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U.S. Lawmakers Expand Probe Of Hiatus-Denying NOAA Study

Jeff Tollefson, Nature

House of Representatives committee expands investigation of a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration analysis that refuted global warming ‘hiatus’.

Republicans in the US House of Representatives are expanding their request for documents related to a major climate study by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Agency researchers — led by Thomas Karl, director of the National Centers for Environmental Information in Asheville, North Carolina — published the analysis last June in Science 1. After updating and correcting problems with the temperature record, the team found no sign of an apparent pause in global warming described in previous studies.

In October, Congressman Lamar Smith, the Texas Republican who leads the House science committee, issued a subpoena for documents related to the NOAA research. The agency has since provided more than 300 pages of e-mails and other documents produced by political appointees and NOAA’s director of communications, Ciaran Clayton. But NOAA has refused to hand over records of its internal scientific deliberations.

Now Smith is casting a wider net. In a 22 February letter to NOAA, he expressed disappoint with the “slow pace and limited scope” of NOAA’s response to his initial request. “The speed with which NOAA has conducted these searches and produced documents creates the perception that the Agency is deliberately attempting to impede and hinder the Committee’s oversight,” he wrote.

Smith is now asking that NOAA provide his committee documents from other agency officials and offices, including chief scientist Richard Spinrad. In his letter, Smith also demands that the search terms be expanded to include a host of new words, including “temperature,” “climate”, “change,” “Obama” and “Paris”. Smith has asked the agency to diver all documents by 29 February.

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