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Yet another Climategate?

A new set of climate science-related e-mails and documents has apparently been released from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK.

The files, including more than 5,000 e-mails of as-yet-unconfirmed authenticity, have been posted on an anonymous server in Russia.

A text file included with the released e-mails and documents seems to quote prominent researchers discussing the quality of climate reconstructions and the possibility that natural climate fluctuations might be behind the twentieth-century warming trend.

“I find myself in the strange position of being very sceptical of the quality of all present [climate] reconstructions,” one researcher is quoted as having allegedly remarked.

Another remark reads: “What if climate change appears to be just mainly a multidecadal natural fluctuation? They’ll kill us probably.”


A previous leak in 2009 of more than 1,000 CRU e-mails — quickly dubbed Climategate — had caused a long-running debate over the integrity of a group of leading climate scientists and of climate research as a whole.

British and US climate scientists, including the then-head of the CRU, Phil Jones, were subsequently cleared of any wrongdoing. But the affair did raise calls for more openness and transparency in handling and sharing climate data.

The title of the uploaded file — FOIA.zip — suggests that the e-mails released today have been taken from CRU servers by the same person, or group of persons, who were responsible for the 2009 leak.

As then, the release comes just weeks before a United Nations climate summit. The two-week-long meeting in Durban, South Africa, starts on 28 November.

The university said in a statement that it had no evidence of a recent breach of its systems. The statement continues: “If genuine, (the sheer volume of material makes it impossible to confirm at present that they are all genuine) these e-mails have the appearance of having been held back after the theft of data and e-mails in 2009 to be released at a time designed to cause maximum disruption to the imminent international climate talks.”

For a round-up of Nature‘s previous coverage of ‘Climategate’, see our news special.

Comments

  1. Report this comment

    nitpicker said:

    Thank God all that Koch money funded research which put these professors’ thoughtful fears to rest.

  2. Report this comment

    Dave said:

    Scientists questioning their results? Good Lord, they’re engaging in the Scientific Method!! The horror!!

  3. Report this comment

    Steve said:

    The context of the “They’ll kill us” quote is that it was written on a public forum in 2007 by what appears to be a PhD student. There he is trying to see both sides of the argument. He strongly criticises Al Gore and questions whether uncertainty in the science is being sufficiently openly discussed.

    So hardly a private email from a top climate scientist with fixed, alarmist, views worried about being found out to be exaggerating things!

    http://listserv.arizona.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind0703&L=ITRDBFOR&P=R3754&I=-3

  4. Report this comment

    Mike M said:

    Suppose it became commonplace for the government to become the sole entity to paint houses so a new “House Painting Bureau” with its own budget was enacted.

    We all know that, in time, they would command what brand and color of paint will be used, how often our houses need to be painted, more and more workers required to paint a house, ever stricter rules, etc. Would it not be true that WHEN citizens finally realize that allowing the government to paint houses is a huge mistake, that everyone employed by or receiving grants from the “House Painting Bureau” would then collude to concoct every imaginable reason possible to discredit and demean those who are threatening the existence of the bureau?

    That’s what I’m seeing here..

  5. Report this comment

    Jeff Id said:

    It is a true shame that climate science has come to this. I know that I wouldn’t ever have asked for the emails and don’t want to read them. It has come to this because there is a bias in the science which must be recognized and addressed despite the financial implications for the organizations involved.

    Like it or not, Nature has a prominent role in the mess. We chose to avoid Nature in favor of GRL because of the technical nature of our rebuttal of Steig et al. 2009 due to the huge and highly reported image on the front cover which should have been questioned by any reviewer. Sometimes these things happen by accident, but now the horse has left the gate.

    Step 1, admit there is a problem.

    Step 2, look for the root cause of the problem.

    Step 3, solve the problem.

    We the People – will see.