Climate Secret: NSF Quietly Closes Out Inspector General Investigation with Complete Vindication of Michael Mann

NSF Inspector General:  “Finding no research misconduct or other matter raised by the various regulations and laws discussed above, this case is closed.”

Reconstruction of Northern Hemisphere temperatures, Mann et al.

Two things we know with extremely high confidence:

  1. Recent warming is unprecedented in magnitude and speed and cause (so the temperature history looks like a Hockey Stick).
  2. Michael Mann, the lead author on the original Hockey Stick paper, is one of the nation’s top climatologists and a source of first-rate analysis.

We know these things because both the Hockey Stick and Mann have been independently investigated and vindicated more times than any other facet of climate science or any other climate scientist (see links below).

Readers also know that “the first rule of vindicating climate science is you do not talk about vindicating climate science.”  While the anti-science extremists who rule the Tea Party and the right-wing bunkosphere keep shouting lies about the Hockey Stick and Mann — and urging their followers to “shout down” science-based commenters on independent websites — the vindications of the science and the man are reported as quietly as if they came from the Whos of Whoville.

And so after countless investigations — 3 in the U.K., 2 by Penn State, the EPA, the NOAA IG — that have all unanimously found the allegations against climate scientists and their research conclusions based on the hacked “ClimateGate” emails to be wholly unsubstantiated, a top GOP presidential candidate backed by the fossil fuel industry still gives voice to the Texas-sized lie (see “Denier Rick Perry Takes $11 Million from Big Oil, Then Claims Climate Scientists ‘Manipulated Data’ For Money“).

And so while Mann and the Hockey Stick were getting yet another full vindication (from Penn State) earlier this year, Fox News was trumpeting one final investigation:

But the final say will be in the hands of a skeptical inspector general at the National Science Foundation, the primary funder of the research into global warming. According to published documents obtained by, the IG must determine whether Penn State’s investigation was adequate.

The Office of Inspector General confirmed that it will review the misconduct charges. A spokeswoman told that “in accordance with our research misconduct regulation, (45 C.F.R. part 689), when the OIG is provided with an institution’s investigation report, we review it for fairness, accuracy and completeness” — issues the investigation has already been faulted for.

Yes, well, the Penn State investigation was faulted only by anti-science deniers.  And NSF’s IG is “skeptical” only in the sense that global warming “skeptics” are not — which is to say it analyzes the facts objectively and come to defensible and reproducible conclusions.

The IG analyzed all of the charges “de novo” and concluded:

Finding no research misconduct or other matter raised by the various regulations and laws discussed above, this case is closed.”

I have uploaded the full report here, but you can also go the NSF IG website here and insert “A09120086.”

Let me end with some key findings of the Penn State investigation:

“An Investigatory Committee of faculty members with impeccable credentials” has unanimously “determined that Dr. Michael E. Mann did not engage in, nor did he participate in, directly or indirectly, any actions that seriously deviated from accepted practices within the academic community for proposing, conducting, or reporting research, or other scholarly activities.”

His work “clearly places Dr. Mann among the most respected scientists in his field…. Dr. Mann’s work, from the beginning of his career, has been recognized as outstanding.

So Mann isn’t merely a competent researcher.  He is one of the leading climate scientists in this country, which of course is precisely why the anti-science crowd has gone after him, much as they have with other leading climate scientists, including Hansen and Santer.

And that’s one more reason why the major media outlets who smeared and defamed him owe him an apology and a retraction — loud ones!

Recent Studies Vindicating the Hockey Stick:

  1. Temperatures of North Atlantic “are unprecedented over the past 2000 years and are presumably linked to the Arctic amplification of global warming” — Science (2011)
  2. GRL (2010):  “We conclude that the 20th century warming of the incoming intermediate North Atlantic water has had no equivalent during the last thousand years.“
  3. JGR (2010):  “The last decades of the past millennium are characterized again by warm temperatures that seem to be unprecedented in the context of the last 1600 years.”
  4. Human-caused Arctic warming overtakes 2,000 years of natural cooling, “seminal” study finds (2009)
  5. Unprecedented warming in Lake Tanganyika and its impact on humanity (2010)


Below are old comments from the earlier Facebook commenting system:

The media does not deal in reality of issues more complex than a saturday morning cartoon plot. The multiple vindications of Michael Mann will never get past the “ooh, look, shiny” crowd at CNN and Faux Newz.

Back to your regularly scheduled dystopia.

7 · Like · Reply · Subscribe · Monday at 1:06pm

Peter S. Mizla · Top Commenter · Vernon, Connecticut

It may not make it to the NYT either.

3 · Like · Reply · Monday at 2:13pm

Christopher Winter · University of Iowa

Yes, and the last outlet you named even has trouble with the cartoons (Spongebob.) ;-)

2 · Like · Reply · Monday at 3:19pm

  • Prokaryotes – · Top Commenter (signed in using Hotmail)

lol :)

Like · Reply · Monday at 10:49pm

David Palermo

Great news but I wasn’t surprised. Mann is a highly respected scientist. I will continue to watch his research.

3 · Like · Reply · Subscribe · Yesterday at 3:28am

David Palermo

What has there been, six or seven investigations??? None have found any wrong doing. All you climate change “skeptics” who think the science is bad better think again… if you disagree with a solution then propose a different one. Don’t just say the science is bad because you heard it on FOX “News”. It isn’t. Solutions can be bad and it’s fine to disagree with proposed solutions but when you make false accusations against good, honest scientists you had better have some evidence.

2 · Like · Reply · Yesterday at 4:02am

Joy Hughes · Founder and CEO at

Pretty soon, it’ll look like a hockey stick, except with the long part being the part going up at the end.

2 · Like · Reply · Subscribe · 18 hours ago

Peter S. Mizla · Top Commenter · Vernon, Connecticut

Not to be off topic- was reading over at THE Arctic Sea Ice Blog.

Some big stuff going on in the arctic- huge melting taking place.

2 · Like · Reply · Subscribe · Monday at 3:33pm

John McCormick · Top Commenter

That cyclone has churned up warmer water and the flash melting is a result. Someday the ice will just disappear.

Like · Reply · Yesterday at 7:12am

John Emerson · Last Chance U

It’s a good thing they released it quietly. Otherwise they might have made someone mad, and Obama would have been forced to fire them.

2 · Like · Reply · Subscribe · Monday at 5:19pm

Leif Erik Knutsen · Top Commenter · Friends with Joseph Romm

In your face FOX et. al.

Perhaps now there are a few investigators with time on their hands to investigate who hacked the E-Mails in the first place.

2 · Like · Reply · Subscribe · Monday at 12:26pm

Leif Erik Knutsen · Top Commenter · Friends with Joseph Romm

If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. Do not let apathy define your existence.

2 · Like · Reply · Monday at 12:30pm

Lionel Smith · University of Wales

I don’t know about in your face Fox. Since when has their opinion come from the mouth in the head? The name Butthead could not be more apt.

So its one up the butt Fox, and another, and another – one for each of your Buttheads.

Like · Reply · Monday at 3:08pm

David Plummer · Washington, District of Columbia

I’m guessing one of the Rupert Murdoch gang hacked the emails…

Like · Reply · 22 hours ago

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Bart Laws · Top Commenter · Assistant Professor at Brown University

A lie is halfway around the world before the truth has its boots on. (Forget who said that.)

2 · Like · Reply · Subscribe · Monday at 12:41pm

Gary Herstein · Top Commenter

I believe that originated with Mark Twain.

2 · Like · Reply · Monday at 7:55pm

Chris Paradise · Harvard

That sounds right…

Like · Reply · Monday at 10:38pm

Robert Fanney · Top Commenter · Flagler College

Meanwhile, the mainstream media is pedaling a bunch of false equivalency articles. A number have cited one model that says the Arctic may stabilize (of course ignoring all the others that show it in rapid decline). A recent Atlantic blog created a sense of false equivalency between climate scientists and skeptics, stating that both claims were legitimate and still holding out the possibility that AGW may not be harmful (and keeping a blind eye to all the harm already done).

It appears that they are using natural variability as their basis for argumentation. But what they have failed to see is that AGW is both outside the range of natural variation and that the built in variability of the climate is amplified by AGW, creating more dangerous uncertainties in the system.

1 · Like · Reply · Subscribe · Monday at 4:20pm

Eric Pyle

Time to snap up that new beach-front property on Ellesmere Island!

1 · Like · Reply · Monday at 9:34pm

Peter S. Mizla · Top Commenter · Vernon, Connecticut

There was a country in central Europe circa 1933 that burned books and said that science and intellectuals where a threat to the purity of the nation.

Is good to see Dr. Mann has been cleared of that kind of humiliation.

1 · Like · Reply · Subscribe · Monday at 6:30pm

Jeffrey Meyer

Thing you know #1. “Recent warming is unprecedented in magnitude and speed and cause” WITHIN THE LAST 1000 YEARS. But it recurs regularly on a cycle of about 110,000 years.

Like · Reply · Subscribe · Monday at 4:47pm

  • Prokaryotes – · Top Commenter (signed in using Hotmail)

The natural cycle is on 44k years which does not melt all, but which happens now.. we face several meters sea level rise within coming decades!

Like · Reply · Monday at 10:52pm

Leif Erik Knutsen · Top Commenter · Friends with Joseph Romm

The vast majority of climate scientists agree that this warming is caused by greenhouse gas build-up in the atmosphere which in turn is caused by the burning of fossil fuel, Jeffrey. Don’t you think that a larger portion of scientists the world over would find some evidence of your wishful thinking. Being so much is at stake and all.

Like · Reply · Monday at 11:18pm

Jeffrey Meyer

Leif: “Don’t you think that a larger portion of scientists the world over would find some evidence of your wishful thinking.” Apparently not.

And I’d like to point out that your argument is based on statistics and not physical science.

Like · Reply · Monday at 11:24pm

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David Stockbridge Smith · Top Commenter · Apex, North Carolina

08/23/11 – I’m all for arguing science. But, what’s going on with the denier/plunderers isn’t really about science. The science was brought into the fray as a part of a strategy and counteracting a strategy is different then having a strategy of ones own, This is about a competition between businesses and technologies, at its core.

Who benefits and who losses if the denier group wins? Dirty energy corporations, supporting industries and the employees all benefit. Who looses? Alternative energy corporations, supporting industries, there employees and just about everyone else (apparently 50% of the other species on earth as well) will suffer. But lets leave the larger group (which includes everyone in the dirty energy business) out of it for now.

Who benefits and who losses if the science holds sway in the end? Dirty energy corpor…See More

Like · Reply · Subscribe · 22 hours ago

Christopher Pett · Rutgers University

Only thing closed is the minds of NSF. Marine biologists sift for plankton from the sea but the tiny bacteria goes through the sieve. The Black market economy of the sea is using dissolved organic matter not CO2 as an energy source. That is what is changing the Climate. Stupid physicists and chemists are buried in texts and lab experiments and the biologists think nothing but CO2 gas. Look at DOM and the case is clear. If all energy needs were met by Windfarms, Solar collectors and Alga farms, the trees would still be cut down, farmers would still plow the soil, rivers would still rush the soil to the Ocean, people would overpopulate, bacteria would take over the Ocean and the phytoplankton would fail to make Oxygen. A Carbon tax on the Corporations would be good only if it supports Reforestation to stem the loss of Carbon in the soil. Trees hold the soil in place so they hold water and Organic matter. They hold Life itself. Protect the watersheds and the wildlife that lives within. If we fail to do this we will become extinct. That is why the gods were furious at Prometheus to begin with.

Like · Reply · Subscribe · 22 hours ago

Colorado Bob · Top Commenter

Mean while in Senator Inhfoe”s Igloo Village –
OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma City endured its 51st triple-digit day Monday to set a city record, but the sweltering summer heat has been even crueler to the southwestern Oklahoma town of Grandfield, where the mercury has now topped 100 for 87 days to eclipse a decades-old state mark.–Temperature-Record-Oklahoma/

Like · Reply · Subscribe · Yesterday at 6:10am

Anthony William O’brien · Perth, Western Australia

As soon as there is any air time for the results of the enquiry, there will be cries of whitewash. How long before the innuendo starts again and there are calls for another enquiry?

This must be so hard on Michael Mann and so disruptive of doing any science.

Like · Reply · Subscribe · Yesterday at 3:50am

Chris Paradise · Harvard

It’s only in GWD (global warming denier) world that 1 > 8. Or whatever the count is now.
Well, maybe some exotic physics or numerical base set would make that true, too, but I don’t know that system…

Like · Reply · Subscribe · Monday at 10:37pm

Matthew O’Connell

Wow. Lends credence to the idea that the press are allergic to real reporting these days.

Like · Reply · Subscribe · 3 hours ago

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