Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic work has been used commercially.More ↓Less ↑
A panel of fellow faculty members at Penn State University has recommended further investigation into the work of prominent global warming advocate Michael Mann, whose discussion of the issue was featured prominently in a cache of e-mails hacked from the Climate Research Unit in East Anglia.
Those e-mails triggered a tsunami for scientists and activists who believe man-made global warming is a significant threat even to the survival of civilization if radical changes are not adopted more or less immediately.
The e-mails purloined just before Christmas from the CRU, one of the world’s premier global warming investigative organizations, included references to a “trick” to “hide the [temperature] decline,” suggested that other e-mails were being purged to prevent their revelations and indicated scientists who did not agree deliberately were being excluded from the discussion.
University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit
Now a university report says a committee of three members of the faculty reviewed four specific allegations against Mann.
“In looking at four possible allegations of research misconduct, the committee determined that further investigation is warranted for one of those allegations. The recommended investigation will focus on determining if Mann ‘engaged in, directly or indirectly, any actions that seriously deviated from accepted practices within the academic community for proposing, conducting or reporting research or other scholarly activities,’” the university said today.
Like the initial inquiry, the “investigatory phase,” will be run by “five tenured full professor faculty members who will assess the evidence in the case and make a determination on Mann’s conduct.”
At the same time, according to a report at GlobalWarming.org, university officials have announced that the university is not an “agency” and they will not release copies of the e-mails that either were written by Mann or were directed to him – and caused the stir when they were hacked from East Anglia.
“Consequently, the information you requested will not be disclosed since it is confidential and not made available to the public,” the school said in a statement to climate skeptic Ronald Armstrong, who had sought the information, the Global Warming report said.
“Legal weasel words, of course. In a high-profile misconduct case Penn State could certainly choose to release the records, but much like the Climategate conspirators, they can’t afford to let the public see,” said a commentary on the same site.
Some of those e-mails, however, have been made available at other locations.
The London Guardian, for example, cited this one as among the more than 1,000 e-mails that had been obtained. This purportedly was sent from Mann to Phil Jones, who then headed the East Anglia Unit but later stepped down because of the controversy:
“This is all too predictable. This crowd of charlatans is always looking for one thing they can harp on, where people w/ little knowledge of the facts might be able to be convinced that there is a controversy. They can’t take on the whole of the science, so they look for one little thing they can say is wrong, and thus generalize that the science is entirely compromised.”
The e-mail appears to suggest that global warming skeptics are “charlatans” who would like to take advantage of “people w/little knowledge” in pursuing their campaign that global warming is not, in fact, a significant threat.
But in fact, the scientific community is anything but unanimous on alarmism such as Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” video that makes it appear that mankind’s use of energy is simply melting polar icecaps on a daily basis.
The disunity is documented by the Petition Project which was launched some 10 years ago when the first few thousand signatures were gathered. The effort, assembled by Art Robinson, a research professor of chemistry and cofounder of the Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine in 1973, now lists tens of thousands of qualified scientists who endorse this:
There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.
The Guardian article raised again questions over where the weather stations that are being used to generate “trends” of upwardly mobile temperatures are located. The article reports that crucial data American scientists got from Chinese collaborators regarding temperatures in rural China cannot be verified. The specific allegations involve a 1990 research paper which alleged temperatures in those regions were rising.
The report was a key reference for later work, including that at the U.N.’s Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change that discounted the impact of urbanization – simply the development of streets, buildings and other infrastructure – around weather stations.
But the report said dozens of the “Chinese meteorological stations had no histories of their locations or other details.” That included 40 of the 42 stations purportedly in rural areas. More than a dozen others also had been moved, perhaps making their temperature readings unusable in research.
WND previously has reported when U.S. researchers accused government agencies of cherry-picking temperature readings used to assess global temperatures.
D’Aleo, a retired climatologist who has been skeptical of global warming, contends climate data has been corrupted and skewed by “urbanization and other local factors such as land-use-land-cover changes and improper siting.”
He blamed the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which he described as “seriously complicit in data manipulation and fraud.”
He concluded an analysis by San Jose computer programmer E.M. Smith of the data “found they systematically eliminated 75 percent of the world’s stations with a clear bias towards removing higher latitude, high altitude and rural locations.”
Mann reportedly was cited as author, recipient or interested party in 377 of the estimated 1,000-plus e-mails hacked from East Anglia.
In one of the messages he cites a “trick” that he used to reveal a trend of 1,000 years of steadily increasing temperatures and then a subsequent spike in readings in the 20th century.
His work has been called the “hockey stick graph” and was used by Gore in his video commentary.
Critics suggested the “trick” indicated a manipulation of data, but the Penn State report defended Mann.
“The so-called ‘trick’ was nothing more than a statistical method used to bring two or more different kinds of data sets together in a legitimate fashion by a technique that has been reviewed by a broad array of peers in the field,” the report said.
But the university report was unable to definitively clear the question, “Did [Mann] engage in, or participate in, directly or indirectly, any actions that seriously deviated from accepted practices within the academic community for proposing, conducting, or reporting research or other scholarly activities?”
“After careful consideration of all the evidence and relevant materials, the inquiry committee could not make a definitive finding whether there exists any evidence to substantiate that Dr. Mann did engage in, or participate in, directly or indirectly, any actions that deviated from accepted practices…”
“The allegation inquires about whether Dr. Mann seriously deviated from accepted practices within the academic community for proposing, conducting, or reporting research or other scholarly activities. In 2006, similar questions were asked about Dr. Mann and these questions motivated the National Academy of Sciences to undertake an in depth investigation of his research. The committee that wrote the report on surface temperature reconstructions found that Dr. Mann’s science did fall well within the bounds of accepted practice,” the report said.
“What has changed since that time is that private e-mails have come to our attention and that of the public at large, and these give us a glimpse into the behind the scenes workings of Dr. Mann and many of his colleagues in the conduct of their science.”
Among the original e-mails hacked from East Anglia and posted online was, “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t. The CERES data published in the August (Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society) 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.”
Suggestions to suppress information also were documented at East Anglia, “Can you delete any e-mails you may have had with Keith re (Assessment Report 4)? Keith will do likewise. He’s not in at the moment – minor family crisis.”
They also suggest how “warmists,” as critics label those who believe in global warming, conspired to squeeze dissenting scientists out of the peer-review process.
Myron Ebell, of the GlobalWarming.org website where “cooler heads prevail,” had described the East Anglia e-mails as “shocking.”
“It’s kind of interesting to learn that petty politics seems to be more prevalent in the scientific community than in the political community,” he said.
The documents, he said, “raise a huge number of questions about the integrity of a lot of people in the alarmist community.
“What I’ve seen there is a very strong effort to manage the issue by scientists and not as a scientific issue. It’s very improper,” he said. “One of the criticisms is that we need scientists to be scientists, and policy can be handled in public debate.”
The comment came from Colorado State University’s William Gray, whose annual hurricane forecasts are the standard for weather prognostications. His work pioneered the science of forecasting hurricanes, and he has served as weather forecaster for the U.S. Air Force. He is emeritus professor of atmospheric science at CSU and heads the school’s Department of Atmospheric Sciences Tropical Meteorology Project.
He had forecast that U.S. researchers eventually would be caught by their own e-mails, too.
“This conspiracy would become much more manifest if all the e-mails of the publicly funded climate-research groups of the U.S. and of foreign governments were ever made public,” he said at the time.