Saturday, December 5, 2009

Manipulating Climate Data

When news of climategate first broke and spread across the blogosphere, the reaction from the scientists involved and their many supporters was much like Frank Morgan in The Wizard of Oz, "Do you presume to criticize The Great Oz?" Now that Toto has pulled back the curtain by posting emails, computer codes and other materials online for Dorothy and the world to see, things in the world of climate science will never be the same.

Phil Jones, the man whose emails are now open for all to see, has stepped down as Director of the Climatic Research Centre at the University of East Anglia. East Anglia says it will review the leaked material "to determine whether there is any evidence of the manipulation or suppression of data which is at odds with acceptable scientific practice." Climate scientists who support global warming and the Copenhagen process continue to say there is nothing in the leaks to show data was manipulated and that nothing has changed. Yet the university, one of the premiere institutions for climate science and the one which provided the research backbone to many reports on global warming, says it sees enough to investigate.

Read the full report here.

Stephen M Barr, a professor of physics at the Bartol Research Institute at the University of Delaware, picks up the theme:

Ideologues who would trample down legitimate scientific questions raised by their entirely qualified colleagues are risking terrible damage to science in the long run. If it turns out, as it might, that the global warming fears are overblown or ill-founded, the credibility of the scientific establishment will suffer a grievous blow from which it will be hard to recover. It will open the door for all the real kooks and purveyors of pseudoscience, who will be that much harder to resist in the future. And what if at some point in the future an environmental catastrophe looms about which there really is a solid consensus in the scientific community? And what if at that point it really is only kooks who deny it? Won’t non-scientists be disposed to say: ‘We’ve heard that all before? We believed you the last time and you led us astray?’

Related reading: Scientists Behaving Badly

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