Jo Nova's ClimateGate Timeline: 30 years in the making (Edition 1.1)

Mohib Ebrahim, who has created timelines for professional exhibitions, has now produced one of the ClimateGate scandal, providing graphs, e-mails, history, and analysis of events. This is the second edition, thoroughly edited and revised.

Image: ClimateGate Timeline small versionClick to see a larger version (but download the full version below to read it all).

Click here to download the poster as PDF (892k)

Click here if you prefer a GIF version of the poster (1.8Mb)

To print a poster, check-out the sizes below, each with reference pages. As needed, the timeline will be updated and expanded. This is its home, so check back here for new editions and comments. And please link to this page here so people will always get the updates and all the versions.

About the designer

A software architect, Mohib Ebrahim designs graphic timelines as a hobby. As an amateur astronomer, he has always been an AGW skeptic because of synchronous warming on neighbouring planets. A few years ago, he read Michael Chrichton’s State of Fear, and learning about many AGW issues, began his own investigation.

With the Internet release of the CRU e-mails last November, Ebrahim started work on a visual presentation setting out who, what, when, where, and how. Though this timeline was intended only for himself, he soon realized it could be of use to others, and decided to go public. The first on-line edition, a mostly unedited draft, was well received, and described by Rick Lippincott, an executive at the Society for Technical Communication, as possibly “one of the best visual representations of complex data since Charles Joseph Minard prepared [in 1861] a graphic charting Napoleon’s march to Moscow.”

Read more and get alternate printing formats  at Jo Nova’s website

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February 2, 2010 5:25 pm

This is cool, I like it. . . but you know what I’ve really been wanting recently?
A data flow diagram of data sets starting as raw data, going through a process (and who owns that process) and then being used as an input into the next process and the next data set, etc.
So like how does raw data aggregate into GHCN and GISS and CRUTEMP and data models and who does a process and where along the line.
I’d really like one of those.

February 2, 2010 5:33 pm

Thank you Jo Nova.

February 2, 2010 5:35 pm

Guardian: Fred Pearce: Climate change emails between scientists reveal flaws in peer reviewA close reading of the hacked emails exposes the real process of science, its jealousies and tribalism
Guardian: Fred Pearce: Controversy behind climate science’s ‘hockey stick’ graphPioneering graph used by IPCC to illustrate a compelling story of man-made climate change raises questions about transparency
better late than never?
Guardian: Climate scientists: who’s who in the hacked email controversy
Steve McIntyre
Former minerals prospector and now full-time scourge of climate science. Runs Climate Audit website. “CRU’s policies of obstructing critical articles in the peer-reviewed literature and withholding data from critics have unfortunately placed issues into play that might otherwise have been settled long ago.”

February 2, 2010 5:41 pm

Also checkout Joanne’s “Skeptic’s Handbook” from the site. It’s an excellent primer for climate debating with warminists.

February 2, 2010 6:05 pm

Nice one JN. I’m glad people make the effort. It’s not like the skeptic camp is government funded….

February 2, 2010 6:10 pm

These days The Guardian has gone stark raving crazy ?

February 2, 2010 6:18 pm

I printed out the first version (21 8.5×11 pages) over Christmas and trimmed and taped them on to foam board. Quite an impressive job! My cheap color laser printer almost managed to print things nicely align, but a number of borders go through letters.
I’m going to be talking about Climategate at New Hampshire Mensa’s Regional gathering soon, and found I can print the 30″x80″ poster at a copy shop on one piece of paper for about $8. At Kinkos they can do it for about $12, and can do color for about $125. So I’ll get the B&W version and see how it looks.
Hmm, they print on 36″ paper, maybe I can get it enlarged a bit. That would make it easier to read.

February 2, 2010 6:58 pm

Did you check out Staples?

February 2, 2010 7:05 pm

I am always grateful for the knowledge so generously imparted by Anthony and his posters and the commenters. This timeline is a powerful and timely piece of work. At the risk of seeming greedy, I echo Geo’s request. And it would be more than a convenience to us “inside the tent” –it would help the average reader (voter, grants administrator, peer reviewer, juror) understand how the data gets collected and then “enhanced” to suit the political programs. Where exactly does the trick take place? Who was custodian of the data and that step in its transformation? Can it be disentangled/reversed? What protocols applied to building and maintaining the data at each point in its journey, and to the audit process?
Just asking. Seriously, I don’t get the impression that these “scientists” have a clue what forensic investigators would do to their work. Much of which belongs, or should belong, to us taxpayers. You know, I’m almost certain there are laws about taking money under false pretences, submitting false claims to the government, failing to account for or protect public property, stuff like that. Some of those laws might even be criminal.

Van Grungy
February 2, 2010 7:07 pm

Steve McIntyre is the new Derek Freeman

Gail Combs
February 2, 2010 7:27 pm

I always loved Charles Joseph Minard graph charting Napoleon’s march to Moscow. It is posted on my kitchen wall. Now I will have to make a copy of this chart to post next to it.

C. Doyle
February 2, 2010 7:34 pm

I have a little hint for those concerned with poorly placed surface instruments and the reliability of data: look at a 30 year time series of 700 mb temps from any radiosonde database. At that level readings are normally devoid of the problems associated with poor site selection. If you can handle the math, do a regression and determine a variance. Try a significance test. P ublish what you find, ok? Good scientists skeptically work with data to determine truth. A relentless focus on politics can be the signal of someone who is a little too interested in being right…not the hallmark of a good scientist.

February 2, 2010 7:59 pm

Bernie (18:58:49) :
> Did you check out Staples?
No, I should, at least for the color version. Kinko’s, Staples, the grocery store and Borders are all in the same area.
I bought a map of Chicago (I may be there in May) for $0.33 after a $5 “Borders Bucks” coupon and a “33% off coupon that were about to expire.
The place where I’ll get the B&W copy is reliable, inexpensive, and easy to work with. Kinko’s talked about their volume discount. Not helpful.

Dennis Wingo
February 2, 2010 8:05 pm

The underlying philosophy that underpins the mindset revealed in the climategate emails is the book “Limits to Growth”. This is the book that Gore used as his bible in writing “Earth in the Balance”

February 2, 2010 8:13 pm

Hello C. Doyle,
I think most serious visitors here understand that temperatures and sea levels have been rising more and less steadily since the last ice age. The question at issue is the extrapolation and exaggeration of those trends based on an incomplete understanding of the climate processes, and quite possibly misinterpretation of the fossil temperature proxy record.

February 2, 2010 8:23 pm

“…how does raw data aggregate into GHCN and GISS and CRUTEMP and data models… ”
aggregate => degenerate

David Ball
February 2, 2010 8:55 pm

Joel (20:13:36) : And I would like to add to your post: what, if anything, does all that have to do with Co2? Is any of what we are seeing “unprecedented”?

David Ball
February 2, 2010 8:58 pm

Thank you Jo Nova. Is Super Nova overused or too corny? Anyway, it has been 30 years since the start of all these scary predictions of impending doom. I cannot recall when all that stuff is supposed to start occurring? Did I miss it?

February 2, 2010 9:13 pm

Thank you, thank you, thank you Joanne Nova and Mohib Ebrahim for the 30 year ClimateGate Timeline!
The NASA-gate timeline will extend even further back, to the 1969 Apollo Mission that returned the first lunar samples to Earth for analysis.
Your work is exposing the unholy alliance of politicians, publishers and news media that have trained scientists with grant funds to become instruments of propaganda.
With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
Former NASA PI for Apollo

February 2, 2010 9:43 pm

jan 14 publication of the crutape letters. shameless plug. Whats the date on bishop hill’s book?

Don Shaw
February 2, 2010 9:57 pm

Re reference 136 and ibid The link to the “Global Warming swindle do not work. Some message about terms of ….

C. Doyle
February 2, 2010 10:27 pm

Joel, there very well may have been exaggerations of trends in the literature, the press, you name it. I’ve seen 2 pieces of data that coincide in time – rising CO2 and rising 700 mb temps over 30 years; about 0.2C/decade. There is no doubt that temperatures have been increasing. What does that mean for the future? Who knows. As they say in the mutual fund biz, past performance is no guarantee of future results. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try to figure it out – the consequences of significant climate change are significant, to humanity. But the best scientists are those without an agenda. Of any kind. Just curious and open and not quick to dismiss evidence.

February 2, 2010 11:08 pm

“better late than never?
Guardian: Climate scientists: who’s who in the hacked email controversy Steve McIntyre….

hmmm…the Guardian response is getting curious and curiouser. Monbiot and Pearce seem to be operating in tactical retreat in giving ground to the enemy while continuing to vilify then. This morning I commented on this hockey stick story, saying that Pearce might want to name and face the ‘denier’ thereby vindicated by his very story.
Now, this afternoon, as you point out, I see MacIntyre has at least made this Who’s Who of the ‘hacked emails’:
Note the absence of MacIntyre (and Lindzen, and Watts…) from Monbiot’s Top 10 “shortlist of people who have done most for the denialist cause” posted last March. Seems they want to play the game but are not yet ready to give it away.
Reply: It’s spelled McIntyre. ~ ctm

Richard deSousa
February 2, 2010 11:08 pm

What’s the latest solar geomagnetic index? The last post was about a month ago.

February 3, 2010 12:54 am

I’ve updated my zoomable web copy of this great poster, located at

February 3, 2010 3:37 am

She has done a wonderful job. I have the full sized banner poster on our bathroom wall! Only place in the house where it’ll fit.

February 3, 2010 8:39 am

Browse in english,by clicking on union flag.
follow the trails.

JP Miller
February 4, 2010 1:55 pm

Dennis Wingo (20:05:12) :
The underlying philosophy that underpins the mindset revealed in the climategate emails is the book “Limits to Growth”. This is the book that Gore used as his bible in writing “Earth in the Balance”

Yes, exactly, which stems from a failure to understand human development and economic activity. Bottom line, man does not and cannot “run out” of things provided by nature. Why? Because when something looks like it’s running out (e.g., oil or you-pick-it), the price goes up (i.e., it gets scarce/ expensive to find/ develop) and man’s technological ingenuity and free market economy finds subtitutes/ replacements. This happens through the, yes, “invisible hand.”
Does it make sense for government to intervene when there are externalities to the broad economy? Yes, on occasion, but rarely and only when the need is blatantly obvious. AGW does not yet qualify.
“Limits to Growth” was/ is a silly book. Go back and read it to see how silly. We have evidence in the last 50 years than reproduction rates go down with economic/ political development (security). We will not reproduce ourselves into oblivion unless those pushing AGW succeed in reducing growth (paradoxically, what they want is exactly the opposite of what they need — thanks, Mick J).
There always will be Malthusians and misanthropes among us. And people in modern society, to the extent they have turned away from traditional metaphyscial religion (mostly due to science), still need something to believe in that is bigger than themselves. Gaia is a pretty good substitute, and a powerful mixture when taken on by those with fundamental tendencies towards being Malthusian/ misanthropic. Too bad such folks gotten the upper hand WRT AGW.
Hopefully, sanity and science will survive to produce the correct answer for all of us: Do we really need to severely limit CO2, or is CO2 truly irrelevant, or something in-between? We don’t yet know.

JP Miller
February 4, 2010 1:57 pm

Arrrgghhh, sorry about the missed

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