Hacked E-Mails Fuel Global Warming Debate

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    • #4446
      Don Donzal
      Keymaster

      Officially, I can’t condone the actions of those that broke into these systems. But I do find it very intriguing that in Al Gore’s documentary, falsifying scientific evidence is something he accused the other side of doing. In fact, it’s the results of the evidence that he says is the inconvenient truth that the opposition chooses to ignore or deny. I’m all for an open debate on the facts, so I’m glad it’s all coming out. I just wish there was another way to do so.

      An online debate over global warming science has broken out after an unknown hacker broke into the e-mail server at a prominent, British climate-research center, stole more than a thousand e-mails about global warming research and posted them online.

      Global warming skeptics are seizing on portions of the messages as evidence that scientists are colluding and warping data to fit the theory of global warming, but researchers say the e-mails are being taken out of context and just show scientists engaged in frank discussion.

      The Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia is one of the United Kingdom’s leading climate research centers and has been a strong proponent of the position that global warming is real and has human causes. The center confirmed the hack occurred in an e-mail statement to Threat Level.

      “We are aware that information from a server in one area of the university has been made available on public websites,” the statement read. “We are extremely concerned that personal information about individuals may have been compromised. Because of the volume of this information we cannot currently confirm what proportion of this material is genuine.”

      The stolen cache includes more than 1,000 e-mails and more than 3,000 documents, some containing code. They were posted anonymously to an FTP server in Russia. The hacker then posted a link to the 61-MB file of data on the blog Air Vent.

      The hacker’s message that accompanied the link read: “We feel that climate science is, in the current situation, too important to be kept under wraps. We hereby release a random selection of correspondence, code and documents.”

      The e-mails, which cover a decade of correspondence, are getting a lot of attention among bloggers who point to statements in them that they say suggest the scientists colluded and manipulated data to support their global warming viewpoints. The bloggers highlight a statement in one 1999 e-mail from Phil Jones, director of the research center:

      I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature 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.

      The comment refers to Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University. Mann told Threat Level the “Nature trick” refers to a solution for displaying data that he and others used in a paper they published to get around a problem in the way that temperature data is traditionally displayed. The solution allows for better viewing and understanding of the data, Mann said, and pointed to a post on the RealClimate blog that his colleagues have made to explain the reference. That post also indicates that the hacker first tried to post the trove of stolen data to the RealClimate blog on Tuesday.

      Another e-mail from Jones dated last year with the subject line “IPCC and FOI” is a request to Michael Mann, asking him to delete certain e-mails. Bloggers allege that Jones was trying to destroy data that had been requested under the Freedom of Information Act.

      Jones wasn’t available for comment. Mann told Threat Level that he never deleted any e-mails and doesn’t know the context under which Jones made the request.

      Full story:
      http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2009/11/climate-hack

      Don

    • #27954
      timmedin
      Participant

      I read a bunch of this attack, but I never saw this evidence released. Seems pretty damning. Funny, I haven’t really seen it on the news.

    • #27955
      Ignatius
      Participant

      @timmedin wrote:

      I read a bunch of this attack, but I never saw this evidence released. Seems pretty damning. Funny, I haven’t really seen it on the news.

      Yes, I’ve seen it mentioned on several fora but nada in the UK news.  *IF* it’s all a big conspiracy (hmm, where have I read about conspiracy theories before?), maybe the news organisations are “in” on it too?

    • #27956
      timmedin
      Participant

      @Ignatius wrote:

      maybe the news organisations are “in” on it too?

      I guess we should keep an eye on the adverstising to see who is footing the bill.

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