|Wednesday, November 23, 2011 (SF Chronicle)
Climate e-mails released in new leak
Raphael G. Satter, Associated Press
The British university whose stolen e-mails caused a global
climatescience controversy in 2009 says those behind the breach have
apparentlyreleased a second and potentially far larger batch of old
University of East Anglia spokesman Simon Dunford said that
whileacademics didn't have the chance yet to examine the roughly 5,000
e-mailsapparently dumped into the public domain Tuesday, a small sample
examinedby the university "appears to be genuine."
The university said in a statement that the e-mails did not
appear to bethe result of a new breach. Instead, the statement said
they appeared tohave been stolen two years ago and held back until now
"to cause maximumdisruption" to the imminent U.N. climate talks next
week in Durban, SouthAfrica.
If that is confirmed, the timing and nature of the leak would
follow thepattern set by the so-called "Climategate" e-mails, which
caught prominentscientists stonewalling critics and discussing ways to
keep opponents'research out of peer-reviewed journals.
Those hostile to mainstream climate science claimed the
exchanges provedthat the threat of global warming was being hyped, and
their publicationhelped destabilize the failed U.N. climate talks in
Copenhagen, whichfollowed several weeks later.
Climategate also dealt a blow to the reputation of the
University of EastAnglia's Climatic Research Unit, which is one of the
world's leadingcenters for the study of how world temperatures have
varied over time.
Although a number of reviews have since vindicated the unit's
science,some of its practices - in particular efforts to hide data from
opponents- have come under strong criticism. The university says it is
now muchmore open about what it does.
The content of the new batch of e-mails couldn't be immediately
verified,but climate skeptic websites carried what they said were
Although their context couldn't be determined, the excerpts
appeared toshow climate scientists talking in conspiratorial tones
about ways topromote their agenda and freeze out those they disagree
with. There areseveral mentions of "the cause" and discussions of ways
to shield e-mailsfrom freedom of information requests.
The source of the latest leaked e-mails was unclear. The
perpetrator ofthe original hack has yet to be unmasked, although
British police havesaid their investigation is still active
|Tuesday, November 29, 2011 (AP)
World temps maintain the heat of global warming
By ARTHUR MAX, Associated Press
(11-29) 03:53 PST DURBAN, South Africa (AP) --
World temperatures keep rising, and are heading for a threshold
that couldlead to irreversible changes of the Earth, the U.N. weather
2011 is tied for the 10th hottest year since records began in
1850, theoffice said in its annual assessment of average global
temperatures. TheArctic sea ice has also shrunk to record-low volumes
this year, it said.The 13 hottest years on the books all have occurred
in the last 15 years. "The science is solid and proves
unequivocally that the world is warming,"said R.D.J. Lengoasa, deputy
director of the International MeteorologicalOrganization, and human
activity is a significant contributor.
"Climate change is real, and we are already observing its
manifestationsin weather and climate patterns around the world," he
said on thesidelines of the U.N. climate conference under way in South
The IMO's preliminary report, based on the first 10 months of
the year,was released in Geneva and at the U.N. climate talks in South
Africa. Itprovided a bleak backdrop to negotiators who are seeking ways
to limitpollution blamed for global warming.
2011 has been a year of extreme weather, the weather service
said.Parching drought in East Africa has left tens of thousands dead,
and therehave been deadly floods in Asia, and 14 separate weather
catastrophes inthe United States with damage topping $1 billion each.
Climate negotiators have set a goal of keeping temperatures from
risingmore than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) above
preindustriallevels. They already are 1.4 F (0.8 C) above the 1750
Small islands want that target reset at 2.3 F (1.5 C), saying their veryexistence is threatened by rising sea levels.
Michel Jarraud, IMO's secretary-general, said the 2.3 F target already isout of reach.
"Forget about it. It's too late," he told The Associated Press
in Geneva,adding that 3.6 F (2 C) is now a very challenging target.
"Technically, ifaction is to be taken quickly, 2 degrees is reachable."
Record high concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere
are fastapproaching levels consistent with another 3.3 F (2.4 C) rise
in averageglobal surface temperatures, "which scientists believe could
triggerfar-reaching and irreversible changes in our Earth, biosphere
and oceans,"he said.
The IMO report said high temperatures saturated the Earth
despite a LaNina event, when low surface temperatures in the equatorial
Pacific Oceanhas a cooling effect on the entire globe.
In an exhaustive study of extreme weather, the
authoritativeIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported this
month that suchevents will increase in frequency and intensity as the
Earth continues towarm.
The IMO said the extent of Arctic sea ice in 2011 was the
second-lowest onrecord, and its volume was the lowest. Scientists see
the Arctic as theplanet's most sensitive region and a barometer of the
The largest departure from the norm occurred in northern Russia,
wherethermometers soared and average 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees
Celsius)above average in some places, and some stations reporting
spring weather16 degrees Fahrenheit (9 degrees Celsius) above normal.
The Russian Arctic and most of Siberia hold massive amounts of
methanelocked into the permafrost, carbon-rich soil that never thaws.
Warmersummer temperatures mean a deeper thaw of permafrost and greater
releaseof methane, a gas with a global warming potential 23 times more
powerfulthan carbon dioxide.
The report came on the second day of the two-week conference in
this SouthAfrican coastal city attended by 192 parties seeking
agreement on futureaction to curb climate change.
The talks will determine whether industrial countries will renew
andexpand their commitments under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol to reduce
theirgreenhouse emissions and whether developing countries will accept
bindinglimits on their emissions in the future.
Negotiators also are discussing how to raise $100 billion a year
to helppoor countries move to low-carbon economies and cope with the
effects ofglobal warming.
Associated Press writer John Heilprin in Geneva contributed to thisreport.
Copyright 2011 AP