Michael Mann and ‘Climategate’
The news last week that e-mail exchanges between prominent climate scientists had been hacked and made public — news that, probably not coincidentally, came a couple of weeks before the upcoming international climate conference in Copenhagen — has been overshadowed only by “news” about Tiger Woods’ personal life. Language in some of the e-mails seems to imply that scientists have hidden or altered climate change data. And a Penn State professor has been near the center of it.
Michael E. Mann, professor of meteorology and director of the University’s Earth System Science Center, is one of two climate scientists whose work and reputation are being questioned after the e-mail leak. Mann — one of five Penn State faculty members who participated in our climate change roundtable back in 2007 — has long been a leading voice among those pointing to man-made CO2 emissions as the primary cause of global warming. He’s one of the scientists involved in the Web site realclimate.org. And he’s also a favorite target of those who don’t buy the idea of man-made warming — “skeptics” or “deniers,” depending on your point of view.
Plenty of blog space has been taken up on the topic since the story broke. And while the story continues to develop — a few days ago, the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences released a statement (which you can read in PDF form here) announcing it would, per University policy, “look into the matter further” — we’ve found a few stories that offer a reasoned take on the controversy to date, including this one from Science Magazine, and this from Bloomberg News. You also can read Mann’s own explanation of some of the e-mails in question.
Ryan Jones, senior editor