I’m still plowing through the 300 or so pages I finally received from NASA last week in response to my long-obstructed FOIA requests for documents relating to the Goddard Institute for Space Studies’ internal response to being caught sexing up U.S. temperatures. Also included in this cache are documents responsive to my inquiry about Gavin Schmidt and his RealClimate moonlighting on the taxpayer dime to run a third-party advocacy website established to defend the debunked junk science of Michael Mann’s “Hockey Stick,” and to assail Michael Crichton’s arguments in his novel State of Fear. (Really.)
NASA is withholding documents in response to the latter request, on grounds that will cause your sides to split when you read why in more detail, later on.
But for now, take a gander at this e-mail from the New York Times’s Andrew Revkin to James Hansen — included below one of Hansen’s missives massaging Andy’s late entry into the fray with an apologia for which NASA’s Reto Ruedy later gushed in thanks (causing Andy to despair, in apparent further apology that he couldn’t do more, that the issue had become difficult for him to ignore). The thread is dated August 23, 2007:
i never, til today, visited http://www.surfacestations.org and found it quite amazing. if our stations are that shoddy, what’s it like in Mongolia?
Oh, dear. Quite amazing — yet not quite newsworthy. Surface Stations is the brainchild of 25-year-veteran meterologist Anthony Watts, who created it to survey and catalog the quality of the sites that collect U.S. temperature data. Surface Stations propelled Watts’s other site — Watts Up With That? — to its initial prominence, on the way to becoming the most heavily trafficked “climate” site and its selection as best science blog in 2008. So why should a Times environmental reporter bother with publicizing the work of a man so many (too many?) people were discovering on their own?
Speaking of crummy data and Mongolia — among other neighboring locales — some amazing discoveries have trickled into the open that will also receive a further airing shortly. Who knew that, for example, tiny China needs only 35 stations to tell us the country’s surface temperature within a hundredth of a degree . . . such that more than 350 could be closed? We know the China data is valid.
Hansen, incidentally, merely agreed with Revkin that it would be good to improve station data, but plowed forward with his newfound obsession about the impropriety of focusing on U.S. temperatures, and individual years no less, which is really just a distraction. Because, you know, NASA would never do that.
That’s just a taste of the fun stuff. The more serious issues will be aired later.