Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Hacked Emails Reveal; Nothing Much

So the story so far is that 13 years worth of private emails between climate scientists were hacked and released onto the net. Naturally climate-denialists are pouring though them looking for evidence of the huge white-coat conspiracy that they seem to think exists and what have they found? A hand full of quotes that out of context look a bit dodgy.

What is missed in all this hot air is that global warming's effects are happening now - the denialists are having a bureaucratic argument when we can see, from observation, the impact it is happening. They are asking us to turn our heads away from what we can see - and look though some old emails instead. Here's a few examples from the last few weeks alone:

- Warming drives off Cape Cod's namesake, other fish.
- Ravaged by drought, Madagascar feels the full effect of climate change.
- Kashmir's main glacier "melting at alarming speed".
- The Spread of New Diseases: The Climate Connection.

How do emails explain these? They don't - it's a distraction from what is already happening by the flat earth society and it stinks.

Here's an example of a cherry picked quote - this is probably the most doogy looking so far found:
"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."

Which sounds bad - but remember, this is private 'shop talk' discussion - so add the context and you get;
Mann said the “trick” Jones referred to was placing a chart of proxy temperature records, which ended in 1980, next to a line showing the temperature record collected by instruments from that time onward. “It’s hardly anything you would call a trick,” Mann said, adding that both charts were differentiated and clearly marked.

And as also expected: The “decline” refers to the “divergence problem”. This is where tree ring proxies diverge from modern instrumental temperature records after 1960. The divergence problem is discussed as early as 1998, suggesting a change in the sensitivity of tree growth to temperature in recent decades (Briffa 1998). It is also examined more recently in Wilmking 2008 which explores techniques in eliminating the divergence problem. So when you look at Phil Jone’s email in the context of the science discussed, it is not the schemings of a climate conspiracy but technical discussions of data handling techniques available in the peer reviewed literature.

How about this one?

You need not give yourself the trouble of examining all the calculations of the Scholium. Such errors as do not depend upon wrong reasoning can be of no great consequence & may be corrected by the reader.

Or this one?

I wrote to you on Tuesday that the last leafe of the papers you sent me should be altered because it refers to a manuscript in my private custody & not yet upon record.

Both look bad - and both are written by Isaac Newton in private letters. It shows that out of context anything can look bad. Does that means the theory of gravity is wrong?

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