lucia's. He says he is hoping that the person that gave him the CD will be comming forward soon

Jan 12, 2010 at 7:50 PM | Unregistered Commenterboballab

Here is part of the post from Lucia's

steven mosher (Comment#29867)
January 12th, 2010 at 1:29 pm
Hi guys,

I’ll get to Boris and others, But for now I’ll copy here what I wrote over at patricks. Patrick was at a little disadvantage when it came to figuring this out, because I wouldnt give him much. I couldn’t I had not written anything when I talked to him. Did I download the files? No. How did you get them? On a CD. Who gave them to you?
Cant say. Why did they give them to you? To see if they were a hoax. How did you do that. I called people mentioned in the mail, I read them mails. At that stage I’m very unsure if I even want to talk about what happened between Nov 13th and Nov 19th. Is the book gunna a be a who dunnit? a what happened?
a why does it matter?

With all that said.. here is what I wrote at his site:

Another piece in the puzzle, a piece which has been in PLAIN VIEW, will come out over the next couple
of days. The people who helped me have the chance to tell the story from their perspective. Hopefully, you’ll
hear from one of the guys I talked to, and then the person who gave me the CD. That person commented
long ago about getting the file. For people who like to do this investigative stuff, I’ll leave that out there, but
it’ll come clear before the book goes out.

Jan 12, 2010 at 7:53 PM | Unregistered Commenterboballab

Hopefully, you’ll hear from one of the guys I talked to, and then the person who gave me the CD. That person commented long ago about getting the file.

Paul Hudson, with the CD, in the (BBC) dining room;)

Jan 12, 2010 at 10:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterChris S

A Jones - the BBC Weatherman is Paul Butler. He did not receive the package of emails.


What happened was Paul Butler was copied on an email chain and was able to verify that when the email showed up in the package that the content appeared to be authentic. However he did a first post which has led many people to the false coclusion that he had received the package of emails at an earlier date.


Jan 12, 2010 at 11:13 PM | Unregistered Commenterclivere

Whoops - meant Paul Hudson

Jan 12, 2010 at 11:37 PM | Unregistered Commenterclivere

Understandable slip, clivere, we were in Cluedo mode.

Jan 13, 2010 at 12:05 AM | Unregistered Commentermarchesarosa

Steve Moshers comment at the Blackboard

Jan 13, 2010 at 2:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterChuck

Whoops that didn't work, see below.

it appears that Charles the Moderator has a good story to tell, perhaps a nice post will be coming up on WUWT soon.

i guess the questions are. who found it on the FTP site and then spread the message?

steven mosher (Comment#29932)
January 12th, 2010 at 6:16 pm
How did Woodward and Bernstein crack Watergate?
Deep Throat handed it to them.
It’s not the source, it’s what you do with it.

In our case “deep throat” did even less. On the morning of Nov 19th two people held the file. ( that I know of) Me on a CD and a blog moderator who was holding the FOIA comment. Embargoed at the request of the Blog owner. I’ll leave it to them to explain in their own words. That’s not my place. So on the morning of the 19th, we got word that UEA had informed employees that some files of mails had been posted on the internet. Like “deep throat” just told woodward and bernstein that there was a coverup and to follow the money, this communication told us the file was real and was out there. Since the comment pointing to the link was held in moderation, that meant one thing! whoever posted the file, posted it somewhere else. That meant go find it.
Which we did. And then alerted people to it.

CTM has explained some of this long ago, but people just missed it. See the thread on the third theory.

Jan 13, 2010 at 2:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterChuck

this comment is from WUWT

charles the moderator (11:33:55) :

Paul K2

Are you certain that people associated with McIntyre didn’t release the information?

Uh, yeah, because I am the one that told him about the existence of the file, and my roommate spent hours on the phone with Steve reading the contents of the emails to him because I wouldn’t even forward a copy or forward the link to the Russian ftp server. As I noted in the original post, we only began to even refer the to file publicly after, and only after it began circulating on the Internet and CRU was in the process of notifying its personnel internally.

Jan 13, 2010 at 2:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterChuck

it is still important to document the paul hudson timeline:

9 Oct: BBC: Paul Hudson: What happened to global warming?

12 Oct: BBC: Paul Hudson: A few points about my article (180 comments, incl attacks on hudson, references to realclimate, etc)

23 Nov: BBC: Paul Hudson: 'Climategate' - CRU hacked into and its implications
But I will in the meantime answer the question regarding the chain of e-mails which you have been commenting about on my blog, which can be seen here, and whether they are genuine or part of an elaborate hoax.
I was forwarded the chain of e-mails on the 12th October, which are comments from some of the worlds leading climate scientists written as a direct result of my article 'whatever happened to global warming'. The e-mails released on the internet as a result of CRU being hacked into are identical to the ones I was forwarded and read at the time and so, as far as l can see, they are authentic.

hudson's link to 'the chain of emails' was to the ENTIRE email cache, tho specifically linked to the series concerning his 9th oct blog. whilst mann and schneider are in this series of emails #1255523796.txt, so are trenberth and others. even if hudson only received THIS CHAIN OF EMAILS, they would not have been sent to him by mann and schneider as the bbc spokesperson in hull daily mail below claims.

East Anglia Emails 1255523796.txt

27 Nov: Hull Daily Mail: BBC weatherman in global warming row
Mr Hudson – familiar to East Yorkshire viewers for his light-hearted banter with Look North presenter Peter Levy – wrote: "I was forwarded the chain of e-mails on October 23, which are comments from some of the world's leading climate scientists written as a direct result of my article Whatever Happened To Global Warming...
When contacted by the Mail, the weatherman said he was not allowed to comment and asked us to speak to the BBC press office.
A BBC spokesperson said: "Paul wrote a blog for the BBC website on October 9 entitled Whatever Happened To Global Warming. There was a big reaction to the article – not just here but around the world. Among those who responded were Professor Michael E Mann and Stephen Schneider whose e-mails were among a small handful forwarded to Paul on October 12.
"Although of interest, Paul wanted to consider the e-mails as part of a wider piece, following up his original blog piece.
"Last week, Paul spotted these few e-mails were among thousands published on the Internet following the alleged hacking of the UEA computer system.
"Paul passed this information on to colleagues at the BBC, who ran with the story, and then linked to the e-mails on his blog this Monday."

24 Nov: BBC: Paul Hudson: 'Climategate' - What next?
I first became aware of the news late last week, but because of my weather and filming commitments couldn't deal with it myself and so passed the news on to some of my colleagues in the BBC's environment and science team, including our environment analyst Roger Harrabin who wrote about it on saturday morning, and Newsnight, who covered the story last night. ..
As you may know, some of the e-mails that were released last week directly involved me and one of my previous blogs, 'Whatever happened to global warming ?'
These took the form of complaints about its content, and I was copied in to them at the time. ..
However I felt that seeing there was an ongoing debate as to the authenticity of the hacked e-mails, I was duty bound to point out that as I had read the original e-mails, then at least these were authentic, although of course I cannot vouch for the authenticity of the others....

naturally wikipedia has no mention whatsover of hudson's climategate profile:

Wikipedia: Paul Hudson
He has a first-class degree in Geophysics and Planetary Physics from the University of Newcastle. He was the only person in his class from school to get a first class degree..
Although most BBC forecasters are not directly employed by the BBC, but by the MOD's Met Office, since 2007 Paul is now a full-time member of BBC staff, not the Met Office, acting as an environmental and climate change expert.

good for hudson that he is still telling it as it is:

19 Jan: BBC: Paul Hudson: A frozen Britain turns the heat up on the Met office.

bbc trust is now investigating bbc's advocacy of AGW and as bbc is a taxpayer-funded corporation, it is vital that the trust open a web page to allow the public to report examples of such advocacy. and it is equally important that bbc trust inform the public precisely what paul hudson was sent and by whom. BBC, we will not wait until 2011 for a report on the Hudson report. meanwhile, persons interested could contact the Trust with complaints, etc:

6 Jan: UKTele: BBC to launch review into allegations of bias in its science coverage
The review, which will be published in 2011, will assess science output relating to public policy and "matters of political controversy". ..
However, some critics have said the BBC Trust is not in a position to conduct the review as it is regarded as being to close to the corporation.
Godfrey Bloom MEP said: "I would like to see a completely independent judicial review, the BBC cannot be objective as it has consistently shown. It has blocked sceptics of a scientific view point of climate change for years. No debate is allowed. It is biased in its reporting which is a disgrace and nothing less than a fully independent review is good enough."
A BBC Trust spokeswoman said: "As set out in the BBC's Charter and Agreement, the Trust is the body charged with ensuring that the BBC's coverage of any issue is duly impartial. This review, which will be carried out independently on behalf of the Trust, will take an in-depth look at the BBC's coverage of science, taking into account the views of relevant stakeholders, to make sure that the coverage adheres to the high standards that audiences expect."

Jan 13, 2010 at 4:24 AM | Unregistered Commenterpat

wanted to add to paul hudson post that hudson received his 'chain of emails' on 12th oct, yet the email series he linked to were dated 14th oct and 12th oct, so he could NOT have received this series on 12th., tho obviously he wouldn't be sent such emails anyway.

also there is no indication in the east anglia email link that anyone had as yet contacted hudson.

what is possible is hudson was the first person to receive the cache of emails up until a date prior to 12th or 14th oct and that, because nothing was done with them at bbc, the 'whistleblower' tried other means to get them out. or some variation of this.

this is merely one theory, and one possibility.

Jan 13, 2010 at 5:37 AM | Unregistered Commenterpat

well the nice post ended up on CA not WUWT

Jan 13, 2010 at 6:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterChuck

Pat: I think on 12th October 2009, Paul Hudson received the one email chain from the previous day (email 1255352257).

Jan 13, 2010 at 8:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby


Good find on the CTM quote, I've been directing folks to that thread for a couple of days. I love marginalia, and comments are like marginalia, for people who like to read completely and curiously. I'm kicking myself for not clicking on that linky in the CA thread the morning of Nov17th. Bender did, curious fellow. drat.

Jan 13, 2010 at 8:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterSteven Mosher


Charles has agreed to tell his story in his own words shortly. It will end where it started with him finding a file in moderation and calling Anthony. Now, if Anthony had confirmation bias, you expect him to run with the file in a heartbeat. He doesn't. he wanted things checked out.

Jan 13, 2010 at 11:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterSteven Mosher

"“[The] file came to me in the form of a CD, and I was asked by people to take a look at it and give my opinion whether it was a hoax or not.”

It was the WUWT moderator, why all the secrecy?

Jan 13, 2010 at 11:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterHoi Polloi


You dropped some hints on Lucia's that the package on Jeff Id's site did not include all of the emails. Can you elaborate?

Jan 13, 2010 at 11:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterRaven

hmmm, so nobody knows who put the file on the server and who took it off.

i'm 99.9% sure that the file was created by the professional FOI people. and i believe someone left it on the CRU FTP site either to make it public or just to share with colleagues. Then perhaps someone from the outside was pointed to the file either by the person who left it on the FTP site or someone from CRU who realized they left it there (the grad student?). this outsider may have been given a password, (but it seems the police believe they cracked it? hence the hacking) the outsider then went about putting the zip file onto the Russian site and started to tell the world. And it seems they first tried to unveil it on the most popular skeptical and alarmist blogs, WUWT and RC. Moderation can be a bitch

Jan 13, 2010 at 12:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterChuck

If was mistakenly put on the public part of CRU's network would it be picked up by google? If so anyone searching for FOI or FOIA might have happened upon it.

Jan 13, 2010 at 12:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterGareth


Screwtape and wormwood I presume the devil is in the detail

Jan 13, 2010 at 1:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterKamboshigh

Steven Mosher is clearly a good name if you want your kid to go into investigative journalism or something of the sort ...


Jan 13, 2010 at 4:36 PM | Unregistered Commenterberenike

O/T but thought you might be interested to know that Michael Taylor is heading a petition to PM Gordon Brown which reads:

Many areas of current government policy are based on an assumption that climate change is man-made and a consequence of CO2 emissions. The Government is planning to spend a significant proportion of the UK's GDP over the medium to long term in an attempt to reduce CO2 and influence the climate. Increasingly there is evidence to support the view that recent rises in global temperature are now being reversed, in line with historical and natural climatic cycles. Before committing the UK to spending on a vast scale, which will undoubtedly have a huge impact on the UK economy at a time of difficult public finances, the Government, through a Royal Commission, should investigate the validity and robustness of the scientific claims and counterclaims surrounding climate change and its causes.

Petition web address is:

It's an opportunity to have a little say and I expect Michael would be pleased for you to pass the info on.

Dusty Rhodes

Jan 13, 2010 at 5:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterDusty

hudson initially said he received a 'chain of emails' on oct 12, and linked to the entire cache, and authenticated the emails, so why not believe him? what he later said - under pressure perhaps? - is not relevant at this point.
neither 1255523796 nor 1255523797 show anything addressed to hudson; in fact, they indicate no-one had contacted hudson, but rather there was talk of doing something on realclimate and/or contacting richard black at bbc.
bbc's own spokesperson claims hudson received responses from mann and schneider, but nothing in the emails back this up.
hudson was with the MET OFFICE til 2007 so no doubt still has friends/acquaintances there, so it is possible an insider sent him a mere few emails that concerned his blog, but that would still be a leak and not an official communcation.
bbc can clear this up by releasing precisely the 'chain of emails' hudson received on 12 oct which i remind u again cannot be the series hudson himself linked to as they have one dated 14th oct and cannot be the series u refer to unless it was 'leaked' to hudson.
bbc, the ball is in your court.

Jan 13, 2010 at 10:22 PM | Unregistered Commenterpat

I liked the question Raven asked Steven Mosher. The hints on The Blackboard were (imo):

"Lucia, Hold onto your hat. There’s more decline news coming. Don’t ask, just wait. The material needs to be vetted."

"Don’t be too rash here. especially if you havent taken the time to read the emails WRT this, and if you don’t have access to all the material. hehe."

"But wait, there’s more.. no you will have to wait."

Three quotes from three posts, written in a span of 2.5 hours on this thread:

Jan 14, 2010 at 4:21 AM | Unregistered Commenterharold

January 12, 2010 | Tilo Reber

""Please don't speculate about the identity of the leaker. Protect him instead."

I don't want to protect him in secret. I want to defend him in the open. He is a hero. He is a whistleblower that went around a bunch of lawbreakers that were breaking the FOI laws. Ultimately it is up to him. But in his shoes I would have stepped forward to claim credit long ago. I suppose that the other side of my argument is that there are some very fascist laws in Britain and the fair result may not happen."

I think everyone on the sceptical side of AGW would like to defend the leaker in the open. However, the leaker clearly doesn't want to be known, at least not to-date. Who knows what this person is going through. Considering the authorities are treating this incident as "domestic extremism" (what a joke!), were I the leaker, I would probably be laying low as well. The repurcussions of getting exposed as the leaker could be significant, such as termination with cause, criminal charges, loss of security clearance, etc. All of that is terribly sad because in my view, the leaker is a hero. On that basis, maybe we should not be openly speculating about the identity of the leaker.

Jan 14, 2010 at 5:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterDaryl M

Raven and harold:

Who would remove files from the zip and then upload it on TPB and Megaupload? And why? I think those uploads are identical to the original upload on the Russian ftp server, but it's only a guess. Maybe the leaker made a later upload and only posted the link on WUWT. In that case CTM and Steve Mosher would have some files that we don't have, but why would they not share those files with us?

Nah... There's nothing more.

Jan 14, 2010 at 7:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterBuck

Buck, thanks for setting me straight!. The cryptic comments are a tease, but I have no plans to go wading through the Raw emails to find the missing 20%..

"Actually, if people read all the sites and all the comments. I mean all the sites and all the comments they could come up with 80% of the story. The last 20% is really really neat."

Jan 14, 2010 at 11:21 PM | Unregistered Commenterharold

harold, I'm only guessing here. But I think the 20% Mosher refers to is what happened between him, CTM and Steve McIntyre before the story broke. Although it's neat, I don't really consider it to be 20% of the story, but it's my best guess. It's a shame he can't be more straightforward in his comments ;)

Jan 15, 2010 at 12:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterBuck

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