Climategate 3.0: Briffa secures agreement from NYTimes Revkin to police Wall Street Journal editorial writer

Imagine your very own New York Times reporter that you could unleash at will.

The context: Climategate Keith Briffa apparently cc’d NYTimes Andrew Revkin on his response to questions posed by Wall Street Journal editorial writer Anne Jolis. The purpose of the cc seems to be to get Revkin to police the WSJ editorial on behalf of the Climategaters. Revkin agrees provided she writes something.

Click here for Mann’s related berating of Jolis.

The e-mail exchange is below.


date: Mon, 26 Oct 2009 07:48:44 -0400
from: Andrew Revkin
subject: Re: Comments on McIntyre blog and answers to your questions

Dear Keith,
Best wishes for recovery and all. As I was
reading this, for a moment I thought you were
responding to questions that had been posed by
ME, then saw her name… : )
Thanks for including me in response. I’ll be
tracking, but not writing for the moment (unless
/until she does).
At 3:15 PM +0100 10/24/09, wrote:
>Dear Anne
>Your recent email to me has been drawn to my attention by Phil Jones. I
>apologise for not picking it up myself but as you probably know I have
>been absent from work for some months now, recovering from an operation. I
>have not been checking my email in any systematic way for some time.
>Before answering your specific questions (even though they are directed
>more specifically at Mike Mann), I would like to clarify some
>misunderstanding that is apparent in your introductory remarks to me.
>The controversy to which you refer, I presume, is that surrounding the
>post on Steve McIntyreís blog where he purports to test the sensitivity of
>my Yamal tree-ring chronology, versions of which were published in 2000
>and 2008, to the inclusion of specific data in the recent period. What he
>does, in effect, is to remove entirely valid data and replace them,
>whether intentionally or not, with other data that show a different
>pattern of recent growth to that seen after 1970 at all three of the
>locations that he has discarded. What he does, therefore, is to produce a
>demonstrably biased representation of recent tree growth changes in the
>general area. The data he uses to produce this version of the chronology
>are those representing a narrower area and range of sample sites than are
>used in my published versions. We have built a new Yamal chronology using
>additional data, including those selected by McIntyre. The result is a
>series that looks very similar to what we originally published. This shows
>that, unless McIntyre has some other justification for believing that his
>more locally sourced and demonstrably biased chronology should be
>considered a more representative indicator of real regional tree growth
>changes than one based on considerably more and wider sourced data, his
>work has little implication for our published work or any other work that
>uses it.
>I had intended to post a more extensive response to McIntyre’s blog on my
>Yamal chronology by now – but this will not now happen until early next
>My responses to your questions (also copied for context) are as follows ñ
>- Given that methods in climate science are still being refined, do you
>agree with policy makers’ and advocates’ use of data such as your own? Do
>you feel it is accurately represented to laymans, and that the inherent
>uncertainties present in the data are appropriately underscored? As a
>citizen, do you feel there is enough certainty in the conclusions of, for
>instance, the latest IPCC report, to introduce new economic regulations?
>Why or why not?
>Policy makers are right to formulate action that recognises the reality of
>likely climate change in the future. It seems sensible to heed the
>warnings of the IPCC when you consider that it represents the voice of
>thousands of the scientists best qualified to judge the balance of
>evidence and uncertainty. The IPCC is very careful to express its
>conclusions in the context of clearly defined and realistically assessed
>-What methods do you feel are the most accurate for predicting future
>climate change, for evaluatinag the causes of climate change and for
>predicting whether or what man can do to try to control or mitigate
>climate change in the future in the future? Why do you feel these methods
>are the most accurate? Do you feel they’re given enough weight in the
>current debate?
>The only valid and practical method for predicting the course and
>character of future climate change is to use climate models. These are
>mathematical simulations of the actual processes that affect climate, the
>processes that will drive future changes as we continue to alter other
>aspects of our environment so drastically. Climate models can do this in
>a way that no statistical study, for example comparing evidence of past
>climates and possible causes, is capable of. Of course different models
>have their own limitations but together they still provide compelling
>evidence that dramatic warming of the planet is already underway.
>-What is your opinion of the value of Steve McIntyre’s work? Clearly he is
>not a professional scientist, but do you feel there is nonetheless a place
>for his “auditing” in the climate science community? Why or why not?
>It is always useful when scientific methods and research conclusions are
>independently scrutinised and either validated or challenged. However, it
>is important to distinquish between the sort of substantial, unbiased and
>fully-documented examination that can alter the accepted view of an
>important issue and the type of investigation that focuses on more minor
>aspects of past work and thus has little consequence for the ìbig
>pictureî. In general, transient blog sites with their often less than
>objective viewpoint, are not the most authoratitive repository of
>scientific record. Rather than inform the casual reader blogs may confuse
>or, in extreme cases, even mislead. Important conclusions that alter the
>interpretation of published research should themselves be submitted for
>publication in the peer-review literature.
>-Do you think McIntyre’s work and findings are likely to change the way
>leading climate scientists operate? Do you think his recent campaign to
>get Dr. Keith Briffa to publish the Yamal data he used is likely to make
>climate scientists more forthcoming with their data
>Do you think his work
>will make scientists, policymakers and advocates any more exacting about
>the uncertainties in their procedures, methods and conclusions when they
>present scientific data?
>Please understand that the data to which McIntyre refers, i.e. the
>tree-ring measurements from Yamal, were never mine to release. I made this
>clear to him at his first request and directed him to the owners, whose
>prerogative it was to distribute them or not as they saw fit. He
>perpetuates the myth that I was responsible for withholding these data.
>This is simply not true. It is also untrue that these data ìleaked outî
>recently as has been reported by some. In fact at the first request, made
>by the Royal Society to me, after my collaborators had lifted the embargo
>on distributing their data, I sought and got their permission and posted
>the data on the Climatic Research Unit website. It is also the case that
>McIntyre requested and was sent these data, by Rashit Hantemirov, as early
>as 2004. I must and I will continue to respect any restrictions placed on
>the use of data as stipulated by those colleagues who provide them to me.
>How would you respond to the critique that, as a key part of the review
>processes of publications in the field of climate science, as something of
>a “gatekeeper,” you have rejected and otherwise sought to suppress work
>that contradicted your work. Is this fair? Why or why not? How would you
>characterize your selection process for work that is worthy of
>If I were to recommend publication or rejection of any work that I had
>been asked to review, it would be on the basis of an objective
>consideration of its method, the data used, and an unbiased assessment of
>whether the evidence presented provided adequate support or otherwise for
>the conclusions drawn.
>-Do you stand by your original “hockey stick” graf, even after the
>publication of borehole data from Henry Pollack and Jason Smerdon that
>seems to contradict your conclusions? Or work published in 2005 by Hans
>von Storch that seems to indicate that the predictive capabilities of the
>method you used in your original “hockey stick” would not be able to
>predict current temperatures?
>This question is not directlty addressed at my work and so I will leave
>the specific response to those other colleagues to whom it is addressed.
>However, I would like to offer some personal thoughts as my own Yamal data
>have been described as showing the ìhockey stickî shape. Your question
>illustrates the confusion that can arise when different issues are
>conflated. I do not have a ìhockey stickî graph. The term ìhockey stickî
>has become synonymous with a particular reconstruction of the history of
>global average annual surface temperatures during the last 1000 years, as
>published by Mike Mann and colleagues in 1999. The same series was
>subsequently shown in the 2001 Third Assessment Report of the IPCC. In
>2007, the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report presented an updated summary of
>the ìstate of the artî as regards large-scale average temperature changes.
>This summary differs from the ìhockey stickî in that it is based on
>additional data and different analyses of the various data. It is not
>appropriate to call this a ìhockey stickî. The conclusions regarding the
>record, are consistent with Mannís earlier work and the findings of the
>2001 IPCC Report.
>Briffaís Yamal tree-ring chronology was not used in the Mann 1999 work. It
>was included in only 3 out of 12 studies cited as evidence, and
>summarised, in the 2007 IPPC Report, and it is only one among other
>sources of information used even in these three studies.
>The Yamal chronology provides information on summer temperature changes
>only in the vicinity of the southern Yamal Peninsula, northern Russia. It
>shows that tree-ring growth was unusually high and summers warm in this
>area when compared to the evidence of the last 2000nn years. Nothing that
>McIntyre has done or shown would lead us to amend this conclusion.
>McIntyreís blog has no implication, either for the validity of my own
>work, or for the larger-scale-studies that make use of the Yamal

Andrew C. Revkin
The New York Times / Environment
620 Eighth Ave., NY, NY 10018
Tel: 212-556-7326 Mob: 914-441-5556
Fax: 509-357-0965

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