Archive for Sunday, December 13, 2009

Global warming e-mails show science not faked — or pretty

December 13, 2009


— E-mails stolen from climate scientists show they stonewalled skeptics and discussed hiding data — but the messages don’t support claims that the science of global warming was faked, according to an exhaustive review by The Associated Press.

The 1,073 e-mails examined by the AP show that scientists harbored private doubts, however slight and fleeting, even as they told the world they were certain about climate change. However, the exchanges don’t undercut the vast body of evidence showing the world is warming because of man-made greenhouse gas emissions.

The scientists were keenly aware of how their work would be viewed and used, and, just like politicians, went to great pains to shape their message. Sometimes, they sounded more like schoolyard taunts than scientific tenets.

The scientists were so convinced by their own science and so driven by a cause “that unless you’re with them, you’re against them,” said Mark Frankel, director of scientific freedom, responsibility and law at the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He also reviewed the communications.

Frankel saw “no evidence of falsification or fabrication of data, although concerns could be raised about some instances of very ‘generous interpretations.”’

Hiding research?

The e-mails were stolen from the computer network server of the climate research unit at the University of East Anglia in southeast England, an influential source of climate science, and were posted online last month. The university shut down the server and contacted the police.

The AP studied all the e-mails for context, with five reporters reading and rereading them — about 1 million words in total.

One of the most disturbing elements suggests an effort to avoid sharing scientific data with critics skeptical of global warming. It is not clear if any data was destroyed; two U.S. researchers denied it.

The e-mails show that several mainstream scientists repeatedly suggested keeping their research materials away from opponents who sought it under American and British public records law. It raises a science ethics question because free access to data is important so others can repeat experiments as part of the scientific method. The University of East Anglia is investigating the blocking of information requests.

“I believe none of us should submit to these ‘requests,”’ declared the university’s Keith Briffa. The center’s chief, Phil Jones, wrote: “Data is covered by all the agreements we sign with people, so I will be hiding behind them.”

When one skeptic kept filing FOI requests, Jones, who didn’t return AP requests for comment, told another scientist, Michael Mann: “You can delete this attachment if you want. Keep this quiet also, but this is the person who is putting FOI requests for all e-mails Keith (Briffa) and Tim (Osborn) have written.”

Mann, a researcher at Penn State University, told The Associated Press: “I didn’t delete any e-mails as Phil asked me to. I don’t believe anybody else did.”

‘Normal science politics’

The e-mails also show how professional attacks turned very personal. When former London financial trader Douglas J. Keenan combed through the data used in a 1990 research paper Jones had co-authored, Keenan claimed to have found evidence of fakery by Jones’ co-author. Keenan threatened to have the FBI arrest University at Albany scientist Wei-Chyung Wang for fraud. (A university investigation later cleared him of any wrongdoing.)

As part of the AP review, summaries of the e-mails that raised issues from the potential manipulation of data to intensely personal attacks were sent to seven experts in research ethics, climate science and science policy.

“This is normal science politics, but on the extreme end, though still within bounds,” said Dan Sarewitz, a science policy professor at Arizona State University. “We talk about science as this pure ideal and the scientific method as if it is something out of a cookbook, but research is a social and human activity full of all the failings of society and humans, and this reality gets totally magnified by the high political stakes here.”


jmadison 8 years, 4 months ago

I am reminded of an old axiom related to computer data input: Garbage in, Garbage out.

SettingTheRecordStraight 8 years, 4 months ago

If the state-run Associated Press says so, we should just believe it.


carlc999 8 years, 4 months ago

This article was written by a reporter that has a direct relationship with the climategate scientists and is actually part of some of the email converstaions!

Heres a summary that explain this in detail and includes his emails:

kenos 8 years, 4 months ago

You can expect a whitewash like this from the Associated Press. The owners of this supposedly nonpolitical organization have way too much riding on the theory of global warming. This story fails to mention the now infamous email from Phil Jones to "Many" on Nov. 16th, 1999 where he says: "I've just completed Mike's Nature [the science journal] trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (i.e., from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith's to hide the decline." Of course prof. Jones claims the meaning of "trick" has been misinterpreted; but a true interpretation of the data show that there has been a decline in global temperatures for the last nine years due mainly to the absence of sun spot activity. How can the central banks impose carbon taxes to fund a global government if they cannot prove there is global warming, and then falsely blame all the life on this planet for that warming so it can be taxed?

ivalueamerica 8 years, 4 months ago

A lot more people than the AP have researched these emails quiet a bit, even conservitive think-tanks and they all agree that there was no false or hidden data.

However, the truth clearly does not fit with many of your agendas, so continue to lie to make your point, but that only makes you liars.

jaywalker 8 years, 4 months ago

"Barry, is the rumor true that to be a Republican you must never think for yourself? That you must only repeat approved party line in any conversation?"

Beobachter, of all people, you should not be accusing anyone of not thinking for themselves. The next time you post an original opinion will be the first time.

Olympics 8 years, 4 months ago

People...whatever you NOT trust the people with the advanced degrees in the requisite fields. That would just be silly. And remember....

Reality has a well-known liberal bias.

leedavid 8 years, 4 months ago


“Our results suggest that enhanced snowmelt is likely to occur if recent positive summer SAM trends subside in conjunction with the projected recovery of stratospheric ozone levels, with subsequent impacts on ice sheet mass balance and sea level trends.”

But you and Al Gore said the snowmelt has already happened. This article says it hasn't happened and is only likely to occur. I knew you were mistaken because water levels are down, not up, rain levels are down, not up, hurricane levels are down and smaller, not up. You never could explain where the water from the icemelt went.

The article says there is a politics of science...what? Science is science and is supposed to be fact not political fact. Clearly temperature data was changed and original data replaced. That is fraud in every since of the word.

There will be a formal investigation, AP reporters don't convience me.

I loved Beobatchers joke about republicans. Here is another good one.

Q: Have you heard about McDonalds new Liberal Value Meal? A: Order anything you like and the guy behind you has to pay for it.

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