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First Author of ‘Antarctic Warming Paper’ Claims Libel

THE prestigious journal Nature published an article last Friday explaining that the Antarctic has been generally warming and at about the same rate as the rest of the planet.  [1]  Within the scientific community it had been generally been accepted that as a continent, Antarctica, has been getting colder contrary to most of the rest of the planet.  Publication of the article generated much comment and some disbelief. 

At the official US government’s senate minority web site, Marc Morano published a “comprehensive data round up” of responses to the article mostly seeking to debunk the claim that Antarctica is warming . [2]

First author, Eric Steig, has objected to the article by Mr Morano and requested a formal written apology.  Mr Morano has refused.   Following is the email exchange:

—– Original Message —–
From: Eric Steig
To: Morano, Marc (EPW)
Cc: [various journalists, names and addresses withheld]
Sent: Wed Jan 28 23:52:12 2009
Subject: accusation of fraud

Dear Mr. Morano,

On the official US senate minority web site you cite a blog that accuses me of
scientific fraud.  (

You write:

“A critical analysis of the paper from December 21, 2008, accused the authors of  the Antarctic study of making questionable data adjustments.
(See: Scientist adjusts data — presto, Antarctic cooling disappears – December
21, 2008) The analysis concluded; Looks like [study author] Steig ‘got
rid of’ Antarctic cooling the same way [Michael] Mann got rid of medieval
warming. Why not just look at the station data instead of ‘adjusting’ it (graph
above)? It shows a 50-year cooling trend; the analysis concluded.

You do not comment on this, but simply cite it.  However, you are clearly
implying that you agree with it because you do not comment.  Are you prepared
to either remove this from the web site immediately, or to provide evidence that I have committed fraud?  This is a very extreme accusation.  Indeed, it seems rather like libel to me.  I would like to request a formal apology from you, in writing.

I am cc:ing several journalists on this, so hopefully inaction of your part will be noticed.

In any case, the ‘analysis’ you cite is wrong.  If you look at Figure 3.7 from the IPCC report

you will see that the average temperature trend for Antarctica was positive (warming) not negative (cooling).  This figure shows the average of the Antarctic station data.  This demonstrates that the statement that  “the station data shows a 50-year cooling trend” is plainly wrong.  In the interest of being honest with the American public, don’t you think you should correct this?

Eric Steig
Professor, Department of Earth and Space Sciences
University of Washington

—–Original Message—–
From: Morano, Marc (EPW)
Sent: Thursday, 29 January 2009 3:22 PM
To:  Eric Steig
Cc: Jennifer Marohasy [and various journalists copied into original email by Professor Steig, names withheld]
Subject: Re: accusation of fraud

Professor Steig,

Thanks for writing.

The Senate EPW report in question simply reported on many reactions to your new Antarctic study.


The one you are objecting to was just one of several that I excerpted.

The quoted citation will not be removed from our site. But to be completely fair and accurate, I would be glad to publish your reaction to the blog excerpt and allow you to state your case and rebut it.

As you have read, our EPW report links to all sources referenced and allows the public a full counter balance to what much of the media reports on climate change issues.

I would suggest that you should be thanking EPW for providing such a needed public service, instead of displaying such hostility.

Please send me a brief statement I will happily post it right after the blog in question.

Or, if you choose, I can use key portions of the email you have already sent me.

Thank you,
Marc Morano


Notes and Links

1. Steig, E., D. Schneider, S. Rutherford, M. Mann, J.C. Comiso and D.T. Shindell.  2009.  Warming of the Antarctic Ice-Sheet Surface Since The 1957 International Geophysical Year.  Nature.  Vol 457,  January 22, 2009.

2. Scientists, Data Challenge New Antarctic ‘Warming’ Study. ‘It is hard to make data where none exist’. Comprehensive Data Round Up Debunks New Antarctic ‘Estimate of Temperature Trends’

3. My initial response to the Steig et al article can be found as a blog post here:


53 Responses to “First Author of ‘Antarctic Warming Paper’ Claims Libel”

Pages: « 1 [2] Show All

  1. Comment from: James Mayeau

    Are you prepared to either remove this from the web site immediately, or to provide evidence that I have committed fraud? This is a very extreme accusation. Indeed, it seems rather like libel to me. I would like to request a formal apology from you, in writing.

    Evidence of fraud provided by Climate Audit, via John Pittman. Eric Steig should have been more careful about what he asked for…
    In America, truth is always an iron clad defence in libel cases (I don’t know other countries laws so much).

  2. Comment from: Graeme Bird

    Why would anyone collaborate with Michael Mann if he didn’t expect to be considered a fraud? Michael Mann is famous for science fraud. Nothing is more clear than that. So its simply good time management to assume that Eric Steig is also a science fraud until proven innocent. Did Eric just show up from out of town on the back of a turnip truck? Can he not get people who ARE NOT science frauds to work with? Anyone who supports the hockey stick is engaging in science fraud and there are very many people who do this. Very many in this country and overseas. I go to their websites and I check them out. And showing support for the hockey stick is a confession of science fraud or gross incompetence.

    I’m willing to be convinced otherwise. If you feel maligned by my comments you are invited to my blog to justify the hockey stick.

  3. Comment from: Carroll B. Merriman

    Keep working ,great job!

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