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SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE  July 2005

SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE July 2005

Subject:

From:

Phil Gasper <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Science for the People Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 5 Jul 2005 05:59:18 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (217 lines)

Congressman Demands Records on Climate Research
X-Accept-Language: en
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1
Content-Disposition: inline
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

Friday=2C July 1=2C 2005

http=3A//chronicle=2Ecom/daily/2005/07/2005070101n=2Ehtm

Congressman Demands Complete Records on Climate Research by 3 Scientists
Who Support Theory of Global Warming

=3Cmailto=3Arich=2Emonastersky=40chronicle=2Ecom=3EBy RICHARD MONASTERSKY=

Washington

In a sign of how climate science has grown increasingly political=2C the
chairman of the U=2ES=2E House of Representatives Committee on Energy and=

Commerce is investigating three professors whose work suggests that the
earth=27s climate is warmer now than at any time in many centuries and
that increasing levels of greenhouse gases from burning fossils fuels
are largely to blame=2E

In letters to the three scientists last week=2C Rep=2E Joe Barton=2C a Te=
xas
Republican=2C demanded detailed documentation about the hundreds of
studies on which they were an author or co-author=2E Mr=2E Barton also se=
nt
a letter to the director of the National Science Foundation that
requests information about the work of the three professors=2C as well as=

a list of all grants and awards in the area of climate and paleoclimate
science=2C which number 2=2C700 in the past 10 years=2E

Several climate scientists reached by The Chronicle expressed dismay at
the investigation and described it as harassment=2E

The investigation focuses on studies by Michael E=2E Mann=2C an assistant=

professor of environmental science at the University of Virginia=3B
Raymond S=2E Bradley=2C a professor of geosciences at the University of
Massachusetts at Amherst=3B and Malcolm K=2E Hughes=2C a professor in the=

Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research of the University of Arizona=2E

Several independent studies have come to conclusions similar to theirs=2E=

But the work of Mr=2E Mann and his colleagues has served as a lightning
rod for attacks by skeptics of greenhouse warming=2C in part because thei=
r
early studies in 1998 and 1999 figured prominently in a 2001 report by
the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change=2C a U=2EN=2E-sponsored gro=
up
known as the IPCC=2E

In =3Chttp=3A//energycommerce=2Ehouse=2Egov/108/Letters/06232005=5F1570=2E=
htm=3Ethe
letters=2C Mr=2E Barton says he started the investigation because =22this=

dispute surrounding your studies bears directly on important questions
about the federally funded work upon which climate studies rely and the
quality and transparency of analyses used to support the IPCC assessment
process=2E=22

Mr=2E Mann said he would comply with the congressman=27s requests=2C but
because of the legal issues involved=2C he said he could not comment in
detail=2E =22I am pleased that the U=2ES=2E Congress has shown in interes=
t in
the issue of climate change=2C=22 he told The Chronicle=2E =22I am confid=
ent
that when members of Congress take a look at the science=2C they will joi=
n
with the consensus of the world=27s scientists that the earth is indeed
warming=2C and that human activity has played a primary role in the
warming observed in recent decades=2E=22

But climate scientists in the United States and in Europe said they were
shocked by Mr=2E Barton=27s requests=2E
=22It=27s a technical form of harassment by people in Congress who are
opposed to global warming and basically want to discredit the science so
they don=27t have to worry about the policy alternatives=2C=22 said Thoma=
s
Crowley=2C a professor in the Nicholas School of the Environment and Eart=
h
Sciences at Duke University=2E

Mr=2E Barton worked in the oil-and-gas industry before being elected to
Congress=2C in 1984=2E In the past decade=2C he has consistently ranked a=
s one
of the top five recipients of campaign contributions from that industry=2C=

according to the Center for Responsive Politics=2C a nonpartisan research=

group that tracks money in politics=2E

Mr=2E Barton could not be reached for comment on Thursday=2E A staff memb=
er
in his office said the letters spoke for themselves=2E

In their first study=2C published in Nature in 1998=2C Mr=2E Mann and his=

colleagues examined long-term records of glacial ice layers=2C coral
growth layers=2C and tree rings=2C all of which store information about h=
ow
climate has changed=2C year by year=2C at specific spots around the globe=
=2E
By mathematically combining records from various sites=2C the researchers=

developed a temperature history of the Northern Hemisphere dating back
six centuries=2E They subsequently extended their analysis to cover the
last two millennia=2E

In graphical form=2C the data show temperatures going up and down over th=
e
centuries by small amounts and then shooting upward in the 20th century
-- a shape that has been dubbed =22the hockey stick=2E=22

In writing its 2001 report=2C the IPCC considered Mr=2E Mann=27s first tw=
o
studies and several other separate analyses to draw the conclusion that
the late 20th century was likely to have been warmer than any time in
the past millennium=2E Mr=2E Mann was one of 10 lead authors of the chapt=
er
in the report that dealt with such data -- a connection that Mr=2E Barton=

wants to investigate=2E He wrote a letter to the chairman of the IPCC
asking for clarification concerning Mr=2E Mann=27s role in drafting the r=
eport=2E

Mr=2E Mann=27s work drew the attention of Steven McIntyre=2C an independe=
nt
researcher who has worked in the mining industry=2E Over the past several=

years=2C Mr=2E McIntyre has held long-running correspondences with Mr=2E =
Mann
and other climate researchers=2C requesting data and computer codes in
order to check their work=2E

Mr=2E McIntyre=2C working with Ross McKitrick=2C an associate professor o=
f
economics at Canada=27s University of Guelph=2C has published several pap=
ers
accusing Mr=2E Mann and his co-authors of making errors in their analyses=
=2E
In the meantime=2C the two groups have waged a war over those issues on
two Web sites=2C =3Chttp=3A//www=2Erealclimate=2Eorg=3ERealClimate and
=3Chttp=3A//www=2Eclimateaudit=2Eorg=3EClimate Audit=2E

According to Mr=2E Crowley=2C the Duke professor=2C he received repeated
e-mail messages from Mr=2E McIntyre demanding data and documentation=2C
which grew increasingly threatening=2E =22I=27m usually happy to send peo=
ple
some stuff=2C=22 said Mr=2E Crowley=2E However=2C he added=2C =22McIntyre=
 comes back
time and again=2E He could take up a huge amount of time=2E It=27s like y=
ou
have nothing better to do in your life than answer questions from Steven
McIntyre=2E=22

Mr=2E McIntyre was unavailable on Thursday to talk about his dispute with=

Mr=2E Mann=2E On his blog=2C he says that Mr=2E Mann has released data bu=
t not
the computer code from his studies=2E

According to David Stonner=2C of the Congressional-affairs office at the
National Science Foundation=2C Mr=2E McIntyre contacted the foundation la=
st
year to ask for Mr=2E Mann=27s computer code=2E Mr=2E Stonner said the ag=
ency
had told Mr=2E McIntyre that the code was the intellectual property of Mr=
=2E
Mann and that it was up to him whether to release it=2E

Critics of the letters said they were clearly intended for political
purposes=2C not scientific ones=2E Stefan Rahmstorf=2C a professor of phy=
sics
of the oceans at Potsdam University=2C in Germany=2C said that =22when yo=
u
read these letters=2C it becomes clear this is not a genuine interest in
getting the best scientific information but rather this is an attempt to
intimidate individual scientists=2E=22
James E=2E Hansen=2C director of NASA=27s Goddard Institute for Space Stu=
dies=2C
in New York City=2C said =22there is something rotten in Washington=2E=22=


=22These requests from Representative Barton=2C=22 Mr=2E Hansen said=2C =22=
seem to
be harassment and a threat to researchers and agencies that deliver
scientific results that displease politicians=2E=22

Hans von Storch=2C a professor of meteorology at the University of Hambur=
g
and director of the Institute of Coastal Research of the GKSS Research
Center=2C in Geesthacht=2C Germany=2C has published his own report that
criticizes the studies by Mr=2E Mann and his colleagues=2E He said Mr=2E =
Mann
made some mistakes in his analyses and did not explain his methods well
enough to allow other scientists to independently check his work (=3C=3ET=
he
Chronicle=2C September 5=2C 2003)=2E

But Mr=2E von Storch distinguished between publishing a description of
methodology and releasing computer codes=2E =22If I did get such a letter=
=2C I
would become desperate=2C=22 he said=2E His colleagues often write the co=
de
for his studies=2C and he said=2C =22if I asked my colleagues whether the=
y
still had the code=2C I=27m not sure they would=2E=22


=3C=3ECopyright =A9 2005 by =3C=3EThe Chronicle of Higher Education

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