Global Warming Nontroversy of the Day

Right wing bloggers and climate “skeptics” are ranting and fuming about “the global warming scandal of the century,” after the email server of one of the UK’s leading climate research centers was hacked, and thousands of emails were stolen and promptly posted all over the web. (Which is, of course, completely illegal.)

However, reading the summaries that these folks have posted, such as the one in this almost comically exaggerated article by Telegraph writer James Delingpole, one thing stands out — there’s no there there. There’s no evidence of a conspiracy to commit massive fraud. There are no admissions of faking data. The worst thing they’ve dug up out of thousands of emails is this one referring to a “trick” used to adjust warming data, which Delingpole dramatically labels “Manipulation of evidence:”

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.

“Trick,” of course, can also mean “an effective technique,” but if you were desperately hunting for anything smear-worthy, I suppose the word would stand out.

RealClimate has responded to this stolen email nontroversy here: The CRU hack.

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.

Read the whole thing; they make more excellent points about the absurdly exaggerated denialists’ claims.

Here’s their response to the “trick” comment:

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.

Jump to top

Create a Page

This is the LGF Pages posting bookmarklet. To use it, drag this button to your browser's bookmark bar, and title it 'LGF Pages' (or whatever you like). Then browse to a site you want to post, select some text on the page to use for a quote, click the bookmarklet, and the Pages posting window will appear with the title, text, and any embedded video or audio files already filled in, ready to go.

Or... you can just click this button to open the Pages posting window right away.

Last updated: 2015-08-02 10:58 am PDT

LGF User's Guide RSS Feeds

Help support Little Green Footballs!

Subscribe now for ad-free access!

Recent Pages
thecommodore
James O’Keefe’s “Scoop” on Hillary #EpicFail
Here's the video, and look what they unearthed about Hillary. No, it isn't "smoking gun" evidence that she murdered Vince Foster. No, it isn't "smoking gun" evidence that she is a lesbian. No, it isn't "smoking gun" evidence that she ...

1 hour, 12 minutes ago
Views: 57 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 1
I Stand With Planned Parenthood
Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie
Offense figures for categories such as "drugs" carry an important caveat here, however: all cases are reported only under the most serious offense. For example, a person who is serving prison time for both murder and a drug offense ...

4 hours, 49 minutes ago
Views: 83 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 0
Great White Snark
The Strange Saga of the MH370 Plane Part — NYMag
Just when you think this will not get any more weird... Tomorrow marks one month since a piece of a Boeing 777 washed up on the Indian Ocean island of La Réunion, but French investigators are no closer to confirming ...

2 days, 4 hours ago
Views: 415 • Comments: 1
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 3
Thanos
Sovereign Citizens Now Consist of All Colors and Creeds
The case made headlines last fall in the midst of the Ferguson unrest. Two men with ties to the New Black Panther Party were charged with acquiring weapons in what was later revealed to be a plot to kill ...

2 days, 5 hours ago
Views: 369 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 0
JmpMaster
Teachers as the Target in Schools and Media
As soon as you mention public education a barrage of soundbites and adages come flying from every corner at dizzying speed. Teachers are underpaid and underappreciated, teachers are all jaded cynics that don't care anymore, teachers are the cornerstone ...

4 days, 4 hours ago
Views: 461 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 0
VickieHaz
Spice Up Your Home Lighting
When many of us are in need of a new lamp, ceiling light or any other lighting application the first thing we'll do is jump in the car and head off to the nearest IKEA. This is the safest option ...

4 days, 10 hours ago
Views: 533 • Comments: 2
Tweets: 3 • Rating: 0
Bubblehead II
President Obama Remarks on Tenth Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina
In case you missed the NOLA Presidents speech today. President Obama Remarks on Tenth Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina

4 days, 22 hours ago
Views: 470 • Comments: 1
Tweets: 1 • Rating: 1
KiTA
Vester Lee Flanagan Guns Down News Crew on Live TV, Live Tweets and Films himself doing so.
Update: The shooter filmed himself performing the act and uploaded the content to several social media accounts. It was shared thousands of times before Twitter deleted it. Twitter auto-plays the video. Today would be a very good day to close ...

6 days, 6 hours ago
Views: 795 • Comments: 4
Tweets: 6 • Rating: 3
Lumberhead
Why the 2016 Republican Nomination Can’t Be Predicted Through History
This election season provides a fascinating frame to see if the polarization in politics, from Washington to the states to the public, is no different than what we have seen in the past; if the angry populism evident especially ...

1 week, 3 days ago
Views: 879 • Comments: 1
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 4
No Country For Old Haters
Unraveling the Enigma of Nintendo’s Virtual Boy, 20 Years Later
Twenty years ago, on August 21, 1995, Nintendo released the Virtual Boy in North America. The stilt-legged tabletop gaming console, which offered a unique red stereoscopic 3D display, attempted to ride a wave of popular interest in virtual reality. ...

1 week, 3 days ago
Views: 780 • Comments: 3
Tweets: 1 • Rating: 1