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December 5, 2009

James Delingpole is one of the first to observe the Climategate phenomenon as “uber-viral” – a story where there is much larger internet exposure than MSM exposure.

Citing Richard North, he compares the number of Google hits to the number of Google News hits for phrases of interest, comparing, for example, “Climategate”, a word that did not exist 14 days ago, to “Tiger Woods”, who has been adding to his celebrity in unexpected ways.

Updating the comparisons, “Climategate” has 32,000,000 google hits as compared to 4,080 news stories (Google), while “Tiger Woods” has 29,500,000 google hits with 54,018 news stories (Google). Although Tiger has over 10 times as many news stories, Climategate (remarkably) has more google hits than Tiger Woods (and many other famous search items e.g. Britney Spears, NFL, NBA or for that matter “climate”).

“IPCC” has 1,320,000 Google hits and 7,839 news stories (Google). If nothing else, the numbers show an extraordinarily intense interest in this story in the blogosphere, with increasing news media interest.

32 Comments leave one →
  1. fFreddy permalink
    December 5, 2009 11:37 am

    Umm, if I may, it is Richard North, not Richard Woods.

  2. theduke permalink
    December 5, 2009 12:18 pm

    Steve: if you haven’t seen this article:

    It’s quite good.

  3. Marko permalink
    December 5, 2009 12:18 pm

    Keep in mind Google News only shows hits in the last 30 days. This may not matter for Climategate because it is so new, but for all the other mentioned phrases it makes a big difference compared to the standard Google search.

  4. jallen permalink
    December 5, 2009 12:47 pm

    From the National Academy of Sciences, Here is the crux of climategate (assuming the reader is familiar with the FOIA and the “lost” source data aspects of the issue):

    Ensuring the Integrity, Accessibility, and
    Stewardship of Research Data in the Digital Age

    ISBN: 978-0-309-13684-6 National Academy of Sciences.

    Data Access and Sharing Principle: Research data, methods, and other information integral to publicly reported results should be publicly accessible.

    Recommendation 5: All researchers should make research data, methods, and other information integral to their publicly reported results publicly accessible in a timely manner to allow verification of published findings and to enable other researchers to build on published results, except in unusual cases in which there are compelling reasons for not releasing data. In these cases, researchers should explain in a publicly accessible
    manner why the data are being withheld from release.

    Data Stewardship Principle: Research data should be retained to serve future uses.

    Data that may have long-term value should be documented, referenced, and indexed so that others can find and use them accurately and appropriately. Curating data requires documenting, referencing, and indexing the data so that they can be used accurately and appropriately in the future.

    Recommendation 9: Researchers should establish data management plans at the beginning of each research project that include appropriate provisions for the stewardship of research data.

  5. ThinkingScientist permalink
    December 5, 2009 12:54 pm

    I am a serial complainer about bias on AGW to the BBC here in the UK. I have challenged them on this occasion to post links to whenever they post about Climategate, alongside the links they automatically post to CRU and RealClimate. When I hear back I will publish here my complaints and there response.

  6. ThinkingScientist permalink
    December 5, 2009 12:54 pm

    Sorry – “their response”!

  7. December 5, 2009 1:01 pm

    Thinking Scientist – I had three posts on the Newsnight website deleted when I linked to posts here/WUWT about the data problems and HARRY READ ME.

    They subsequently had a pathetic ‘Newsnight has discovered’ segment on HARRY but failed to explain why it was a bombshell – they interviewed a software guy who compared the code structure on screen to that of a ‘commercial’ package.

    It would have made zero sense to anyone without a SW background and then they’d be thinking – yup and where’s the meat…

    Very disappointing given the acres of expert analysis in the posts here and on WUWT.

  8. Richard Patton permalink
    December 5, 2009 1:14 pm

    If you look at the one year statistics on google:

    “climategate” = 204,000,000

    “climate change” = 210,000,000

    “global warming” = 88,300,000

  9. December 5, 2009 1:14 pm

    It is probably a good bet that “Climategate” will lead you to a lot of jokes, idle conversations, blogs trying to direct traffic to themselves, and sensationalist coverage. Better for serious discussion is to search for “CRU emails” and other uninvented and unsensationalized terms applicable to the issue.

  10. ThinkingScientist permalink
    December 5, 2009 1:40 pm


    I have already had a response from the BBC re my complaint last week. On the flagship BBC Radio 4 6pm news last week they led with the press release from the UK Met Office that 2009 “was going to be” the fifth warmest since records began. I challenged them that reporting a speculative press release about something that hadn’t happened and ignoring something that had happened (CRU emails) was bias.

    The answer was flannel, concern about strongly held beliefs etc. One of my main points, and I will continue to escalate the complaint, was to compare this to the BBC report in August 2004 when they reported on the main breakfast news on 25 August 2004 that it was “going to be” the wettest August in the UK since records began. After August actually finished the UK Daily Telegraph pointed out it was only the 17th wettest in the UK since records began. Did they correct the story? Its still on the website if you search for “August rain reaches record levels”.

    I gave a seminar to a lay audience in November that year and asked the audience of about 80 whether they thought that August 2004 was the wettest since records began. The show of hands was around 75%. I disabused those 80 poeple of this notion, but my reach is not as wide as the great and good of the British Broadcasting Corporation. And the greatest insult is I have to pay them to fund this propaganda…

  11. December 5, 2009 2:14 pm

    Re ThinkingScientist:

    For the benefit of other Americans,

    flannel [ˈflænəl] n

    5. Brit informal indirect or evasive talk; deceiving flattery

    …never heard that before.

  12. ThinkingScientist permalink
    December 5, 2009 2:21 pm

    Re: NW

    Not just science at CA…its cultural exchange too!

  13. December 5, 2009 2:28 pm

    fFreddy said:

    “Umm, if I may, it is Richard North, not Richard Woods.”

    Indeed. But what is your point?

  14. Hu McCulloch permalink
    December 5, 2009 6:18 pm

    Congratulations, Steve! You know you’ve made an impact when your original server melts down from high traffic!

  15. RomanM permalink
    December 5, 2009 6:48 pm

    GP, possibly a correction to a typographical error?

    Hu: The good news … and the bad news…

  16. INGSOC permalink
    December 5, 2009 8:36 pm

    It is fascinating to observe the wholesale changes in media that have been occurring as of late. From a purely dispassionate point of view, I would have thought “old media” would be better at dealing with this new reality. So far, they appear to be fumbling badly. I would have thought that money would have trumped ideology but it seems not. They appear to be the consummate Nero playing the violin while Rome burns all around them.

    BTW, I hope you get a chance for some decent rest Steve. We need you sharp!



  17. Gary Palmgren permalink
    December 5, 2009 9:22 pm

    Dr. Roy Spencer invents a Media Interest Index: (MII)
    His index: MII = 1000 x (news matches) / (web matches)

    Tiger Woods web 18,100,000 news 46092
    MII: index 2.54

    Climategate web 14800000 news 4985
    MII: index 0.33

    This is fun. He plotted several topics on one graph to compare the news media interest vs. the general public interest in several stories. Do you think he found a bias?

  18. December 5, 2009 10:26 pm

    Hi Steve–

    This is getting spooky. Have you ever heard of “post-normal science?” The term is used in a proposal in the .zip file and what I found during a web search is most telling.

    I’d love any thoughts you may have on the notion that “old” science is of limited use in the current world.

  19. Doug in Seattle permalink
    December 5, 2009 10:57 pm

    Richard Patton

    If you look at the one year statistics on google:

    “climategate” = 204,000,000

    “climate change” = 210,000,000

    “global warming” = 88,300,000

    How is that there are 30,3000,000 hits for all time on “climategate” but 220,000,000 for the past year?

    That and the autofill thing have me wondering a bit about Google.

  20. Matt permalink
    December 6, 2009 12:45 am

    Steven McIntyre and Ross McKitrick et al. are all Canadian heroes. I will push in every way to have you decorated with official honours.

  21. Antony permalink
    December 6, 2009 2:08 am

    Read this disturbing news from Canada

    Is this;

    a) a try to blacken “climate consensus” skeptics

    b) a failed attempt by an overzealous skeptic

    c) a failed attempt by a “standard” hacker who got attracted to this topic by the buzz


  22. Antony permalink
    December 6, 2009 2:12 am

    Sorry, the above was about physical break in(s) so possibility “c)” goes.

  23. IIB permalink
    December 6, 2009 4:06 am

    Steve, we’re not as far into exposue in the world of Youtube, as Tiger Woods has 39,800 and Climategate only has 2,820 results.

    Upload videos everyone.

    Check out Former US Presidents Explain Climategate:

  24. Stacey permalink
    December 6, 2009 6:25 am

    James Delinpole has been very good at reporting this matter however he is trying to politicise it as a liberal left conspiracy.


    Yesterday and today “Climate” auto suggest for Climategate NADA

    Yesterday and today type in “climategate” auto suggests climate guatemala.

    Hits now down to 31.5Million


    Here Here but would add International heroes and we shouldn’t forget Mr Watts

  25. Tony permalink
    December 6, 2009 8:25 am

    See Al Gore’s response to Climategate here

  26. snowmaneasy permalink
    December 6, 2009 10:38 am

    Re:Antony…. this is from Andrew Weaver at U-Vic in Victoria, Canada….not all that disturbing…this has already been covered in the Canadian press…most commentators have dismissed it….I cannot remember the exact links….

  27. Neil McEvoy permalink
    December 6, 2009 12:39 pm


    “I am a serial complainer about bias on AGW to the BBC here in the UK. I have challenged them on this occasion to post links to whenever they post about Climategate, alongside the links they automatically post to CRU and RealClimate. When I hear back I will publish here my complaints and there response.”

    You and me too. But see here for a link to CA Too bad the preceding article is biased, but Rome wasn’t built in a day.

  28. December 6, 2009 4:09 pm

    Mr. McIntyre, maybe you don’t feel like a hero, but that’s exactly what you are. My family and friends and I appreciate your persistence, your expertise and your high ethical standards. You and a few others were plugging away at these problems long before they became so overblown as to nearly (so far, only nearly) allow our governments to become more tyrannical than is bearable. Laughably, their “reason” for abusing us is to “save” us. You have made a degree of difference which no other can claim. Thank you much. Please take care of you.

  29. carl permalink
    December 6, 2009 11:23 pm

    MSM can’t really publish and play the emails and all the other files can they? I would think that would pose some legal issues. Not to mention being on the take in general or in bed with the AGW movement would make it a non starter.

    I brought it up at realclimate LOL and so far no replies. I cannot believe how many folks think the leaked files are meaningless without even looking at what is there. Isn’t that the essence if uniformed opinion or willful ignorance? If its all meaningless then publish it all and let the sunlight in, but nooooooo all the AGW sites are doing nothing but damage control and taking each small crisis as it comes up when in fact if you take the whole 150MB plus set of files together as a whole it provides one damn ugly glimpse into the whole sordid mess and it should be treated as such.

    Peer review process corrupted, not even questionable. Major players confirmed liars. FOI laws broken. Collusion and corroboration of all this in the files, this too is not even questionable, it is all there. Game over. Pointing at individual files as some sort of smoking gun is the wrong approach, it is what the whole picture means that is what is important.

  30. RichieP permalink
    December 7, 2009 6:03 am

    Well, here in the UK on 7 December a.m., searching Google for climategate results in the suggestion box not registering the existence of the word until you’ve entered the final letter e. Google have come up with some entirely unconvincing “explanation” about algorithms but the reality is that there is an active cover-up with almost the entire world’s MSM complicit, as well as Google. Bing, for instance, delivers climategate as its top suggestion after just cli.. Go figure.

  31. ralf permalink
    December 24, 2009 7:53 am

    Doug in Seattle:” How is that there are 30,3000,000 hits for all time on “climategate” but 220,000,000 for the past year?”

    I think the difference between the numbers is that in one case was searched in Google news and in the other case it was searched in Google.

    or I am wrong?


  1. Skeptical Sunday Science: Climategate “gone viral” ? | Skeptical Swedish Scientists

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