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Climate Skeptics Pounce On E-Mails Hackers Got From U.K. Scientists' Files

There's a storm brewing on the Web over e-mails that hackers got hold of in which some scientists at one of the world's leading research centers say things such as the need to "hide the decline" in data about temperatures. Skeptics who have doubts about whether humans are contributing to global warming are pouncing on the revelations.

As The Wall Street Journal's Environmental Capital blog says, "this should get interesting."

The Guardian lays out much of the story here. It writes that:

Hundreds of private emails and documents allegedly exchanged between some of the world's leading climate scientists over the past 13 years have been stolen by hackers and leaked online. The computer files were apparently accessed earlier this week from servers at the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit, a world-renowned centre focused on the study of natural and anthropogenic climate change.

Australia's Investigate magazine reports here that Phil Jones, head of the Climate Research Unit, says that he does not remember exactly what he meant 10 years ago when he wrote in an e-mail about the need to "hide the decline." He argues, though, that he was not trying to mislead anyone, but rather had likely been discussing how to add "instrumental data" from recent years to "proxy data, going back further in time, a thousand years."

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It was apparently a blog called The Air Vent that first broke the news.

The BBC suspects it's no coincidence that the e-mails surfaced shortly before the December climate summit in Copenhagen.

Ed Morrissey at the conservative Hot Air wonders:

Do scientists use data to test theories, or do they use theories to test data? Scientists will claim the former, but here we have scientists who cling to the theory so tightly that they reject the data. That's not science; it's religious belief.