Global Warming: Man or Myth?

Scientists can also wear their citizen hats

Nature Did Not Read the Hacked Emails

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Climategate.  Exactly one year ago, on November 17, 2009, email messages and other computer files were illegally stolen from computers located at the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU).  These emails and files were then leaked to the Internet in a blatant attempt to derail international climate talks at the COP-15 Copenhagen Climate Conference.  Two crimes were committed that day: 1)  Emails were stolen and 2)  Scientists were wrongly put on trial in the press and the blogosphere.

These emails were spun by skeptics of man-made global warming as somehow proving that global warming is a hoax and that scientists were controlling what science gets published.  Climategate was billed as the final nail in the coffin of anthropogenic [manmade] global warming (AGW).  What has happened in the year following Climategate?

  1. CO2 is still increasing
  2. Climate is still warming
  3. Ice is still melting
  4. Severe weather increased
  5. No journal articles have been published overturning AGW but there have been many supporting AGW
  6. The accused scientists have been exonerated by many different investigations
  7. Claims that the exonerations were a whitewash are simply hogwash
  8. Climategate coverage was unfair



Current chart and data for atmospheric CO2
Current level of CO2 measured directly from the Earth’s atmosphere at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii

The atmospheric content of the global warming gas carbon dioxide increased by just under 3 ppm (parts per million).  At first glance that may sound like a small amount but it represents and increase of 23 billion tons of CO2 over the past year.  To put that in perspective, if CO2 were oil, an increase of 3 ppm is the same as 12,000 Gulf Oil Spills per day!  Yes, PER DAY.  See the calculation in a previous blog post.


NASA reports 2010 hottest year on record so far

NASA reports 2010 hottest year on record so far

NASA: The 12-month running mean global temperature has reached a new record in 2010 — despite recent minimum of solar irradiance“We conclude that global temperature continued to rise rapidly in the past decade” and “there has been no reduction in the global warming trend of 0.15-0.20°C/decade that began in the late 1970s.”

18 Nations Set All-Time Record Highs in 2010

18 Nations Set All-Time Record Highs in 2010

Eighteen extreme national high temperature records have been set in 2010.  This year now ranks first place for the most number of countries that have set extreme heat records, according to a list supplied to Jeff Master of Weather Underground by Chris Burt. One-third (33%) of those heat records were set in the past ten years.  Ten years have had extreme heat records set at five or more countries:

2010: 18 records
2007: 15 records
2003: 12 records
2005: 11 records
1998: 9 records
1983: 9 records
2009: 6 records
2000: 5 records
1999: 5 records
1987: 5 records

As reported by Heidi Cullen and Claudia Tebaldi of Climate Central:

The summer of 2010 brought intensely hot weather to large portions of the northeastern U.S., central Europe, and Russia. Russia was especially hard hit as a heat wave — with daily high temperatures hitting 100°F — contributing to the deaths of as many as 15,000 people in Moscow while wildfires tore across more than 2,900 square miles in the central and western part of the country. Drought accompanied the record high temperatures decimating more than a quarter of Russia’s grain harvest. Economists estimated the grain losses cost the Russian economy upwards of $15 billion dollars.


Moscow Record-Busting Heat Wave

Moscow Record-Busting Heat Wave



Record Low Arctic Ice Thickness

Record Low Arctic Ice Thickness

Ice volume, the best measure of ice loss, set a record minimum in 2010.

Arctic Sea Ice Extent Near Record Lows

Arctic Sea Ice Extent Near Record Lows (NSIDC)


Greenland Rapidly Losing Ice

Greenland Rapidly Losing Ice (Skeptical Science)

Ice Loss Doubled in the Past 8 Years

Ice Loss Doubled in the Past 8 Years (Skeptical Science)

Greenland is losing ice and the rate of ice loss has doubled in the past eight years.


Enough said.


As the climate warms and more moisture is added to the atmosphere, there is more energy in the atmosphere which increases severe weather such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods.  2010 was a record year.

Tornadoes in the US in 2010 Increased

Tornadoes in the US in 2010 Increased (Storm Prediction Center)

The number of tornadoes in the US increased by 51% since Climategate.  2010 was well above the three year average for US tornado activity.  The 30 year average for the US is 1000 tornadoes per year. 

Update (11/18/2010): Please read the comment from Harold Brooks from NSSL.  The data I am using is preliminary data and the actual number of tornadoes in 2010 may end up being below the average.  The final total for 2010 will be announced in March 2011.

2010 was a near-record Atlantic hurricane season with 19 named storms, 12 hurricanes, and 5 major hurricanes blowing away 2009 which had only 9 named storms.

2010 Hurricane Scorecard

2010 Hurricane Scorecard (Weather Channel)

Top 3 Hurricane Years

Top 3 Hurricane Years (Weather Channel)

2010 Hurricane Tracks

2010 Hurricane Tracks (Weather Channel)

2010 may not be remembered as having a very active hurricane season because none of the storms made landfall.  Can you imagine if the reverse were true and many of these storms had hit?

And sadly, we cannot forget that 2010 was a disastrous year for the people of Pakistan.  The 2010 Pakistan floods began in July 2010 following heavy monsoon rains in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan regions of Pakistan and affected the Indus River basin. At one point, approximately one-fifth of Pakistan’s total land area was underwater. According to Pakistani government data the floods directly affected about 20 million people, mostly by destruction of property, livelihood and infrastructure, with a death toll of close to 2,000. The number of individuals affected by the flooding exceeds the combined total of individuals affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2005 Kashmir earthquake and the 2010 Haiti earthquake (Wiki).

Pakistan Flood
Pakistan Flood (

These types of extraordinary disasters will become more common in a warmer world.


There have been several investigations into the allegations of misconduct by Drs. Jones and Mann and every one has shown that the allegations were baseless.  Dr. Michael Mann was exonerated on February 3, 2010 after an exhaustive investigation.  Dr. Jones has been exonerated by the UK Parliament (March 31, 2010) and also exonerated by The University of East Anglia (April 14, 2010), among others.  As reported in The Guardian (11/14):

Even more stark were the findings of a separate inquiry in America by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This report not only endorsed the work of the East Anglian climate researchers, it also strongly attacked US politicians and energy groups who had tried to suggest that the leaked East Anglia emails revealed that humans were not playing a role in warming of the planet.

According to the EPA, these people had “routinely misunderstood or mis-characterised the scientific issues, drawn faulty conclusions, resorted to hyperbole, impugned the ethics of climate scientists in general, and characterised actions as ‘falsifications’ and ‘manipulation’ with no basis or support.” Such individuals had also cherry-picked the language of the emails without looking deeper into the issues or providing corroborating evidence to assert that improper action had occurred. As a summation of climate scientists’ disdain for global warming deniers, these words could hardly be bettered.


Those that deny the science of climate change were never going to be happy with an innocent verdict for any of the scientists involved.  It was inevitable that they would claim that every independent investigation must be a whitewash.  Some claimed that Penn State University was protecting Dr. Michael Mann because of the research grant money that he brings in.  Brian Angliss, and engineer and journalist at Scholars & Rogues, investigated this claim.  According to Angliss:

According to a list of grants at The Free Republic, Mann has brought in a total of $4.2 million since he joined PSU in 2006, with a significant portion of that money to be spent over the next several years. From 2006 to 2009, Mann’s grants totaled about $1.8 million. In that same period, PSU’s total research income was $2.8 billion ($2,804 million). As a percentage, Mann’s grants represented 0.06% of the total research money that PSU was granted between 2006 and 2009. Clearly, as White pointed out, “[i]t makes no sense that [Mann’s] grants could corrupt the whole system.”

As for the allegations of misconduct made against Mann himself, Rahmstorf had this to say:

I don’t think there ever was any serious basis for an official inquiry. Rather, the allegations are part of politically motivated character assassination attacks aimed at individual climate scientists, by people who don’t really care about science at all, but who dislike climate policy and the idea of reducing emissions. However, a university has little choice but to properly investigate if such allegations are raised.


In an April 2010 blog post I showed that climategate coverage was unfair.  

News Headlines: Accused vs. Exonerated

Web Hits: Accused vs. Exonerated


Climategate was billed as the final nail in the coffin of man-made global warming. Nonsense. One year later we see that the world is still warming and people are still suffering despite the emails. Nature does not read email and the world would be better served if we move past the false scandal of Climategate and try to figure our way out of the global warming mess we are causing.  We can only do so if we let our scientists do their jobs.


Written by Scott Mandia

November 17, 2010 at 12:42 am

Posted in Uncategorized

13 Responses

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  1. Beautiful round up of all the facts Scott!


    November 17, 2010 at 1:22 am

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Matt Curtis and Baerbel Winkler, Scott A Mandia. Scott A Mandia said: One Year Anniversary of #Climategate. Nature Did Not Read the Hacked Emails […]

  3. Excellent piece Scott. I added it to my Nov. Leading Edge report:

    Also I have built up the solar monitoring page which I think you might like:

    I have a new page in dev mode now on oscillations 🙂

  4. […] Nature did not read the hacked emails; the climate is still changing. […]

  5. […] Nature did not read the hacked emails. […]

  6. Nicely done! A great angle to take on the issue. I didn’t know about the hurricane season or the ice volume – thanks for the tip.


    November 17, 2010 at 2:07 pm

  7. This is a great post, with not a wasted shot in the broadside.
    If the conventional media valued evidence-based argument as much as the Lohan rehab story of the week, this would be on the front page everywhere.


    November 17, 2010 at 3:36 pm

  8. A beautiful presentation of under-appreciated facts. A nice contrast to today’s Canadian political story: the unelected Senate defeated, without any discussion or debate, a climate change bill passed by the elected parliament– at the behest of the minority Conservative government, which has forgotten that Canadians elect a parliament, not a dictator.

    Bryson Brown

    November 17, 2010 at 9:33 pm

  9. “The number of tornadoes in the US increased by 51% since Climategate. 2010 was well above the three year average for US tornado activity. The 30 year average for the US is 1000 tornadoes per year.”

    2010 is unlikely to be above the three year average for US tornado activity. You’ve confused the preliminary with the final reports. Typically, final reports are 25% or so less than preliminary totals. For January-July, there were 230 fewer final reports than preliminary. Assuming only a 20% reduction for August-November would put the current total for 2010 at ~1150. It’s extremely unlikely that there will be 165 additional tornadoes this year. There will probably be fewer than 1200 when the final total is known (March).

    The 30 year average is close to a meaningless number because of the the long-term changes in reporting. A best estimate of the expected number of tornadoes per year, given the long-term trend is ~1300. As a result, it appears that 2010 will be below average for US tornadoes.

    Harold Brooks

    November 18, 2010 at 9:31 am

    • Harold,

      Thank you for this update. When the final report comes out I will be sure to edit this post accordingly if I remember to do so or if you remind me. I will put a note in the content to reflect your comments.

      Scott Mandia

      November 18, 2010 at 12:20 pm

  10. Thanks Scott, that was a very clean and crisp rundown. I was also unaware of the hurricane numbers.

    J Bowers

    November 18, 2010 at 2:04 pm

  11. […] of course, Mother Nature did not read the hacked emails.  There is unequivocal evidence that the planetary system is warming and the pattern of warming […]

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