Scientist: Leak of climate e-mails appalling

(AP) -- A leading climate change scientist whose private e-mails are included in thousands of documents that were stolen by hackers and posted online said Sunday the leaks may have been aimed at undermining next month's global climate summit in Denmark.

Kevin Trenberth, of the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research, in Colorado, said he believes the hackers who stole a decade's worth of correspondence from a British university's deliberately distributed only those documents that could help attempts by skeptics to undermine the scientific consensus on man-made .

Trenberth, a well respected atmospheric scientist, said it did not appear that all the documents stolen from the university had been distributed on the Internet by the hackers.

The University of East Anglia, in eastern England, said hackers last week stole from its computer server about a decade's worth of data from its Climatic Research Unit, a leading global research center on climate change. About 1,000 e-mails and 3,000 documents have been posted on Web sites and seized on by climate change skeptics, who claim correspondence shows collusion between scientists to overstate the case for global warming, and evidence that some have manipulated evidence.

"It is right before the Copenhagen debate, I'm sure that is not a coincidence," Trenberth said in a telephone interview from Colorado.

At least 65 world leaders will attend the Copenhagen climate summit in December as representatives of 191 nations seek agreement on a new global treaty on limiting emissions of greenhouse gases.

Trenberth, a lead author on the 2001 and 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessments, said he had found 102 of his own e-mails posted online. "I personally feel violated," he said. "I'm appalled at the very selective use of the e-mails, and the fact they've been taken out of context."

In one of the stolen e-mails, Trenberth is quoted as saying "we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can't."

He said the comment is presented by skeptics as evidence scientists can't explain some trends that appear to contradict their stance on climate change. Trenberth explained his phrase was actually contained in a paper he wrote about the need for better monitoring of global warming to explain the anomalies - in particular improved recording of rising sea surface temperatures.

In another e-mail posted online, and unrelated to Trenberth, the British research center's director, Phil Jones, wrote that he had used a "trick" to "hide the decline" in a chart detailing recent global temperatures. Jones has denied manipulating evidence and insisted his comment had been misunderstood. He said in a statement Saturday that he'd used the word trick "as in a clever thing to do."

Trenberth acknowledged that language used by some colleagues in the hacked e-mails "looks awkward at best," particularly messages which criticize climate change skeptics.

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Explore further

Hackers leak e-mails, stoke climate debate

Citation: Scientist: Leak of climate e-mails appalling (2009, November 23) retrieved 17 October 2019 from
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Feedback to editors

User comments

Nov 23, 2009
Presuming the emails and documents are the real thing, nothing I've seen so far surprises me. We already knew the AGW scientists are biased, political, petty, dishonest and secretive. The hacking merely confirms it. The UN IPCC is a sham. It's not science, it is politics. An attempted world socialist takeover. The IPCC should be dissolved, and all involved should be banned for life from "contributing" to govt sponsored research on the topic. The Enron of science. The Bernie Madoffs of science.

Nov 23, 2009
We all know how many times AGW proponents here have used the defense, "There could be no conspiracy amongst climatologists!", "Oh, there is no motive to fake AGW...", "What reason could they possibly have to not present the truth?"... well, to those people I'd like to say:

Welcome to reality, enjoy your stay.

Nov 23, 2009
I wonder if misappropriating funds from a government source, to create and perpetuate a lie, for private enterprise destruction, might be called... 'appalling'...

Quoting one of the messianic gurus of connived falsehoods, and the 'global warming' second coming...

"Both Strong and Gore come from the Club of Rome clique, who in their 1991 Report, “The First Global Revolution” openly admitted how they were planning to exploit the contrived hoax of global warming in order to further their agenda.

“In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill. All these dangers are caused by human intervention, and it is only through changed attitudes and behavior that they can be overcome. The real enemy then, is humanity itself.,” they wrote."


Nov 23, 2009
"It's appalling we were caught...err umm, that didn't come out right"

Nov 23, 2009
The release of Trenberth's personal emails is appalling but the falsification of data by him, "a well respected atmospheric scientist", is no less appalling. He is no longer "a well respected atmospheric scientist" but a charlatan. Clearly he has a political/religious agenda that allows him and his ilk to practice the end justifies the means, i.e. lying and cheating is okay as long as we achieve our goal, just like any other cult group.

And, like other scientists who have falsified data, his, Jones', Mann, and the other co-conspirators' work should no longer be funded.

"In one of the stolen e-mails, Trenberth is quoted as saying "we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can't."'

In spite of the delusional people who take it on faith that AGW is happening - the evidence (before adulteration) simply does not support anything more than a tiny relationship between CO2 conc. and global warming. The Earth IS warming, so is Mars. It's NOT AGW!

Nov 24, 2009
"It's appalling we were caught...err umm, that didn't come out right"

It's even more appalling that the US National Academy of Sciences - a private, self-perpetuating group of scientists - has used the same tactics and control over the budgets of federal research agencies [NASA, DOE, NSF, etc.] during my five-decade research career and sacrificed the integrity of science to avoid many unexpected experimental findings.

The late US President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned of the dangers of an unholy alliance developing between politics and science in his Farewell Address to the Nation:

"The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded" [Eisenhower's Farewell Address to the Nation, January 17, 1961].

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel

Nov 24, 2009
...The University of East Anglia, in eastern England, said hackers last week stole from its computer server about a decade's worth of data from its Climatic Research Unit...

Until they have established whether it was ...a hacker... or a whistleblower... commenting on this article is a bit premature.

I would not be surprised if it is establised that the release of the data is the work of a disgusted insider.

Nov 24, 2009
A note to physorg, I think you need to run possibly the biggest science news story this century. It appears that Man Made Global warming science is not only wrong, but it is truely a scam.



Please investigate these allegations. If it turns out to be true, ie. Al Gore et al lied, manipulated the data, persecuted those speaking the truth, please be the leader in exposing the truth.

If this release is a fraud (ie. the emails and data released have been tampered with and modified to make global warming scientist look like frauds) let us know as well.

Nov 24, 2009
"Leading climate-change scientist"???

Next time I catch my kid cheating on a take-home test, that's what I'm going to call him. It just blows my mind that PhysOrg isn't climbing all over this story like flies on rotten meat.

Dollar for dollar, it's only the biggest scientific scandal in history, if not the biggest of ANY kind.

Is it possible to un-drink the Kool-Aid? I guess we'll see.

Nov 24, 2009
It just blows my mind that PhysOrg isn't climbing all over this story like flies on rotten meat.

AGW is a media-darling in general, this scandal will probably not get the coverage that it should at least not right away.

The non-scientific public may not realize how grievous a crime this is in the science community and to the scientific method, not to mention the grant-money fraud, perjury, etc..

That's why we all here need to get the word out, to everyone we know who cares or might care, and in turn the People all need to let their legislators know that the US does not support economically damaging climate change carbon legislation.

The rhetoric now needs to change to renewables and energy independence. Towards PROGRESS.

Only the People can change this victory for Academia into a victory for the People and Our future. Politicians are going to try to march on, but We need to change the destination.

We still need what AGW ignored: renewable energy brings energy independence.

Nov 24, 2009
If this is AGW truely is a fraud, then we need to jail those who perpetrated it and demand compensation.

Nov 24, 2009
It's interesting to see how rapidly these posts have initially been rated 1/5. How many have been removed because they have been reported as abuse? Clearly, at least one truth denier would like this inconvenient truth, at this inconvenient time, to go away.

Nov 24, 2009
Does anyone have any information that shows that the information contained in the leak is not true or accurate? Before I start calling AGW believers truth deniers, I want to be absolutely sure that the leaked information is accurate.

The information I had long ago convinced me that AGW was false and based on weak science at best. I was called a fool for not believing it. I was told I was paid by big oil (I wish). I was stupid for not believing Al Gore. I was a sucker for the right wing nut jobs. That I hate children.

OK AGW believers, please show me that these leaked documents are false. Then we can get back to discussing how weak AGW science is. If not, will you guys not appologize for all your name calling and hate mongering?

Nov 24, 2009
Ok. This story should be a big story. Leaked documents proport to show scientists lying and manipulating data to show AGW. In other words AGW is a Fraud.

I checked ABC, NBC, CNN nothing. One of the biggest science stories of the year if not the decade and nothing. Biased media anyone?

Nov 24, 2009
'freethinking', is your thinking free enough to consider the alternatives: (a) that the leaked and ballyhooed excerpts are not what they seem, lacking a proper understanding of what's being discussed (i.e. what was the thread of discussion, in which a given email is just one of the chain of messages that were exchanged), (b) that words like "trick" might be used differently by people, (c) that there hasn't yet been any official verification that the leaked data hasn't been tampered with anyhow, (d) that we ought to give the people involved a chance to answer the accusations, before we run around throwing hysterics, (e) that REAL journalists are probably busy looking into all of these aspects at the moment, instead of prematurely jumping out and trying to be the first/loudest 'me-too' 'reporter'...

If anything, the people who are publically and gleefully jumping to conclusions at the moment are the ones whose judgement ought to be questioned, as opposed to the 'silence' of the 'MSM'.

Nov 25, 2009
Why so much fear of cleaning up our energy use?
It is obvious that we will one day run out of oil.
I don't want to be dependent on oil when we have a shortage.
Can we please work to solve some problems?
Global warming is a serious risk we cannot ignore.
This whole conspiracy thing is nutty.

Nov 25, 2009
(a) that the leaked and .. excerpts are not what they seem... Answer, Considered it, but based on what they say and what the media and those involved are not saying, it doesn't seem likely.
(b) that words like "trick" might be used differently by people Answer: Considered and rejected, the emails also talk about hiding data, refusing FIA requests, lying etc.
(c) that there hasn't yet been any official verification that the leaked data hasn't been tampered... Answer, no denials that the information isnt true, leads me to assume it is true.
(d) that we ought to give the people involved a chance to answer the accusations... Answer: I'm waiting, but they are not speaking
(e) that REAL journalists are probably busy looking into ... instead of prematurely jumping out ... to be the first/loudest 'me-too' 'reporter'... Answer: Real journalists would report on this. ABC, NBC, CNN havent... just like the ACORN story... biased media not report against liberal causes.

Nov 25, 2009
In the next couple days ABC, NBC and CNN will report/regurgitate what pink elephant just said.

The cats out the bag and even if the gvmnt manage to blag and bribe they're way out of this prediciment, surely there's more decent members of the scientific community who'll be willing to leak future evidence.

Nov 28, 2009
((We already knew the AGW scientists are biased, political, petty, dishonest and secretive))
Amen to that, the entire scope of AGW alarmism is a gradualistic attempted take over of all of the private sector by a fringe group of dedicated neo-Marxists who have embedded themselves in the environmentalist movement. It is pure politics on their part, they intend to use Draconian socialistic legislation to not only take over the private sector but to regulate our lives to the point where our Constitution would be made useless.

Nov 28, 2009
This comment has been removed by a moderator.

Nov 30, 2009
So, I suppose all you people who gleefully denounce the scientists, and their science, think everything is just grand, and we can all go about our business as usual?

Dec 02, 2009
Along with Bernard Kettlewell, we can now add a few more 'scientists' to the list of those who have falsified data. (See "How many scientists fabricate and falsify research?" PhysOrg, May 29, 2009).

And good call, Marjon, on Ben Stein's movie 'Expelled.' I just kept thinking as I was watching it - "Boy, I wish he'd take a look at the global warming debate." Well, looks like he no longer needs to as the leaked e-mails have solidified how one-sided (and totally incorrect) that 'debate' has been. Makes you wonder what other "settled science" is based on false data (i.e., evolution)... but that's a discussion for another forum.

Dec 03, 2009
Isn't it interesting how the deck of cards are falling. First the ACORN scandle is ignored by ABC, NBC, CNN,and ACORN threatens legal action agaist those that exposed illigal actions, then a director leaves Planned Parenthood and she is threated with legally action but CNN, ABC, NBC ignores the story, then AGW Climategate is exposed, ABC, NBC, CNN, ignore the story, and Barbra Boxer wants to investigate the leakers

I'm supprised that someone isn't threatening Ben Stein for his movie.

Then there is embryonic stem cell reseach that has fallen flat on its face with some bogus research results.

Research needs to be taken back to pure research without bias and away from special interest groups. We need to restore trust in it, as only pure reseach can solve real problems.

Dec 12, 2009
Holy crap! This is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. I am beginning to look over the files for myself. Pretty damning, indeed. Am I surprised by this news? Not really.

Dec 12, 2009
I myself have tried to access data that is deleted once the raw data is "smoothed" by various algorithms. The raw data, I have been told, is no longer available. There have even been times when the data has been removed without explanation! What we have here, folks, is the explanation. I only wish there was more data concerning this fraud available to the public. I say that the public should demand full access to all the data.

Dec 12, 2009
Well, interestingly enough, I just found the reason why certain data I went to access was gone and replaced with smoothed data. It was done to "attenuate the signal" of the raw data! They did it by averaging the data into 50-year blocks. The raw data apparently told an interesting story all its own. I wish it were all here. But, there is a lot of material here. It will keep me busy for a few weeks or so.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more