The most serious excerpt is this:
Phil Jones in discussing the presentation of temperature reconstructions stated that “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.”
The explanation given by Professor Phil Jones, Director of the Climatic Research Unit:
The following email, which I can confirm is genuine, has caused a great deal of ill-informed comment, but has been taken completely out of context and I want to put the record straight.
"I've just completed Mike's Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (i.e. from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith's to hide the decline. Mike's series got the annual land and marine values while the other two got April-Sept for NH land N of 20N. The latter two are real for 1999, while the estimate for 1999 for NH combined is +0.44C wrt 61-90. The Global estimate for 1999 with data through Oct +is 0.35C cf. 0.57 for 1998."This email referred to a “trick” of adding recent instrumental data to the end of temperature reconstructions that were based on proxy data. The requirement for the WMO Statement was for up-to-date evidence showing how temperatures may have changed over the last 1000 years. To produce temperature series that were completely up-to-date (i.e. through to 1999) it was necessary to combine the temperature reconstructions with the instrumental record, because the temperature reconstructions from proxy data ended many years earlier whereas the instrumental record is updated every month. The use of the word “trick” was not intended to imply any deception.
Phil Jones comments here “One of the three temperature reconstructions was based entirely on a particular set of tree-ring data that shows a strong correlation with temperature from the 19th century through to the mid-20th century, but does not show a realistic trend of temperature after 1960. This is well known and is called the ‘decline’ or ‘divergence’. The use of the term ‘hiding the decline’ was in an email written in haste. CRU has not sought to hide the decline. Indeed, CRU has published a number of articles that both illustrate, and discuss the implications of, this recent tree-ring decline, including the article that is listed in the legend of the WMO Statement figure. It is because of this trend in these tree-ring data that we know does not represent temperature change that I only show this series up to 1960 in the WMO Statement.”
The ‘decline’ in this set of tree-ring data should not be taken to mean that there is any problem with the instrumental temperature data. As for the tree-ring decline, various manifestations of this phenomenon have been discussed by numerous authors, and its implications are clearly signposted in Chapter 6 of the IPCC AR4 report.
Under this passage, there are graphs which illustrate what was done.
There is an excellent interview (13.2.2010) with Phil Jones and Roger Harrabin of BBC Radio 4 here.
This seems to be a plausible explanation.
Other black marks in the report:
- regrettable gloating over the death of an AGW skeptic.
- request to delete emails to avoid Freedom of Information requests.
- efforts were made to prevent skeptical papers being published in scientific journals.
- Dr Trenberth is down as saying ""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".
[Response on Real Climate: Trenberth is talking about our inability to be able to measure the net radiation balance at the top of the atmosphere to the requisite precision to be able to say on short time scales what the energy budget is doing. The observations are inadequate for that ] More on this here on skeptical science.
There is no doubt more, but these are the most serious points I picked up on a huge (nearly 1000 comments) debate on the Real Climate site.
What the emails do show is that scientist are fully human. Surprise, surprise. They display frustration with opposition, and express it in an emotional way.
My opinion is that there is nothing here to make anyone doubt global warming as a whole, but of course the deniers and journalists will milk it for all that it is worth.
That in turn will increase doubt in the electorate, which will diminish the political will to get a sound agreement at Copenhagen or after.
Which is a bad result for all of us, AGW deniers included.
What to do? Clearly, the sensible response from the scientific community is to review the data and use of data in the papers of Phil Jones and Trenberth. Others are calling for an inquiry. Let's hope that gets done as soon as possible.
Rupert's Read has some insights
This is a URL for some of the hacked emails.
StudentScum has a good take on it
This is an interesting analysis of the email list - from an intelligent skeptic.
Authoritative, full analysis by ENDS here
Random Thought: What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. There may be a hacker at work on a denialist site at this very moment...