Climatgate – Facts You Didn’t Know

Climategate is a scandal involving the leak of an archive of emails, data files and data processing programs from the Climatology Department of the British University of East Anglia.

Climatgate - Facts You Didn't Know


In November 2009, unidentified persons distributed an archive file via the Internet that contained information stolen from the Climatology Department of the University of East Anglia. This division is one of the three main providers of climate data for the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The contents of the archive gave the critics of the theory of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) an opportunity to argue that, as they said earlier, climatologists-supporters of the AGP theory:

  • hide information about the climate from opponents of the theory;
  • delete files and correspondence, just not to disclose them in accordance with freedom of information laws;
  • distort observations to confirm global warming;
  • prevent the publication of scientific papers that disagree with their views.

Climatologists involved in the scandal have denied these allegations and offered innocent explanations for the published correspondence.

Norfolk Police were investigating a computer hack at the CRU. On November 24, 2009, the University of East Anglia launched an independent investigation into the contents of the correspondence. During the investigation, the head of the CRU, Professor Phil Jones, temporarily resigned his post. The investigation was also conducted at Penn State University, where Michael Mann works. Despite the fact that all official investigations have confirmed the groundlessness of the charges against climatologists, the scandal has served to heighten the mood of distrust and climate skepticism among the public.

Quotes from the archive with comments from critics and authors

According to the newspapers The Daily Telegraph and the Christian Science Monitor, the following excerpts from the correspondence drew the most criticism:

  • On November 16, 1999, Phil Jones wrote:

“I just used Mike’s trick from Nature magazine and added actual temperatures to each row … to hide the decline.”

Critics argue that this letter is a confession of deception on the part of Jones. Jones claims that this montage of two dissimilar graphs was described in the literature, and he used the word “trick” not in the sense of “trick” or “trick”, but as a description of a complex operation, accessible only to professionals.

  • On March 11, 2003, Jones wrote:

“I will write to the magazine and tell them that until they get rid of this problematic editor, I will not have anything to do with them.”

Critics say Jones is demonstrating his willingness to go to any lengths to prevent critical articles from appearing in reputable journals. Jones claims that the editor allowed the publication of “garbage” and was simply trying to improve the quality of Climate Research magazine.

  • June 4, 2003 Michael Mann wrote:

“It would be good to try to limit the supposed medieval warm period, although we do not yet have a reconstruction of the temperature for the hemispheres for that time.”

Critics argue that proponents of the AGP theory have unreasonably underestimated the temperatures of the medieval warm period in order to represent today’s temperatures as unprecedentedly high.

  • On July 8, 2004, Jones wrote:

“I can’t imagine any of these articles in the next IPCC report. Me and Kevin will not let them go there, even if we have to reconsider the concept of peer-reviewed literature. ”

Critics argue that Jones is thereby admitting to undermining the scientific process in climatology. Jones claims this statement is purely rhetorical. Both articles, about which he speaks in the letter, were included in the report.

  • On May 29, 2009, Jones wrote:

“Could you delete the correspondence with Kevin about AR4? Kevin will do it too. ”

Critics claim that Jones tried to hide the correspondence regarding the IPCC report AR4 from his opponents, who tried to get data from him in accordance with the freedom of information law. At the same time, Jones suggested breaking this law.

  • On October 12, 2009, Kevin Trenbert wrote:

“The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming, and that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t) … Our observing system is inadequate. ”

Critics argue that Trenbert agrees with one of their main theses – that the climate has not warmed up over the past ten years and admits the lack of certainty of the accumulated data.

Results of official investigations

Several independent investigations were carried out, the activities of scientists who participated in electronic correspondence were studied. All these investigations justified the scientists:

  • In February 2010, Pennsylvania State University issued a report on the results of an investigation into all emails involving Dr. Michael Mann, a professor in the University’s Meteorology Department. The investigation found that “there is no conclusive evidence that Dr. Mann is currently, or ever in the past, engaged or participated, directly or indirectly, in any act with the intent to conceal or falsify scientific data.” On Mike’s trick, the investigation concluded that the so-called trick was nothing more than a statistical method used to reconcile two or more different sets of data in a legitimate manner using techniques that were previously known and discussed by a wide range of experts in this area “.
  • In March 2010, the UK House of Commons Science and Technology Committee issued a report concluding that criticism of the Climatology Unit (CRU) was unfounded and that “Professor Jones’s actions were in line with normal practice in the climatological community.
  • In April 2010, the University of East Anglia, in partnership with the Royal Society, established the International Scientific Assessment Panel under the leadership of Professor Ron Oxburg. The International Panel’s report assessed the level of conscientiousness of research published by the Climatology Unit (CRU) and stated that there is “no evidence of willfully unfair scientific practice in any of the CRU’s work.
  • In June 2010, Pennsylvania State University released its final investigation report, which determined that there was “no basis for any charges against Dr. Michael Mann.”
  • In July 2010, the University of East Anglia published the results of an independent CRU correspondence review. Email was studied to assess signs of data manipulation or hiding. It was concluded that “the integrity and honesty of scientists are beyond doubt.”
  • In July 2010, the US EPA examined the emails and concluded that “this is just a frank discussion by scientists working on the issues that arise when compiling and presenting large and complex datasets.”
  • In September 2010, the UK government issued a response to the report of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee chaired by Sir Russell. On the disclosure issue, the government concluded that “in the case of the CRU, scientists were not formally allowed to release data.” On attempts to distort the peer review process, the document states that “the evidence presented does not imply that Professor Jones was attempting to undermine the peer review process. Scientists should not be criticized for their informal comments on scientific papers. ”
  • In February 2011, the Commerce Department’s Inspector General conducted an independent review of the letters and found “no evidence in CRU emails that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) was improperly manipulating the data.”
  • In August 2011, the US National Science Foundation (NSF) published its opinion: “Due to the absence of illegal actions in the course of scientific research or other issues arising from various rules and laws referred to above, the case is closed.”

Access to information

The archive of letters is available on the Internet with the file name FOIA.ZIP or The FOI in the filename is an abbreviation for freedom of information.

Detailed discussions are conducted by climatologists mainly on blogs:

  • proponents of the theory of global warming set out their arguments on the famous blog RealClimate
  • famous blogs of their opponents: Climate Audit, Watts Up With That?

Also of interest is the HARRY_READ_ME.txt file, which contains the notes of a programmer who in 2006-2009 understood CRU programs.

A detailed discussion of the correspondence from a skeptical perspective was written by John Costella (150 pages).

Climategate 2.0

Another leak occurred in 2011: a 173 MB file called “FOIA2011” with 5,000 letters inside was posted on the server.