Email climate findings overblown

Vincent Stigliani/Editor-in-Chief

Recently, controversy erupted when a still unknown felon hacked into the server of the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) and anonymously released over 1,000 emails and 2,000 documents.

First off, much attention has been placed on what was said, but it is important to consider what wasn’t said. Throughout the extensive email correspondence, not once was global warming admitted to be a hoax. Not once did the scientists allude conspiring with leftist politicians in some socialist attack on capitalism. Not once was data found to be falsified.

Perhaps the most referenced line regarding tinkering with data came when climatologist Phil Jones of the University of East Anglia wrote, “I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years … to hide the decline.” The “trick” he mentions refers to plotting the instrumental records alongside a plotting of multiproxy temperature reconstruction, which was the subject of “Mike’s” 1998 paper in Nature. This method has been discussed and debated in scientific journals for years now and should by no means be considered junk science.

Another common misconception is that these emails rock the foundations of climate change, as if the CRU is the sole institute responsible for contributing temperature data for climate models. Three other major agencies, including NASA, also generate and contribute data, and the CRU’s data has closely matched and been corroborated by the others’.

Some emails inappropriately and harshly attacked both skeptical publications and people, yet many of the cherry-picked emails must be put in perspective. In one oft-quoted excerpt, Jones expresses indignation towards the journal Climate Research. What he references, however, is an occurrence that should anger anyone with half a brain: the journal published a 2003 study denying human-caused global warming that was underwritten, it was soon discovered, by the American Petroleum Institute.

If the greatest proof against climate change lies in only a few cherry-picked lines from illegally retrieved emails of over 13 years and thousands of pages of correspondences, it does not speak well for what scientific data the skeptics can produce themselves.

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