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Emails Stolen from Climate Change Scientists
12/04/2009 | Marilyn Sigman, Alaska SeaGrant/MAP
Tags: Communicating about Climate Change, Communicating Science, Climate Change

One of the purposes of this site is about how best to communicate about climate change. The reactions to stolen email communications among climate scientists at the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit are providing an interesting lens into how scientists communicate informally about science, how some nonscientists interpret “proof” and “disproof,” and how scientists defend both the scientific method and the process of peer review. The interpretation of the emails is having political consequences related to deliberations in Congress on the climate change bills and discussions at the Copenhagen Climate Conference.

The CRU has the largest archive of global temperature data in the world, and its research formed the basis of the United Nations' key document on global warming, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report of 2007. Much of the debate centers around statements made by leading climate scientists concerning how they interpreted an represented climate data used in IPCC review. On November 25, just days after the leaked emails,The Copenhagen Diagnosis, co-authored by 26 scientists, was released, documenting key findings since the Fourth Intergovernmental Climate Change Panel report in 2007.

One of the statements in the emails is relevant to Alaska climate science because it refers to how to portray tree-ring proxy data from northern latitudes which appear to contradict climate warming trends. An article by Glenn Juday on the subject Coincidence and Contradiction in the Warming Boreal Forest provides his personal reflections as a scientist on the Alaska data and “the way science works” in the most recent issue of Witness the Arctic.

Recent new stories:
12/2/09 Wall Street Journal
The Science and Politics of Climate Change

11/27/09 NY Times DotEarth blog by Andrew Revkin
Hacked E-Mail Data Prompts Calls for Changes in Climate Research

11/25/09 NPR All Things Considered
Transcript of NPR story by Richard Harris: Stolen E-Mails Raise Questions On Climate Research

To follow the ongoing dialogue,
The RealClimate blog is self-described as “climate science by real climate scientists” and is moderated by five climate scientists, including Gavin Schmidt and Michael Mann, Director of Pennsylvania State University’s Earth System Science Center.. Email statements made by these scientists have been widely publicized. Visit the site to see their response and more than 1,000 responses to their response. Michael Mann is the author of paleoclimate “hockey stick” reconstructions of temperature over the past couple of millennia and co-author of the Copenhagen Diagnosis report.

Climate Progress is the blog of Joe Romm and a project of the Center for American Progress. The focus is on the intersection of climate science, economics, and policy and he responds, in detail, to statements made in the press that deny that climate change is happening or challenge climate science.

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