I want to get back to the big deal some people are making about the pilfered climate change emails (discussed previously here). There’s a lot of cherry-picking going on, to the detriment of the full truth. Here’s an example (pulling from the compendium of “alleged” stolen emails here).

Many are quoting the statement by one scientist:

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.

But they ignore an0ther email to the group from another researcher, who responds to the passage above, saying

At the risk of overload, here are some notes of mine on the recent lack of warming. I look at this in two ways. The first is to look at the difference between the observed and expected anthropogenic trend relative to the pdf for unforced variability. The second is to remove ENSO, volcanoes and TSI variations from the observed data.

Both methods show that what we are seeing is not unusual. The second method leaves a significant warming over the past decade.

These sums complement Kevin’s energy work.

Kevin says … “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”. I do not agree with this.

(In addition, I would add that short-term trends are not really a big deal, anyway. Temperatures simply can vary over short timescales. The quote about the “travesty” here misses that important point.)

Also, in point of fact, the original writer went on to say that the “travesty” is related to his opinion that “our observing system is indequate”:

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. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.

He is saying he does not like the short term data, but accepts it, bemoaning the fact that we don’t have enough good observations to support proof of short term warming (which the response quoted above addresses).

This example shows clearly that there is more to the  statement than meets the eye, and in fact others involved did not agree with it, for important reasons stated in the emails.

Focusing only on statements taken out of context does the public a disservice. People should be exposed to the entire discussion.


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