NOAA Turns Over Some Emails In Controversial Climate Change Investigation

Scientists not included

Sebastien Wiertz/Flickr CC by 2.0

On Tuesday, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) delivered documents and internal e-mails between front office staff to the Congressional Committee on Science, Space and Technology, which is conducting a widely maligned investigation into the circumstances under which a climate change study was published in June. The handover of documents was announced on Wednesday.

The documents delivered to the chairman of the committee, Congressman Lamar Smith do not appear to include the e-mails from NOAA scientists, which NOAA administrator Kathryn Sullivan refused to turn over, with the support of many members of the scientific community.

NOAA spokesperson Ciaran Clayton sent Popular Science this statement:

“On December 15, NOAA delivered documents to the Committee responding to the request made in the Chairman’s latest letter, which NOAA received on December 1. We appreciate that the Chairman’s latest letter refocused the committee’s request away from NOAA scientists. “The documents NOAA delivered to the Committee contain emails among NOAA communications and front office staff discussing the routine mechanics of a communications plan for the paper. The documents include discussions that show NOAA front office staff was aware that the study was particularly noteworthy and would likely be the focus of scrutiny and debate. At the same time, there is nothing in these materials that would support the notion that substance or timing of the paper was politically motivated. “Over the past few months, we have provided the Committee with the data, information, methodologies, and underlying science -- all of which is publicly available -- behind the study. Science at NOAA is conducted independently and rigorously, and is protected by a robust scientific integrity policy.”