Friday, February 12, 2010

The University of East Anglia: a Review and a Reappraisal

"But Mumble was different."--Happy Feet

A fair-minded series on the scandal known as "Climategate" has been published in the U.K. Guardian. The series is titled "Climate Wars."

This scandal began after the server used by Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia (UEA) was hacked and selected e-mails and other documents were posted on the Internet.

The UEA has established an independent review of the issues raised by the hacking. Information about the progress on this investigation can be found at the Independent Climate Change Email Review, which explains:

The independent Review is being led by Sir Muir Russell KCB DL FRSE. It will investigate key allegations arising from the series of hacked emails from the Climate Research Unit. Full details of its terms of reference and scope can be found here.

The Independent Climate Change Email Review states (FAQ):

The Review team held a press briefing on 11 February 2010, and called for submissions from interested parties by 1 March 2010.

The Review wants to be as transparent as possible, but they warn that complete transparency may not be possible when legal issues are involved:

The Team will operate as openly and transparently as possible. It is establishing a website which will eventually display all of the submissions received, correspondence, analyses and conclusions. The aim will be to publish all received submissions quickly, unless there are wholly exceptional reasons to delay, for example legal issues.

The Review further observes (FAQ):

This review is not a criminal investigation. However, Norfolk Constabulary are investigating criminal offences in relation to the hacking incident. The Information Commissioner is examining Freedom of Information and Data Protection issues. The Review has met Norfolk Constabulary and the Information Commissioner’s Office and will remain in touch on matters of mutual interest.

Here is the ICO's site and also a document about the exceptions to the Environmental Information Regulations of 2004.

The Review explains (FAQ) that its brief is not to examine the CRU’s scientific conclusions; its brief is to examine scientific and data management procedures.

The UEA reports that a separate independent external reappraisal of the science in the Climatic Research Unit’s (CRU) key publications is also being set up by the UEA.

The Royal Society, which has a site devoted to climate change, will help the University select scientists for the independent scientific reappraisal. The scientific reappraisal will complement Sir Muir Russell’s Review of the key allegations about the handling of data arising from the publication of a series of e-mails hacked from CRU.

The Independent Climate Change Email Review has posted the following links to organizations that have information about weather and climate change:

The Royal Society

The Met Office


BBC Weather



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