Thursday, November 26, 2009

Climatologists are human shock!

You've probably heard the furore over the leaked e-mails from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia. If you are a climate denier/sceptic then this is the proof you've been waiting for that the whole thing is a socialist scam to enslave the world. Even George Monbiot says that heads should roll. Rejoice!


When you look at it, it's all a big fuss over nothing. Let's look at the "smoking guns":

1. One researcher says he's used a "trick" to deal with the "decline". This has already been misinterpreted by The Telegraph that the "decline" refers to recent years' temperature data when it doesn't. It refers to a way round a problem marrying historic tree ring data and actual temperature data. The whole "trick" was so devious the researcher published what he did and how he did it at the time in the prestigious scientific journal Nature and it was accepted as scientifically sound by their (very strict) peer review panel.

2. The censorship of research. This refers to the controversy in 2004 over the editorial policy in the journal Climate Research and again the row was very public at the time. Several editors resigned in protest at the acceptance of a number of (sceptical) papers which they felt did not meet proper academic standards. Academic politics can get quite bitter.

3. Freedom of Information requests. Again this has all been in the open, although I believe that in general data should be shared, even with people who will misinterpret it, deliberately or otherwise.

4. One researcher is frustrated he can't explain why 2008 was relatively cool. If you've worked in academic circles, there are always problems like this to solve.

What else do the e-mails tell us? That climatologists can be truculent, defensive and sometimes rude about others in private. Well, just like the rest of us then...

The whole fuss has got the denial brigade back in the media just before Copenhagen. You'd think someone had planned the whole thing.

Also, Nigel Lawson has launched a new "cross-party policy forum" on global warming which is going to carry out an objective review of the evidence. Except the board of trustees and scientific advisors are packed with the usual suspects from the denial circuit (Lindzen, Stott, Plimer - the best that money can buy). The banner of the website shows temperature data from 2001-08, nailing their colours firmly to the mast. Looks like the Heartland Institute on Thames, then.

Ho hum.

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