Section 8.1 Responses

Paragraph 1.3

8. Response to Freedom of Information requests. A number correspondents and commentators assert that requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) were incorrectly denied by the University of East Anglia on advice from the CRU.  This is the subject of a separate inquiry by the Data Protection Commissioner, but does fall within the terms of reference of the Review Team.


 1. What formal processes were in place both centrally and within the CRU to ensure fair and impartial assessment of FOIA requests?

 2. Were there any processes in place centrally to review recommendations from the CRU that information should not be released?

 Over the five years to November 2009:

 3.1 how many requests were received? 

 3.2  how many were rejected, and on what grounds?

 3.3 how many received full release of information? 

 3.4  how many received partial release of information?

13 Responses to “Section 8.1 Responses”

  1. jimchip Says:

    See also for CA list
    8.3.2 Willis Eschenbach post on CA

    I was not looking for 17 year old data, but current data. Here’s what I received today …

    Information Services Directorate
    University of East Anglia
    Norwich NR4 7TJ England

    Mr. Willis Eschenbach

    20 April 2007

    I have contacted Dr. Jones and can update you on our efforts to resolve this matter.

    We cannot produce a simple list with this format and with the information you described in your note of 14 April. Firstly, we do not have a list consisting solely of the sites we currently use. Our list is larger, as it includes data not used due to incomplete reference periods, for example. Additionally, even if we were able to create such a list we would not be able to link the sites with sources of data. The station database has evolved over time and the Climate Research Unit was not able to keep multiple versions of it as stations were added, amended and deleted. This was a consequence of a lack of data storage in the 1980s and early 1990s compared to what we have at our disposal currently. It is also likely that quite a few stations consist of a mixture of sources.

    I have also been informed that, as the GHCN and NCAR are merely databases, the ultimate source of all data is the respective NMS in the country where the station is located. Even GHCN and NCAR can’t say with precision where they got their data from as the data comes not only from each NMS, but also comes from scientists in each reporting country.

    In short, we simply don’t have what you are requesting.

  2. jimchip Says:

    8.3.2 1177158252.txt The other CA link in the email is the Willis E. post ref. above
    See also
    In your email of 17 April 2007, you re-iterated your request from your email of 12 March 2007, to see

    “B) identification … of the stations used in the gridded network which was used as a comparandum in this study”

    I have been in conversation with Dr. Jones and have been advised that, in fact, we are unable to answer (B) as we do not have a copy of the station data as we had it in 1990…

    I have been advised that the best equivalent data available is within the current version of CRUTEM3(v) or CRUTEM2(v). The latter is still available on the CRU web site, though not updated beyond 2005.

    These latest versions are likely different from what was used in 1990. Australia and China have both released more data since then – it is likely that much of this was not digitized in 1990. Dr. Jones acknowledges that the grid resolution is now different…

  3. jimchip Says:

    1182361058.txt Ya can’t make this stuff up!:

    I was wondering if there is any way we as the scientific community can seek some kind of “cease and desist” action with these people.

    From: “Wahl, Eugene R”
    To: “Phil Jones”

    Subject: RE: personal
    Date: Wed, 20 Jun 2007 13:37:38 -0400

  4. jimchip Says:


    Wahl’s advice

    Finally, I have shared the MM letter and UCAR response before only with one other scientist, a now retired emminent person here in the US whom I asked to look over all the materials and give me his frank opinion if he felt we had done anything inappropriate. He came back with a solid “NO”, and said that what MM were attempting was “unspeakable”. Caspar has mentioned that UCAR said to him they did not want to disseminate these materials publically, and I have kept to that, other than the case mentioned. It seems clear to me that providing them to you is appropriate; I have not contacted Caspar to think about it at this point, and don’t feel I need to. Anyway, this is just to give you the context on that side of things. I would imagine that sharing the doc’s with legal persons you trust would be OK.

    Note that I am now out of contact through July 9. I wish you all the best!!

    Peace, Gene

  5. jimchip Says:

    1189536059.txt Great policy: “I will keep your email and hope we don’t have to mobilis”

    From: “Burgess Jacquelin Prof \(ENV\)”
    To: “Jones Philip Prof \(ENV\)”

    Subject: RE: Possible problem looming
    Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2007 14:40:59 +0100

    Thanks Phil,
    I will keep your email and hope we don’t have to mobilise. This is very
    close to harassment, isn’t it.

    —–Original Message—–
    From: Phil Jones []
    Sent: 11 September 2007 14:06
    To: Burgess Jacquelin Prof (ENV)
    Cc: Mcgarvie Michael Mr (ACAD)
    Subject: Possible problem looming

    I’ve been in discussion with Michael over the past several months
    about a
    number of Freedom of Information (FOI) requests for CRU data. I’ve
    responded to
    one and will be responding to another in the next few days. Michael
    suggested I bring you up to speed on the issue. To cut a very long
    story short, I’m attaching 3 things that relate to what’s happened
    responding to the first request.

    1. A paper from 1990 by me and others in Nature. The request was for
    the station data from the rural station networks in the three
    regions studied.

    This led to a person in London (Douglas Keenan) putting some
    material on his website
    claiming fraud against one of the co-authors on the paper (Wei-Chyung
    Wang of the State University of Albany, SUNY, in NY, USA). He then
    put an allegation of fraud into SUNY against Wang. SUNY are dealing
    with this – not quickly, but I have seen Wang’s response.,,

  6. jimchip Says:


    From: Keith Briffa
    To: Tim Osborn ,,”Caspar Ammann”
    Subject: Re: Fwd: IPCC FOIA Request
    Date: Mon Jun 23 09:47:54 2008

    I have been of the opinion right from the start of these FOI requests, that our private ,
    inter-collegial discussion is just that – PRIVATE . Your communication with individual
    colleagues was on the same basis as that for any other person and it discredits the IPCC
    process not one iota not to reveal the details. On the contrary, submitting to these
    “demands” undermines the wider scientific expectation of personal confidentiality . It is
    for this reason , and not because we have or have not got anything to hide, that I believe
    none of us should submit to these “requests”. Best wishes

  7. jimchip Says:


    > Begin forwarded message:
    >> From: Brian Lynch
    >> Date: June 21, 2008 3:30:28 PM MDT
    >> To:
    >> Subject: IPCC FOIA Request
    >> Reply-To:
    >> Dear Sir,
    >> I have read correspondence on web about your letter to the in
    >> relation to expert comments on IPCC chapter 6 sent directly by you
    >> to Keith Briffa, sent outside the formal review process.
    >> The refusal to give these documents tends to discredit you and the
    >> IPCC in the eyes of the public,
    >> Could I suggest that you make your letter and documents pubic. I
    >> would be very glad if you gave me a copy and oblige,
    >> Yours faithfully,
    >> Brian Lynch
    >> Galway

  8. jimchip Says:


    From: Tom Wigley
    Subject: Re: [Fwd: FOI Request]

    Joking aside, it seems as a matter of principle (albeit a principle yet
    to be set by the courts) that provision of primary data sources that are
    sufficient to reproduce the results of a scientific analysis is all that
    is necessary under FOI.

    It also seems that judgment of what correspondence is central to the
    analysis can only be made by the persons involved. As a participant in
    many of these inter-author communications, I do not recall any that
    would give information not already contained in the published paper.

    ————- Community mail list follows:

    Cc: “Thomas.R.Karl” , Karen Owen , Sharon Leduc , “Thorne, Peter” , Leopold Haimberger , Karl Taylor , Tom Wigley , John Lanzante , Susan Solomon , Melissa Free , peter gleckler , “‘Philip D. Jones'”

    , Steve Klein , carl mears , Doug Nychka , Gavin Schmidt , Steven Sherwood , Frank Wentz , “David C. Bader” , Professor Glenn McGregor , “Bamzai, Anjuli”

  9. jimchip Says:


    Steve McIntyre NOAA request but UK Team cc.’d

    >> ——– Original Message ——–
    >> Subject: FOI Request
    >> Date: Mon, 10 Nov 2008 10:02:00 -0500
    >> From: Steve McIntyre
    >> To:
    >> CC: Thomas R Karl
    >> Nov. 10, 2008
    >> National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
    >> Public Reference Facility (OFA56)
    >> Attn: NOAA FOIA Officer
    >> Re: Freedom of Information Act Request
    >> Dear NOAA FOIA Officer:
    >> This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act.

    >> Santer et al, Consistency of modelled and observed temperature trends in
    >> the tropical troposphere, (Int J Climatology, 2008), of which NOAA
    >> employees J. R. Lanzante, S. Solomon, M. Free and T. R. Karl were
    >> co-authors, reported on a statistical analysis of the output of 47
    >> runs of climate models that had been collated into monthly time series
    >> by Benjamin Santer and associates.

    >> I request that a copy of the following NOAA records be provided to me:
    >> (1) any monthly time series of output from any of the 47 climate
    >> models sent by Santer and/or other coauthors of Santer et al 2008 to
    >> NOAA employees between 2006 and October 2008; (2) any correspondence
    >> concerning these monthly time series between Santer and/or other
    >> coauthors of Santer et al 2008 and NOAA employees between 2006 and
    >> October 2008.

    >> The primary sources for NOAA records are J. R. Lanzante, S. Solomon,
    >> M. Free and T. R. Karl.

    >> In order to help to determine my status for purposes of determining
    >> the applicability of any fees, you should know that I have 5
    >> peer-reviewed publications on paleoclimate; that I was a reviewer for
    >> WG1; that I made a invited presentations in 2006 to the National
    >> Research Council Panel on Surface Temperature Reconstructions and two
    >> presentations to the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the
    >> House Energy and Commerce Committee.

    >> In addition, a previous FOI request was discussed by the NOAA Science
    >> Advisory Board’s Data Archiving and Access Requirements Working Group
    >> (DAARWG). http:// www.

    >> I believe a fee waiver is appropriate since the purpose of the request
    >> is academic research, the information exists in digital format and the
    >> information should be easily located by the primary sources.
    >> Thank you for your consideration of this request.

    >> I ask that the FOI request be processed promptly as NOAA failed to
    >> send me a response to the FOI request referred to above, for which Dr
    >> Karl apologized as follows:

    >> due to a miscommunication between our office and our headquarters, the
    >> response was not submitted to you. I deeply apologize for this
    >> oversight, and we have taken measures to ensure this does not happen
    >> in the future.

    >> Stephen McIntyre

  10. jimchip Says:


    From: Phil Jones

    Subject: Re: [Fwd: FOI Request]
    Date: Wed Nov 12 09:31:31 2008

    Another point to discuss when you have your conference call – is
    why don’t they ask Douglass for all his data.

  11. jimchip Says:

    When the FOI requests began here, the FOI person said we had to abide
    by the requests. It took a couple of half hour sessions – one at a screen, to convince
    them otherwise

    From: Phil Jones

    To:, Tom Wigley
    Subject: Re: Schles suggestion
    Date: Wed Dec 3 13:57:09 2008
    Cc: mann , Gavin Schmidt , Karl Taylor , peter gleckler

  12. jimchip Says:

    1233586975.txt wrote:
    > Ben,
    > Is this the Smith who has emailed? Why does he think
    > you’ve not informed your co-authors that you’ve made the
    > data available? Most odd – though he does accept that the
    > raw data was already there. Pity that loads of people on
    > CA including McIntyre didn’t seem to accept or realise this.
    > I’m not on an RMS committee at the moment, but I could
    > try and contact Paul Hardaker if you think it might be useful.
    > Possibly need to explain what is raw and what is intermediate.
    > I wasn’t going to give this guy Smith the satisfaction of a reply!
    > Cheers
    > Phil

  13. jimchip Says:

    Keenan refers to email 1182361058 during a little give and take with Gavin

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