ClimateGate Part Deux – Continued

The NYT on the new release of climate scientists’ emails:

The new e-mails appeared remarkably similar to the ones released two years ago just ahead of a similar conference in Copenhagen. They involved the same scientists and many of the same issues, and some of them carried a similar tone: catty remarks by the scientists, often about papers written by others in the field. . . .

In one of the e-mails, Raymond S. Bradley, director of the Climate System Research Center at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, criticized a paper that Dr. [Michael] Mann wrote with the climate scientist Phil Jones, which used tree rings and similar markers to find that today’s climatic warming had no precedent in recent natural history. Dr. Bradley, who has often collaborated with Dr. Mann, wrote that the 2003 paper “was truly pathetic and should never have been published.”

Dr. Bradley confirmed in an interview that the e-mail was his, but said his comment had no bearing on whether global warming was really happening. “I did not like that paper at all, and I stand by that, and I am sure that I told Mike that” at the time, he said. But he added that a disagreement over a single paper had little to do with the overall validity of climate science. “There is no doubt we have a big problem with human-induced warming,” Dr. Bradley said. “Mike’s paper has no bearing on the fundamental physics of the problem that we are facing.”

Some of the other e-mails involved comments about problems with the computer programs used to forecast future climate, known as climate models. For instance, a cryptic e-mail apparently sent by Dr. Jones, a researcher at East Anglia, said, “Basic problem is that all models are wrong — not got enough middle and low level clouds.”

Gavin A. Schmidt, a climate modeler at NASA, said he found such exchanges unremarkable. He noted that difficulties in modeling were widely acknowledged and disclosed in the literature. Indeed, such problems are often discussed at scientific meetings in front of hundreds of people.

Roger Pielke also comments here, noting that the new e-mails confirm the politicization of decisions about what papers to cite (or omit) from the 2007 IPCC report.

As with the first ClimateGate release, I have yet to see anything in these e-mails that disproves, or even seriously undermines, the basic claim that human emissions of greenhouse gases have contributed to a gradual warming of the climate and will continue to do so in the future. They do, however, further confirm that “mainstream” climate scientists have contributed to the politicization of climate science and allowed political concerns to influence scientific judgments, exaggerating the reliability of climatic projections and downplaying scientific findings that undermine the claim that climate change presents an apocalyptic threat.

Here’s a list of VC posts that mention ClimateGate. For an overview of my views, see here and here.