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Nov 24, 2009

Earlier this month, someone, appearantly from Russia, hacked into the e-mail server of the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia and stole hundreds, perhaps thousands of e-mails dating back as far as 1996, and made a file out of them on his own server in Russia. The hacker then passed those emails to global warming denialists, who then made them public. Hacking into private computer files and stealing the items within them is a crime, and thus the e-mails obtained would not be admissible in any American court of law, for that would be rewarding illegal behavior (Not even the police or the FBI could legally do such a thing without a warrant or a subpoena, let alone any private citizens.). Then denialists picked through the e-mails and cherry-picked a few out of context passages to try to “ prove” that the entire man-made global warming hypothesis (MMGWH) was a fraud. 

Thus we have now seen the depths the denialists will go to attack their targets; most of them are willing to commit crimes and/or condone those crimes committed by others to advance their cause. Yet they have the gall to demand that, on the basis of the stolen e-mails, the writers of the e-mails should by charged with fraud and imprisoned. That is sheer hypocrisy. 

At most, the scientists whose e-mails were stolen were guilty of “groupthink”, more willing that one might thing proper to engage in underhanded tactics to defeat their opponents for the sake of a good cause. But then again, so are promoters of most political parties. Scientists are people too, and are thus as flawed in their characters as any other. Such behavior should be condemned, but that does not automatically debunk the findings of the scientists responsible for the behavior, let alone the work of others not even associated with the CRU. It takes the actual application of the scientific method to do that. 

Let’s look at what the e-mails do NOT refer to:

  1. No references to Al Gore, let alone any communications from him.
  2. No communications with other leaders of the Democratic Party.
  3. No references to the chemical properties or increasing amounts of greenhouses gases.
  4. No marching orders from agencies of the United Nations, not even the IPCC.
  5. No plots to actually murder or injure denialists.
  6. No references to direct measuments of temperatures.
  7. No explicit admission by anyone that the MMGWH is a hoax.

What we do find are:

  1. Attempts to account for uncertainties in the gathered data.
  2. Awareness that such uncertainties generate doubt, so they discuss smoothing them over.
  3. Bitter attacks on and attempts to discredit denialists
  4. A threat to delete raw data rather than allow denialists access to it.

The sort of things that result from scientists (or anyone else, for that matter) under constant scutiny and attack. 

Let’s assume that the research of this one institution was found to be not reliable. Well, since most of the questionable e-mails were about temperature proxies (tree rings, ice cores) referring to periods of time long ago, we could simply replicate the studies with new proxies. Denialists that hounded the climatologists for the “raw data” to support their claims could have gone into the field and gathered and analyzed their own sets of raw data instead. They never do! And I would recommend that just such a thing be done again. There are plenty of tree rings and ice cores that could be taken in the future to confirm or debunk the claims made by the climatologists of the CRU. 

And the other findings, such as the known chemical properties of greenhouse gases, the fact that they are increasing in the atmosphere, the fact that deforestation and burning fossil fuels lead to such an increase, the increase in global average temperatures,  and the shrinking of the Arctic ice cap, all support the MMGWH and can only be explained by it. Denialists can attempt to explain all that away, but only in defiance of the known laws of chemistry and physics. Of course, if you want to beleive that nearly ALL the scientists in the world for hundreds of years have been part of a conspiracy to promote a scam, be my guest. Just don’t expect me to take you seriously! 

 Introducing the self appointed hockey stick slayer:

Stephen McIntyre

is the editor of "Climate Audit", a blog devoted to the analysis and discussion of climate data. He is most prominent as a critic of the temperature record of the past 1000 years and the data quality of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from the University of Toronto. He studied philosophy, politics and economics at the University of Oxford before graduating in 1971.[1]

McIntyre worked for 30 years in the mineral business,[1] the last part of these in the hard-rock mineral exploration as an officer or director of several public mineral exploration companies.[2] He has also been a policy analyst at both the governments of Ontario and of Canada.[3] He was the president and founder of Northwest Exploration Company Limited and a director of its parent company, Northwest Explorations Inc. When Northwest Explorations Inc. was taken over in 1998 by CGX Resources Inc. to form the oil and gas exploration company CGX Energy Inc., McIntyre ceased being a director. McIntyre was a strategic advisor for CGX in 2000 through 2003.[4]

Prior to 2003 he was an officer or director of several small public mineral exploration companies.


With Ross McKitrick, McIntyre co-authored a paper questioning the validity of the "hockey stick" graph used in a journal article by Michael E. Mann and co-authors.[5]

McIntyre became interested in these issues after advocates of the Kyoto Protocol used the Hockey Stick graph from the 1998 paper by Michael E. Mann, Raymond S. Bradley and Malcolm K. Hughes[7] in ways that he found similar to Bre-X and other stock frauds, leading him to try to audit the data and analysis.

The original hockey stick graph can be found on page 29 of this document, the IPCC report of 2001: 

First, we see that there is a huge grey area prior to 1600, the result of there being fewer proxies available to study dating back that far. Thus the uncertainty of the measurements estimated from that period are fairly high. After 1600, more proxies are available and thus the uncertainties of the measurements are much less. Finally, after 1850, direct temperature measurements become available, so proxies are no longer needed. 

I'd think if the hockey stick graph was faked, the uncertainties that appear here wouldn't even be shown. I myself have complained about that and agree that the measurements of periods prior to 1600 shouldn't have been an issue in the 2001 IPCC report, but the zealousness of scientists to "fill in the blanks" probably made that chart as long as it was. Stephen McIntyre later took advantage of that. 

Here is the version I would have submitted instead to the IPCC: 

Dale's version of the hockey stick graph

Then there would have been no controversy over the appearant absence of the Medieval Warming Period on the chart, and thus nothing for McIntyre to bitch about!


Visibility: Everyone
Posted: Tuesday November 24, 2009, 10:33 pm
Tags: global warming [add/edit tags]

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Mari 's (1364)
Tuesday December 1, 2009, 12:04 pm



Dale Husband
male, age 45, divorced
Fort Worth, TX, USA
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