The initial email dump was apparently timed to disrupt the Copenhagen climate talks. It prompted three official inquiries in the UK and two in the US into the working practices of climate scientists. Although these were critical of the scientists' handling of Freedom of Information Act requests and lack of openness they did not find fault with the climate change science they had produced.
Norfolk police have said the new set of emails is "of interest" to their investigation to find the perpetrator of the initial email release who has not yet been identified.
The emails appear to be genuine, but the University of East Anglia said the "sheer volume of material" meant it was not yet able to confirm that they were. One of the emailers, the climate scientist Prof Michael Mann, has confirmed that he believes they are his messages. The lack of any emails post-dating the 2009 release suggests that they were obtained at the same time, but held back. Their release now suggests they are intended to cause maximum impact before the upcoming climate summit in Durban which starts on Monday.
In the new release a 173MB zip file called "FOIA2011" containing more than 5,000 new emails, was made available to download on a Russian server called Sinwt.ru today. An anonymous entity calling themselves "FOIA" then posted a link to the file on at least four blogs popular with climate sceptics – Watts Up With That, Climate Audit, TallBloke and The Air Vent. The same tactic was used in 2009 when the first 160MB batch of emails were released after being obtained – possibly illegally – from servers based at the University of East Anglia, where a number of the climate scientists involved were based.
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