Real Climate Analysis of “ClimateGate”

A couple of days ago, Andrew Long did a post on this blog on the AP’s analysis of the implications of the contents of the emails hacked from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia. I think this is an extremely important issue, not because I think any of the hacked messages undercut the overwhelming consensus on anthropogenically-generated climate change, but because perception can be reality, and “ClimateGate” may further undermine confidence in climate change science in this country, including among our students. So, I think it’s incumbent upon us to discuss this issue in our classes.

Further to Long’s posting is an an excellent response by Kevin Wood of the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean at the University of Washington and Eric Steig, of the Department of Earth and Space Sciences at the University of Washington on the RealClimate site.

Among the most significant points made by Wood & Steig are the following:

  • If one compares extracted grid-box temperatures from a CRU dataset to raw data from the World Surface Station Climatology, warming trends are statistically identical, indicating that CRU is not overstanting the case in terms of warming trends;
  • CRU’s globally-averaged temperature trend for 1850-2005 is actually a bit LOWER than data obtained by the researchers from random weather stations

I will try to summarize some of the other responses to “ClimateGate” over the next couple of weeks before second semester classes begin!

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