Watts Up With That? 
April 4, 2010
Editorial by S. Fred Singer, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project
There is now a desperate effort afoot by assorted climate alarmists to explain away the revelations of the incriminating e-mails leaked last year from the University of East Anglia (UAE). But the ongoing investigations so far have avoided the real problem, namely whether the reported warming is genuine or simply the manufactured result of manipulation of temperature data by scientists in England and the United States.
The latest report is by the British House of Commons’ Science and Technology Committee, which largely absolved Philip Jones, head of UEA’s Climate Research Unit and author of most of the e-mails. How can we tell that it’s a whitewash? Here are some telltale signs:
- It refers to the e-mails as “stolen”
- It did not take direct testimony from scientifically competent skeptics
- Yet it derives the conclusion that there is nothing wrong with the basic science and that warming is human caused – essentially endorsing the IPCC
None of the investigations have gone into any detail on how the data might have been manipulated. But this is really the most important task for any investigation, since it deals directly with the central issue: Is there an appreciable human influence on climate change in the past decades?
Instead, much of the attention of newspapers, and of the public, has focused on secondary issues: the melting of Himalayan glaciers, the possible inundation of the Netherlands, deforestation of the Amazon, crop failures in Africa, etc. While these issues demonstrate the sloppiness of the IPCC process, they don’t tell anything about the cause of the warming: natural or anthropogenic.
So what do the e-mails really reveal? We know that Jones and his gang tried and largely succeeded in “hiding the decline” of temperature by using what he termed “Mike’s [Mann] Nature trick.” Most people think it refers to CRU tree ring data after 1960, which do show a decline in temperature. However, I believe that it refers to Michael Mann’s “trick” in hiding the fact that his multi-proxy data did not show the expected warming after 1979. So he abruptly cut off his analysis in 1979 and simply inserted the thermometer data supplied by Jones, which do claim a strong temperature increase. Hence the hockey-stick, suggesting a sudden major warming during the past century.
Only a thorough scientific investigation will be able to document that there was no strong warming after 1979, that the instrumented warming record is based on data manipulation, involving the selection of certain weather stations, [and the de-selection of others that showed no warming], plus applying insufficient corrections for local heating.