Hackers attack climate research centre

By Iain Thomson on Nov 23, 2009 3:02 PM
Filed under Security

Attackers publish emails to fuel global warming sceptics

Hackers have attacked the servers of the Climatic Research Unit at East Anglia University in the UK and published data that they say proves global warming is a hoax.

The unnamed hackers stole over 1,000 e-mails and 3,000 documents relating to climate research over the last ten years and have posted excepts online. Many of the published information will add fuel to sceptics who say scientists are making up data about global warming.

“The volume of material published and its piecemeal nature makes it impossible to confirm what proportion is genuine,” the university said in a statement.

“We took immediate action to remove the server in question from operation and have involved the police in what we consider to be a criminal investigation.”

The university has said that the attack was most likely carried out to influence the U.N. climate conference in Copenhagen that is being held next week, and claimed the data released is misleading.

Professor Phil Jones, director of the Climatic Research Unit, confirmed one of the emails was genuine but said it was "taken completely out of context" and "caused a great deal of ill-informed comment."

The email reportedly read as follows:

"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. Mike's series got the annual land and marine values while the other two got April-Sept for NH land N of 20N. The latter two are real for 1999, while the estimate for 1999 for NH combined is +0.44C wrt 61-90. The Global estimate for 1999 with data through Oct +is 0.35C cf. 0.57 for 1998."

Jones said the email refers to a diagram - not a scientific paper - which was used in the World Meteorological Organisation's statement on the status of the global climate in 1999 (WMO-no.913).

“The diagram consisted of three curves showing 50-year average temperature v ariations for the last 1000 years. Each curve referred to a scientific paper and a key gives their details.”

“Climate records consist of actual temperature records from the mid-19th century and proxy data (tree rings, coral, ice cores, etc) which go back much further. The green curve on the diagram included proxy data up to 1960 but only actual temperatures from 1961 onwards. This is what is being discussed in the email," Jones said.

“The word 'trick' was used here colloquially as in a clever thing to do. It is ludicrous to suggest that it refers to anything untoward.”

Nevertheless climate change deniers are claiming that the emails are proof that scientists are conspiring to push climate change irrespective of facts.

“The posting of private data files from the Climatic Research Unit in England reveals the sleazy, unseemly side of a number of the leading scientific proponents of global warming alarmism, including CRU Director Phil Jones, Michael Mann, Ben Santer, and Kevin Trenberth,” said Myron Ebell, director of Energy and Global Warming Policy from the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which is partially funded by energy companies.

“It is clear that some of the “world’s leading climate scientists,” as they are always described, are more dedicated to promoting the alarmist political agenda than in scientific research. Some of the e-mails that I have read are blatant displays of personal pettiness, unethical conniving, and twisting the science to support their political position.”

 
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