...secret lives of climate scientists spilled! And they really are as boring as you thought!
The story so far: Russian hackers have recently broken into the computers at University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit (CRU) and posted files containing private emails between any number of well-known climate researchers. The usual suspects are claiming that the emails show massive malfeasance! the scientific fraud of the millennium! a Marxist conspiracy! and so on and so forth. I have looked a some of the material (from a honking big 62 meg .zip file) but won't link to it here because it has been obtained illegally and I'm not quite sure what the legality of a link would be. From the random sample I've read (there are literally thousands of emails and hundreds of .doc and other files), you find climate scientists to-ing and fro-ing over various issues, being a bit bitchy, and saying mean things about folks like McIntyre. Very thin gruel for a massive conspiracy theory, just because there's so much good stuff they've missed. For example, there is no .txt file of the daily prayer to Gore the Fat, no emails re the meeting I personally arranged between prominent alarmists and the leaders of the Homo Sexual Agenda (now that was a weird night!), and none of the interminable discussions that have taken place concerning the difficulty these days of finding a virgin to sacrifice to Gaia.
Probably the worst bit, from an optics point of view (certainly its the thing being waved around by the denialist crowd) is a 10 year old email from Phil Jones:
From: Phil Jones
To: ray xbxxxey ,mann@[snipped], mxxes@[snipped]
Subject: Diagram for WMO Statement
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 13:31:15 +0000
Dear Ray, Mike and Malcolm,
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 [sic] from1961 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.Thanks for the comments, Ray.
Prof. Phil Jones
Climatic Research Unit
The denialists are keying on the term "trick" and the phrase "to hide the decline". It turns out that in the email Jones is discussing methods of "splicing" (if thats the correct term) instrumental data to proxy records. He explains as follows:
"No, that’s completely wrong. In the sense that they’re talking about two different things here. They’re talking about the instrumental data which is unaltered – but they’re talking about proxy data going further back in time, a thousand years, and it’s just about how you add on the last few years, because when you get proxy data you sample things like tree rings and ice cores, and they don’t always have the last few years. So one way is to add on the instrumental data for the last few years."
Jones told TGIF he had no idea what me meant by using the words "hide the decline".
"That was an email from ten years ago. Can you remember the exact context of what you wrote ten years ago?"
So there you have it.