More Insight on Those Leaked Climate Change Emails

 2009 11 25 Climategg
[Image: "Earth Egg," from the CC-licensed Flickr stream of azrainman]

Cory told you earlier this week about the recent hacking at the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit, and the subsequent distribution of emails that some people say prove a global conspiracy to promote anthropogenic climate change contrary to evidence.

I wanted to get a handle on this before I posted, so I've been reading coverage and analysis for the last few days. Here's a few key points I'm picking up...

1) Evidence of vast conspiracy is sorely lacking. Ditto evidence disproving the scientific consensus on climate change. This isn't the "nail in the coffin" of anything. However, the emails do prompt some legit questions about transparency and how professional researchers respond to criticism in the age of the armchair scientist.

In fact, the whole reason the CRU seems to have been hacked is that the Unit was fighting off requests for access to the data sets it used to put together its climate models. This is one of the issues that gets discussed in the e-mails. Basically, some of the CRU researchers didn't want to release the data to people who weren't trained scientists because they were tired of spending their time fighting with bloggers and wanted to focus on research. Which is great, except for two things: First, from what I'm reading it looks like there might have been some ethical lapses in how the researchers went about blocking the release of data; Second, when you block the release of data, no matter what your real reason is, people will assume it's because you're hiding something nefarious. One of the positive outcomes of this whole hacking debacle is that it's forcing some discussion about when circling the wagons becomes protectionism, and might lead to the climate change data sets becoming more open source. Frankly, I think that's a good thing.

2) Theft is bad. But if you're a researcher who can explain context to the general public, decrying theft shouldn't be your primary objective right now.

This goes back to the whole transparency issue. This would-be scandal ought to be a learning opportunity--a chance for scientists to educate the public on the evidence for climate change. And while there is plenty of that going on, there's also a lot of people making arguments like, "we shouldn't even be talking about the content of the emails because they are stolen property." Well, you're right, they are stolen property and, technically, should be left private. But you know what? Skeptics of climate change are using these emails, no matter what you think. If experts and researchers refuse to address them, it's just going to mean that the only narrative the public hears is the one that thinks the emails are proof of conspiracy. Not helpful.

3) The Mainstream Media is covering this. They just might not be covering it the way you want, and that's probably a good thing.

I've heard from several people who have asked me why MM isn't on top of this story, and read several complaints to that effect on blogs. It comes both from people who think the emails are proof of conspiracy, and those who think there's absolutely nothing wrong in the emails at all. But I've been reading great coverage in the New York Times and Washington Post (both the official publications and attached blogs), and elsewhere. In that light, I kind of interpret the complaints as, "The MM isn't saying what I want them to say." OK. That's good. Because the story is a bit more nuanced than either opposing position would have you believe and MM coverage is reflecting that.

And now, I bring you a whole crap-ton of links.

Basically, everything I say above is a synthesis of what I've read here. I'm including all of these so you know I'm not just pulling this out of my tookus, so you can delve more deeply into this stuff if you want and because it's all pretty interesting if you're wonky like that. And I bet you are.

• FiveThirtyEight: I Read Through 160,000,000 Bytes of Hacked Files And All I Got Was This Lousy E-Mail

• openDemocracy: The Real Scandal in the Hacked Climate Change Emails Controversy

• Ed Darrell Purloined: CRU e-mails on climate science: One scientist pleads for accuracy and Smoking guns in the CRU stolen e-mails: A real tale of real ethics in science

• The Guardian: Global warming rigged? Here's the email I'd need to see

• Wired: Hacked E-Mails Fuel Global Warming Debate

• Reuters: ANALYSIS-Hacked climate e-mails awkward, not game changer

• Energy Collective: Do Leaked Emails Undermine the Scientific Consensus?

• Energy Collective: An Interesting Gripe

• Climate Progress: Here's What We Know So Far

• Climate Progress: Let's Look At the Illegally Hacked Emails In More Detail

• Washington Post Capital Weather Gang Blog: Two Parts in a Three-Part Series on Expert Opinions on Climate Change Emails (third part not yet published)

• Climate Audit: Curry on the Credibility of Climate Research

• Washington Post proper: Two Articles on the Hacking of the Files and Its Aftermath

• Science magazine Science Insider blog: In Climate Hack Story, Could Talk of Cover-Up Be as Serious as Crime?

• Yale Climate Media Forum: Climate Scientists' E-mails Hacked, Posted; So What Does it All Mean for the Climate?

• New York Times: Hacked E-Mail Is New Fodder for Climate Dispute

• NYT Dot Earth blog: Two Posts Plus Expert Commentary

• National Review Online: Climate Change Scandal

• Real Climate: Two Posts + Tons More In Comments, Responses from Scientists Whose Emails Got Hacked


  1. “Evidence of vast conspiracy is sorely lacking.” But evidence of a small conspiracy is quite evident – conspiracy to subvert the FOIA, for example. A few bad apples don’t spoil the whole bunch. So there is still a vast consensus in the community of published climate scientists that AGW exists, is a problem, and needs radical (and expensive) change in the way our society uses energy.
    And the issue appears to be not that the FOIA requests came from non-scientists, more that they were specialists in fields other than dendrochronology, climate, etc., and not affiliated with research institutions. Although now that people are digging into the code that was released, it kind of looks like they may have been trying to hide their embarrassing skills at FORTRAN more than anything else.
    I suspect that it wasn’t so much a hack but an accidental leak, a-la the Twitter cloud-computing leak controversy but stumbled upon by accident.
    The most ironic part is that their antagonist McIntyre isn’t even an AGW skeptic, it’s just that the more they stonewalled him the more he wanted to get to the bottom of the issue.

  2. I think there’s a real chance here for striking a bit of a blow to the Climate Change naysayers actually. Remember back during the 2008 American Presidential election when Barack Obama, tired of the right-wing radio grumbling and mumbling about Rev. Wright and Bill Ayers and other nonsense launched a site called “Fight the Smears”. It was actually pretty ground-breaking, as it was a mainstream politician actually trading blows as opposed to trying (and failing) to appear at arm’s length. Same approach to dealing with Fox News, don’t let the nonsense peddlers set the tone or run the news cycle. Dithering about how you got robbed and your secrets are secrets and how bad that is is behind the story, not in front of it.

    Direct response, point by point, in clear and unambiguous language, even if that language admits some faults and lapses, a sort of radical honesty, would do wonders here.

    There are always going to be deniers of course, it’s a lucrative business selling people the concept that all this “science” is just flat-out wrong and you’re gonna be fine when the waters rise.

  3. Thanks for this post, Maggie, I haven’t had time to dig into this properly but I’m glad someone out with sense has. Bookmarking for later…

  4. From what I’ve seen so far, the emails make three main points.

    1) Scientists are people too. They get annoyed at folks who call them stupid, or wrong, or doubt the work they spend ages putting together. Sure they call nay-sayers ‘twats’ and the like in emails, but do they in public? Not so much, they’re much more professional there.

    2) Conclusions aren’t always easy to draw. We should be relieved, not concerned, that the scientists wrote each other emails wondering if certain data really supported certain conclusions. That’s problem solving, and collaboration.

    3) Yes, there may have been some ethical concerns about releasing the data. But that doesn’t change what the data says.

    But that’s just my opinion.

  5. A few weeks back, solar astronomers released their findings with how the sunspot cycle and global climate change are probably connected. The GCC skeptics were jumping out of their seats with excitement; at last, proof that if GCC was real, it wasn’t anthropogenic. In many of the amateur astronomy blogs I read, commenters were just giddy.
    Of course, you could have heard a pin drop when it turned out not to be the silver bullet they wanted (and I suspect that the vast majority of them had no idea what any of the data meant anyway). That’s what’s going to happen here. They are going to dig, sift and parse, and in the end, it will not be “Climategate” the way they want it to be.
    The timing is suspect, and part of me wants to believe that this has less to do with looking for hard data then just creating a subterfuge.

  6. true, it won’t be the silver bullet the anti-GW forces are looking for, but does that matter? Even if every single “problem” they can find in the emails is disproven, they will still be a rallying cry “remember those emails where global warming scientists said global warming was a myth and admitted to faking data?” We will be hearing that for decades. Just like the Dan Rather incident is all most people recall about George W.’s questionable service record.

    Any new science on global warming will be called a lie by the industry-led grass roots groups. Unless it supports their side–that science is for some reason beyond reproach.

  7. All the comments I have read miss the most damaging part.

    The assessments of the programmer “Harry” about the viability of the whole project. The quality of the data, and the integrity of the code.

    As I understand it, the “hockey stick graph” and some of the key evidence that the IPCC has used is based on a “black box” computer program, with both the program and the whole data set never released for public examination.

    For instance:

    “I am very sorry to report that the rest of the databases seem to be in nearly as poor a state as Australia was. There are hundreds if not thousands of pairs of dummy stations, one with no WMO and one with, usually overlapping and with the same station name and very similar coordinates. I know it could be old and new stations, but why such large overlaps if that’s the case? Aarrggghhh! There truly is no end in sight… So, we can have a proper result, but only by including a load of garbage!”

    … I could be throwing away all kinds of corrections – to lat/lons, to WMOs (yes!), and more. So what the hell can I do about all these duplicate stations?…”

    It doesn’t require a vast conspiracy to think that when people have made a mistake in their professional lives, they will cover their butt if they don’t think anyone will find out.

  8. I think the really scary thing is how easily academia can be influenced– where is the integrity?

  9. I too would like to congratulate Maggie on the post.

    And I might add, it would *really* make my day if its thread didn’t degenerate into the regurgitation of hackneyed talking points that have nothing to do with the emails.

  10. not that this is in any way relevant to the main point of discussion but…

    I believe the thing that you are not pulling all of this out of, Maggie, is a more conventionally spelled ‘tuchis’.

    Of course, it’s a transliteration, so there are many acceptable variants.

  11. Moderator Note:

    Here’s the Moderation Policy page. New commenters might like to peruse it before commenting. Insulting the post author, regurgitating talking points or linking to talking points websites or sites with offensive material will send your comment straight to the wood chipper. Feel free to link to news organizations, government statistics pages, institutions of higher learning, etc.

  12. @zyodei
    The “black box” computer program you refer to, as I understand it, is the IDL programming language which is one of the most popular and widespread data modelling languages used in many scientific fields since the 70s. Yes, it is a closed-source proprietary language, just like millions of other professional computer packages. I hardly see how their choice to use this language is news.

    Ironically in the article you link to, Harry bemoans the fact that the program hasnt been written in Fortran.

  13. Is it really subverting the FOIA when one person is sending over 50 requests in 5 days? Many for information that’s either publically available or nothing to do with the group to which the request was sent?

    That is nothing more than an attempt to shut down their research by spamming them with 20+ hours of extra work, and it’s no surprise that they’d be trying to get that idiot shut down.

  14. Haven’t read the emails yet, but I do know that weather station data is obnoxious to work with, because the are gaps throughout the data (when an instrument was broken vs.when it was fixed, holidays, budget cutbacks, etc.), location (they tend to be where people need them for tasks other than global warming monitoring) and because stations have different standards–as in, some are set to standards, some aren’t…

    And then you have to do the work on a shoestring budget, which means that documentation is not going to be high on the priority list, and I’m not surprised at what they found.

    The cure for this is open code, of course. The problem is that a scientist’s livelihood depends on getting grants, and it’s better to have a horribly complex model that only your group understands that produces reasonable results. The alternative is to do a huge amount of work, release your model code and data, and then have some programmers come along, fix up your code, and compete with you for research bucks. Your competitors don’t even have to be climate scientists. I can sympathize with these guys.

  15. As a sociologist, I can’t imagine what’s so unusual about these emails. Science is messy. The brilliance of science as a system isn’t its individual findings, but rather how their iterations function as a whole to produce general truths. This is because SCIENCE IS MESSY.

    Before deciding to hop on the academic track, I used to be a carpenter. Guess what? Carpentry is messy too. Life is messy. At the end of the day, despite countless dismays, and conversations about how this house will never stand, none of the houses I ever built came crashing down. Why? Because there are a lot of nails and joints in there, and one piece cut too big or too small doesn’t make a whole heck of a lot of difference in the end.

  16. “This isn’t just a smoking gun, it’s a siege cannon with the barrel still hot.”

    That’s some of the most blatant data manipulation I’ve ever seen. It’s not even an artful obfuscation. I can think of half a dozen ways to accomplish the same thing that might slip past a code reviewer. But of course, the author never expected it to be examined. Why hide it?

    If you don’t find the crudeness staggering, consider the arrogance.

  17. Yes, Ernunnos, the secret is out. Although climate scientists have been doing their best to conceal it in public, they really do think that all the climate change denialists are complete morons. Shocking. Deal with it.

    I recommend to everyone’s attention this blog post from Peter Watts, marine biologist and writer of extraordinary SF:

    A few take-away quotes:
    “Science doesn’t work despite scientists being asses. Science works, to at least some extent, because scientists are asses. Bickering and backstabbing are essential elements of the process. Haven’t any of these guys ever heard of “peer review”?

    “That’s how science works. It’s not a hippie love-in; it’s rugby.

    “This is how it works: you put your model out there in the coliseum, and a bunch of guys in white coats kick the shit out of it. If it’s still alive when the dust clears, your brainchild receives conditional acceptance. It does not get rejected. This time.”

  18. Oh, heh. When I refreshed, I saw Cory just added this to the main page. If you already read it there, nevah mind.

  19. Also – if we want scientists to concentrate on solid science – fund them well, give them a sense of security, do it publicaly with transparency and audit the hell out of corporate funded science. These people shouldn’t be afraid that they will not have a job in six months.

  20. Two of the big historical precedents of “scientists behaving badly”.

    Gregor Mendel likely fudged his results. His ratios came out way too perfect. He only published on the traits and animals that happen to follow strict Mendelian inheritance. The ones that would seemingly muddy his theories, he didn’t publish on. Still seminal work that had phenomenal impact on medicine, agricultural and our basic understanding of life itself. But since he was unethical, feel free to go back to blended inheritance, forget about DNA.

    Dingell vs. Baltimore and Thereza Imanishi-Kari
    Congressman challenging a nobel laureate on his protocols. A couple instances of an associate doing a little sloppy work, but not worth making, literally, a federal case out of it.
    But since one of his colleagues was sloppy, we should disregard whole chunks of pages from your average molecular biology textbook that Baltimore was responsible for, as it’s all tainted. We no longer can really trust in reverse transcriptase, so HIV and Hepatitis B research will take a little longer.

    I really like the sociologists/former carpenter’s analogy above. If science has ever been your day job, the emails are likely unshocking. If it’s not your day job, and you find fault, I guess I’d suggest you volunteer in a lab for a few months. You can actually do that, I’ve seen people who wanted to learn more about science in labs. I’d suggest the denialists behind the politics of personal destruction take a long walk off a short pier soon, as rising ocean levels will reduce the availability of piers in the coming years.

  21. Maggie – excellent coverage, thanks!

    However, I think calling for more openness misses the point. Most of climate science is already open. A number of the major climate models are open source (see ), and all the IPCC data is freely available. Of course, nobody outside the climatology world knows what to do with any of it because they haven’t solved the metadata problem yet.

    The problem, as several people in the comments allude to, is that opening up the data just opens the scientists up to “denial of service” attacks, as they get swamped with spurious questions about the details. We really need a large group of well informed inter-mediators to “run interference” for the scientists, so that they can get on and do what they do best. Without that, I believe it may actually be in the public interest for climate data not to be open (see ). Which is really not the way the world should be.

  22. I should start this by saying repeating that I basically agree with the post, and it’s quite near what I (who have been letting other do the reading for me) was coming to think. Anyhow.

    Good and helpful though it would be, I’m not sure more openness (or easier access) would have helped here. The doubters would have just be hunting for a conspiracy on the next level down.

    And if you want an example of how under siege these guys must feel, theres some business from New Zealand making the rounds (I’m thinking of the ‘net but it got mentioned in Parliament too) at the moment.

    The NZ climate people (NIWA) have been adjusting the historical thermometer readings and the local cranks (sorry, but that’s based on a history of shamelessly using shallow, fallacious arguments) have the details and say “There is nothing in the station histories to warrant these adjustments and to date Dr Salinger and NIWA have not revealed why they did this.”

    NIWA’s response is basically that there are reasons in the station history and these guys have been told (Again, forgive me for believing them).

    Probably it would be good if NIWA could release all that data or at least point to some papers, but by now the internet is full of this and the talking point will never die no matter what.

    This is probably where the sympathy for the FOIA behaviour comes from. Full disclosure might be desirable, but when every step in that direction takes up your sciencing time and just results in more painful and disingenuous use of your data, you can see how people get to be paranoid.

  23. Here’s a point that I don’t think I’ve seen mentioned anywhere yet.

    In the emails originating from the CRU, there’s a lot of talk about what they can do to frustrate/defeat/stall the FOI requests to release the data, but remarkably, I haven’t seen anywhere where the CRU scientists express alarm or even concern about what would happen when the FOI requesters saw what a parlous state their data and code were in. It just doesn’t seem to occur to them that that might even be a problem. (Someone please correct me if I’m wrong on this.)

    Which suggests to me that the CRU scientists didn’t even know how bad their own code and data were. ‘Harry’ evidently knew, because he was up to his elbows in this mess every day, but somehow the knowledge never percolated upward.

    If the inference I’ve drawn is correct, then it doesn’t really speak very well of the level of oversight in this whole enterprise. I mean, letting the code and data get into such a dreadful state is bad enough, but not even being aware of it is even worse. Apparently they just carried on oblivious, not even suspecting there was a problem, and so never doing anything whatever to fix it.

    On the one hand, this would pretty much rule out any grand conspiracy scenario. Instead though, it would suggest a disastrous combination of arrogance and negligence, which I think is a priori a much more likely explanation of what happened here anyway.

  24. Gosh, I’m seeing lots of denial in many of the above comments.

    True, this isn’t evidence of a “vast conspiracy.” None of the emails say “As per our orders from Soros and Gore….” But it doesn’t have to be a vast conspiracy to be bad science. From what I can tell, the Hadley CRU data was at the core of the IPCC recommendations, and thus the “consensus” about AGW.

    Isn’t it easy to dissipate the controversy and free the data so other scientists can verify?

    Not when the data was fudged or missing. Many of the emails and Read Me files show how they were trying to reproduce their earlier results, and could not. This should set off alarm bells for anyone concerned about the topic and about science in general. It’s foolish to rearrange the world economy at a cost of trillions of dollars when the hard evidence of the problem is so flawed.

    Is science messy? Sure. Is that an excuse in this case? No. It is not acceptable to organize sub rosa boycotts of peer reviewed journals and threaten people’s jobs in order to force them to toe a particular line. Sorry, this isn’t a case of (say) biologists facing down creationist pseudoscience. This is one group of scientists trying to kneecap another group of scientists. It’s not peer review, it’s attempted sabotage of peer review. Not acceptable.

    Many of the most damaging lies and coverups have happened because one group didn’t want to “give ammunition to the enemy.” I would urge everyone to not let their allegiance to the cause of AGW to lead them to minimize how damaging this is. Allow the disinfecting sunlight in and let the chips fall where they may.

  25. PapayaSF: “From what I can tell, the Hadley CRU data was at the core of the IPCC recommendations, and thus the “consensus” about AGW.”

    Well, you could actually go and read the IPCC reports rather than just speculating. They’re not hard to get hold of (

    If you bothered to read them, you’ll find that the science draws on many sources, including 23 models from different modeling centres around the world (none of which is CRU, as CRU isn’t a modeling centre). CRU does help to compile one of the most commonly used observational datasets (known as HadCRUT; NASA’s GISStemp is the other). However, these emails aren’t about that dataset, they are about some attempts to reconstruct some paleodendrological records. The analysis, including the adjustments referred to in the emails, are all in the published literature, and have been known about for years.

    So, remind me again which bit of the IPCC reports this calls into question??

  26. PapayaSF: “It is not acceptable to organize sub rosa boycotts of peer reviewed journals and threaten people’s jobs in order to force them to toe a particular line.”

    Again, there’s nothing new here. This part of the emails was in reference to an incident *siux years ago* that caused half of the editorial board of the journal in question to resign over how the paper was handled (one of the resignees explains here: The paper in question has been thoroughly discredited by subsequent work. And all of this was public knowledge back then.

    If you are unable to judge the credibility of the paper in question and the criticisms of it, you won’t be able to judge whether this is “sabotage” or a healthy concern for the integrity of the review process. I’ve talked to enough climate scientists to convince myself it’s the latter. How will you decide which interpretation to believe?

  27. www, t mst b rlly hrtfl whn smn qstns yr rlgn… N xct scntfc prf bt y rlly, RLLY hp t’s tr s y dn’t g t hll… bt thn gn, wh m t qstn “Fcts”

  28. It’s funny enough people are arguing over 100 years of data when most UNDERSTOOD data for geologist (I belong to that group) spans MILLIONS (sometimes, maybe, 100s of thousands of years) such as the K-T boundary. The data we understand doesn’t work in that scale. Many who have an actual education (not NPR) in earth sciences, and DO NOT depend on government grant money, believe that we couldn’t possibly put the data we do have, in comparison to studies by paleo-climatologist, and have a definitive model. The most vocal people in this whole argument are comparable to those who killed Galileo. It’s really moved beyond a question of observations/facts to a question of beliefs. Global Laming!

  29. Galileo wasn’t killed, he was unfairly convicted of heresy and sentenced to prison, which was later commuted to house arrest, and died of natural causes. Just sayin’

    Gribbin, John.
    Science a History.
    London: Penguin Books, 2003
    pg 101

  30. “Consensus” is not a scientific construct, it is a political one. The IPCC is not a scientific body, it is a political one, made up of government representatives, with no scientific requirements. These emails reveal that the scientists were more concerned about the politics than the science.

    However, the most damaging aspect of this scandal is that these mails are evidence of their hiding and manipulating data to fit their predetermined conclusion. In no context can this be valid. The CRU was one of four “official” providers of data to the IPCC which calls into question all of the IPCC conclusions.

    The MSM is NOT covering this. The three major broadcast networks have not mentioned the story. The NYT and other MSM outlets that do cover it downplay the story and do not discuss the fundamental issues raised by this scandal and their implications.

  31. As to the FOI requests, this from from Halldór Björnsson of the Icelandic Met covers the ground: the requests are refused because the labs don’t have the right to distribute data given them by various national meteorological agencies. The FOI requests, in other words, are propaganda in and of themselves, and the complaints about their refusal likewise.

    I am struck, personally, by how little attention the lawlessness of the break-in seems to be getting. It’s not only a crime, it’s apparently a crime purchased by climate-change denialists. One of the huge problems of this act is that we have no way of knowing if the published files are accurate. Since the perpetrators have chosen to remain anonymous, we know nothing about their honesty at all. And why would they be honest? Why not also modify the stolen e-mails to better make their case? Now, the crime might be remitted if, indeed, the published e-mails showed serious scientific malfeasance. But this is not so. If this is all that the denialists have, they might as well give it up–they have no case.

    1. Yr rm mst b prtty sr frm xrtng ll tht spn. Maybe this person was acting as a whistle blower and that’s their case for remaining anonymous. I’m pretty sure all the “denialists” (I hate that term; its a sign of arrogance on an issue you have no actual expertise in) are actually right wing nut jobs, but points for using a hard right style attack on the whole ordeal. The emails read of nothing but really under handed data manipulation. They read like embarrassing exchanges because they are (hence I’m pretty sure that’s why they were deleting stuff). And the whole argument that all the messages were manipulated is kinda laughable in the window of time from when the files/logs were lifted and their subsequent release. And on the case of the theft, civil disobedience is NEVER justified, right? I don’t think these messages will ever be taken for face value because it would hurt too many important people/cottage industries. I think the “product” (read religion) they’re selling was actually purchased some time ago. Otherwise, why would someone questioning a THEORY would be compared to someone denying the holocaust?? The whole thing is ass backwards and dogmatic. A real scientist never stops questioning theories and even hard facts (like gravity). But I’m sure the proper response this whole “consensus” has gotten will serve the scientific community well to prove that some things don’t require dissenting critical debate. I mean, if someone said they had a medicine that cured all cancer and added 50 years to life even, that would save lives like tomorrow so we shouldn’t even bother testing it and just jump head first into production. Anyone who argues else wants people to die and is obviously in cahoots with an industry who makes ill gotten money from death. It’s just too important!

      1. Real scientists stop questioning things all the time. After a certain amount of evidence, it’s simply not worth doing until some new information shows up.

        The reason “denialists” are derided, though, isn’t because they question the mainstream theory but how they do it. Trust me, if you tried to promote an alternate theory of gravity by arguing against decades-old models, quoting physicists out of context, and jumping on every unsettled question as proof the whole thing is controversial, you’d get dismissed just as fast.

  32. From a math perspective, I think the scientists are doing a great job, and should be applauded for their methods.
    For complex calculations, I always like to compare a set of true data to a set of false data, especially when dealing with rates of change. I use the difference between a true set and a false set to isolate one variable. Math has tons of little tricks like this to expose errors. Similarly, a neat trick I use is to multiply -1 by a friends complex solution and add my complex solution, graph it, if the answers match we’ll see a horizontal line, if it doesn’t, one of us made a mistake, and the resulting graph shows how much we are off. Admittedly, it sounds odd, perhaps slightly diabolical, but realistically it’s a very efficient way of verifying the numbers are correct.

  33. “The emails read of nothing but really under handed data manipulation.”

    You’ve made the one of the most serious professional accusations that can be leveled at scientists, and based on anonymous, unsourced, unreliable texts. Don’t you feel any doubt? Any shame?

    “And on the case of the theft, civil disobedience is NEVER justified, right?”

    Gandhi went to jail for his civil disobedience. He acted in public and was willing to do the time. It’s a far cry from Gandhi’s self-sacrifice to this crime, which was committed in secret, and very likely bought and paid for. And don’t you wonder a bit at your criminal allies? Don’t you wonder if perhaps, just perhaps, they aren’t in it for your health?

  34. The supposed “Harry” scandal isn’t. RealiClimate offered an inside explanation:

    “HARRY_read_me.txt. This is a 4 year-long work log of Ian (Harry) Harris who was working to upgrade the documentation, metadata and databases associated with the legacy CRU TS 2.1 product, which is not the same as the HadCRUT data (see Mitchell and Jones, 2003 for details). The CSU TS 3.0 is available now (via ClimateExplorer for instance), and so presumably the database problems got fixed. Anyone who has ever worked on constructing a database from dozens of individual, sometimes contradictory and inconsistently formatted datasets will share his evident frustration with how tedious that can be.”

    And they’ve also posted links now to all the publicly-avaliable data that was already out there, contrary to what the more ignorant deniers keep claiming:

  35. I did approximately what you did but came to a rather different conclusion. First I noted that pro GW authors minimized the emails and Anti-GW authors maximized them.

    Here, for what it is worth, is my take.

    First, the emails were on what in the USA we would call “public computers” and the public has every right to see them under the FOIA. Hacking them is no different that asking for them. How can one hack information that is readily available?

    Second,has it been determined that they were actually “hacked” or were they released by someone inside with a conscience? A whistle blower perhaps.

    Third, any scientist who tries to suppress information by another is not to be trusted in any circumstances. Neals Boar thanked another scientist who pointed out an error in one of his published papers.

    Fourth, there are enough millions available for global warming grants that there is sufficient reason to be less than confident in their integrity. Scientists have the human trait of greed.

    I am 68 years old. I have seen scientists create one “crisis” after another. In 1975 it was Global Cooling.

    Temperatures increase approximately one degree for every 350 ft elevation and I believe it is something like one degree for every 40 minutes of latitude. If, as predicted by scientists there will be a few degrees of change over a century there would be scarcely any noticeable change. If some polar ice were to melt would that mean more pressure on the ocean floor and perhaps an offset of the rise in sea level? Perhaps the antarctic floor would rise creating a drop in the ocean floor.

    I strongly suspect this entire thing is vastly overblown. For if there were no Global Warming there would be no grants.

    For the record I believe there is some reason to suspect warming over the last century. Merely looking at the recorded history of Glacier Bay seems to confirm that.

  36. I happen to believe that global warming is occurring, and that humans are major contributors, though not the only ones. I also believe we need to act — now.

    Those things said, I am always open to listening to someone who has another point of view based on independent, unprejudiced science. I have none for Luddites.

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