The release (by whatever process) of communications and data from the Climate Research Unit at Norwich has been covered by half of my blogroll, it appears. (And a few who aren't on it, but probably should be.) I am not going to attempt any kind of analysis, not having the time (I don't know how anyone else does, either, but some clearly do) nor the competence. By the way, the response at Real Climate is an attempt to brush it aside with a general 'that's just the way scientists talk' kind of bluff. It isn't, and a much better explanation/defense is required, which may yet be forthcoming, but so far I haven't seen it.
But one thing that is clear to any real scientist is that these communications are not about science, but politics. Science is the search for a certain kind of objective truth, and must be carried out in accordance with certain procedures, which include transparency, collaboration, openmindedness and freedom from preconception, if it is to have any chance of identifying that truth with some confidence. Another thing that science does, as part of this search, is to quantify ignorance.
Scientists do not work in a vacuum. In Universities they are subjected to very considerable political pressures, they experience personal pressure from their own professional ambition- to publish more, to be respected by their peers, to get a better post; industrial scientists are under commercial pressure from their companies; all are human, and instinctively want the world to be a certain way. It's when they fail to recognise this in their work that they stop doing proper science. Their are extracts from the communications which clearly indicate that the unit was, at least at times, prepared to sacrifice the truth to the pursual of some other purpose, apparently social, political or personal, and that is not science.
Those who have done some analysis of the data (which the CRU has never wanted to publish- see transparency above) suggest that it wasn't quite what it seemed either (see preconceptions above).
As I say, I'll let others do the work, and they'll do it much better, but it is worth remembering what science is and what it isn't.
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