MITRE Releases Report Examining NOAA Internal Policies and the Karl Study

Today, the MITRE Corporation released its report investigating internal National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientific policies and procedures regarding the publication of a study titled Possible Artifacts of Data Biases in the Recent Global Surface Warming Hiatus. This study was led by NOAA scientists – with Thomas Karl as the principal author – and generated concerns from whistleblowers about its conclusions after its publication. Commissioned by the Department of Commerce, MITRE engaged leaders in the fields of environmental science and engineering who were able to objectively and independently assess the Karl Study.

“Providing data-driven scientific products is an essential part of our mission at the Department of Commerce,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “We can do more to ensure that all policies are followed when releasing critical data to the public. For example, as MITRE found in its report, the Karl Study did not include a disclaimer that it was not an official product of the Federal government. As a result, it is often mistaken as a NOAA publication – even though it was not subject to heightened internal governmental review – which has spawned additional, unnecessary controversy surrounding the study’s findings.”

While the MITRE report found that the publication of the Karl Study was not fully compliant with NOAA internal procedures, it also determined that there was no evidence that NOAA intentionally distorted climate data. The report also details the deficiencies in NOAA’s internal review processes.

“MITRE provided NOAA with an invaluable service by producing an independent report on internal policies which has identified opportunities for improvement,” said retired Navy Rear Adm. Tim Gallaudet, Ph.D., Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere. “We will take these findings into account and endeavor to be responsive to the MITRE’s recommendations.”

In 2015, the journal Science published the Karl Study. Responding to questions from the public after its release, a Congressional committee asked for related documents and communications from NOAA. On September 22, 2017, the Department of Commerce commissioned MITRE Corporation, a not-for-profit that operates Federally-funded research and development centers, to inquire into the complaints and to identify any concerns which were raised during the scientific review process.

NOAA will publish a plan responsive to MITRE’s findings and recommendations no later than February 1, 2019.

The full report can be seen here.

Bureaus and Offices

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

HT/Bart T and Steven Mosher

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102 thoughts on “MITRE Releases Report Examining NOAA Internal Policies and the Karl Study

  1. ” no evidence that NOAA intentionally distorted climate data”

    …cue the hundreds of graphs and blinks that show they did

    • yes thats the red flag.
      The climate data was distorted but the ‘intent’ side has been artfully hidden form the investigators.

      After all they also find the NOAA didnt follow ‘procedures’ either .

      • NO, but it sure as shite isn’t evidence of anything.

        Can anyone imagine a prosecutor going into court and telling a jury, “We have no evidence that the defendant committed a crime, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t commit the one we charged him with.”

        • If legal analogies are applicable here we have a distinction between an offence due to a wilful act or one due to negligence.
          The court of interested public opinion will ultimately decide, on the balance of probabilities I vote for wilful act.

        • More accurately, the prosecutor goes into court and tells the jury,
          “We have evidence that the defendant committed a crime, but that doesn’t mean he meant to do it.
          He just didn’t follow the procedures that would have stopped him doing it.”

          The data was twisted to give the result he wanted.
          The procedures that ensured good practices were followed, were not followed.
          But we don’t know he meant to do it.

          • How about this idea let’s get a prosecutor to actually investigate this and see if it was intentional. We do it all the time with zero evidence there actually is evidence here to work with.

          • Hmmm. That sounds like the Comey/Hillary interaction. She didn’t intend to break the law when she broke the law.

        • The analogy fails because we have a body and know who stabbed the victim. Its just a case of was it justifiable homicide.

      • That canard is not correct, and may exist only because people who disagree with the implication (evidence of absence) continue to state the canard as if it is logic or something.

        From a probabilistic point of view – the provably correct and logical way to weigh evidence – the absence of evidence IS evidence of absence. And the evidence is stronger the harder one looks and fails to find evidence.

        The phrase is akin to the following: “I know of no explanation of X, therefore X must be due to aliens from outer space.”

    • So no “intention” of wrongdoing? So the cause(s) was/were (pickem): incompetence, ignorance, inexperience, scientific cluelessness, skill deprivation, gross negligence, mal-education, unacquainted with proper procedures.

      • Blame it on the process, the procedures. Without the process, there would be no need for the non- essential personnel, the incompetent, etc. Build a process, then, rely on all of those personnel to suggest ways to “enhance” the process and presto, true growth of the agency and attendant pay raises for management.

    • Read the actual finding!

      “Finding 1: After carefully reviewing internal NOAA email correspondence, the MITRE
      Committee found no evidence that the Karl Study falsified, or intentionally distorted climate
      data.
      The Karl Study data were subsequently used in multiple peer-reviewed scientific
      publications”

      Nothing, except the email correspondence has been reviewed!
      A) A procedure that indicates the MITRE Committee only investigated very specific correspondence.

      B) “Karl Study data were subsequently used in multiple peer-reviewed scientific
      publications”
      ; ergo,the data/ methods/findings were proofed elsewhere…

      Dodgy, very dodgy.

      • the karl paper was reviewed by mitre in the same manner mann was “exonerated” by multiple enquiries.colour me surprised.

  2. ” no evidence that NOAA intentionally distorted climate data”
    so they distorted climate data by accident ???
    Read the conclusion as

    ” NOAA unintentionally distorted climate data” ???

        • Let me do a patch further fix…if you would not mind, Jeff;

          “Just like Hillary when she broke the law, but didn’t consider or believe, in the slightest, that she could lose and…get caught”

          Maybe there, still better patch fixes that could be offered, still.

          cheers

          • It’s starting to sound like this report was written (does the name Comey spring to mind?) before the first witness was interviewed.

    • Legally, intent is very difficult to prove in court…

      Criminals are usually very careful in hiding intent so it’ll be impossible to find an official NOAA e-mail saying something incriminating like, “To save the Global Warming hypothesis from being disconfirmed, let’s arbitrarily add heat to all the raw temperature data, and we’ll use some bogus paper like KARL 2015 to justify it. If we don’t willfully and illegally manipulate the data, we’ll soon lose our funding, and we’ll lose our jobs…”

      That’s about the level of evidence that is required to prove criminal intent..

      Gross negligence is another legal matter which does not require the prosecutor to prove intent…. (Unless you’re Hillary Clinton, where even gross negligence magically does require the prosecutor to prove intent because Democrats have special pixie dust legal rights not afforded to Republicans…)

      • The server itself proves intent. She didn’t just insist on using her AOL account for government business, she had a private server set up for herself and her accomplices.

        • She didn’t need intent the law includes gross negligence as a standard, the very same language used in Comeys report until it got changed last minute. Comey being the all knowning super cop knew exactly what the language meant it got altered after who gave him the strong arm to not send the report to the DOJ. Which he claims he didn’t because of conflict of interest at the DOJ. What should be done in situations like this? Appoint a special prosecutor, but we can’t do that to Hillary she’s our friend and she’s going to be president and she will cut off our *alls and feed them to us after wins because she knows like everything else she does she can get away with it because the media love her.

        • Indeed. the server proves it was more than just negligence. She’d had access to classified material for years, part of getting that access is training on how to handle it (not just a one time training that she might have conveniently “forgotten”, but periodically – at the very least on an annual basis). She knew exactly what she was doing by setting up her own private server. But even if you give her a benefit of the doubt that no one else who tried anything remotely like that would receive, and assume she didn’t have intent, that just brings her back down to extremely negligent – which is still a crime (which is why Comey’s original draft of his report that sited “negligence” was later changed to “careless” which isn’t a legal term in the relevant statutes)

      • SAMURAI.

        Maybe I am wrong, but I think people misunderstand the implication of found guilty of any crime,
        due to this clause of intent.

        If you found guilty of a crime of murder (or any other crime for that matter), the only difference there, when considering intent, is and stands in the actual outcome verdict of penalizing,
        whether it is going a be the capital one or a lesser one…but still found guilty of murder, or causing death, means a hefty penalty, even when very clearly shown some times only as due to, complete irresponsibility, misbehavior, misconduct, or abuse of power, when no any intent at all involved under any circumstances in causing death.

        Same I think applies with any other crime subject.

        All most all circumstances considering a crime or an act of crime happening basically, does not much depend in the intent…the intent actually as last part evaluating a given legal verdict, usually.

        cheers

        • indeed, intent merely defines the severity of the crime, it’s not the totality of the crime. If you take something out of the store without paying for it, that’s shoplifting. Even if you didn’t “intend” to take it without paying, it’s still shoplifting. While you might be able to convince a judge/jury that you didn’t intend to shoplift (“Your honor, I was on ambien and was sleep-shopping, honest.”, “your honor, the item accidentally fell into my purse, I didn’t even know it was there, honest”) if it can still be shown that you in fact did walk out of the store with the item unpaid (IE the crime was committed), the best that will get you is for the judge to go lenient on you and not sentence you to the full extent of the law

          • John,
            as far as I can tell, in the case of Karl or either Hillary, subject to legal evaluation, in consideration of legal proceedings,
            in both cases, premeditation can not be overruled and discarded , in any way possible.

            In both these cases, both engaged clearly in prospect of full premeditation, which means none can be considered under the clause of “accident” or “accidental behavior”,
            where whole action can not be considered in the relation of the “not intent”…
            unless proper evidence can be forwarded and clearly prove beyond any doubt a condition of severe diminished responsibility due to mental incapability of the person to understand or weight properly the involvement or the action in relation of the action and the following legal consequences of such an action, in a given case.

            Usually, as for my understanding, the clause of proving intent weights and must be considered only when indisputable evidence exists and also stands strong in supporting that the “clause of accident” or that of “mental incapability” can not be “played” or used in a court of law as means of defense or a relief…from the act of the alleged crime.

            cheers

  3. “While the MITRE report found that the publication of the Karl Study was not fully compliant with NOAA internal procedures, it also determined that there was no evidence that NOAA intentionally distorted climate data.”

    Yet they intentionally didn’t follow procedure, which resulted in low quality data distorting the whole.

    • it also determined that there was no evidence that NOAA intentionally distorted climate data.

      Yeah, that statement stuck out to me as well. No evidence that something was intentionally distorted doesn’t mean it wasn’t distorted. Either the data was accurately represented or it wasn’t. They should have simply said one way or the other. Instead they leave us guessing if that is clever use of weasel words or just poor writing.

      They also claim that 90% confidence levels are OK because that’s what the IPCC used. That’s just a lazy appeal to authority which could well be wrong.

      • It is stupid. No one does that. We use 95% ranges all the time, that or 99%. Why are they being such special snowflakes and deviate from standards? Even for the simplest of things. Really.

  4. Bureaucrat speak;”…it also determined that there was no evidence that NOAA intentionally distorted climate data.”
    Of course not those were records of the weather on days past.
    So no climate data was involved.
    I have not yet read the report,I just hear cynically “A blinder well played”.

  5. The MITRE report cannot address to the anonymous referee comments that came through the Science Mag editorial process. That Karlization and Pal Reivew was done in collusion with the SciMag editor McNutt and quarterbacked by John Holdren at the Obama WH as OSTP director in the lead up to the Paris COP that December. That is where the real science malfeasance occurred in my view.

    Karl, et al, 2015 got a SciMag pal review, and with likely hand-picked friendly reviewers which allowed Team Karl to get away with several dubious statistical manipulations in his SST revisions. NOAA in 2017 reversed the most egregious of those manipulations — the ship to buoy data adjustments with ERSST 5.0 that Karl undertook to get the SST rise he needed to erase the Pause.

    I would provide the NOAA link of the 2015 data Karlization that was undone in 2017, but the government shutdown website redirect currently prevents my getting the correct URL.

    • don’t forget IRS, FCC, NRC, EPA…

      The commonality was the Manchurian Candidate in the WH. An agent who unsuccessfully failed in his most audacious attempt… rigging the 2016 election in favor of someone he could blackmail. They really thought they had it in the bag, and then thought they had a fall-back fail-safe with the Dossier investigation.

  6. “We will take these findings into account and endeavor to be responsive to the MITRE’s recommendations.”

    Its telling that when they had the chance to say “we will adopt Mitre’s recommendations” , they did not.

    More expensive but useless shelfware I guess.

  7. What is MITRE? Well back-in-the-day they operated over the horizon radar for ICBM detection from the Soviets. What exactly do they do now?
    They were a civilian arm of the Air Force back then, and I’ll bet the money never dried up. Just another part of the government, that will do they as are told. NASA has been totally subjugated to the Captain Planet religion.

    • The founders worked on the the SAGE computer system for th DEW LINE and have provided engineering support for the Air Force, FAA, and other agencies including operating FFRDC’s (federally funded research and development corporation’s ). It’s a non profit engineering company that only works for government agencies.

  8. So the Karl study is not an official publication of the US government? That explains why it’s paywalled. Unless I’m mistaken, official publications of the US Government are public domain.

    Also, was Karl working on this study on government time?

  9. “So the Karl study is not an official publication of the US government?”
    It went through internal review, which is the normal standard for government scientific publications. Apparently to be an “official publication” NOAA has a higher level of sign off.

    Karl et al was not the official paper for ERSST V4. That was Huang et al.

    • But Karl et al ignored the upper confidence intervals of Huang et al. This is all weasel words and obfuscation.

      And its not “… a higher level of sign off.” It is adherence to a higher level of scientific standards. Get a life.

      Karl set out to get rid of the pause to get over a political hurdle. He accomplished that; what happens now is irrelevant.

    • “…Apparently to be an “official publication” NOAA has a higher level of sign off…”

      It’s called going through the proper channels and procedures. Jt is what honest and competent government employees do.

    • Nick Stokes January 14, 2019 at 8:29 pm

      Hi Nick, it may get uglier. MITRE may be separating NOAA from Karl.
      If it was not a official publication of the U.S. Gov but presented as such ,,,
      Karl created the document on the Gov. dime. Now did he get it published as a NOAA Doc?
      This opens the door to quit a few questions, popcorn time. Let see where it goes

      michael 🙂

  10. MITRE is a not for profit that operates Federally funded R & D centers? Good thing they went to a completely independent group to investigate. Or, rather, it would have been a good thing to go to a completely independent group. An adversarial group would have been even better. MITRE clearly has a stake in keeping the Feds happy.

  11. Absolute, mindless bureaucratic double-speak.

    To begin: “… the Karl Study did not include a disclaimer that it was not an official product of the Federal government.” and “… it was not subject to heightened internal governmental review …”

    It goes on: ” [Aw, crap. I can’t continue with this B.S. I’ll read the report if I can suppress my gag reflex.]

  12. “…While the MITRE report found that the publication of the Karl Study was not fully compliant with NOAA internal procedures, it also determined that there was no evidence that NOAA intentionally distorted climate data…”

    Well it wasn’t an official NOAA publication – it was Karl”s. It would have been Karl distorting climate data, not NOAA.

  13. This intentional fraud was written for the Paris summit and had become infamously known as the “Pausebuster Paper” Obama was in daily contact with Karl leading up to the publishing of it in Science mag. Science mag has since said they will no longer publish papers that cant be replicated…and NOAA said they cant show us how the mistakes were made…because the computer broke…?! The exact same excuse made by the BOM when Jenifer Marrohasy busted them falsifying the figures…I’m guessing you can all guess in which direction?
    So Obama, the greatest fraudster in human history went to the Paris climate blatherfest with a paper that was an intentional fraud and all the worlds countries are still paying billions of dollars based on it. And what? Nothing is done about it? “It was unintentional”….another way of saying “there was no intent” I suppose. This sociopathic vermin should be burned alive. He has a phone and a pen…well I have matches and some paper.

    • Careful, Bill. Your expressions of your irritability could get you thrown in the can. Obama still has Secret Service protections.

  14. I would love to see a court case where the prosecution would call expert witnesses like Tony Heller, Chris Essex, Ross McKitrick, Steve McIntyre, Willie Soon, Murray Salby, Peter Ridd, Richard Lindzen …etc that would demolish this whole scam once and forever.

  15. I find it hilarious that NOAA’s massive raw temperature data manipulation of adding heat to past and present RAW TEMPERATURE data does not classify as fraud…

    The SOLE intent of adding all this heat to raw temperature data was to make the line go up, to give the CAGW scam a few more years of life before being officially disconfirmed.

    The KARL 2015 was called “The Pause Buster” by some “scientists” because that was its true intent.

    NOAA used to have a graph on their website showing they added 0.6F of heat to raw temp data between 1960~2000, and they conveniently stopped updating this chart in 2000 to hide all the additional warming added to the raw temperature data post 2000–especially after the KARL 2015 “Pause Buster”data manipulation:

    https://web.archive.org/web/20170103170103/https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/img/climate/research/ushcn/ts.ushcn_anom25_diffs_urb-raw_pg.gif

    I’d love to see how much additional heat NOAA added since 2000, but NOAA deleted this graph from their website around June 2017…. (another 0.6F since 2000??? who knows…)

    NOAA has become a joke with all their temperature fiddling to keep the CAGW hoax going…

    It’s disgusting.

    • The WayBackMachine is our friend.
      (Go there and donate a bit to keep it going.)
      Great place to see for yourself “Past temps, they are a changin’.”

  16. The old saying goes “Never start an investigation that will incriminate yourself” I guess that’s why Karl is the principal author…

    • The golden rule in the UK Civil Service is, “Never hold a public enquiry unless you know the outcome from the start!”

    • Yeah, that’s the way I read it first, too, there’s a misplaced modifier or dangling participle in that sentence. But no, Karl wasn’t investigating himself. I even clicked on the report link to check the list of authors.

  17. From the report:

    “As stated in Section 1.1, the Karl Study was motivated to a significant extent by discussion in
    AR5 of the IPCC, suggesting a slowdown in the rate of increase of global average surface temperatures over the period of 1998 to 2012, compared to the trend observed over the prior 50 years. The IPCC referred to this slowdown as a ‘hiatus.'”

    Is there any better evidence of bias on the part of the IPCC than the fact that they used the loaded term “hiatus” to describe data that tends to disprove their models? Without question, they were prejudging the “slowdown in the rate of increase of global average surface temperatures” as a mere temporary phenomenon. The same is true for all the warmists who referenced the period as a mere “pause.” This is what differentiates real scientists from propagandists; real scientists understand that confirmation bias is one of the most insidious corrupting influences on the scientific process, and do everything they can to isolate their opinions from the data. Climate propagandists just interpret the data to conform to their opinions.

    So what credence should we really give to some of these propagandists when they just apply new statistical operations on the old data in a way that makes the trends align better with their theories?

    • Finding 1: After carefully reviewing internal NOAA email correspondence, the MITRE
      Committee found no evidence that the Karl Study falsified, or intentionally distorted climate
      data. The Karl Study data were subsequently used in multiple peer-reviewed scientific
      publications.

      I highlight, “…reviewing internal NOAA email correspondence…” and that’s all!!! No review of the adjustments, no review of the data weighting, no review of even the data quality, no review of nothing! (Yes I know that’s a double negative. As in: Nothing! Nada! Zilch! Nunca! Never! No way! No how!) Just the emails!

  18. The paper is paywalled????
    So who gets payed? NOAA? Or some one else?
    If it is NOAA to which account? Is it legal?
    They may have screwed up. Adjust the records? Eh, misappropriate funds, that can bring people down.

    michael

    Oh and Steven Mosher and Bart T thank you. Also CTM

  19. I read the report. Typical “The rules and regulations were unclear and any mistakes were bureaucratic and inadvertent. We recommend the following rules and regulation changes …” Oh, and “It’s OK to use a 90% confidence interval because the IPCC uses it [disguised it as ‘likely’ to be in that range].”

    No discussion as to the appropriateness of the use of Night Marine Air Temperature to adjust SST. No discussion of Karl going outside the bounds of Huang to get what he wanted. A total nothing-burger.

  20. Picture the scene. It is the final 30 seconds of the new Film “Hiatus” subtitled “Raiders of the lost Archive”
    The retired rear admiral voicing over, as the camera rolls showing the scene of a military storage facility whose dusty boxed storage, disappears into the horizon.
    “We have somewhere safe, to secure this report for posterity”
    Cue credits…

  21. Don’t know about others here, but I personally get sick and tired of the whitewash utterings of cover-up teams so bereft of personal achievements that they are willing to be engaged in the defence of others who protect a principle.
    None of the investigators seems, from a first read of their report, to have ever interacted greatly with private enterprise, which has been the source of most contributions to global wealth and wellbeing for the last couple of centuries.
    None seems to have been asked the relevant question “Are you at all sceptical about science behind global warming hypotheses?
    None seems to have the qualifications to discern if scepticism is warranted.
    None seems to have learned the language of real life, preferring the abstruse terminology of bureaucratese.
    None seems to have learned that it is OK to say “This work smells” or “There is no smell about this work” as the case may be.
    Unfortunately, they did not discover which case applies. Or, if they did, they did not say so in unequivocal words.
    No doubt, should their personal attributes allow it, they can share a strong drink and say “We played a blinder!”
    Holy crap, when is enough enough? Geoff

    • I read Bate’s complaint back when, Mr. Mosher. It was nitpicking whining over nitpicking compliance with obtuse bureaucratic regulations, not complaints about anything of substance. The MITRE study was a nitpicking bureaucratic exercise of studying nitpicking compliance with obtuse bureaucratic regulations. It had nothing to do with the abuse of the Huang work, shady science and statistical manipulations of historical SST by Karl.

      The MITRE study is just the sort of Wandering in the Weeds you like.

      • I agree after reading the report. The review was to evaluate process, not the science. That was left to Science mag and was not in their work scope.
        Two things I noticed that absolved Karl et al for his rare and atypical findings of no pause was the reference to Huang for the data and secondly for stating in no uncertain terms that the SST data set is full of inconsistencies/complications and is not nearly large enough spatially to capture the true SST. Their recommendations, other than procedural, at the end of the review were clear for example, “While Argo data are timely for climate studies, their ocean coverage is sparse.”
        These conclusions are even more important because Karl /Huang found SST were the driver for the higher temperature trends compared to earlier data products.
        My assessment was the reviewers believe the SST data is so sparse as to render any conclusions using the sparse data to be a fool’s errand, and hence gave Karl a pass.

        • kvs you might want to let zeke hausfather know given his latest proclamations on knowledge of ocean heat content to 2000m depth,to single figure zettajoule accuracy.

        • Sounds like you’re giving the scientific validity of the report about a 50% chance? We can’t say it’s invalid because the data is so sparse it could just as easily be valid?

  22. I worked at MITRE and their results are about what I would expect. They are a very good engineering company but management won’t rock the boat too hard if it will make the customer mad at them. The agencies have to request funding for it explicitly.

    Back in the 80’s they almost were zeroed out in the federal budget because they knew that the FAA’s modernization program was collapsing and didn’t tell congress only the FAA. Congress was not happy. I was involved in similar problems of and on through my career. Basically don’t annoy the sponsor. They don’t lie but they will dissemble.

  23. There are several quality control standards such as the ISO9000 series that require periodic auditing of quality systems by a 3rd party administrator. Government entities that produce data and studies affecting taxpayers ought to be required to meet and be certified to a quality standard.

  24. Clearly they are not following the same laws and rules of disclosure that financial firms must follow. Let’s see a detailed comparison of what CFAs, CFO, and CPAs must follow compared to climate scientists.

  25. Section 3.5

    The adjustments of warming the data are all relative and don’t affect the trend one way or another.

    Discuss

  26. I continue to be amazed that industrial scale qualities of ‘smoke and mirrors’ are required in ‘settled science’

  27. “…. it also determined that there was no evidence that NOAA intentionally distorted climate data. ”

    I strongly disagree. Whenever any analysis that shows any correlation with anything else besides co2, the numbers magically change. As a critic of co2 induced global warming, all my numbers have to match exactly. A supporter of global warming, not so much. ” … where did you get those numbers.. ”
    The approximation allowed for AGW is so wide as to make any result unreliable. It shows it in their predictions/projections… all failures both in time, articulation, and substance.
    Does any body else remember the exact ratio of co2 to 1 C that was made in 2001? I do. There are still people to this day still parroting that. 10 ppm/v. I don’t see anybody aggressively disputing that from the warming side on those sites.

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