Gary Yohe, a professor of economics and author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) working on the 2009 Report on Climate Change, discussed his personal experiences in the "climategate" issue. The discussion took place at Wesleyan University last Friday.
He addressed how the e-mails were hacked and how the hacks utilized several typos and mistakes in the documents they found to legitimize the theory from skeptics of climate change that scientists are making up or dramatically exaggerating climate change to further their own purposes. Yohe pointed out a few of the typos found in the documents. Unfortunately the typos almost all drastically exaggerated the timelines of damage from global warming, which allowed the hackers to use these mistakes for their benefit.
One excerpt with a typo read that Himalayan glaciers were going to melt in 2035 if the earth continued warming on the current path, but the actual year the authors meant to write in the document was 2350. Clearly, this is nothing more than a computing mistake. It's also important to note that the number 2035 was never published in an important document but was merely part of an e-mail between peers working on the project.
The media will be releasing a letter with the fixed numbers and a retraction of the false accounts released by the e-mail hackers. At one point in the discussion at Wesleyan, Gary Yohe poked fun at many skeptics of climate change (those who believe scientists are collaboratively making up this phenomenon) by saying, "most of us [scientists involved in the study of climate change] are completely socially inept but somehow people think we could really keep this a secret for over 20 years."