• April 23, 2014

Penn State Panel Finds Climate Researcher Did Not Falsify Data, but Inquiry Continues

A prominent climate scientist at Pennsylvania State University has been cleared of falsifying data and most accusations of scientific misconduct by a panel of university administrators, but the officials decided to look more closely into possible errant behavior.

The researcher, Michael E. Mann, is a key figure in the so-called Climategate scandal, in which computer hackers stole hundreds of private e-mail messages by researchers that suggested they had manipulated or exaggerated findings to support policy action related to global warming. Soon after the stolen e-mail messages became public, when the hackers posted them online, officials at Penn State began a formal inquiry into Mr. Mann's behavior. The final report on the investigation was released Wednesday morning.

Mr. Mann was cleared of three of the four charges of professional misconduct, as the administrators found insufficient evidence to further investigate those claims.

The university took the unusual step of making the personnel investigation public because of the intense public interest in the case and its implications for public trust in science, said Lisa Powers, a spokeswoman for the university. Mr. Mann agreed to make the report public.

"While a perception has been created in the weeks after the ... e-mails were made public that Dr. Mann has engaged in the suppression or falsification of data, there is no credible evidence that he ever did so, and certainly not while at Penn State," the report says.

And while Phil Jones, director of the climate unit at the University of East Anglia, wrote to Mr. Mann in one of the e-mail messages asking the Penn State researcher to "delete any e-mails" he had exchanged with another climate researcher about a United Nations report, the university panel found no evidence that Mr. Mann had done so. In fact, the researcher supplied his full e-mail archive to investigators, and some of the messages contain information about the disputed report, the Penn State panel said.

As to whether Mr. Mann had violated norms of climate research in some of his other behavior, though, the Penn State administrators said they lacked the expertise to make the call. So they punted, forming a new committee of five professors. That committee will now begin its own investigation. Results are expected in about four months.

Mr. Mann issued a statement on his Web site but declined to talk further about the matter.

"This is very much the vindication I expected since I am confident I have done nothing wrong," he said on the Web site. "I fully support the additional inquiry which may be the best way to remove any lingering doubts. I intend to cooperate fully in this matter — as I have since the beginning of the process."

Comments

1. jwielmak - February 03, 2010 at 04:30 pm

The Penn review of Mr. Mann reads far more like a sustained whitewash designed to exculpate a friend, colleague and fellow traveller. The authors of the review practically fawn over Mr. Mann in the very text of the review! This review will only reinforce the perception that climate science is a closed-loop of mutually-referencing chums. In light of the almost daily revelations of fraudulent climate change claims - the deliberate mendacity over Himalyan glaciers vanishing by 2035, or the questionable Chinese climate data - this review will highlight the paucity of internal controls affecting the academy.

2. lexalexander - February 03, 2010 at 05:16 pm

Sorry, dears, but "climate science" is a body of more than 30,000 studies spanning decades and involving thousands of researchers. EVEN IF this individual had done everything he had been accused of, it wouldn't have affected the science. The globe IS getting warmer, the ice caps ARE melting, many species of marine life ARE beginning to die off as a result and the ultimate result WILL be catastrophe, including but not limited to national-security implications because I'm just *certain* that the 20 million residents of Shanghai, average elevation 12 feet, will evacuate quickly and quietly as the ocean rises.

If you want to look at actual whitewashes, I suggest you look at the EPA's report on atmospheric quality in lower Manhattan after 9/11 or the Justice Department's upcoming OPR report on Jay Bybee and John Yoo saying that those two enablers of torture in violation of U.S. and international law showed only "bad judgment," not "professional misconduct." Those are the kinds of things a whitewash looks like.

3. ceasterling - February 03, 2010 at 05:29 pm

So, you can bet that this committee of peers will decide completely fairly that their colleague is completely innocent? Hmmm...

On another note, just think about this a minute. lexalexander says the ice caps are melting, etc. Now for a basic physics lesson: when water freezes, it expands and when ice thaws, it contracts. So, when the ice melts, shouldn't it cause the sea level to go down, not up? Have a happy day!

4. seraphpendragon - February 03, 2010 at 05:38 pm

@Ceasterling - Oh good, I'm not the only one that heard water expands when it freezes. In theory, if we follow Algore's plans to cool the Earth, there would be more ice, the oceans would rise just like putting ice into a beverage, and we'd flood our coasts just like in that disaster movie. How will we stop that which we hath wrought?

5. jgoldber - February 03, 2010 at 06:04 pm

ceasterling - Alas, you assume that the ice is under the water when it melts . . . but much of the ice is above the water and, in melting, will ADD to the volume occupied by the existing liquid water. Funny thing about about basic physics: you need to define the system to which you are referring.

6. csnowden - February 03, 2010 at 06:49 pm

Any report exonerating Dr. Mann is almost bound to come across as a whitewash even if he's truly clean as a whistle, especially to those who are justifiably skeptical in light of the continuing revelations regarding the IPCC reports.
On another note, I'd suggest the next committee run their report by the English Department before distributing it ..er.. "publically" (p.7).

7. diogenesc - February 03, 2010 at 09:32 pm

ceasterling,

Try this: fill a glass with water all the way to the top. Add enough ice to occupy most the surface of the water, but without having any ice cubes underneath the top layer. This will cause some water to spill out, so dry off the glass and the surface it's sitting on.

Now, wait. The ice will melt and you can tell us whether the water spills over the edge (that is, whether the water level rises).

8. goodeyes - February 03, 2010 at 10:11 pm

Arguments about global warming are often a distraction from the real issues. Can we all agree that reducing our need for oil and reducing pollution is good for all us? These are the two issues that need the most concentration. Clean Air = Better Health.

9. 11179021 - February 03, 2010 at 10:43 pm

What did you expect would happen. From the PSU President on down, they are all culpable. After all, Mann brought big time grants to PSU from the government and the private sector. I have heard at least $22,000,000 if not more. Dr. Walter Williams, economist from George Mason University had this to say about vested interests having much "invested" in the man made global warming shtick:

"Mounting evidence of scientific fraud might make little difference in terms of the response to manmade global warming hysteria. Why? Vested economic and political interests have emerged where trillions of dollars and social control are at stake. Therefore, many people who recognize the scientific fraud underlying global warming claims are likely to defend it anyway. Automobile companies have invested billions in research and investment in producing "green cars." General Electric and Phillips have spent millions lobbying Congress to outlaw incandescent bulbs so that they can force us to buy costly compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL). Farmers and ethanol manufacturers have gotten Congress to enact laws mandating greater use of their product, not to mention massive subsidies. Thousands of major corporations around the world have taken steps to reduce carbon emissions including giants like IBM, Nike, Coca-Cola and BP, the oil giant. Companies like Google, Yahoo and Dell have vowed to become "carbon neutral." Then there's Chicago Climate Futures Exchange that plans to trade in billions of dollars of greenhouse gas emission allowances. Corporate America and labor unions, as well as their international counterparts have a huge multi-trillion dollar financial stake in the perpetuation of the global warming fraud. Federal, state and local agencies have spent billions of dollars and created millions of jobs to deal with one aspect or another of global warming.

"It's deeper than just money. Schoolteachers have created polar-bear-dying lectures to frighten and indoctrinate our children when in fact there are more polar bears now than in 1950. They've taught children about melting glaciers. Just recently, the International Panel on Climate Change was forced to admit that their Himalayan glacier-melting fraud was done to "impact policy makers and politicians and encourage them to take some concrete action."

"What would all the beneficiaries of the global warming hype do if it becomes widely known and accepted that mankind's activities have very little to do with the Earth's temperature? I don't know but a lot of people would feel and look like idiots. But I bet that even if the permafrost returned as far south as New Jersey, as it once did, the warmers and their congressional stooges would still call for measures to fight global warming."

"'Warmers' too invested to change," Feb. 2, 2010, http://www.ocregister.com/opinion/global-232229-warming-stations.html

10. osholes - February 04, 2010 at 07:07 am

I have followed the climate literature for over twenty years. The evidence is clear and compelling that the climate is indeed changing. The best climate models, in iteration after iteration as computing power improves, have shown that the change is the result of the human input of greenhouse gasses (mostly carbon dioxide, but also methane and a few others). Ice cores from Antarctica and Greenland show that the current conditions have not existed in the previous 800,000 years. Whatever Mann may or may not have done, the evidence is overwhelming. That is, if you haven't already made up your mind otherwise because you hate Al Gore.

Every counterclaim is cherry picked and taken out of context. I know this from the work of a colleague who combed the literature of the deniers and checked every single claim they made. Their claims are utterly bogus. The debate is over. They just don't know it yet.

11. tridaddy - February 04, 2010 at 09:33 am

This is all the stuff of movies, most of which (movies) take a smidgen of truth and make fantasy of it. Maybe John Grisham could write a novel using this whole mess at the plot.

12. johntoradze - February 04, 2010 at 12:34 pm

Oh, wonderful! The nuts are out in force, ACORNing, Gore-ing and generally drivelling up the morning. The stupid poor are the worst, because they fight religiously for the programs of those who would happily see them dead. At least the smart poor try to fight for what is in their own interests.

Dear nuts, a few facts:
1. Yes, the volume of ice contracts 9% as it melts at 32F. But honey? That ice is on land. So it runs off into the water. Remember gravity? Yes, dear, gravity makes water run down hill. Greenland and Antarctica are continents with over a mile of ice on them.

2. It is not true that "daily" revelations of the IPCC report are being made. Your TV channel is reporting the SAME things, but you aren't smart enough to tell the difference between the same report over and over and a new report. Korsakoff's syndrome causes that you know.

3. There is one problem that was correctly identified so far, the Himalayan data. That is being corrected. Please note that the controversy is not over whether or not glaciers are retreating, the question is only how fast. So you are like a man who screams that someone is a liar for telling him that a tank is coming down the road at him at 50 miles per hour when the tank is only going 25 MPH. Yes, technically he is incorrect, partially. But the tank is still coming at you, and the man who screamed at you is trying to do you a favor by scaring you out of your armchair in the middle of the road.

As you would say to your friend after he got slapped upside the head, "Pull your head out of your ___."

13. rgparker - February 05, 2010 at 11:41 am

Actually, the fiction book about this (ignoring the fiction of the IPCC reports) was written years ago and it's pretty good. See Crichton's "State of Fear". I'm sorry he's gone because he was one of my favorite fiction authors and an interesting person. It is an even more fascinating read now that we know what has been going on with the AGW advocates behind the scenes. Crichton's book shows that he clearly knew about this or suspected it. He was no fool.

In a free society, the debate is NEVER over. That is what troubles about this whole thing is the people who call people names ("denier") designed to shut them up and then claim the debate is over. No, it is not over, ever. The loudest people who want it to be over have clearly shown that their agendas are something other than the pursuit of facts. What kind of scientist wants to scream that the debate is over and make everyone who disagrees with him shut up? I think more people need to read the history of science to see how the "deniers" have been treated in the past by the scientific establishment, right before they were found to have been right all along. There are some amazing names on the list of "deniers". Thank God for people who have been willing to point out the naked emperors of climate change hysteria.

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