Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Meaning of Motley CRU

It’s time for climate science to clean house. Whatever investigations come of Climategate, they should not stop with the United Kingdom.

Climate skeptics are having a field day in the blogosphere, celebrating the firestorm of controversy that has surrounded the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit (CRU). Until recently, the CRU was considered one of the world’s leading climate research centers, and it has exerted massive influence on the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPCC, in turn, has positioned itself as the ultimate authority on all things climate, even claiming a Nobel Prize (shared with Al Gore) for its work on global climate change.

If you’ve been living without an Internet connection, here’s a quick overview of l’affaire Climategate. On November 17, 2009, someone posted to the Internet a vast archive of materials that had been hacked or leaked from the CRU. When unpacked, the materials took up about 62 MB and consisted of more than 1,000 emails from prominent members of the CRU, and more than 3,000 documents that included everything from raw data to annotated computer code to lengthy reports documenting the frightfully disorganized state of the CRU’s vitally important data files. While the vast trove of information has not (and probably can not) be verified as 100 percent correct, none of the people cited has denied that the documents are legitimate, and some outside entities who were engaged in some of the email exchanges have confirmed that they are genuine. Read more.

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