Other Group

Climate Audit

Formation:

2005

Awards:

Winner of the 2007 Best Science Blog

Founder:

Steve McIntyre

Climate Audit is a blog that examines and discusses climate data findings. Founded by Steve McIntyre, the blog played a key role in exposing “Climategate,” a controversy involving emails sent by prominent climatologists that appeared to indicate efforts to conceal or manipulate climatological data, in 2009.

The site is skeptical of certain climate change data, but does not challenge the existence of man-made climate change.

Background

Climate Audit is a blog that examines and discusses climate data findings. Steve McIntyre founded the blog on February 3, 2005. [1] The site is skeptical of certain climate change data, but does not challenge the existence of man-made climate change. The website played a key role in exposing what became known as the “Climategate” scandal in 2009.

In 2007, Climate Audit was the co-winner of the Best Science Blog award, given out by the Weblogs Awards. The other co-winner was “Bad Astronomy.” [2]

McIntyre, with a mathematical background, first became interested in climate change in 2002. Before starting Climate Audit, he identified a statistical error in the “hockey stick” graph that was key to the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report. This graph was produced by Professor Michael Mann of the Pennsylvania State University’s Earth System Science Center. [3]

The website RealClimate.org attacked McIntyre and his critique of the “hockey stick” graph. He was unable to post on the site to defend himself, so he started ClimateAudit.org to respond. [4]

McIntyre has said he isn’t trying to disprove man-made climate change, but rather produce data — along with environmental economist Ross McKitrick — to illustrate on ClimateAutit.org the uncertainty of much of the science presented as infallible. [5]

A Wall Street Journal piece referred to McIntyre as “one of the climate change gang’s Most Dangerous Apostates.” [6]

McIntyre is a retired Canadian mining consultant. [7] He describes his examinations of climate data as “auditing.” Some of his findings prompted a congressional review of climate science. [8]

Fact Checking Temperature Records

In September 2009, McIntyre revealed the famous graph that used tree rings to show unprecedented climate warming in the 20th century was based on poor data.

University of East Anglia professor Keith Briffa produced the graph in 2000 to make the case of a major threat from climate change. McIntyre reported on the blog that the modern portion of that graph that claimed to prove skyrocketing temperatures in the last century relied on just 12 tree cores in Russia’s Yamal region. McIntyre presented a second graph, this one with 34 tree cores from a nearby site. The broader comparison showed the temperature spike disappeared. [9]

In 2007, McIntyre discovered a statistical error that forced NASA to make a correction that 1934—rather than 1998—had been the hottest year on record. [10]

Climategate

McIntyre regularly uses open records laws in the U.S., Britain, and elsewhere to obtain information—including communications between climate scientists.

The head of the University of East Anglia climate department, Phil Jones, stepped down in December 2009 after one email he wrote cast question on whether he and others were shielding data from the public. Jones denied the charge. [11]

When stolen emails showed a hostile reaction and efforts to block the release of documents to freedom of information requests—largely from Climate Audit and similar blogs—the “Climategate” scandal was born. [12]

Jones wrote in an email saying, “Think I’ve managed to persuade UEA to ignore all further FOIA requests if the people have anything to do with Climate Audit.” [13] Jones also used the term “hiding the decline” in reference to the data. [14]

The U.K. House of Commons’ Science and Technology Committee determined, after a one-day hearing, it had no evidence to support charges that the university Climate Research Unit or Jones tampered with data. [15]

References

  1. McIntyre, Steve. “Our Research Covered in the National Post.” Climate Audit. February 3, 2005. Accessed October 13. https://web.archive.org/web/20050204174111/http://www.climateaudit.org/index.php?p=14 ^
  2. McIntyre, Steve. “Co-Winner Best Science Blog Award.” Climate Audit. November 12, 2007. Accessed October 13, 2019. https://climateaudit.org/2007/11/12/co-winner-best-science-blog/ ^
  3. Jolis, Anne. “Revenge of the Climate Laymen.” The Wall Street Journal. November 17, 2009. Accessed October 13, 2019. https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748704335904574496850939846712?mod=googlenews_wsj&mg=reno64-wsj ^
  4. Curry, Judith. “Can Scientists Rebuild the Public Trust in Climate Science.” Physics Today. February 24, 2010. Accessed October 13, 2019. https://physicstoday.scitation.org/do/10.1063/PT.4.0536/full/ ^
  5. Jolis, Anne. “Revenge of the Climate Laymen.” The Wall Street Journal. November 17, 2009. Accessed October 13, 2019. https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748704335904574496850939846712?mod=googlenews_wsj&mg=reno64-wsj ^
  6. Jolis, Anne. “Revenge of the Climate Laymen.” The Wall Street Journal. November 17, 2009. Accessed October 13, 2019. https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748704335904574496850939846712?mod=googlenews_wsj&mg=reno64-wsj ^
  7. Revkin, Andrew C. “Hacked E-Mail Data Prompts Calls for Changes in Climate Research.” The New York Times. November 27, 2009. Accessed October 13, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/28/science/earth/28hack.html?_r=1 ^
  8. Jolis, Anne. “Revenge of the Climate Laymen.” The Wall Street Journal. November 17, 2009. Accessed October 13, 2019. https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748704335904574496850939846712?mod=googlenews_wsj&mg=reno64-wsj ^
  9. Jolis, Anne. “Revenge of the Climate Laymen.” The Wall Street Journal. November 17, 2009. Accessed October 13, 2019. https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748704335904574496850939846712?mod=googlenews_wsj&mg=reno64-wsj ^
  10. Jolis, Anne. “Revenge of the Climate Laymen.” The Wall Street Journal. November 17, 2009. Accessed October 13, 2019. https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748704335904574496850939846712?mod=googlenews_wsj&mg=reno64-wsj ^
  11. Efstathiou, Jim and Moraels, Alex. “U.K. Climate Scientist Steps Down After Email Flap.” Bloomberg News. December 9, 2009. Accessed October 13, 2019. https://www.livemint.com/Politics/HGcD8UerYKe3HF0z14KrdP/UK-climate-scientist-steps-down-after-email-flap.html ^
  12. Curry, Judith. “Can Scientists Rebuild the Public Trust in Climate Science.” Physics Today. February 24, 2010. Accessed October 13, 2019. https://physicstoday.scitation.org/do/10.1063/PT.4.0536/full/ ^
  13. Regalado, Antonio. “In Climate Hack Story, Could Talk of Cover-Up be as Serious as Crime?” Science. November 23, 2009. https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2009/11/climate-hack-story-could-talk-cover-be-serious-crime ^
  14. Staff. “Scientist Cleared—After One-Day Probe.” Fox News. March 31, 2010. Accessed October 13, 2019. https://www.foxnews.com/science/scientists-cleared-after-one-day-probe ^
  15. Staff. “Scientist Cleared—After One-Day Probe.” Fox News. March 31, 2010. Accessed October 13, 2019. https://www.foxnews.com/science/scientists-cleared-after-one-day-probe ^
  See an error? Let us know!