Climategate 2.0? More Emails Leaked From Climate Researchers

A new batch of emails purportedly stolen from the servers at the University of East Anglia were posted online Tuesday, echoing the 2009 data breach dubbed "Climategate" that turned the world's attention to the internal debates among scientists hoping to determine whether man's actions are warming the planet.

Excerpts from the emails posted on climate skeptic websites are certainly eye-opening:

<1939> Thorne/MetO: Observations do not show rising temperatures throughout the tropical troposphere unless you accept one single study and approach and discount a wealth of others. This is just downright dangerous. We need to communicate the uncertainty and be honest. 

<3066> Thorne: I also think the science is being manipulated to put a political spin on it, which for all our sakes might not be too clever in the long run.

<4755> Overpeck: The trick may be to decide on the main message and use that to guid[e] what’s included and what is left out.

The leak comes less than a week before the latest United Nations meeting intended to control carbon emissions and monitor the world's climate -- a fact underscored in a document that accompanied the leaked emails.

"Today’s decisions should be based on all the information we can get, not on hiding the decline," the anonymous document states, a reference to a comment from the first batch of emails that became a rallying point for climate skeptics.

The University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit -- a key center of climate study and the source of the leaked emails -- immediately issued a statement blasting the release and its timing.

"These emails have the appearance of having been held back after the theft of data and emails in 2009 to be released at a time designed to cause maximum disruption to the imminent international climate talks," the school stated.

University of East Anglia spokesman Simon Dunford nonetheless told the Associated Press that a small sample examined by the university "appears to be genuine" -- although the school stated that they did not seem to be recent emails.

"While we have had only a limited opportunity to look at this latest post of 5,000 emails, we have no evidence of a recent breach of our systems," the statement reads. downloaded the documents, which appear to have been taken down from the Russian website that had been hosting them.

And the anonymous source of the latest leaked emails -- a 173MB zip file called "FOIA2011" containing more than 5,000 new emails and made briefly available on Russian server -- remains unclear. The perpetrator of the original hack has yet to be unmasked, although British police have said their investigation is still active.

Michael Mann, the director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University and a central figure in climate studies, described the release to U.K. paper the Guardian as "truly pathetic."

The emails in the leak appeared to be his own, Mann said, although he did not believe them to be as controversial at all, despite being taken out of context.

"I hardly see anything that appears damning at all," he told the Guardian.

The University argued that several independent panels have defended the Climategate scientists against wrong doing, and it was certain the scientific community would stand by those named in this current batch of emails.

"Following the previous release of emails scientists highlighted by the controversy have been vindicated by independent review, and claims that their science cannot or should not be trusted are entirely unsupported. They, the University and the wider research community have stood by the science throughout, and continue to do so," the university said.