A search of the files of climate science emails hacked from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia finds Climate Science Watch working with scientists to set the record straight in pushing back on the denial machine.
When the original batch of 1,073 stolen/hacked/leaked climate scientist emails was released and posted on various websites in November 2009, in the so-called ‘climategate’ affair, I did a search to see whether any of my email correspondence with scientists had made its way into the file. I found several items that involved exchanges with several scientists during the period October 8-13, 2009. When a second batch of emails was released earlier this week, I searched again in the new file of some 5,000 emails, using a searchable database posted on one of the skeptic websites, and came up with several items from the same period. One thing I noted is that some of the emails released this week are duplicates of those released in 2009 — the two files are not entirely distinct. I’ll leave it to others to study this matter further.
I’m not posting a link to the hacked email file because I support neither the public posting of the emails nor the motives and behavior of the denialists, contrarians, and skeptics who have been cherry-picking and misusing the material in order to move political agendas and pick fights with the science community that they can’t win with meaningful scientific discussion. You can find the material readily enough if you care to look for it.
Because my email exchanges resulted in some posts on this website that included comments for the record by several individuals who were among those under attack by the war on climate science and climate scientists that is still ongoing, I can give an idea of the subject matter without re-posting email that I believe should be treated as private correspondence.
I initiated the sequence of exchanges in connection with the development discussed in an October 8, 2009, post — Competitive Enterprise Institute global warming denialists try another gambit seeking to derail EPA “endangerment” finding, which leads with:
With a challenge to the IPCC global temperature data record, the Competitive Enterprise Institute is on a political mission to head off EPA’s decision on an “endangerment” finding that could lead to regulation of greenhouse gases. “Their bottom line is an antiregulatory ideology,” we said to Environment & Energy Daily on October 7. “When they use science, they use it tactically, and they will go to war with the mainstream science community.”…
And included this from Environment & Energy Daily on October 7, 2009:
…The Competitive Enterprise Institute—a vocal foe of EPA’s efforts to finalize its “endangerment finding”—petitioned the agency this week to reopen the public comment period on the proposal, arguing that critical data used to formulate the plan have been destroyed and that the available data are therefore unreliable.
At issue is a set of raw data from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, that includes surface temperature averages from weather stations around the world….
I was seeking clarification on the basic argument raised in the CEI petition, and concise short-turnaround comments for the record. As a result of the exchanges, I was able to post responses by Ben Santer and Phil Jones on October 13, 2009 — Phil Jones and Ben Santer respond to CEI and Pat Michaels attack on temperature data record, which leads with:
Prof. Phil Jones, Director of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in the UK and Ben Santer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory comment in response to a petition to EPA by the Competitive Enterprise Institute and Pat Michaels, which misleadingly seeks to obstruct EPA’s process in making an “endangerment” finding on greenhouse gases. This new CEI tactic is to call into question the integrity of the global temperature data record and, by implication, the integrity of leading climate scientists.
We also had this from Steve Schneider on October 14, 2009: Stephen Schneider comments on the CEI and Pat Michaels petition on the global warming data record.
With this we were able to contribute to coverage of the story at Greenwire/New York Times online on October 14, 2009: Scientists return fire at CEI and Pat Michaels for bogus charges on global temperature data record:
The New York Times and Greenwire reported on October 14 that climate scientists refuted claims, made in a petition to EPA by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, that essential data on the global warming temperature record had been destroyed, thus undermining the legitimacy of EPA’s prospective “endangerment finding” on greenhouse gases. The reporting picked up on statements made by Phil Jones of the UK Climatic Research Unit and Ben Santer of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory on this Website.
This exchange pre-dated the release of the ‘climategate’ emails by more than a month. Given the issues raised in the October 2009 petition to EPA, one has to wonder who might have had advance knowledge of the email release and how it would be used to wage war on scientists associated with developing the global temperature data record.
Given what has been established and validated about the temperature record by multiple sources, most recently including the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) study, it is evident that the mainstream climate science position has prevailed and that the argument put forward in the CEI petition supported by a Pat Michaels deposition was basically spurious — just another denialist tactical thrust.
Another issue came up in my ‘climategate’ email exchange, in which one of the leading scientists raised issues about the quality of an early study by Michaels. We didn’t follow up on that and it won’t detain us here, at this time.
One final note, for the historical record: this exchange, in which Santer and Jones were responding to my request by commenting on the CEI/Michaels petition to EPA, did at one point lead Santer to make the offhand comment that the next time he saw Michaels at a scientific meeting he would be “tempted to beat the crap out of him.” This later became one of the iconic ‘climategate’ cherry-picks, and Ben was pilloried for it by the denialists as part of their phony uproar. Knowing some of the backstory on this, I actually found the remark fairly understandable, albeit a bit heated. But knowing Ben as the mensch that he is, I smiled when I read it and didn’t for a moment think that Ben posed any actual threat to Pat, other than to his intellectual reputation.