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The CRU hack

Filed under: — group @ 20 November 2009

As many of you will be aware, a large number of emails from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia webmail server were hacked recently (Despite some confusion generated by Anthony Watts, this has absolutely nothing to do with the Hadley Centre which is a completely separate institution). As people are also no doubt aware the breaking into of computers and releasing private information is illegal, and regardless of how they were obtained, posting private correspondence without permission is unethical. We therefore aren’t going to post any of the emails here. We were made aware of the existence of this archive last Tuesday morning when the hackers attempted to upload it to RealClimate, and we notified CRU of their possible security breach later that day.

Nonetheless, these emails (a presumably careful selection of (possibly edited?) correspondence dating back to 1996 and as recently as Nov 12) are being widely circulated, and therefore require some comment. Some of them involve people here (and the archive includes the first RealClimate email we ever sent out to colleagues) and include discussions we’ve had with the CRU folk on topics related to the surface temperature record and some paleo-related issues, mainly to ensure that posting were accurate.

Since emails are normally intended to be private, people writing them are, shall we say, somewhat freer in expressing themselves than they would in a public statement. For instance, we are sure it comes as no shock to know that many scientists do not hold Steve McIntyre in high regard. Nor that a large group of them thought that the Soon and Baliunas (2003), Douglass et al (2008) or McClean et al (2009) papers were not very good (to say the least) and should not have been published. These sentiments have been made abundantly clear in the literature (though possibly less bluntly).

More interesting is what is not contained in the emails. There is no evidence of any worldwide conspiracy, no mention of George Soros nefariously funding climate research, no grand plan to ‘get rid of the MWP’, no admission that global warming is a hoax, no evidence of the falsifying of data, and no ‘marching orders’ from our socialist/communist/vegetarian overlords. The truly paranoid will put this down to the hackers also being in on the plot though.

Instead, there is a peek into how scientists actually interact and the conflicts show that the community is a far cry from the monolith that is sometimes imagined. People working constructively to improve joint publications; scientists who are friendly and agree on many of the big picture issues, disagreeing at times about details and engaging in ‘robust’ discussions; Scientists expressing frustration at the misrepresentation of their work in politicized arenas and complaining when media reports get it wrong; Scientists resenting the time they have to take out of their research to deal with over-hyped nonsense. None of this should be shocking.

It’s obvious that the noise-generating components of the blogosphere will generate a lot of noise about this. but it’s important to remember that science doesn’t work because people are polite at all times. Gravity isn’t a useful theory because Newton was a nice person. QED isn’t powerful because Feynman was respectful of other people around him. Science works because different groups go about trying to find the best approximations of the truth, and are generally very competitive about that. That the same scientists can still all agree on the wording of an IPCC chapter for instance is thus even more remarkable.

No doubt, instances of cherry-picked and poorly-worded “gotcha” phrases will be pulled out of context. One example is worth mentioning quickly. Phil Jones in discussing the presentation of temperature reconstructions stated that “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) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.” The paper in question is the Mann, Bradley and Hughes (1998) Nature paper on the original multiproxy temperature reconstruction, and the ‘trick’ is just to plot the instrumental records along with reconstruction so that the context of the recent warming is clear. Scientists often use the term “trick” to refer to a “a good way to deal with a problem”, rather than something that is “secret”, and so there is nothing problematic in this at all. As for the ‘decline’, it is well known that Keith Briffa’s maximum latewood tree ring density proxy diverges from the temperature records after 1960 (this is more commonly known as the “divergence problem”–see e.g. the recent discussion in this paper) and has been discussed in the literature since Briffa et al in Nature in 1998 (Nature, 391, 678-682). Those authors have always recommend not using the post 1960 part of their reconstruction, and so while ‘hiding’ is probably a poor choice of words (since it is ‘hidden’ in plain sight), not using the data in the plot is completely appropriate, as is further research to understand why this happens.

The timing of this particular episode is probably not coincidental. But if cherry-picked out-of-context phrases from stolen personal emails is the only response to the weight of the scientific evidence for the human influence on climate change, then there probably isn’t much to it.

There are of course lessons to be learned. Clearly no-one would have gone to this trouble if the academic object of study was the mating habits of European butterflies. That community’s internal discussions are probably safe from the public eye. But it is important to remember that emails do seem to exist forever, and that there is always a chance that they will be inadvertently released. Most people do not act as if this is true, but they probably should.

It is tempting to point fingers and declare that people should not have been so open with their thoughts, but who amongst us would really be happy to have all of their email made public?

Let he who is without PIN cast the the first stone.

Update: The official UEA statement is as follows:

“We are aware that information from a server used for research information
in one area of the university has been made available on public websites,”
the spokesman stated.

“Because of the volume of this information we cannot currently confirm
that all of this material is genuine.”

“This information has been obtained and published without our permission
and we took immediate action to remove the server in question from
operation.”

“We are undertaking a thorough internal investigation and we have involved
the police in this enquiry.”

Update II: Please comment on the next thread.


1,092 Responses to “The CRU hack”

  1. 1001
    Grand Moff Texan says:

    Please explain, Charlie, when was it a “mistake” to provide a scientist with data?

    Please explain why Stephen McIntyre is a “scientist.”
    .

  2. 1002
    dhogaza says:

    As a skeptic, I’m bothered that skeptical scientists have a very difficult time getting grants to pursue their ideas

    What evidence do you have that the leading skeptical scientists have a very difficult time getting funding to pursue their ideas?

    Please post your evidence regarding funding difficulties experienced by:

    1. Lindzen

    2. Christy

    3. Spencer

    4. RP,Sr

    5. RP, Jr (OK, he’s not a climate scientist, but he sure pretends a lot)

  3. 1003
    dhogaza says:

    There seems to be some ridicule here of the hypothesis that it was someone with legitimate access to these files that released them. I haven’t seen any evidence either way

    CRU has said they’ve been hacked, and the BBC reported they’ve been to the police.

    That’s evidence.

  4. 1004

    I posted a long article on the UEA hackers on my blog http://www.climatedenial.org In it I argue that:

    The theft of 1,000 private e-mails from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia (UEA) shows that deniers have learned lessons from dirty politics and are running a new campaign to undermine public trust in climate scientists. The feeble response from the UEA and the climate science community shows that scientists are still totally underestimating the fragility of that trust and the crucial role it plays in building public belief.

  5. 1005

    another denier: what bothers many of us is clear, irrefutable evidence that CRU desires to hoard data.

    BPL: Gavin et al., this must be about the 25th post accusing climatologists of concealing data. None of the posters have listened to the responses; they just keep posting the same charges over and over again, under different names. I suspect some of these names will turn out to have the same IP addresses.

    I urge you to trash any such post on this thread from now on. This really looks to me like a campaign to use the “big lie” technique on readers of RC, to plant the meme “climatologists conceal data.” Let’s not give these SOBs RC as a platform. They can always spread that garbage on the denier blogs.

  6. 1006

    David Harper: there is talk over at Climate Audit that you are about to throw Jones et al “under the bus”.

    BPL: There’s all KINDS of delusional stuff at CA.

  7. 1007
    Bemused says:

    In response to #12:

    (who wrote: “But isn’t it also true that Newtons antipathy towards Hooke and his use of his position in control of the Royal Society, ensured that the concept of an achromatic lens for a telescope – which would have competed with his mirror solution – had to wait until after his death before someone was brave enough to think the “impossible”?”)

    Whilst personal rivalries sometimes interfere with the progress of science, these are almost always the case of a long-held dogma resisting a new concept. I cannot think of any example in the history of science in which a paradigm shift happened, was initially resisted, was eventually excepted by the majority of scientists *and only then* was reverted back to the previous position via the discovery of an international conspiracy. Scientists by-and-large are fairly conservative beings who resist change until proven otherwise; once most scientists in a field support a new concept, you can be pretty sure that it’s correct. This is something that keeps getting missed.

    (This is not to say that there isn’t an instance in the history of science in which the above scenario didn’t happen; only that if there is it’s not the norm. Using the argument of historical example, therefore, to support the “sceptic” position is misguided to say the least. No group of sceptics have ever demonstrated, for example, that the Earth is flat, or that it does not orbit the sun.)

  8. 1008
    Alasdair says:

    It seems to me, as an outside observer, that these e-mails are not about science. It is statistics; and this lot do not appear to be very good at that. They are looking at the trees and ignoring the canopy.
    I prefer basic principles and if there is to be any credibility in predictions of future global temperature then similar predictions should be made on matters of Albedo and emmissivity; for the three are intimately linked. [No back engineering please.] The IPCC is strangely shy about these prime elements in the global balance.

  9. 1009
    John Mashey says:

    My commiserations for all this, and this sets a new bar for patience in theface of idiocy.

    I am curious what sort of metrics RC’s web software has. For example, I’d love to know how many posters in this thread have never posted before here.

    Without counting, it sure looks like a new record for unfamiliar, usually unidentifiable posters, usually showing up to offer their strong, if anonymous opinions.

  10. 1010

    A suggestion for responding to the hysterically gleeful deniers:

    “This is not a smoking gun. It’s a slightly damp spitball straw.”

  11. 1011
    AJ says:

    “CRU has said they’ve been hacked, and the BBC reported they’ve been to the police.

    That’s evidence.”

    No, that is most certainly not evidence that this was the work of a complete outsider.

  12. 1012
    Eve says:

    The point Gavin and others is that the scenario’s were presented as reality. I don’t know if you still have your climate model still up Gavin, if you do, it is the same thing. According to the IPCC synthesis group, the scenario’s are not supposed to be realistic. I did not see any mention or small type (not realistic) under the models. I hope when the lawsuits are finished, if the IPCC still exists, they will be mandated to put a disclaimer on the summary, (does not adhere to reality).

    [Response: Don't be obtuse. No-one knows the 'reality' of what will happen in the future, that's why there is a spread of scenarios based on different assumptions. Hopefully reality will fall somewhere within that spread. - gavin]

  13. 1013
    AlC says:

    Gavin,

    Thanks for your tremendous effort here. Do you sleep? Can some of the other contributors help?

    BPL, thank you for the nice chronology of human understanding of global warming (#419) and references. Even after reading Spencer Weart’s book http://www.aip.org/history/climate/ I did not have such a good sense of it.

    Since so much of the blogosphere seems to be about the “hockey stick” I did a quick search in RealClimate and not surprisingly found several discussions on the topic, but the one I found most significant was
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/01/what-if-the-hockey-stick-were-wrong/

    Al

  14. 1014
    s. wing says:

    Gavin,

    Thanks for your response to my comment #952…

    [Response: How could I minimize a relevance that is already zero? There are no hard and fast rules for making figures, and so the issue is only to be clear what it is you have done. I agree that the caption on the WMO report was not clear enough to know exactly what had been done. Captions on similar graphs in the IPCC reports for instance are much better in that regard. - gavin]

    I strongly disagree though with your assertion that clarity of explanation is the only issue for figures. I disagree both in general and for this specific case of the front page of the WMO Statement on the Status of the Global Climate in 1999.

    The visual impression of that figure is profoundly misleading and deliberately so. It looks like – and is clearly intended to look like – 3 independent data sets producing 3 complete and independent ‘hockey sticks’. This impression is false and solely a manufactured artifact. It presumably took some effort to splice the met station data onto the ends of each of the 3 data curves – and all for no legitimate purpose – instead of simply including the met station data as a labelled fourth curve.

    A non-science analogy would be a newspaper front page with Barack Obama photoshopped into a compromising location, and a page 2 caption explaining it was only a photoshop and how the photoshop was done. Would you continue to trust that newspaper?

    Should we continue to trust the statements of the WMO?

    Thanks, s. wing

  15. 1015
    Steve says:

    THe UEA site say this:
    It is a matter of concern that data, including personal information about individuals, appears to have been illegally taken from the university and elements published selectively on a number of websites.

    The volume of material published and its piecemeal nature makes it impossible to confirm what proportion is genuine. We took immediate action to remove the server in question from operation and have involved the police in what we consider to be a criminal investigation.

    The material published relates to the work of our globally-respected Climatic Research Unit (CRU) and other scientists around the world. CRU’s published research is, and has always been, fully peer-reviewed by the relevant journals, and is one strand of research underpinning the strong consensus that human activity is affecting the world’s climate in ways that are potentially dangerous.

    CRU is one of a number of independent centres working in this important area and reaching similar conclusions. It will continue to engage fully in reasoned debate on its findings with individuals and groups that are willing to have their research and theories subjected to scrutiny by the international scientific community. The selective publication of some stolen emails and other papers taken out of context is mischievous and cannot be considered a genuine attempt to ngage with this issue in a responsible way.

    Direct from http://www.uea.ac.uk/mac/comm/media/press/2009/nov/homepagenews/CRU-update

  16. 1016
    Hank Roberts says:

    bz, if you read anything at all about this, you’ll realize that it did not happen in the USA. Many things are illegal in the USA that are legal outside.

    “… posting bail for people accused of crimes in exchange for a fee, is all but unknown in the rest of the world…. agreeing to pay a defendant’s bond in exchange for money is a crime akin to witness tampering or bribing a juror — a form of obstruction of justice.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/29/us/29bail.html

    § 2252C. Misleading words or digital images on the Internet
    (a) IN GENERAL.—Whoever knowingly embeds words or digital images into the source code of a website with the intent to deceive a person into viewing material constituting obscenity shall be fined under this title and imprisoned for not more than 10 years.
    http://shii.wordpress.com/2006/07/26/goatse-now-illegal-in-the-united-states/

  17. 1017
    kevin king says:

    please correct feynman’s surname…not that i expect this to be published

  18. 1018
    Dave Mc says:

    I am a Climate Change believer, I am an AGW sceptic. I’ve followed both sides of the story for many years, and I’m sick of hearing people who generally have questions and alternative theories about GW descibed as ‘deniers’. AGW is a theory, not a religion. Depending on who you read, the world is either warming, stay the same or cooling. One thing is clear, CO2 is increasing but nobody has yet categorically worked out what the consequences of this are, be they good or bad for us.

    The content of these emails is disturbing from the point of view that to the general public the perception is that they appear to cast doubt on the credibility of the scientific method being employed. Perception is everything! They are not the only ones. AGW may be a fact, but the tactics of many of the supporters of the AGW theory have resorted to just as many dirty tricks and slander as some of the sceptics themsleves, so supporters, please don’t try to play the ‘holier than thou’.

    Experts from across the the world in Climate should be invited to take part in peer review, irrespective of their standpoint. The opinion of an AGW ‘sceptic’ is as valuable as that of a AGW ‘believer’. To say otherwise is not only stupid but dangerous, as last time I checked nobody on this planet has the monopoly on the actaul truth.

    There are two side to every story. Most sceptics don’t deny the CO2 rise or climate change, they just don’t blindly assume that temperatures will going on rising as a result. The earth is far more complex and wonderful than that! Science needs to consider ALL possible outcomes not try to bolster one particular theory at all costs. Let the facts speak for themselves.

    I for one am very glad these emails came out. About time we had openess about the whole GW affair.

  19. 1019
    Andrew says:

    “Science works because different groups go about trying to find the best approximations of the truth, and are generally very competitive about that.”

    - But, it is also important that the science speaks for itself. As a post-doc I am not always impressed with the politics I see going on underneath the surface in the science community. Hacking is inexcusable, but openness is also important, and this episode may encourage greater professionalism in our ‘private’ emails to colleagues.

  20. 1020
    Steve Fish says:

    Dan Hughes — 22 November 2009 @ 12:09 PM

    You state that e-mail correspondence at a public institution is owned by that institution, and thereby by the public (of the UK, not Russia). However, it is not common practice, nor would it be in the public interest to hand this information out indiscriminately. So, the hack was a theft of public information, which you seem to approve of somehow. To claim that “science attempts to invoke yet another exemption…,” you also have to show that there was a legitimate request for the e-mails that was illegally turned down.

    Steve

  21. 1021
    Reader says:

    Is there anyone else like me who’s sickened by two camps defending themselves, calling one side alarmist, conspirator and the other denier? There are political and stupid languages (sorry, just my opinion). People don’t become a denier just because he is against something that is not certain. People don’t become an alarmist just because they worry about something. Go for the discussion in the subject please. Any neutral observers can easily read from these emails that something is not right. However, that has little to to anything with the general climate science itself, which is left for much further studies. There is also one very important point, by the way, as pointed out by someone here: GISS is a very small part of NASA climate related research. CRU is very small part of English climate research enterprise. The problem seems exactly that a few people just like to grab attention and make loud noise, which created the illusion that some of these people are all we have to offer in terms of climate research.

  22. 1022

    Selective leaks from stolen emails are now an accepted tactic? If seeing everyone’s private correspondence is now fair game, maybe I should post an email that was sent to me probably in error by the editor of Energy & Environment when I was corresponding with her on a critique of something they published. Some interesting dirt there on who is talking to whom about coordinated responses to research …

  23. 1023

    Gavin, Mike, Ray et al., please note the following post content:

    —–
    764 It amazes me is the how hard the CRU worked to hide their underlying data.

    772 Gavin, understand about organizations protecting a revenue stream. quick question, were the bought data set id’s released to inquirers so they too could purchase them?

    777 Significant papers and supporting data should always be in the public domain

    823 what came as a surprise to me – as an outsider – is the fact that the raw data and the relevant computer models were not public-domain

    824 Gavin in your response to 187 you say that CRU has not lost or destroyed any data….

    825 each and every dataset which serves as the basis for committing billions of dollars of taxpayers money after Copenhagen, need to be made available for independent scrutiny

    853 the scientists involved do have questions to answer regarding evasion of FOI requests

    855 Whatever validated & audited datasets exist in support of upcoming global decisions,they need to be secured in one place outside of CRU,GISS or wherever they currently exist and subjected to full INDEPENDENT review outside of the current clique.

    856 you are, in effect, asking the world to divert trillions of pounds to a project whose justification is being kept secret!

    862 If the CRU data had been made publicly available for scrutiny at an earlier time…
    —–
    Shorter version:

    “Climatologists are concealing data.”
    “Climatologists are concealing data.”
    “Climatologists are concealing data.”
    etc., etc., etc.

    Stop giving these liars a platform! They are trying to repeat the charge over and over again in different ways to get people to think there’s something to it. Again, I urge deleting any such email in the future.

  24. 1024
    JBowers says:

    I read the site a lot, but never posted a comment.

    As a layman I have to say that nothing I saw in the emails was either shocking, to be unexpected, or any indication of fraud. Anyone who emails at work (that is, the type of work that happens in the real world where real people reside, not some skeptics idealistic wet dream) will probably think to themselves, “Hmm, I once wrote something like that.” The sense I am left with is that *if* the science is politicised it was not initiated by people at CRU or their colleagues. I am also left with the clear impression that the emailers are genuinely convinced that AGW is real, contrary to what many a denihilist hack or headcase might believe in their cherry picked universe.

    In reality, I do not believe whatsoever that there is any substance to the denihilist shouts of “WMD!”. They never seem to learn. No doubt, once the dust has settled, the emails will still be around and viewed in a less selective and broader manner within the context of reality.

    The denihilists clearly don’t understand that this is an own goal in the long term. If anything, the archive gives clues to those without access to subscription journals on where to look for rebuttals against their rhetoric and nonsense, from some of the brightest minds in the field. It would have been better not to have happened (just like AGW), but it has, and I personally look forward to using their own weapons against them.

    Much kudos and many thanks to Gavin and those others involved for this little oasis of rational sense, and fielding the questions here. Always informative, to the point, and practical. Many thanks and keep up the sterling work.

  25. 1025
    Declan O'dea says:

    Re: #1023 (Barton Paul Levenson)
    Is he serious? Surely he’s joking! I’ve heard of head in the sand, but to hold to this position in the face of the now public evidence is pretty extraordinary.

  26. 1026
    TCO says:

    Gavin:

    In one of the emails, Mike Mann suggests not submiting to and not CITING Climate Research. While the suggested organization of a retaliatory submission boycot seems tribal and ominous (that Mike would consider this, spend time on it, think he could get more than himself but a whole group to do this), the real kicker is consideration of NOT CITING papers. One should neither cite things not deserving a cite (including self-cites, or allies), nor should one withhold cites from papers that deserve them. And yes, I realize that academic infighting goes on and some people game the cites a bit. But it’s wrong. And Mike is wrong to suggest doing it. It’s a minor point, but do you agree?

    [Response: Whether papers are worth citing sometimes depends on the venue in which they are published. Relying, for instance, on a paper in E&E to be valid and citing it as a reliable source would IMO be foolish. Thus you are going to find very few citations to that journal in more mainstream arenas. Journal reputation is hard won, and probably more easily squandered. I wouldn't sign on to any organised boycott of a journal, but for instance, I don't read, nor do I cite, papers from E&E. Checking my bib files I find no papers from Climate Research listed, and that fact is more relevant to the journal's usefulness to the community than justified frustration at the bad papers (including Soon and Baliunas, 2003) they published. - gavin]

  27. 1027
    ccpo says:

    Ron Comment by Ron — 20 November 2009 @ 6:11 PM

    And more from Ron:

    Comment by Ron — 21 November 2009 @ 3:22 PM

    1988!!

    Yeah, I’m “hearing” libel every flippin day. Got any other inconsequential BS to spew, or are you so utterly comfortable with acting as if you don’t understand what is posted? Yeah, I know the definitions. Do you know how to apply context? Slander, libel, defamation, but, really, need I take the time to cut and paste the definitions, or write much longer sentences to make sure you have nothing to nit-pick, on the low chance you are so unethical as to come and… nitpick?

    I realize it is part and parcel of denialist drivel to focus on the absurdly inconsequential, but this really is ridiculous.

  28. 1028
    Leonard Herchen says:

    Sir:
    There are a lot of charges and countercharges floating around. Some of the charges, are serious, just because something serious is aledged doesn’t mean it happened. I’m struggling to determine who to believe, so I thought I would just ask the question openly.

    I’ve been reading the threads hear and at CA. As far as I can tell, once you get through the threads, one major issue is that the CA website says that a temperature record was spliced onto a proxy record, while key people at this site went on record saying that that was bad science.

    Did that occur? SPecifically, was a temperature record spliced onto a proxy record by authors who contribute to this website and did the persons who did that later state publicly on this website that that was bad science before it emerged that they had done it.

    Personally, i find that hard to believe but I need to ask.

    Thanks,
    Leonard Herchen
    PS, there seems as well to be a lot of accusations that this thread is strictly sensored at CA. I’m curious if this question makes it through.

  29. 1029
    David Horton says:

    An excellent and clear discussion here http://www.skepticalscience.com/What-do-the-hacked-CRU-emails-tell-us.html of the storm in a tea cup nonsense about the “trick”.

  30. 1030

    You’re welcome, AI. I’m always glad when someone actually reads one of my posts!

    I’m putting together a climatology timeline, and will probably add it to my web site in a few days or weeks.

  31. 1031
    ccpo says:

    I’m surprised at all commentators wishing for WUWT and CA’s servers/inbox to be hacked/open to scrutiny and drawing a moral equivalence between that and what has happened to CRUT. Those websites are not publicly funded so why should the public see their inner workings?

    regards

    Michael

    Comment by Michael — 21 November 2009 @ 5:15 AM

    Funny you should mention ethics.

    The American Denial of Global Warming
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2T4UF_Rmlio

    ExxonMobil’s Tobacco-like Disinformation Campaign on Global Warming Science
    http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/science_and_impacts/global_warming_contrarians/exxonmobil-report-smoke.html

    Industry Ignored Its Scientists on Climate
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/24/science/earth/24deny.html?_r=2

    The Denial Machine
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=522784499045867811&q=denial+machine#

    I’ll repeat the challenge: If you have ANY scientific paper, or set of scientific papers, that disprove, to any degree at all, the anthropogenic influence on climate, with particular regard to warming since 1850, please post them.

    Full disclosure: despite posting this question dozens of times in response to denialists’ unethical, often immoral and sometimes illegal behavior, I have yet to receive ONE worthy response.

    I won’t hold my breath this time.

  32. 1032

    Dave Mc: The opinion of an AGW ’sceptic’ is as valuable as that of a AGW ‘believer’.

    BPL: Similarly, the opinion of Immanuel Velikovsky is as valuable as that of Nikolaus Kopernik; the opinion of Henry Morris is as valuable as that of Stephen Jay Gould, and the opinion of Erich von Daniken is as valuable as that of Howard Carter.

  33. 1033
    dianbl says:

    Gavin

    I usually can’t get published at RC but perhaps this time I might. I don’t agree with your censorship stance but on this occasion it would be hard to fault your approach. There are however those responding to you suggesting (no exhorting) you to not publish emails that suggest all may not be entirely well in climate science. I do hope you can resist these calls as to accede to them will reinforce the suspicion that AGW proponents resort to unconventional approaches to ensure opposition to their stance is not published

  34. 1034
    petek says:

    http://coast.gkss.de/staff/storch/storch.htm#News

    21. November 2009 – A hacker has stolen many e-mails (and other files) from the server at the Climate Research Unit (CRU) in the United Kingdom. For an account refer to New York Times or to Roger Pielke jr.’s weblog. The hacked mails have been published at several sites, and I got through a journalist a full copy. As far as I myself can judge, and according to responses by others, the files are authentic, but not complete.
    Going through the files, which due to the sheer size I can do only in a sampling mode, the mails begin in the late 1990s and extend to about today. They are all mails to/from Phil Jones. There are a number of problematic statements, which will be discussed in the media and the blogosphere. The style of communication, speaking about other people and their ideas, exchanges about to improve representations, I found revealing.
    Also mails from/to Eduardo Zorita and myself are included; also we have been subject of frequent mentioning, usually not in a flattering manner. Interesting exchanges, and evidences, are contained about efforts to destroy “Climate Research”; that we in the heydays of the hockeystick debate shared our ECHO-G data with our adversaries; and that Mike Mann was successful to exclude me from a review-type meeting on historical reconstructions in Wengen (demonstrating again his problematic but powerful role of acting as a gatekeeper.)
    I would assume that more interesting issues will be found in the files, and that a useful debate about the degree of politicization of climate science will emerge. A conclusion could be that the principle, according to which data must be made public, so that also adversaries may check the analysis, must be really enforced. Another conclusion could be that scientists like Mike Mann, Phil Jones and others should no longer participate in the peer-review process or assessment activities like IPCC.
    For an account of our role in the hockey-stick deconstruction, refer to our 2007-article on the nature blog. An account on the problem around “Climate Research” is provided on this web-page of mine from 2003.

    It seems that a link went missing, but it really needs a response.

  35. 1035
    ubrew12 says:

    Is there any chance we can start torturing climate scientists soon? Along with reading their private emails, this could be a useful way of extracting the necessary information to prove their role in the Gore communist-nazi one-world-government conspiracy. I’m a little amazed at the number of supposedly neutral observers, on this and other sites, who will tell everyone with a straight face what they ‘gleaned’ from reading someone else’s private emails. It’s as though you proved someone doesn’t eat their vegetables by swimming in their septic tank. Yeah… thats not ALL you proved…

  36. 1036
    J says:

    >>”If you have ANY scientific paper, or set of scientific papers, that disprove, to any degree at all, the anthropogenic influence on climate, with particular regard to warming since 1850, please post them.–ccpo

    Journal of Geophysical Research: http://www.fel.duke.edu/~scafetta/pdf/2007JD008437.pdf

    There are more of course, but I’ll wait for you to deem this “unworthy.”

    [Response: You aren't even trying. This is indeed unworthy - see Benetsad and Schmidt (2009) for starters. - gavin]

  37. 1037
    TCO says:

    Gavin: We are not so far apart although you wriggle a little in my hand. I guess if it’s a crap journal than it will have a (natural) low citation rate. But then no need to explicitly make a point of “not citing it”! ;)

    And of course if there is a relavant point that one is aware of (for instance a methodology detail that deserves cite or a significant argument) one should cite the source regardless of the crapness of the journal (or even if it is non-archived literature). Note this does not excuse those who should be going to proper journals. Nor does it mean that good researchers must read crap journals or websites, just if they KNOW something came from somewhere else, they must acknowledge…even if it gives a crap journal a little cite “juice!)

  38. 1038
    Ron Taylor says:

    Declan O’dea – 1025. No, he is not joking at all. The nonsense that some have tried to make of these emails is just that – nonsense. Gavin has been incredibly patient and tolerant in allowing irrational ventilation by people who are more interested in personality attacks than in the evidence of climate science, but at some point it has to stop. If you knew BPL you would understand how very serious he is.

  39. 1039
    Bobby says:

    #657
    [Response: I have no idea what that is referring to. But I'm pretty sure that 'fun' is meant sarcastically (remember he's British). - gavin]

    I am sure you are right about “fun” being sarcastic. I am more interested in what he meant by “inventing” December temperatures.

  40. 1040
    Dariel says:

    I would like to thank the dedicated scientists at Real Climate for their devotion to humanity. I can feel your hurt and can only pray that you can keep your strength to stand for truth and against the powers that would otherwise destroy us. They will pass. Ours is a moral universe and truth spoken from the heart shall always prevail. Namaste.

  41. 1041
    Rod says:

    @dianbl: excellent use of the “when did you stop beating your wife” rhetorical device.

  42. 1042
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Rod B. says, “Ray (734), evidence, even strong evidence, that indicates AGW does not make the theory incontrovertible”

    Actually, it does. You have instrument, satellite and phenological records showing significant warming. You have more than 2 dozen independent paleoclimate reconstructions all showing warming is anomalous. You have about 10 separate lines of evidence all favoring a CO2 sensitivity of about 3 degrees per doubling and precluding a sensitivity below 2. You have more than 23 independent climate models, none of which work with a sensitivity below 2. You have simultaneous tropospheric warming and stratospheric cooling. And on and on and on.

    And on the other side… bupkis. Not even a glimmer of an idea for a theory. Only tin-foil-hat conspiracy theorists so desperate that they will hack into a server to steal private email that they can distort to give a semblance of support to their delusions.

    To reject anthropogenic causation, you must turn your back on all those mountains of evidence. What better example of denial is there?

  43. 1043
    Rafael Gomez-Sjoberg says:

    I find it very telling that most of the people posting stupid accusations and repeating falsehoods ad-nauseam don’t have the courage to use their full names.

    I’m sure many of these individuals are posting multiple times under different pseudonyms.

    Cowards, all of them!

  44. 1044
    Deech56 says:

    RE: Dave Mc

    Perception is everything!

    No, reality is everything. CO2 will act as a greenhouse gas whether the scientists who study climate are perceived as saints or as conspirators. I will say that the the perception of their character depends a great deal on the viewpoint of the observer, but Mother Nature couldn’t give a fig.

  45. 1045
    J says:

    [Response: you aren't even trying. This is indeed unworthy - see benetsad and schmidt (2009) for starters. - gavin]

    I fulfilled the request for: “ANY scientific paper, or set of scientific papers, that disprove, to any degree at all, the anthropogenic influence on climate, with particular regard to warming since 1850.” You deem it unworthy.

    Thanks for proving the point.

    [Response: You're welcome. Scaffetta doesn't disprove AGW to any degree. Hint: if you assume that only one factor matters, then it is rather predictable that this is what you think is important. Wait 1, 2, 3, .... for someone to take that out of context. -gavin]

  46. 1046
    Dan Hughes says:

    Yet Another Naked Strawman (YANS), Steve. I said nothing about the manner in which these emails were made public. I said nothing about how any public organization should handle its emails. And I never mentioned the word ‘hack’.

    All I discussed was ownership of emails. Apparently with which you agree.

  47. 1047
    Seth Pinto says:

    http://www.ipcc.ch/graphics/syr/fig2-5.jpg

    Is this the Figure in which Dr. Wigley says is a fluke? To say observations are well within the models limits is an understatement.

  48. 1048
    Hank Roberts says:

    “December temperatures”

    You can figure this out from the context. Did you even read it?

    There’s a December “silly season” in the news cycle — people want to how the year ranks compared to other years, and they want to know before the numbers are available. For a while people tried estimating what December would do to be able to answer those questions provisionally.

    (There are apparently still people who imagine someone has stuck a single big thermometer in the globe’s mouth and read the number at the top of the red line, like the cartoons show it being done.)

    There was such impatience late in 1996 — because the previous year, 1995, had set a record. That’s what the email is discussing. Good grief.

    The email suggested that in December of 1996, they try for a clearer answer:

    “8. FROM NOW ON WE ANSWER NO MORE ENQUIRIES ABOUT 1996 GLOBAL TEMPS BUT EXPLAIN THAT IT WILL BE RELEASED IN JANUARY.”

    Bobby, please make the effort to read in context and think about this stuff, don’t just copypaste claims. You can learn a good bit if you read and look stuff up — this material is the kind of thing historians love to have.

  49. 1049
    Timothy Chase says:

    ccpo wrote in 1031:

    I’ll repeat the challenge: If you have ANY scientific paper, or set of scientific papers, that disprove, to any degree at all, the anthropogenic influence on climate, with particular regard to warming since 1850, please post them.

    Full disclosure: despite posting this question dozens of times in response to denialists’ unethical, often immoral and sometimes illegal behavior, I have yet to receive ONE worthy response.

    I won’t hold my breath this time.

    J responded in 1035:

    Journal of Geophysical Research: http://www.fel .duke.edu/~scafetta/pdf/2007JD008437.pdf

    There are more of course, but I’ll wait for you to deem this “unworthy.”

    Inline Gavin responded:

    you aren’t even trying. This is indeed unworthy – see benetsad and schmidt (2009) for starters.

    Open Access:

    Benestad, R.E., and G.A. Schmidt, 2009: Solar trends and global warming. J. Geophys. Res., doi:10.1029/2008JD011639
    http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/abstract.cgi?id=be02100q
    http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2009/2009_Benestad_Schmidt.pdf

  50. 1050
    ccpo says:

    #634
    On item I found particularly interesting was the spreadsheet with funding. In the interest of full disclosure it might be interesting to note the funding for other AGW proponents from the NSF (only one source):
    Gavin Schmidt $820,000…
    Comment by gt4 — 21 November 2009 @ 4:39 PM

    gt4,

    Thank you so much for pointing out that scientists get their funding from – gasp! – legitimate scientific funding sources, as opposed to climate denial being funded by conservative think tanks backed by corporate interests, with particular emphasis on fossil fuel corps.

    Cheers


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