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Sunday, June 23, 2024 | Back issues
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Info on Climate Change Data May Come to Light

WASHINGTON (CN) - NASA must release additional documents on its revisions of global temperature data based on a statistician's discovery, a federal judge ruled.

"In August 2007, a statistician named Stephen McIntyre discovered an error in NASA's temperature data sets, which he alleged caused an overstatement of temperatures in the United States from the year 2000 onward," the ruling states. "He posted his findings on his website ClimateAudit.org. and also emailed them to NASA climate scientists. In response, on August, 7, 2007 [the Goddard Institute of Space Studies] revised values in its temperature data set. GISS did not issue a press release announcing or explaining the corrections."

The Competitive Enterprise Institute, a Washington-based climate policy think tank, sought information on the revisions under the Freedom of Information Act.

Though the space agency turned over thousands of pages of documents, it withheld much of the information requested, including two electronic directors referred to as the "Steve" directory and the "alternate_cleaning" directory, as well as media inquiries about the data corrections and email accounts belonging to Dr. Gavin Schmidt, a NASA physical scientist who contributes to a blog called RealClimate.org.

The institute filed suit in 2010, and U.S. District Judge Barbara Rothstein order NASA on Wednesday to release two of its electronic directories as well as the emails exchanged with Schmidt from his NASA account.

In refusing to go any further, the judge disagreed that NASA had acted in bad faith.

"CEI's request for discovery is not justified here because CEI has not provided any evidence that the agency acted in bad faith and the outstanding issues of fact do not suggest bad faith on the part of NASA," the 29-page opinion states.

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