Thursday, December 17, 2009

 

The Direct and Indirect Implications of the ClimateGate Emails


I was just reading a post and comments by a reputable statistics blogger who seems blind to the implications of ClimateGate. My sense is that he hasn't really looked into it much--- he doesn't seem to realize that the Medieval Warm Period's existence has important implications, for example. My comment:

It is true that only a few climatologists are implicated in the appalling emails about concealing data and pressuring journals. But just as CO2 is the just the direct driver for warming and the real action comes from indirect effects, we need to look at a second layer: the response of other climatologists.

In my field, economics, if it were revealed that top people in the field had sent emails like this, they would be repudiated by the rest of us. I have had my PhD for 25 years and I've never heard of anything like this. There's sloppy work and contrived results, but we don't need to use FOIA to get people's data.

But in climatology, where's the condemnation? The response seems to be, "Oh, this kind of things is just how scientists talk in private," and "Well, other scientists have reached much the same results, so this isn't really misleading," or "How dare someone leak private emails!". I don't trust *anyone* in a field that responds like that. If they say this is humdrum behavior, we can assume they do it themselves, or are so intimidated that they don't dare publish papers contrary to what the East Anglia people like to see.

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