Climategate – looking back

OK I know I know!  I am a day late with this as an ‘anniversary’ post, but after a very busy couple of weeks I chose other things over writing a blog post last night and it was gone midnight by the time I started this.

It still seems incredible how the few days a year ago unfolded, in fact I’m not even sure of the sequence of things.  Browsing after publishing a blog post (only the fourth on a very new DITC) I watched it unfold and couldn’t tear myself away.

I remember clicking THE COMMENT from ‘FOIA’ on Jeff Id’s Air Vent.  That must have been some time on the 19th before Jeff took it off-line.  I clicked on the link and files still seemed to be there on the Russian FTP site, but I didn’t download for fear of viruses and the realisation that others with better technical knowhow than me were already onto it.  I believe there were only a few copies downloaded from that site (six IIRC).

What seems hazy in recollection is the exact sequence.  I can’t remember if I saw the post at WUWT (reposted for anniversary yesterday) before or after the link at tAV, but I do remember sitting up into the night.  I was back in the UK but my body clock may still have been on EST rather than GMT, at least I think that is why I had a few days off.  First comment on Leaked FOIA files 62Mb of gold was past 2am here.  By the next day the emails were available on sites with searchable content capability and the juiciest bits were being reposted.

Kevin’s searchable database of the emails is available at the following link: Note when the login form is displayed the username to use is pjones and the password themanbehindthecurtain.

My reaction at the time was:

After reading, oh I don’t know, a hundred or so, a kind of banality sets in.  These are mostly really boring emails; often repetitive and trivial.  There are few startling revelations, and the small sections jumped upon in many blogs are seldom in themselves significant, yet, as a whole, and it is strange reading such illicitly obtained correspondence, the files leave a bad taste in my mouth.  They reveal a disregard for the high principles of scientific method and show that the scientists themselves answer to political cause and self-serving practices. (link)

And the following day –

…individually the emails are boring, don’t say much and are easy to wave off, but when you read again and again phrases that do not sit well with honesty and scientific integrity it is hard to view this collaborative group in any favourable light. (link)

A year on, what has changed? A lot, and yet nothing. How many of the general population have actually heard of Climategate or would even realise the significance of some of the revelations in either the emails or the “Harry_Read_Me” file?  Meanwhile the train railroading us towards a low-carbon economy continues rumbling along tracks laid down at Kyoto, oblivious to having reached unstable ground…

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2 Responses to Climategate – looking back

  1. ArndB says:

    # Verity Jones: „A year on, what has changed? A lot, and yet nothing.”
    Agreed! AGW proponents may currently be more afraid to be challenged for a while, but they will be coming back. Not Climategate caused them any problems, it was the cold winter 2009/10 in many northern Hemisphere regions.

    The communication problem between pro & contra will continue. FOIA dropped its explosives at THE AIR VENT in a thread complaining that science is not using appropriate weather/climate terminology (references below).

    For example, Prof. R. Piekle Sr called the (AMS) definition on Climate System recently (at WUWT, 18/Nov/10) appropriately:
    __“The system consisting of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, and biosphere, determining the Earth’s climate as the result of mutual interactions and responses to external influences (forcing). Physical, chemical, and biological processes are involved in interactions among the components of the climate system. (AMS)”
    Even one of the best and most honest persons in the AGW agenda is not able and willing to see the flaws in the AMS definition, which I summarised in a comment to the posting:

    “ArndB says: November 18, 2010 at 12:58 pm : “
    The definition of the National Research Council, 2005 (text in posting) is the same as in the UNFCCC (Art.1), which says that the “climate system” means “the totality of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and geosphere and their interactions”. All that this boils down to is ‘the interactions of the natural system’; and if this system is “determining the Earth’s climate”, it is necessary to say what CLIMATE is. The UNFCCC has none.”

    About FOIA and my complains at Air Vent last year: see
    ___also my Comment 18 at Andrew Revkin on “Climate Files” 19/nov/10:;
    ___check the original source at THE AIR VENT, “OPEN LETTER” (13/Nov/10) : (FOIA Comment #10),
    ___ or pay a visit here:
    ___with the letter by 18 scientific organizations to the U.S.A. Senate, 21st Oct.2009

    Regards from a North Sea island in November with day-max 5°C and night-max 3°C.

  2. Verity Jones says:

    well it looks as if you may have both day and nighttime temperatures below zero by the end of the coming week.

    I looked at some the emails again yesterday. A year ago I had a very poor appreciation of the players and much of the history, focused as I was at the time on surface temperatures. Reading some at random now the actions betrayed by the emails and the implications thereof do have more significance.

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