Friday, December 18, 2009

Jim Hansen speaks out on the East Anglia emails

The recent “success” of climate contrarians in using the pirated East Anglia e-mails to cast doubt on the reality of global warming seems to have energized other deniers. I am now inundated with broad FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests for my correspondence, with substantial impact on my time and on others in my office. I believe these to be fishing expeditions, aimed at finding some statement(s), likely to be taken out of context, which they would attempt to use to discredit climate science.

By “success” I refer to their successful character assassination and swift-boating. My interpretation of the e-mails is that some scientists probably became exasperated and frustrated by contrarians – which may have contributed to some questionable judgment. The way science works, we must make readily available the input data that we use, so that others can verify our analyses.

Also, in my opinion, it is a mistake to be too concerned about contrarian publications – some bad papers will slip through the peer-review process, but overall assessments by the National Academies, the IPCC, and scientific organizations sort the wheat from the chaff.  The important point is that nothing was found in the East Anglia e-mails altering the reality and magnitude of global warming in the instrumental record. The input data for global temperature analyses are widely available, on our web site and elsewhere. If those input data could be made to yield a significantly different global temperature change, contrarians would certainly have done that – but they have not.

Dr James Hansen is a physicist, and adjunct professor for Earth and Environmental Sciences, at Columbia University, and Director at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Science. Outside the scientific community, Dr. Hansen is probably best known for accusing the Bush administration of trying to silence him after he gave a lecture in December 2005, calling for prompt reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases linked to global warming. Read Jim Hansen's entire article on the East Anglia e-mail incident here

No comments: