Professor Caught Up in Climate Change Scandal

Mann_treeringThe climate change debate has been going on for a long time now, and public opinion on the matter has fluctuated with each new scientific revelation.

Penn State has had a prominent voice in the debate, with one professor in particular having a larger voice than most.

Professor of Meteorology Michael Mann has been a proponent of the idea that humans are the primary cause for the increase in global temperatures over the past century.

He is most known for his work with “the Hockey Stick Graph,” which claims to illustrate the average temperature of the earth over the past millennium, and how the average temperature began to spike around 1900.

His work had been regarded as some of the most important in the climate change debate, but earlier this week hackers obtained over 160 megabytes of emails from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in England. The contents of these emails question the validity of the Unit’s research. Dozens of emails contained messages regarding the destruction and hiding of data that didn’t support global-warming claims.

The controversy comes from a series of emails between Professor Phil Jones, Director of the Climate Research Unit and Dr. Mann. Excerpts from the emails include the “trick of adding in the real temps to each series … to hide the decline [in temperature]” and “if they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I’ll delete the file rather than send to anyone.”

Professor Mann has acknowledged that he was involved in this conversation, but offered the explanation that the term trick “refers to a solution for displaying data that he and others used in a paper they published to get around a problem in the way that temperature data is traditionally displayed.”

Penn State’s meteorology department has always been regarded as one of the best in the world, and Professor Mann is one of its most prominent faculty members. The fact that he has been caught up in this must be trying to the College and University administration. Several of the scientists included in the emails have spoken out about the information being taken out of context, citing that “the unfortunate thing about this is that people can cherry pick and take things out of context.”

We’ll let you make your own decision and discuss in the comments section.

[CNN.com] [Washington Times] [Wired]

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About the Author

Chase Tralka

Chase Tralka is a Senior majoring in Information Sciences and Technology with a minor in Security and Risk Analysis. He is from Northern New Jersey and is involved in far too many organizations to list here. He enjoys photography, cycling, and listening to obscure free jazz music.

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