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Miscellaneous meanderings and philosophical ramblings. The title from a spiral notebook I used to jot down my thoughts on religion and other matters some years ago. I like to write, think and express my views on various issues. Robust discussion is welcome.

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Climate Research Unit – What the hack?!

It appears that a leading climate sciences research center had its servers hacked and numerous emails and files released to the internet. This could be very embarrassing for proponents of anthropogenic global warming (AGW).

A good summary here that also links to the various blogs that are discussing this in depth.

The University of East Anglia's Hadley Climatic Research Centre appears to have suffered a security breach earlier today, when an unknown hacker apparently downloaded 1079 e-mails and 72 documents of various types and published them to an anonymous FTP server. These files appear to contain highly sensitive information that, if genuine, could prove extremely embarrassing to the authors of the e-mails involved. Those authors include some of the most celebrated names among proponents of the theory of anthropogenic global warming (AGW).


Be sure to read it all and peruse the other blogs mentioned for even more as this story continues to unfold.

If these emails are true, we have a number of troubling issues thus far.

  • Collusion to change the peer review criteria to keep out an author and study that did not tow the line.
  • A request to delete emails. If this was in response to a FOIA request it most definitely runs afoul of the law. It may also be problematic due to the work and correspondence being supported by public funds.
  • The claim of independence and transparency is clearly a lie.
  • Philip Jones (Director of the CRU) stating that the death of an anthropogenic global warming skeptic was good news.

One of the emails that is getting a lot of attention, and has been verified as accurate by Philip Jones contains this statement by Jones:

I've just completed Mike's Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd from 1961 for Keith's to hide the decline.

Jones has responded to questions about this. The site puts the email into context and explains what this is really about.

When smoothing these time series, the Team had a problem: actual reconstructions "diverge" from the instrumental series in the last part of 20th century. For instance, in the original hockey stick (ending 1980) the last 30-40 years of data points slightly downwards. In order to smooth those time series one needs to "pad" the series beyond the end time, and no matter what method one uses, this leads to a smoothed graph pointing downwards in the end whereas the smoothed instrumental series is pointing upwards — a divergence. So Mann's solution was to use the instrumental record for padding, which changes the smoothed series to point upwards as clearly seen in UC's figure (violet original, green without "Mike's Nature trick"). (source, *Update* is overloaded, their post is mirrored here, if you are having trouble getting to the site)

This story is going to take time to unfold. Let’s keep in mind that while Jones has said that the data released appears to be genuine, and Steve McIntyre has verified that his email correspondence in the hacked data is accurate, and others have pointed that the data is much too large (62mb) and detailed to have been the result of a hoax, caution is still warranted.

It is possible that much is accurate but that some of the exchanges were spiked to increase the embarrassment of those targeted. We do know their system was hacked and that some of the emails are accurate but careful study and time is still needed to determine the accuracy of all questionable correspondence and data.

Considering the government expansion and control proposed by AGW proponents and that this is supported by our tax dollars, it is not too much to ask that this data be thoroughly studied to determine the truth of what has been released.

That is, if one is concerned with the truth here.


Of course has responded. The astute reader will notice the response does nothing to address the actual issues regarding adding in temperature data as covered at and already referenced in this post. Even worse is the obfuscation Gavin offers in his response to a reasonable question asked in the comments.

KTB says:

20 November 2009 at 12:57 PM

It would be nice to get comments from the authors for lines like this. This can of course be understood in many ways…
I hope that posting of this small snippet doesn’t violate copyright, and I left the name out:

“I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Xxx and I will keep
them out somehow – even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is”

[Response: Bad papers clutter up assessment reports and if they don't stand up as science, they shouldn't be included. No-one can 'redefine' what the peer-reviewed literature is. - gavin]

If it was really bad science then the current definition of peer-review literature would not have to be changed. The person who wrote that thought it was proper to go so far as to change the definition to keep the report/papers out, thought they and others had the ability to do so, and worst of all believed this was an appropriate thing to do.

With attempted defenses such as this, it is time to buy more popcorn and sit back and enjoy the show as much lulz is to be expected at the expense of the AGW faithful.

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