Michael Crichton must be rolling over in his grave, but the good news is it’s because he’s having a good laugh.
Crichton, who died last year, was the best-selling author of numerous science-based novels including “State of Fear,” which told of a global conspiracy by “climate-change” proponents to manipulate scientific data for the purpose of scaring the world into doing “the right thing.”
Now, of course, thanks to an anonymous hacker, hundreds of suspicious e-mails and documents from global-warming scientists have been released to the public suggesting that (surprise!) “climate-change” proponents have been manipulating scientific data for the purpose of scaring the world into doing “the right thing.”
Talk about life imitating art! It has all the drama of a well-told novel, which of course is why Crichton comes to mind.
The most damning evidence of manipulation of data seems to be in the e-mails, which were purloined from computers at the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit in Britain (also known as Hadley Centre CRU) after repeated attempts to secure the documents legally through Freedom of Information requests were spurned.
The reason why lots of people don’t trust global warming scientists is that it is a science based on statistics and computer modeling. Mark Twain summed up statistics in his famous quote (which he attributed to Benjamin Disraeli): “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” As for computer modeling, it is to statistics what CGI is to cave painting. And as with computer-generated animation, any darn thing goes in computer modeling. In fact, that’s one of the constant themes in the leaked e-mails.
“I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline,” said Dr. Phil Jones, the director of the Climate Research Unit, in one of them.
Tricks and deception? From scientists? No way!
Well, yes, it turns out that was pretty standard, along with sloppy research:
“OH F--- THIS. It’s Sunday evening, I’ve worked all weekend, and just when I thought it was done I’m hitting yet another problem that’s based on the hopeless state of our databases. There is no uniform data integrity, it’s just a catalogue of issues that continues to grow as they’re found.”
That rant comes from the HARRY_READ_ME file, which so far as I can tell was written by a poor bloke named Harry who obviously wanted to make the numbers in the database mean something when just as obviously they were totally bolloxed. It’s no wonder that eventually some of these scientists decided to play fast and loose with the facts.
Of course, tricks and deception aren’t always needed if you can just control the information being published. That too has been revealed to be part of the “scientific method” employed by global-warming proponents to skew the evidence in favor of their theories. Indeed, the term “peer-reviewed” from now on shall be synonymous with “stuff that agrees with us.”
Michael Mann, one of the most infamous global-warming scientists, expressed his concern to Jones and other scientists when he found out that that the journal “Climate Research” had an editor who would not toe the line on climate-change orthodoxy:
“This was the danger of always criticising the skeptics for not publishing in the ‘peer-reviewed literature,’” he warned. “Obviously, they found a solution to that — take over a journal! So what do we do about this? I think we have to stop considering “Climate Research” as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal.”
Jones added his own flourish when he wrote to Mann on a related topic in an e-mail titled “Highly Confidential”:
“I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow — even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is !”
Well, yes, that would work. Indeed, manipulating what is “peer-reviewed” is just as effective as manipulating raw data, since the mainstream media thinks peer-reviewed is the gold standard of science. The IPCC, by the way, is the Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change, the U.N. body that converts “raw science” into “raw power” as it takes questionable computer models and uses them to try to engineer massive trillion-dollar changes in social policy by flummoxing gullible politicians. All part of the “pure and applied” science of progressive globalism.
Jones also wrote to Mann on a related topic — how to minimize the problems created by sloppy science done by members of their team of IPCC (and thus Nobel Prize-winning scientists):
“For your interest, there is an ECMWF ERA-40 Report coming out soon, which shows that [climate-change researchers] [Eugenia] Kalnay and [Ming] Cai are wrong. It isn’t that strongly worded as the first author is a personal friend of Eugenia. The result is rather hidden in the middle of the report. It isn’t peer review, but a slimmed down version will go to a journal.”
OK, so that is a bit dense for most of us lay people, but ERA stands for ECMRWF Re-Analysis, and ECMRWF stands for European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, a climate think-tank based in Reading, England. As for the ERA-40, it was a re-analysis of global atmospheric and surface conditions from 1957 through 2002 that was run through a computer model at a 40km resolution (whatever that means).
The important thing is that Dr. Jones knew about an effort to soft-pedal scientific errors and went along with it out of personal loyalty. In what appears to be a followup e-mail, Jones explains the situation to Mann.
“As I said it is worded carefully due to Adrian [apparently Adrian Simmons] knowing Eugenia for years. He knows they’re wrong, but he succumbed to her almost pleading with him to tone it down as it might affect her proposals in the future! I didn’t say any of this, so be careful how you use it — if at all. Keep quiet also that you have the pdf.”
Of course, that secretive tone is not exactly what you would expect from the free exchange of ideas that is supposed to be at the heart of the scientific process, but when you are letting policy dictate your science, it apparently is standard operating procedure.
Jones again wrote to Mann (those two!), “Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4? Keith will do likewise. He’s not in at the moment — minor family crisis. Can you also email Gene and get him to do the same? I don’t have his new email address. We will be getting Caspar to do likewise.”
AR4 refers to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and there have been charges that it skewed the science intentionally by excluding opposing viewpoints from the report for political purposes. (Imagine that!)
So what we seem to have is distortion of data, suppression of evidence, manipulation of the media, and in general a smoking gun the size of that new nuclear reactor in Iran. It’s almost as though we don’t know what is truth and what is fiction anymore when it comes to global warming science.
Of course, Michael Crichton already knew that. And since he was a lover of science “fiction,” apparently he gets the last laugh.
n Frank Miele is managing editor of the Daily Inter Lake and writes a weekly column. E-mail responses may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org