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Climate Research Unit email scandal - AKA 'Climategate'

Deuce

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From discussions here, on other boards, and with friends, it's pretty clear to me that a lot of people have heard about the so-called "climategate" scandal, but many people don't really understand the scope of the scandal or exactly what is involved, much less the effect this has on global warming theory. I decided I'd break down who was involved, what the allegations were, the evidence supporting those allegations, and what the aftermath was. I'll refer to the situation as "Climategate," although I freaking hate how the -gate suffix gets added to everything, but that's a rant for another thread.

What is Climategate? How did this come up?
In November 2009, a hacker managed to steal about a thousand emails and a few thousand other documents from an internet server used by the University of East Angalia's Climate Research Unit. These emails quickly spread around the internet and became the source of some allegations of serious misconduct on part of some of the scientists working there. The main targets were Phil Jones, the head of the CRU, and Michael Mann of PennState.

What are the allegations and what are they based on?
The emails themselves can be found here:
Climategate Document Database : Alleged CRU Email

So, the allegations are that the CRU and Michael Mann engaged in an effort to distort or alter data regarding global warming research so as to show that things are worse than they really are. It's worth noting that Michael Mann's "hockey stick" temperature reconstruction is just one of many done by scientists from across the globe. Even if you disregard his work entirely, you still end up with this:

File:1000 Year Temperature Comparison.png - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Note that there are ten different temperature reconstructions here. Mann's is the medium-blue color.

The main focus is on two emails. I'll post them in their entirety for reference:
Once Tim's got a diagram here we'll send that either later today or
first thing tomorrow.
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. Mike's series got the annual
land and marine values while the other two got April-Sept for NH land
N of 20N. The latter two are real for 1999, while the estimate for 1999
for NH combined is +0.44C wrt 61-90. The Global estimate for 1999 with
data through Oct is +0.35C cf. 0.57 for 1998.
On the surface, the word "trick" and the phrase "hide the decline" seem to indicate some sort of subterfuge. The other email:
The fact is that we can't account for the lack of warming at
the moment and it is a travesty that we can't.
The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate. /global_ocean_monitoring_current.ppt.
Seems damning, kinda. Except people who quote this always leave out the last half:
That said there is a LOT of nonsense about the PDO. People like CPC are tracking PDO on a monthly basis but it is highly correlated with ENSO. Most of what they are seeing is the change in ENSO not real PDO. It surely isn't decadal. The PDO is already reversing with the switch to El Nino. The PDO index became positive in September for first time since Sept 2007. see Index of /products/GODAS/ocean_briefing_gif
PDO is Pacific Decadal Oscillation and ENSO is El Nino/Southern Oscillation.

The Explanations

Trick:
Trick, on its face, does sound deceptive. However, deceit is not necessarily part of a "trick." In science, trick is used commonly to describe something neat, clever, or easy. "I found the trick to stopping my spray paint from running!" Want some proof?
http://www.accessecon.com/pubs/EB/2007/Volume3/EB-07C00003A.pdf
SpringerLink - Journal Article
Want more? Go to your favorite science journal and type in the search term "trick." It's everywhere. (I used Proceedings of the National Academy of Science)

Hide the Decline
Hide the decline? Omg! There's a decline in temperatures and these scientists want to cover it up!

One problem though. Global temperatures were not declining. They were going up! So what "decline" was being "hidden?" This series of emails, which the skeptics never bothered to chase down, is referring to one set of tree-ring temperature data that had a known deviation from the temperature record. It was a bad data set from the 1950's, the known temperature record proved it to be incorrect. The debate they were having was over whether or not tree-ring data could be considered reliable enough to be used for reconstructing temperatures. In any case, whether or not this is some sort of deception is fairly irrelevant, because it was one of many temperature datasets from the 1950's and the "decline" they were "hiding" was the data, not the actual temperature. Actual temperature was going up. Hardly evidence that global warming is a hoax.

"Travesty"
Another moment that shows that context is everything. If anybody had bothered to read the preceding emails or following emails, they'd see a couple other climatologists disagreeing. In 2008, temperatures were declining. We were at the end of the 11-year solar cycle, and had a La Nina year, both of which pushed temperatures down a bit. Kevin Trenberth, the writer of that email, was expressing his own opinion. Others disagreed. If you think there was some effort to hide this disagreement, you should understand that Kevin published his opinion:
ScienceDirect - Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability : An imperative for climate change planning: tracking Earth's global energy
So, if he's trying to hide this whole deal, he's not doing a very good job! He even posted a link to this very paper in the very email he sent expressing this concern, I guess the climate skeptics going over these emails didn't bother to check such things.

Some of the other guys disagreeing:
Email - Re: BBC U-turn on climate


Solar output declining, starts back up in 2009/2010:
http://www.acrim.com/RESULTS/Earth Observatory/earth_obs_fig2.pdf
El Nino/La Nina cycle:
Climate Prediction Center - Monitoring & Data: ENSO Impacts on the U.S. - Previous Events (raw data, sorry. look down at 2007-2008 and you'll see the blue negative numbers)

Two of the natural forcings were pushing down that year. They temporarily overrode the overall trend of temperature increase. Of course, since solar activity and El Nino have already started cycling back up, we're seeing some new record temperatures this spring and summer. We'll probably see a lot of new records in 2010-2012.

But Deuce, why the hell should I listen to you?
Others seem to agree.
Factcheck.org calls the allegations "wide of the mark." They also note that the CRU is just one of many research groups globally and they are not the sole source of information for anything, especially the IPCC.
“Climategate” | FactCheck.org
PennState Clears Mann of wrongdoing:
http://www.research.psu.edu/orp/Findings_Mann_Inquiry.pdf
Investigation by University of East Angalia finds no wrongdoing:
http://www.uea.ac.uk/mac/comm/media/press/CRUstatements/Report of the Science Assessment Panel
UK Parliament finds that the emails have no bearing on our understanding of climate science:
House of Commons - The disclosure of climate data from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia - Science and Technology Committee
General info:
Debunking Misinformation About Stolen Climate Emails in the "Climategate" Manufactured Controversy | Union of Concerned Scientists
 
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Orion

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Deuce, for a lot of people here (including myself) you are just preaching to the choir, but there are a lot of others who will just dismiss what you have to say. During the climategate scandal a lot of scientists were speaking out to clarify what happened and they were dismissed as apologists. Once they decide it's damning, nothing will change their minds.

Thankfully we have scientific logic to back up reality.
 

Deuce

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Deuce, for a lot of people here (including myself) you are just preaching to the choir, but there are a lot of others who will just dismiss what you have to say. During the climategate scandal a lot of scientists were speaking out to clarify what happened and they were dismissed as apologists. Once they decide it's damning, nothing will change their minds.

Thankfully we have scientific logic to back up reality.
Very true. There are many people, some on this board even, who will simply dismiss any and all evidence that does not support their views. It's pretty basic psychology, people don't want to believe that their lifestyle is contributing to a global problem. On the other hand, there's plenty of people who bought the "climate science manipulated data" headlines and just moved on, accepting it as truth, which now makes them believe the skeptics. Maybe one or two reads this.
 

ptif219

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Nice try to justify and explain away lies and deceptions that make GW more propaganda and lies than facts. I notice when I showed carbon has not changed but been absorbed by nature you left a GW discussion.
 

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Deuce, for a lot of people here (including myself) you are just preaching to the choir, but there are a lot of others who will just dismiss what you have to say. During the climategate scandal a lot of scientists were speaking out to clarify what happened and they were dismissed as apologists. Once they decide it's damning, nothing will change their minds.

Thankfully we have scientific logic to back up reality.
We do, and Scientific Logic scoffs at teh AGW movement, a purely emotionally driven political affair that abuses science like a red-headed stepchild.
 

Deuce

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Nice try to justify and explain away lies and deceptions that make GW more propaganda and lies than facts. I notice when I showed carbon has not changed but been absorbed by nature you left a GW discussion.
Ptif you exist in some sort of weird alternate reality, man. Carbon has not changed? Really? Is that what you think you showed?

We do, and Scientific Logic scoffs at teh AGW movement, a purely emotionally driven political affair that abuses science like a red-headed stepchild.
Oh, well, if you say so, I'm convinced. I mean, if Mr.Vicchio says it's an abuse of science I'll just take him at his word. Don't worry, Mr.V, you don't need to start your own thread where you post evidence of such a claim. We'll just take your word for it, that's the scientific way.
 

Orion

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We do, and Scientific Logic scoffs at teh AGW movement, a purely emotionally driven political affair that abuses science like a red-headed stepchild.
How can that be the case when peer reviewed circles are in agreement that climate change is happening and that humans are, in the least, not helping?

Anyone can post scientific "research", like the oil companies, but if it's not peer reviewed by the actual scientific community, it doesn't matter.

Or are you going to say that peer reviewed science worldwide is corrupt and has been bought by the green movement?
 

Deuce

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How can that be the case when peer reviewed circles are in agreement that climate change is happening and that humans are, in the least, not helping?

Anyone can post scientific "research", like the oil companies, but if it's not peer reviewed by the actual scientific community, it doesn't matter.

Or are you going to say that peer reviewed science worldwide is corrupt and has been bought by the green movement?
A lot of these guys think that thousands of scientists in dozens of fields over more than a century have all conspired to... I don't know, raise our gas prices or something.
 

Orion

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A lot of these guys think that thousands of scientists in dozens of fields over more than a century have all conspired to... I don't know, raise our gas prices or something.
Even if the peer reviewed circles were conspiring to produce false information, individual researchers would be noticing the differences in their results, and on a massive scale. It would have been exposed already, a long time ago.
 

ptif219

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How can that be the case when peer reviewed circles are in agreement that climate change is happening and that humans are, in the least, not helping?

Anyone can post scientific "research", like the oil companies, but if it's not peer reviewed by the actual scientific community, it doesn't matter.

Or are you going to say that peer reviewed science worldwide is corrupt and has been bought by the green movement?
You mean like NASA and the IPCC that keep getting caught in lies,deceptions and propaganda?
 

Orion

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You can't call it misinformation when the institution itself has already issued corrections to some previously published data. That is how science operates. It proceeds under current information until new evidence comes forward to cause a correction within the community.

Misinformation implies willful deceit, and that is not what is happening.
 

ptif219

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You can't call it misinformation when the institution itself has already issued corrections to some previously published data. That is how science operates. It proceeds under current information until new evidence comes forward to cause a correction within the community.

Misinformation implies willful deceit, and that is not what is happening.
They had to correct it. Therefore it was lies and propaganda. They got caught or they would not have corrected what they knew was a lie.
 

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They had to correct it. Therefore it was lies and propaganda. They got caught or they would not have corrected what they knew was a lie.
That is a distortion of the truth and completely dishonest.

As I said, scientific circles update knowledge according to new evidence. If new evidence is presented, they correct it. No one was "caught". It was a willful consensus within the scientific community that prompted the correction.

Even if the media creates a fire storm against peer reviewed circles, that won't cause information to change. They don't cave to social pressures. The only thing that modifies knowledge is impirical data, and nothing more.
 

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That is a distortion of the truth and completely dishonest.

As I said, scientific circles update knowledge according to new evidence. If new evidence is presented, they correct it. No one was "caught". It was a willful consensus within the scientific community that prompted the correction.

Even if the media creates a fire storm against peer reviewed circles, that won't cause information to change. They don't cave to social pressures. The only thing that modifies knowledge is impirical data, and nothing more.
They get caught in lies and you justify it. The truth is GW is a hoax and about politics and money not the environment.
 

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They get caught in lies and you justify it. The truth is GW is a hoax and about politics and money not the environment.
Keep making baseless claims all you want. Hot air is just that: air. It is not rooted in scientific evidence.

Thanks for playing.
 

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How can that be the case when peer reviewed circles are in agreement that climate change is happening and that humans are, in the least, not helping?

Anyone can post scientific "research", like the oil companies, but if it's not peer reviewed by the actual scientific community, it doesn't matter.

Or are you going to say that peer reviewed science worldwide is corrupt and has been bought by the green movement?
A: The peer Reviewed process has been shown to be corrupted, EXPECIALLY in the area of AGW.

B: Follow the money. (And guess what, public funding of "AGW" research dwarfs "Big Oil's anti-AGW" spending.

C: IF you want to believe "MAN" is to blame, that's on you.

There is a lot out there that shows MAN has an impact on a local scale and we need to act to keep our local environment clean. But on a global scale?? To believe that we can actually alter Global Climate by "going green"... shows an utter lack of understanding the scale of the Earth, and how easily lead humans can be.
 
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Orion

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A: The peer Reviewed process has been shown to be corrupted, EXPECIALLY in the area of AGW.
Which peer reviewed processes? Which journals? Are you saying all of them are corrupt? Are you saying that every peer reviewed article in the world is lying? That's virtually impossible.

B: Follow the money. (And guess what, public funding of "AGW" research dwarfs "Big Oil's anti-AGW" spending.
I agree, follow the money... right to the propaganda campaigns that are trying to disprove climate change in order to preserve quarterly profits. I'm not denying that popular modern theories are the easiest to research because they have the most funding sources, but I completely disagree that that means the peer reviewed process is corrupt and flawed. Funding only provides backing for actual research... it is the responsibility of journals to scrutinize the research after it is completed to look for flaws in the methodologies. If there are blatant flaws then the research does not get the stamp of approval from peer reviewed circles and it does not get published in an official capacity.

To say that the peer reviewed process is corrupt would mean that the board of approval for the high level journals is actively ignoring blatant flaws in the research and allowing articles to be published with official status despite those flaws. It implies that there is willful collusion at the highest levels of scientific circles in order to propagate a mass lie. There is no evidence to prove that this is what is happening, and no matter how much you shout about it, it doesn't change the fact. Frankly, I am not even convinced that you understand the way peer reviewed journals worked, which is surprising coming from a trained "meteorologist".

I mean, use Occam's razor here. Either:

A) There's a mass conspiracy to control the flow of truthful scientific data at all levels, and across all nations

or

B) Mistakes were made on local levels and further evidence has corrected the phenomenon. Even the IPCC has corrected some data.

There is flimsy evidence to support scenario B and I am surprised that someone like you who is allegedly trained in science would so willfully turn a blind eye to that.

C: IF you want to believe "MAN" is to blame, that's on you.
It's not a matter of believing or not believing, but what scientific evidence clearly demonstrates. I mean, social phenomena contradict scientific evidence all the time. We see it with things like religion. You can believe whatever you want but the peer reviewed science doesn't lie. It may not be possible to place the whole blame on humans but we can definitely accept part of the blame for the current situation. Even outside of the climate realm, we are poisoning our own source of life with our continual pollution and willful denial of what is happening.

There is a lot out there that shows MAN has an impact on a local scale and we need to act to keep our local environment clean. But on a global scale?? To believe that we can actually alter Global Climate by "going green"... shows an utter lack of understanding the scale of the Earth, and how easily lead humans can be.
I'm not addressing public policy about "going green" right now, YOU are. I am talking about the evidence which exists that demonstrates human involvement in the current process. How we address that from a policy level is a whole other debate, but unlike you, I do not dismiss the scientific journals simply because I am terrified of the policy implications. I can actually sympathize with people who are afraid of what sorts of policy can be excusably pushed by government given the scientific evidence, but that is no reason to target the scientific journals with slanderous accusations. Your issue is actually with government, not with science.

Control yourself and your fears already. Science simply provides information. What our society does with it is up to us. That's no reason to hate the messenger.
 

ptif219

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Keep making baseless claims all you want. Hot air is just that: air. It is not rooted in scientific evidence.

Thanks for playing.
Not baseless you just won't admit the truth. When a group claims consensus but has to do all this doom and gloom threats to scare people it shows they do not have facts. When a group has to say if you deny you must believe the world is flat or you are the same as a holocaust denier it shows more scare tactics because your agenda is based on lies and deceptions and propaganda.
 

ptif219

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Which peer reviewed processes? Which journals? Are you saying all of them are corrupt? Are you saying that every peer reviewed article in the world is lying? That's virtually impossible.



I agree, follow the money... right to the propaganda campaigns that are trying to disprove climate change in order to preserve quarterly profits. I'm not denying that popular modern theories are the easiest to research because they have the most funding sources, but I completely disagree that that means the peer reviewed process is corrupt and flawed. Funding only provides backing for actual research... it is the responsibility of journals to scrutinize the research after it is completed to look for flaws in the methodologies. If there are blatant flaws then the research does not get the stamp of approval from peer reviewed circles and it does not get published in an official capacity.

To say that the peer reviewed process is corrupt would mean that the board of approval for the high level journals is actively ignoring blatant flaws in the research and allowing articles to be published with official status despite those flaws. It implies that there is willful collusion at the highest levels of scientific circles in order to propagate a mass lie. There is no evidence to prove that this is what is happening, and no matter how much you shout about it, it doesn't change the fact. Frankly, I am not even convinced that you understand the way peer reviewed journals worked, which is surprising coming from a trained "meteorologist".

I mean, use Occam's razor here. Either:

A) There's a mass conspiracy to control the flow of truthful scientific data at all levels, and across all nations

or

B) Mistakes were made on local levels and further evidence has corrected the phenomenon. Even the IPCC has corrected some data.

There is flimsy evidence to support scenario B and I am surprised that someone like you who is allegedly trained in science would so willfully turn a blind eye to that.



It's not a matter of believing or not believing, but what scientific evidence clearly demonstrates. I mean, social phenomena contradict scientific evidence all the time. We see it with things like religion. You can believe whatever you want but the peer reviewed science doesn't lie. It may not be possible to place the whole blame on humans but we can definitely accept part of the blame for the current situation. Even outside of the climate realm, we are poisoning our own source of life with our continual pollution and willful denial of what is happening.



I'm not addressing public policy about "going green" right now, YOU are. I am talking about the evidence which exists that demonstrates human involvement in the current process. How we address that from a policy level is a whole other debate, but unlike you, I do not dismiss the scientific journals simply because I am terrified of the policy implications. I can actually sympathize with people who are afraid of what sorts of policy can be excusably pushed by government given the scientific evidence, but that is no reason to target the scientific journals with slanderous accusations. Your issue is actually with government, not with science.

Control yourself and your fears already. Science simply provides information. What our society does with it is up to us. That's no reason to hate the messenger.
Peer review as applied to Global warming has lost its credibility

Climate change emails between scientists reveal flaws in peer review | Fred Pearce | Environment | The Guardian

RealClearPolitics - ClimateGate: The Fix is In
 

Deuce

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Multiple investigations have cleared the CRU of wrongdoing, but hey, if some random newspaper says otherwise, it must be true!

Seriously you guys are just spamming at this point.
 

ptif219

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Multiple investigations have cleared the CRU of wrongdoing, but hey, if some random newspaper says otherwise, it must be true!

Seriously you guys are just spamming at this point.
The e-mails speak for themselves. Who did the investigations more Global Warming propagandist?
 

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Multiple investigations have cleared the CRU of wrongdoing, but hey, if some random newspaper says otherwise, it must be true!

Seriously you guys are just spamming at this point.

That site you use?


Climate-gate.org established online.

Climate-gate.org was established on November 24, 2009 through GoDaddy.com with a private registration. Private registration indicates that the owner of the site cannot be identified by looking up a domain name on a “WhoIs” search.

This website contains an index reference to the stolen emails from the Climatic Research Unit.

Climate-gate.org acknowledges being established by the conservative sites: PajamasTV and Competitive Enterprise Institute.

On November 19, 2009, climate science was severely shaken by the release of a collection of email messages, together with a collection of data and data processing programs, that were hacked or revealed by a whistle blower from the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit (CRU), one of the key centers of global warming research. These emails and text files have been the subject of intense debate, calling to question assumptions on anthropogenic (man-made) global warming. They are offered here by PJTV/Pajamas Media in conjunction with the Competitive Enterprise Institute/Globalwarming.org for the purpose of education and comment.
Climate-gate.org established online

You do realize how silly you look.
 
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