In an embarrassing blow to the movement to combat global warming, hackers have posted hundreds of e-mails from a world-renowned British institute that show researchers colluding to exaggerate warming and undermine skeptics, says the Boston Herald.
University of East Anglia (UAE) officials confirmed the Climate Research Unit's e-mails were hacked, but were unable to confirm the veracity of posted content, according to British and American news reports. Skeptics of human-caused warming, who note temperatures appear to have stopped climbing, called the news explosive:
* Around 1,000 emails and 3,000 documents were stolen from UEA computers by hackers last week and uploaded on to a Russian server before circulating on Websites run by climate change skeptics.
* Some of the correspondence indicates that the manipulation of data was widespread among global warming researchers.
"This is not a smoking gun, this is a mushroom cloud," climatologist Patrick J. Michaels told the New York Times (NYT).
One of the emails under scrutiny, written by Phil Jones, the center's director, in 1999, reads: "I've just completed Mike's Nature (the science journal) trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (i.e., from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith's to hide the decline."
Prof. Jones has insisted that he used the word "trick" to mean a "clever thing to do," rather than to indicate deception. He has denied manipulating data.
The e-mail authors also refer to skeptics as "idiots," fantasize in one case about beating up a skeptic, and discuss ways to prevent skeptics' papers from being published, London's Daily Telegraph reported.
Lord Lawson, who served as chancellor for six years under Margaret Thatcher, has called for an independent inquiry into claims that leading climate change scientists manipulated data to strengthen the case for man-made global warming.
Source: Matthew Moore, "Lord Lawson calls for public inquiry into UEA global warming data 'manipulation,' " London Daily Telegraph, November 23, 2009; and Herald Staff, "E-mail leak turns up heat on global warming advocates," Boston Herald, November 23, 2009.