UPDATE: Watts Up With That explains the significance of the topic discussed in the “Mike’s Nature Trick” email.
UPDATE: This is beginning to get some attention. Ace notices the same paragraph, and notes: “Keep in mind that when Jones wrote that in 1999 we hadn’t had a decade of global cooling yet. So perhaps he was obscuring a decline in the warming trend?”
It’s been picked up by Rush Limbaugh via American Thinker, and I’m hearing rumors that CNBC may be next.
So, has much of the climate change debate of the last ten years been a purposeful fraud? If the files that became available in the last few hours prove to be legitimate, it would appear so.
Here’s the story so far. At 9:57 p.m. on Thursday, November 19, comments were posted on The Air Vent — a well-known climate skeptic site — that 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.
Hopefully it will give some insight into the science and the people behind it.
This is a limited time offer, download now: http://ftp.tomcity.ru/incoming/free/FOI2009.zip [This URL no longer works -- see below.]
The comments included a listing of email subjects. Word of these files spread through the climate skeptic community, appearing in comments at Climate Audit, and in posts at Watts Up With That and The Blackboard. The files purport to have been extracted via a hack on the Hadley Climatic Research Unit (CRU), a major organization involved in climate science in the United Kingdom.
The files became unavailable at the URL sometime on the 19th, but by then the files had been spread widely; the files are now available at a number of sites.
This morning, the CRU confirmed to the BBC that they had indeed been hacked:
A university spokesman confirmed the email system had been hacked and that information was taken and published without permission. An investigation was underway and the police had been informed, he added. “We are aware that information from a server used for research information in one area of the university has been made available on public websites,” the spokesman stated.
There are two sets of files. One is a collection of emails; the other is a collection of documents including code, data, and a number of PDF files of various publications.
Some of them seem quite, um, striking:
From: Phil Jones <p.jones@xxx>
To: ray bradley <rbradley@xxx>,mann@xxx, mhughes@xxx
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 from
1961 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 Telephone XXXXXX
School of Environmental Sciences Fax XXXXXX
University of East Anglia
Emphasis mine, and I’ve redacted email addresses and phone numbers, this being the Internet. We ought to have the context, but it appears to imply they’re massaging the data to “hide the decline” in temperatures.
The problem is that the files and emails seem just too good to be true. A number of files seem to be smoking guns — revealing how to resist Freedom of Information Act requests for their data (which would both be scientific misconduct and actually illegal); long-term marketing plans on how to push the climate-change agenda; and discussions of how to pressure peer-reviewed journals to stop accepting papers that disagree with the “accepted” view of global warming.
In other words, just what the skeptics have been suggesting for years. It seems just too neat, and we don’t have independent verification of where the files came from. Someone who is willing to hack might also be willing to create fakes.
But then, the whole package is very large — 63 megabytes — and seems to be very internally consistent. Several people have already corroborated a number of the emails as being ones they wrote or received. The package also includes substantial data and computer programs, which are being explored as this is being written.
The best we can say right now is that we should keep our eyes on this. If these files are eventually corroborated and verified, it is a bombshell indeed — evidence that there has been a literal conspiracy to push the anthropogenic climate change agenda far beyond the science.
It will mean the end of some scientific careers, and it might even mean those careers will end in jail.