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Congress Subpoenas NOAA’s Emails

October 28, 2015

By Paul Homewood  




From the Washington Post:


The head of a congressional committee on science has issued subpoenas to the Obama administration over a recent scientific study refuting claims that global warming had “paused” or slowed over the last decade.

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.), chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology and a prominent congressional skeptic on climate change, issued the subpoenas two weeks ago demanding e-mails and records from U.S. scientists who participated in the study, which undercut a popular argument used by critics who reject the scientific consensus that man-made pollution is behind the planet’s recent warming.

Smith’s document request to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ordered the agency to turn over scientific data as well as internal “communications between or among employees” involved in the study, according to a letter Friday by the House committee’s ranking Democrat, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (Tex.).  Johnson accused Smith of “furthering a fishing expedition” by looking for ways to discredit NOAA’s study, which was published in June in the peer-reviewed journal Science.

“It is a disturbing trend for the legitimacy of this committee,” Johnson said in the letter to Smith. She linked the subpoena to previous requests by the committee’s Republican staff seeking information about NOAA’s climate researchers, which Johnson called “a serious misuse of Congressional oversight powers.” Noting that NOAA routinely publishes supporting data for its studies, Johnson said Smith had “not articulated a legitimate need for anything beyond what NOAA has already provided.”


Smith, responding to Johnson’s letter, said the subpoena was not “harassment” but “appropriate constitutional oversight.”

“This scandal-ridden administration’s lack of openness is the real problem,” Smith said in a statement released by his office. “Congress cannot do its job when agencies openly defy Congress and refuse to turn over information. When an agency decides to alter the way it has analyzed historical temperature data for the past few decades, it’s crucial to understand on what basis those decisions were made.”

Smith, a lawyer who became chairman of the science committee in 2013, has repeatedly rejected mainstream scientific views about climate change, while accusing the Obama administration of undermining the U.S. economy with policies that seek to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In writings and speeches, Smith has frequently cited scientific studies that suggested a slowing or even a halt in the rise of global temperatures since 2000.


The existence of a warming “pause” came under question following several new scientific analyses early this year. The study that prompted the subpoenas was led by NOAA’s Thomas Karl, who heads its National Centers for Environmental Information, and was regarded by many experts as a bombshell in the climate change debate.

The NOAA study reported on a series of adjustments to the agency’s influential temperature data set, seeking to address “residual data biases” affecting some sources of measurement, such as ocean temperature measurements taken by ships.

The result was that the “newly corrected and updated global surface temperature data … do not support the notion of a global warming ‘hiatus,’” Karl and his fellow researchers reported.

“Our new analysis now shows the trend over the period 1950-1999, a time widely agreed as having significant anthropogenic global warming, is 0.113°C [per decade], which is virtually indistinguishable with the trend over the period 2000-2014 (0.116°C [per decade]),” they continued.



This , of course, only relates to the latest revision to historical temperature datasets, but it is a move in the right direction.

  1. October 28, 2015 11:21 am

    To the Washington Com-Post, “rejecting mainstream scientific views about climate change” is troubling as it means their lies might be questioned instead of relied upon.

    The extensive article I posted yesterday from The Daily Signal showed that Rep. Lamar Smith was clearly up to speed. He gets it.

  2. October 28, 2015 11:24 am

    NOAA will delay providing emails, emails will be missing, the Republicans will make a lot o noise, the Democrats will make a lot of noise, we will hear claims of politics for a couple of years. And then nothing will come of it. Try a complete external audit with all the servers locked down so emails, program changes, old data and research notes can’t disappear. But that will never happen.

    • Don Kelly permalink
      October 28, 2015 3:36 pm

      Excellent. This is exactly how it will go. The guilty parties will get a promotion and a pay raise.

    • October 28, 2015 4:20 pm

      Actually, a document retention order was sent first. And the subpoena was issued after NOAA refused the subsequent formal committee email request. And behind Karl’s reliance on Huang’s SST revision using the previously published Stevenson method is the fact that Huang did not report the uncertainty accompanying the 0.1C adjustment. Stevenson did in his earlier paper. 0.1C +/- 1.7C. Huang and Karl hiding that is tantamount to misconduct. The emails will be most interesting.

  3. October 28, 2015 1:08 pm


  4. October 28, 2015 1:16 pm

    He should see my exposition of GISTEMP changes vis-a-vis confidence intervals.

  5. markl permalink
    October 28, 2015 3:45 pm

    We need more of this and more often. Letting the Warmist Cult get away with misrepresenting and falsifying data is condoning their actions. Eventually the people being mushroomed by the MSM will understand their subterfuge.

  6. NeilC permalink
    October 28, 2015 4:20 pm

    All raw data should be maintained and available and free for everyone from publicly funded organisations.

    People can manipulate as much as they want, interpret as much as they want, but maintaining the availability of raw data is the key to good science.

  7. A C Osborn permalink
    October 28, 2015 5:12 pm

    Paul, it appears that the Scientists involved have now refused to provide said emails and data.
    From a comment at WUWT,

  8. October 28, 2015 6:22 pm

    From Gerald Meehl of NCAR referencing Karl et. al(2015) which is the exact study I presume the above article means when about a ” recent scientific study refuting claims that global warming had “paused”” :

    “Often there are issues with observed data that need adjusting – in this case such claims of “no hiatus” are artifacts of questionable interpretation of decadal timescale variability and externally forced response – not problems with the data. Thus, the hiatus is symptomatic of the much broader and very compelling problem of decadal timescale variability of the climate system”

    “are artifacts of questionable interpretation”. That’s pretty strong coming from a warmer scientist on the same team. So why not check some of the (public funded) emails to check into why this might be “questionable”?

  9. TonyM permalink
    October 29, 2015 9:01 pm

    Until NOAA: (1) can provide a scientific rationale for not using satellite data; (2) scientifically and statistically justify how 1600 ground based temperature collectors that cover mostly the northern hemisphere with virtually no coverage over the oceans that comprise 70% of the planet’s surface, and with minimal southern hemisphere coverage, can provide a meaningful “global average temperature”; (3) mathematically and physically justify whatever algorithm they use to compute an “average global temperature”; (4) address in a professional way and without vilification, the legitimate questions of physicists who disagree with their assumptions and “back radiation” feedback models; (5) address the legitimate questions of mathematicians and computer scientists who argue that computer algorithms used in climate models to solve the complex equations of their models, are incapable of projecting temperature in the future with any accuracy; then and only then can they claim to be “scientists”. Of course, we know they are not doing science, they are doing politics.

  10. November 6, 2015 9:37 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections and commented:
    If the data is correct, and there’s nothing to hide, show us.

    But the preponderance of the evidence shows that the data is being manipulated. This inquiry is NOAA’s chance to explain.


  1. Congress Subpoenas NOAA’s Emails | NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT | Cranky Old Crow

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