Congressman demands more NOAA e-mails about climate study

(credit: NASA)

As part of his ongoing fight with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) sent a February 22 letter that demanded documents related to the agency's analysis of global temperature data. NOAA handed over 301 pages of e-mails between NOAA officials (but not scientists) pertaining to a study published last year in the journal Science. There apparently wasn’t anything juicy in those e-mails, however, because Rep. Smith is now asking for a great deal more.

A new letter (initially acquired by the Union of Concerned Scientists) complains that “[i]t seems unlikely that documents and communications would be so scarce,” and Smith directs NOAA to cast a wider net. He requests e-mails and documents not just from officials in the offices that had been targeted by the previous requests but also from “agency employees” across a broad swath of NOAA. The list includes the National Centers for Environmental Information that houses the scientists behind NOAA's global temperature dataset—a group Rep. Smith has accused of manipulating data.

NOAA had apparently searched for e-mails including “hiatus”, “global temperature”, and “climate study”, but Rep. Smith wants that list expanded dramatically. Now, he wants NOAA to hand over anything that contains “Karl” (the name of the lead NOAA scientist on the Science paper), “buoy”, “ship”, “Night Marine Air Temperature”, “temperature”, “climate”, “change”, “Paris”, “U.N.”, “United Nations”, “clean power plan”, “regulations”, “Environmental Protection Agency”, “President”, “Obama”, “White House”, and “Council on Environmental Quality”.

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