“Climategate” May Hold Lessons on Openness for Researchers Under Pressure

Jeffrey R. Young, The Chronicle of Higher Education reports on claims made by anti climate change groups that scientists distorted data in developing research on global warming:

“Hackers essentially dug through the digital trash of scientists and published the researchers’ personal noteslast month, when someone stole more than 1,000 e-mail messagesfrom a climate-research group at the University of East Anglia, in England. The messages have raised serious questions about whether—under the unusual outside pressure—the scientists worked to hide inconvenient data and suppress information that didn’t fit a neat pattern of man-made global warming….

“As the United Nations opens a summit in Copenhagen on Monday on global climate change, U.N. officials have said that they will investigate charges that the climate scientists cooked their data and improperly manipulated the process that led to a key report by the organization’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The U.N. soul-searching follows announcements last week that two universities will investigate the e-mail behavior of their top climate scientists….

“A consensus is emerging among scientists that nothing in the hacked e-mail messages would alter the scientists’ conclusions: Global temperatures are rising, they say, and most evidence published in peer-reviewed journals suggests that forces related to human activity are to blame. In fact, even if the particular climate-data set compiled by the researchers caught up in the e-mail incident is discredited, at least two other major independent studies found evidence of human-caused global warming.”

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-Victoria Harper