Monday, November 23, 2009

Climate Change Schadenfreude

Anthony Watts, a leading critic of "Global Warming," of Watts Up With That and is trying (not very hard) to avoid an overdose of Schadenfreude. The Climate Research Unit computer assoiated with East Anglia University has been hacked.

The details on this are still sketchy, we’ll probably never know what went on. But it appears that University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit has been hacked and many many files have been released by the hacker or person unknown.
An unknown person put postings on some climate skeptic websites that advertised an FTP file on a Russian FTP server, here is the message that was placed on the Air Vent today:

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

The file was large, about 61 megabytes, containing hundreds of files.

It contained data, code, and emails from Phil Jones at CRU to and from many people.

I’ve seen the file, it appears to be genuine and from CRU. Others who have seen it concur- it appears genuine. There are so many files it appears unlikely that it is a hoax. The effort would be too great.

More posts from Watts Up With That

Mike’s Nature Trick
Release of CRU files forges a new hockey stick reconstruction
CRU Emails – search engine now online
Bishop Hill’s compendium of CRU email issues Several pages of interesting (salacious) quotes for the email messages.
CRU Emails “may” be open to interpretation, but commented code by the programmer tells the real story A comment from a programmer

People are talking about the emails being smoking guns but I find the remarks in the code and the code more of a smoking gun. The code is so hacked around to give predetermined results that it shows the bias of the coder. In other words make the code ignore inconvenient data to show what I want it to show. The code after a quick scan is quite a mess. Anyone with any pride would be to ashamed of to let it out public viewing.

Gavin Schmidt on the premier Global Warming advocacy blog
Real Climate provides this response.

As many of you will be aware, a large number of emails from the University of East Anglia webmail server were hacked recently (Despite some confusion generated by Anthony Watts, this has absolutely nothing to do with the Hadley Centre which is a completely separate institution). As people are also no doubt aware the breaking into of computers and releasing private information is illegal, and regardless of how they were obtained, posting private correspondence without permission is unethical. We therefore aren’t going to post any of the emails here. We were made aware of the existence of this archive last Tuesday morning when the hackers attempted to upload it to RealClimate, and we notified CRU of their possible security breach later that day.

Nonetheless, these emails (a presumably careful selection of (possibly edited?) correspondence dating back to 1996 and as recently as Nov 12) are being widely circulated, and therefore require some comment. Some of them involve people here (and the archive includes the first RealClimate email we ever sent out to colleagues) and include discussions we’ve had with the CRU folk on topics related to the surface temperature record and some paleo-related issues, mainly to ensure that posting were accurate.

He also quotes the official comment of the East Anglia Univeristy

“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.

“Because of the volume of this information we cannot currently confirm
that all of this material is genuine.”

“This information has been obtained and published without our permission
and we took immediate action to remove the server in question from

“We are undertaking a thorough internal investigation and we have involved
the police in this enquiry.”


At the very least a major Climate Change research institution has been caught publishing and defending false data. More embarrassing is that the data in question is what under lies the famous “hockey stick” graph which is widely used in popular presentations supporting Global Warming. This data has been questioned by many, Steve McIntyre of Climate Audit has proven it false with two different methodologies.

How far this extends beyond East Anglia is anyone’s guess for now, but even Der Spiegel in an article published just before the hack became public headlines Climatologists Baffled by Global Warming Time-Out. Actually climate data has been getting more and more out of line with preditions for several years.

The hack was released about a month before the Copenhagen climate conference next month. Early enough to get wide publicity possibly influencing participants, but late enough to make a complete response impossible.

There are two questions of illegality alleged. Hacking a computer is a crime, The second is that it appears from the information released that CRU was suppressing Freedom of Information Request which I gather is a criminal offense in Britain.

Watch the unfolding drama at:

Watts Up With That
Real Climate
Climate Audit

HT: Duff and Nonsense

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