Climate Group Hack
This post has was moved over here from a blog that I use for teaching. This location is a more appropriate one.
Update 12/20/09: Further reading of stolen emails reveals scientists searching for the truth
Update 12/14/09: Climate Crock of the Week Video: Smacking the Hack Attack Part 2
Update 12/09/09: Debunking Misinformation About Stolen Climate Emails & Analysis of the Emails from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit
Update 12/07/09: Climate Crock of the Week Video: Smacking the Hack Attack
Update: 12/06/09: Watch this video which debunks the Climate Gate Myth
Some of you may have heard or will hear about a computer hack of the Climate Research Unit in England. This is one of the world’s major sources for climate data and research.
The news varies depending on the political views of the organization but some blogs and newspapers/television claim that this hack has revealed that human caused global warming has been faked. Nothing could be further from the truth. Here is my opinion:
To date, there has not been a single credible journal article that shows a natural cause for the modern day warming while also showing how record high greenhouse gas concentrations are not significant.
Do people really believe that the scientists at CRU are able to squelch every scientist on the planet who tried to publish this landmark anti-AGW paper? Is there no sense of the low probability and the large scale of this conspiracy for this to be true?
If one throws out the HadCRU data and all papers by these folks, there is still a mountain of evidence for AGW.
Do the rapidly melting ice sheets and glaciers have access to these emails and joined in on the conspiracy?
Do the various climate models that show GHGs as the dominant forcing mechanism have access to these emails and joined in on the conspiracy?
Do the GISS, UAH, RSS data that show global warming of approximately 0.2C per decade over the past 30 years have access to these emails and joined in on the conspiracy? Certainly Spencer and Christy who run UAH and are well-known skeptics of AGW would not align themselves with AGW and yet their satellite-derived measurements track reasonably with GISS, RSS, and HadCRU. (BTW, 2009 will likely end up being a Top 10 or Top 5 warmest year since 1850)
Does the ocean read these emails and magically increase its heat content?
Does the cooling stratosphere (even accounting for ozone loss) read the emails and join in on the hoax?
Do the plants and animals read these emails and decide to die off and/or change their migratory habits so that they can support the conspiracy?
I could go on ad infinitum.
For quite a long time, we have known that a doubling of CO2 will warm the climate at least 1C and there is fairly good certainty that the resulting feedbacks will produce at least 2C additional warming with 3C more likely. We are also measuring CO2 increases of 2 ppm and climbing (except last year where there was a slight decrease due to the global recession) and we have levels that have not been seen in the past 15 million years.
Are we to conclude that these emails deny all of this evidence?
There are many scientists from many fields that have published data that show the effects of global warming and why humans are the primary drivers of this warming. These scientists include some of the obvious: climatologists, meteorologists, geologists, modelers, and oceanographers. Some less obvious include: biologists, marine biologists, zoologists, chemists, astrophysicists, economists, environmental politics researchers, and others. I am quite confident that MANY of these folks have NEVER spoken to the CRU folks nor emailed them.
It is obvious that pre-Copenhagen, the tried and true method of “if one does not like the message then attack the messenger or redirect the conversation” practiced by Big Tobacco and now ExxonMobil and their front groups (Heartland Institute, George C. Marshall Institute, Competitive Enterprise Institute, etc.) is alive and well.