The article is sadly revealing on so many levels.
We non-media-savvy scientists at the University of East Anglia have learnt a hard lesson this week — the truth is not enough in the face of a media-savvy enemy.
If this is what has been learnt at CRU, then they have learnt the wrong lesson. From what we understand about Mann's discredited hockey stick, temperature stations compromised by the urban heat island effect, the bogus temperature data, incomprehensible and/or dodgy models, not to mention the disingenuous 'peer review' defence, truth has no place in climate science.
But are warmists media-unsavvy? How anyone could claim that is beyond me. It is nearly impossible to buy a paper these days without something about global warming, and this terrible situation has been getting worse year by year. Every time a bit of ice slides into the sea it is printed in the paper and shown on TV (of course the refreezing in the winter is of less media interest). If a global warming scientist states that the sea is rising at twice the level we thought it was last week, the papers uncritically print this nonsense. Each week. Newspapers and TV stations employ hundreds of environmental reporters who scour the world for the latest lunatic pronouncement from Prof Watson and his ilk.
The BBC has even renamed its science news section in honour of environmentalism.
As for Al Gore? Once you take aware the media savvy I'm not sure there is anything left.
Character assassination is a purely diversionary tactic, but in the hacked e-mails affair it has been spectacularly successful.
A lot of the reason for the widespread alarm is that it shows a lot of truth what sceptics have been saying for years. It is the lightening rod for a lot of concern over what appears to be a bizarre intellectual fervour.
How many of us would emerge unscathed if all our private e-mails over 20 years were opened by someone determined to prove that we were up to no good? The hackers have picked choice phrases out of context — and context is all: without it, these statements look awful. In the one most quoted, the director of the Climate Research Unit (CRU), Phil Jones, talks about using a “trick” to “hide the decline”. At first reading, this easily translates as “deceiving [politicians, other scientists, everyone] into believing the world is warming when it is actually cooling”.
It is odd how the emails have been put together. It is almost as if it was done for an official information request and then someone decided not to send it.
But it doesn’t mean that at all. Jones is talking about a line on a graph for the cover of a World Meteorological Organisation report, published in 2000, which shows the results of different attempts to reconstruct temperature over the past 1,000 years. The line represents one particular attempt, using tree-ring data for temperature. The method agrees with actual measurements before about 1960, but diverges from them after that — for reasons only partly understood, discussed in the literature.
The tree-ring measure declines, but the actual temperatures after 1960 go up. They draw the line to follow the tree-ring reconstruction up to 1960 and the measured temperature after that. The notes explain that the data are “reconstructions, along with historical and long instrumental records”. Not very clear perhaps, but not much of a “trick”.
It sounds like a clear fabrication to me. What sort of a scientist would do such a thing? If it is tree ring data it should be tree ring data. Otherwise the line should be labelled 'whatever I want it to be so that this silly lines points up'.
In another e-mail, Jones calls a sceptical research paper “garbage”, and says of this and another, that he “can’t see them being included” in the International Panel on Climate Change report that was being prepared. Such strong reactions are commonplace in academic research. What matters is what actually gets published. Were the papers excluded? No. Both are discussed appropriately in the report. If this was a conspiracy, it was singularly unsuccessful.
It matters because on the one hand Phil Jones works hard to get papers excluded which don't agree with his research. On another climate scientists argue that papers that have not passed the peer review process are bogus. It matters a lot.
Climate sceptics would have us believe that the CRU data is invalid, and that the 20th-century warming is a construct entirely in the minds of a few scientists. This point of view surely has difficulty explaining why Arctic sea ice is declining and glaciers are retreating so rapidly, and why spring arrives earlier and autumn later than 50 years ago.
The belief in warming, CO2 causing that warming and humans being responsible for the CO2 is certainly in their minds. It seems clear that for the past decade or more, this small group of scientists has worked hard to prove what they believe, hidden data and methods to avoid discovery of their little scam and pervert the peer review process to their own ends.
I hope Watson has better evidence than Artic sea ice:
Arctic sea ice extent averaged over November 2009 was 10.26 million square kilometers (3.96 million square miles). This was 1.05 million square kilometers (405,000 square miles) below the 1979 to 2000 average for November, but 420,000 square kilometers (160,000 square miles) above the record low for the month, which occurred in November 2006. In general, the ice edge is now at or slightly beyond its average location, with two notable exceptions: Hudson Bay and the Barents Sea.
It will be the last two that will be in the papers, I confidently predict.
Re glaciers some retreat and some extend and there is a long time delay between temperature and size, hundreds of years for large glaciers. It is a sureal experience to visit a glacier at ground level on a 28 degree (celsius!) day and wonder at how it exists at all.
But it seems clear that glaciers as a whole are on the retreat. Is this really due to the fraction of a degree of temperature rise? Is it due to us climbing out of the 'little ice age' which ended about 1850? Or is it due to the medieval warm period hundreds of years earlier (the one Michael Mann managed to obliterate with his statistical skill)? Who knows?
By the way, in New Zealand, I recall the sign in the 1980s at Franz Josef glacier (near where I lived) saying that glaciers all over the world at in retreat, including this one. Unfortunately it reversed and they had to change the sign. Wikipedia now says:
Having retreated several kilometres between the 1940s and 1980s, the glacier entered an advancing phase in 1984 and at times has advanced at the phenomenal (by glacial standards) rate of 70 cm a day. The flow rate is about 10 times that of typical glaciers. Over the longer term, the glacier has retreated since the last ice age, and it is believed that it extended into the sea some 10,000 to 15,000 years ago.
So when a glacier advances it is due to snowfall, but when it retreats it is due to global warming? This sort of thing is why warmists have no credibility.
Re the spring and autumn dates, who knows. The whole last paragraph to me is an example of the media spin that these scientists are very good at putting across, whatever they say.