MiracleOccursThe hero of Climategate on 17th November 2009 had a tremendous sense of style, as recounted by ‘Dominic’ on Climate Audit almost two months later:

I find the initial posting here with the link to the FOIA.zip file at RC almost divine. It was on a thread called “Miracles and Strip Bark Standardization” which had a cartoon showing scientists at a blackboard with a step in the calculation saying “and then a miracle occurs”. Then at 5.24am the all important posting simply said

A Miracle Just Happened

Not even an exclamation mark. Someone subtle (too subtle in fact) and with a sense of humour. So cryptic yet so magical.

RC stood for RealClimate of course, which had just been hacked as part of the Climategate release process. The original Climate Audit thread of 16th November was Miracles and Strip Bark Standardization – though it sadly no longer shows the above cartoon at the end, as Steve McIntyre had mischievously originally done. The comment by ‘RC’ – a link that pointed to the FOIA.zip file containing the emails – is still visible here. Too subtle for anyone to realise exactly what miracle had happened for a day or two. But this post on the ten year anniversary has one purpose only: to say thank you.


  1. “But this post on the ten year anniversary has one purpose only: to say thank you.”

    Ha! I’m onto you, Mr Drake. Your agenda is no secret from me.

    This is all just an attempt at misdirection from the real story here: the 8th anniversary of ClimateGate 2.0.

    Well, people are beginning to see through it, Mister. They’re not stupid, you know. OK, they are—but they’re not unbelievably infinitely stupid.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Hi Richard

    I remember that post/thread on CA

    a few posts up from the “RC Posted Nov 17, 2009 at 5:24 AM | Permalink
    A miracle just happened.”

    bender says “Posted Nov 16, 2009 at 9:38 PM | Permalink
    “Then a miracles happens
    If that’s supposed to be a joke, it isn’t funny.”

    looks like bender spotted it first & thought it was a joke (maybe)?

    ps – I was “dougie” on that thread & looking back a bit disrespectful to dendro CB

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Reading this short appreciation, after reading Alex Cull (blessed be his name)’s transcription of the BBC programme https://sites.google.com/site/mytranscriptbox/2019/20191114_cg
    produces a strange effect. The hero’s “miracle” comment was a joke about a joke. What can one say about the BBC’s title “Science of a Scandal,” (which would be more appropriately titled “Scandal of a Science”?) By the way, could someone please supply the names in the credits of producer, director, scientific advisor, researcher etc. to those of us who can’t access the programme?

    The BBC is currently lying about more important things than a ten-year-old email leak in Norwich; about events in Hong Kong, La Paz, Washington, Salisbury, Syria, and of course Downing Street, not to mention the Arctic and St Mark’s Square.

    The BBC employs scores of professional jokers – highly intelligent pranksters who pride themselves on their irreverent attitude to the Establishment. Not one of them will ever challenge the BBC on their view of what is happening in Hong Kong, La Paz, Washington, Salisbury, Syria, the Arctic or St Mark’s Square. Or Downing Street. Not one of them would understand a single word of Richard’s post.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Watching the last few minutes of the BBC programme to answer Geoff’s question I noticed some other pieces of dishonest trickery that don’t come across in the transcript. When near the end they discuss the Berkeley BEST project, Jones says

    Phil Jones: Well, they did lots of this work, and it still came out with the same answer

    the image on the screen is the hockey stick. So the BBC are implying that BEST vindicated Mann’s hockey stick, which of course it didn’t.

    Just a few minutes after that, there is the statement on screen that

    The frequency and severity of certain extreme weather events is increasing.

    This is followed by imagery of storms and floods, which according to the IPCC haven’t increased.

    Anyway, the credits include the following names amongst others:

    Science consultant: Professor Gabi Hegerl

    Online Editor: Andrew Berry

    Assistant Producer: Judith Connell

    Editor: Dave Clark

    Executive Producer: Ross Harper

    Produced and Directed by: Steve O’Hagan

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Thanks Paul. You have to wonder who conceived it, and how. It certainly wasn’t done with the aid of the BBC’s famous 28 climate experts (remember them? The bloke from Chinese Greenpeace, the insurance salesman and the student whose daddy owns a chain of hotels in Greece?) I suspect Monbiot had a hand in it. I doubt whether Prof Hegerl has the right talents for that sort of thing. You need a Masters degree in the black arts from Chatham House or possibly the Grantham Institute.

    The technique of assembling a patchwork argument from tweet-length clips reminds me of the blackmailer’s trick of cutting out and pasting letters to make a letter with no tell-tale handwriting. No single clip is a lie. Graham Stringer ands Steve McIntyre have their say. And we shall never know who sent that powder to Michael Mann, but we have our suspects.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Interesting remarks from Mike Hulme here. He gives some info about what happened at UEA at the time (as did Alan K on a recent thread here).

    He goes on to say this about the BBC programme:

    I was interviewed at length for this documentary, although the director used only a one tiny sound bite from me in the broadcast version. I know this is frequently the case with such filming, although it may also be that the narrative of Climategate that I offered did not fit O’Hagan’s script.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Interesting. While we were all exalted to keep quiet until the University had agreed its position, there were people like Mike Hulme going around within days, cooperating with colleagues in other universities to explain it all to the world. Good to learn ten years later how Climate Science scientists and hangers-on felt entirely free to do whatever they wished. Or perhaps he spent so little time at UEA that he never learned about any omerta being applied. Even after ten years it pi$$es me off.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. The shock felt by Steve McIntyre when he finally read the emails is something I strongly remember at the time and should be factored into everyone’s history:

    He had assumed good faith, at some level. But in ten years his evaluation has shifted:

    Liked by 1 person

  9. @Richard

    thanks for another good link.- another comment/link from that post from FOI2009 –

    romanm Posted Nov 19, 2009 at 6:30 PM | Permalink
    This comment wasted on a number of sites on the 17th of November:
    We feel that climate science is, in the current situation, too important to be kept under wraps.
    We hereby release a random selection of correspondence, code, and documents.
    Hopefully it will give some insight into the science and the people behind it.
    This is a limited time offer, download now: http://ftp.tomcity.ru/incoming/free/FOI2009.zip


    0926010576.txt * Mann: working towards a common goal
    1189722851.txt * Jones: “try and change the Received date!”
    0924532891.txt * Mann vs. CRU
    0847838200.txt * Briffa & Yamal 1996: “too much growth in recent years makes it difficult to derive a valid age/growth curve”
    0926026654.txt * Jones: MBH dodgy ground
    1225026120.txt * CRU’s truncated temperature curve
    1059664704.txt * Mann: dirty laundry
    1062189235.txt * Osborn: concerns with MBH uncertainty
    0926947295.txt * IPCC scenarios not supposed to be realistic
    0938018124.txt * Mann: “something else” causing discrepancies
    0939154709.txt * Osborn: we usually stop the series in 1960
    0933255789.txt * WWF report: beef up if possible
    0998926751.txt * “Carefully constructed” model scenarios to get “distinguishable results”
    0968705882.txt * CLA: “IPCC is not any more an assessment of published science but production of results”
    1075403821.txt * Jones: Daly death “cheering news”
    1029966978.txt * Briffa – last decades exceptional, or not?
    1092167224.txt * Mann: “not necessarily wrong, but it makes a small difference” (factor 1.29)
    1188557698.txt * Wigley: “Keenan has a valid point”
    1118949061.txt * we’d like to do some experiments with different proxy combinations
    1120593115.txt * I am reviewing a couple of papers on extremes, so that I can refer to them in the chapter for AR4

    Liked by 1 person

  10. just in case anybody had any doubts about how Steve McIntyre’s digging was alarming the Team –
    another good catch on that thread
    “Watcher Posted Nov 19, 2009 at 8:45 PM | Permalink
    I grep’ed the emails for McIntyre and got lots of hits. Thought it might help speed up the review process if folks could pick a few to investigate and mark off the list. If the post is too long please feel free to delete. Based on the sheer number of times he’s mentioned, I’d say he must be getting under their skin.”

    to many to list – if you want go to https://climateaudit.org/2009/11/19/cru-correspondence/#comment-202363


  11. Just reread that thread and found this interesting comment –
    “P.Jones@uea.ac.uk wrote:
    > Ben,
    > I’m at an extremes meeting in Riederalp – near Brig. I’m too
    > old to go skiing. I’ll go up the cable car to see the Aletsch Glacier
    > at some point – when the weather is good. Visibility is less than
    > 200m at the moment.
    > It is good news that Rob can come. I’m still working on
    > Keith. It might be worth you sending him another email,
    > telling him what he’ll be missing if he doesn’t go. I think
    > Sarah will come, but I’ve not yet been in CRU when she has.
    > With free wifi in my room, I’ve just seen that M+M have
    > submitted a paper to IJC on your H2 statistic – using more
    > years, up to 2007. They have also found your PCMDI data –
    > laughing at the directory name – FOIA? Also they make up
    > statements saying you’ve done this following Obama’s
    > statement about openness in government! Anyway you’ll likely
    > get this for review, or poor Francis will. Best if both
    > Francis and Myles did this. If I get an email from Glenn I’ll
    > suggest this.
    > Also I see Pielke Snr has submitted a comment on Sherwood’s
    > work. He is a prat. He’s just had a response to a comment
    > piece that David Parker, Tom Peterson and I wrote on a paper
    > they had in 2007. Pielke wouldn’t understand independence if it
    > hit him in the face. Both papers in JGR online. Not worth you
    > reading them unless interested.
    > Cheers
    > Phil”

    “laughing at the directory name – FOIA?”
    – wondering if that’s “Freedom of Information Avoidance”? (calling Lew)


  12. Thanks DF. I’m aware that I had wanted to respond to your first comment, and to Geoff’s, and to Alan’s, etc. Sorry I got distracted with other things. Maybe later. Or maybe I’ll do another short post relating to Geoff’s. Degrees of freedom.


  13. Off topic, or just aside? In 1979, I was going for my Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University. One of my courses that year was Advanced Engineering Mathematics. It was taught by a short, wiry, highly animated clone of (a very young) Woody Allen, right down to the New York accent. In a typical classroom hour, he would cover the chalkboard (yes, chalk) from one end to the other at breakneck speed with derivations accompanied by rapid fire explanations.

    The one moment I’ll never forget was when he had arrived at a truly opaque expression, which left all of us wondering how he was going to get out of this one. He turned back to us and said “And then, a miracle occurs!” And he turned back to the board and substituted a gradient operator where none of us would have expected it, and suddenly this hopelessly arcane formula was magically transformed into a combination of extremely familiar and easily manipulated functions. As this unfolding became manifest to the students, and expressed by “oh!”s of comprehension, he turned back briefly from the board and fired off a sincere “Without these miracles, mathematics would be impossible!” before turning back to and completing his work.

    I don’t know when that cartoon was originally published, though I’ve emailed the cartoonist to find out. It has always been one of my favorites, and I’ve always wondered if he was in the classroom with me that day.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Michael: Another possible origins story. Very plausible. It was great to meet you last night at the GWPF 10-year celebration. After talking to you I met Andy Shaw, who set up Comedy Unleashed with Andrew Doyle, where those on the platform are allowed to, and do, mock climate extremism. Having just read your GWPF Annual Address on how the engineering numbers for decarbonisation just don’t add up my summary for him was “the science is c**p but the engineering is far worse” – suggesting that this is the area more than anything to send up in comedy.


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