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Phil Jones is stepping down as director of the the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit, one of the world's leading climate research centers, after emails were released implicating him in academic misconduct.  (Source: University of East Anglia)
Director admits emails about apparent warming deception "do not read well"

The University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit is one of the world's primary sources for climate data analysis and a close partner to the UN's International Panel on Climate Change.  Its researchers have published much of the work that has helped the theory of anthropogenic causation to global warming to gain acceptance in much of research community. 

Last week the CRU was the subject of a cyberattack.  Hackers released a 160 MB archive of stolen information from the center, including a number of emails from the center's director, Professor Phil Jones.

Some emails were merely embarrassing, such as Jones gloating over the death of a climate change skeptic.  Others offer signs of misconduct, with Jones appearing to carry out a campaign to remove climate skeptics from peer review boards.  The emails also show Jones discussing how he and researchers under him purposefully altered data to make warming trends seem greater -- what seems to be academic fraud.

The information in the emails has not been confirmed or denied, but the center has confirmed a leak occurred and that it is investigating the matter.  On Monday Jones announced via a press release that he would be stepping down as director while the investigations runs its course.  He says he still stands by his center's research, though, including his own.

The University's Vice-Chancellor Professor Edward Acton supported Jones' decision to step down.  Jones said the move was necessary for the CRU to "[continue] its world leading research with as little interruption and diversion as possible."

Supporters of warming have sought to minimize the results.  While they have not necessarily questioned the authenticity of the leaked archive, they argue that the leak is a smear campaign.  Jones has personally endorsed this theory, writing, "One has to wonder if it is a coincidence that this email correspondence has been stolen and published at this time. This may be a concerted attempt to put a question mark over the science of climate change in the run-up to the Copenhagen talks."

The leak indeed offers unfortunate tidings for proponents of climate change legislation.  With the U.S. preparing to commit to unprecedented and expensive emissions reductions at the UN Copenhagen global warming talks, members of the U.S. government are now voicing doubts.

Rep. James Sensenbrenner, Wisc.-R, is quoted as saying the emails "read more like scientific fascism than scientific process."  His colleague Rep. Ed Markey, Mass.-D, however complains that such criticism is merely a distraction from the "catastrophic threat to our planet."

Jones, at the center of the scandal, has made a comment that indicates the emails may be valid.  He admitted in a post that the emails "do not read well", but dismisses claims of data alteration and misconduct as mere "confusion".

A close supporter of Jones, Lord Stern, author of the U.K.'s 2006 Stern Report, on Tuesday looked to help the embattled climate change movement by speaking out on his views.  He says that the evidence of manmade warming is "overwhelming".  He added that all views on the topic should be heard, but that the opinions of warming skeptics might not be valid views in his estimation.  He called the skeptics "muddled and confused".

Confusion indeed seems afoot, but perhaps more at the CRU than anyplace else.  It should be noted that some researchers appear in the released emails to have not cooperated with Jones' campaign and risked their jobs to preserve their academic integrity.  Kevin Trenberth was among those who refused to participate and questioned the certainty of the CRU's conclusions on manmade warming.

The CRU has moved to silence one point of criticism.  It has agreed to publish missing land surface temperatures shortly.  The research center says that 95 percent of its data has been publicly available for "several years".  The center says that its conclusions that man is responsible for warming "correlate well to those of other scientists based on the separate data sets held by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS)."

It is apt that the CRU's release mentions America's GISS as the CRU warming scandal closely mirrors the controversy over data alterations by Dr. James Hansen director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS).  Dr. Hansen's data was shown to have errors both in 2007 and 2008 which exaggerated warming trends.

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RE: Misconduct
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 12/3/2009 7:53:49 AM , Rating: 5
So we have a single factor (Northern Hemisphere winter) skewing the global average to make it appear flat, and his research just so happens to explain a dynamic by which warming could actually cause those colder winters.

So basically you are saying that we have data that contradicts our theory, so let's discount that data to make our theory work? But its just a single factor... =(

Normally what scientists do in this situation is they modify their theory to account for the data that does not fit their now disproven theory. That is called "science." Get some.

RE: Misconduct
By rtrski on 12/3/2009 10:20:56 AM , Rating: 5
Or better yet, if you have

...a single factor (Northern Hemisphere winter) skewing the global average to make it appear flat...

...then maybe you THROW OUT ENTIRELY the use of any self-balancing 'average' statistic as meaningless and find some other metric (regional temps vs. time, seasonal-adjusted averages over time, whatever) instead of trying to massage that 'average' to enhance a pre-existing supposition.

If a few data points in your 'average' is enough to balance out an apparent trend in others, that tells me your measurement signal to noise is too low to accurately measure the long term slope vs. the local variations (let's not even get started discussing how wide the error bars on historical temp reconstructions by various proxies must be, all of which are themselves going to have the same localization effects).

Or you find and try to reduce the sources of noise with more accurate measurements. But in this case, since there's been a lot of discussion about Northern Hemisphere monitoring stations audited to be in urban heat islands, that might actually indicate the recent NA measured winter temps are all on the HIGH side compared to earlier data. Which makes that one contrary point even more 'dominant' if further noise correction is performed (it's the 'low' point, but the error is all to the high side).

The whole average world temperature graphy thingy is flawed conceptually from the very start, IMO, hokey stick or no. But I guess they needed some "global" smoking gun to justify huge research budgets and massive social engineering proposals.

RE: Misconduct
By rtrski on 12/3/2009 10:22:29 AM , Rating: 2
hah, "hokey" stick was actually a typo, but it fits quite well, doesn't it? Wish I'd done it on purpose. :)

RE: Misconduct
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 12/3/2009 1:35:13 PM , Rating: 2
Hokey stick aside, a more significant issue is the accuracy of temperature measurement techniques over time. There are more data taken with more accurate equipment as we move forward in history. Of course, we are still not as warm as we were in the 1000's when the Vikings were farming Greenland and Iceland. Where is that Hokey stick data?

RE: Misconduct
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