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Mon Jan 14, 2013, 11:01 AM

Suspicions of doping cost climate extremes chance at fame

NEW YORK (CP) - At an annual meeting held last week, scientists choose not to induct two of the top events in climate history into the Hall of Fame due to suspicions of doping. The U.S. weather of 2012 and the Arctic sea ice decline, which each broke numerous climate records during their long, illustrious careers, fell well short in the voting among eligible scientists.

The strong consensus signifies an important change in the willingness of the scientific community to attribute individual climate achievements to drug use. It leaves behind the controversial election of other climate events suspected of doping, including the Russian Heat Wave and Pakistani floods of 2010.

In the past, scientists have been reluctant to attribute extreme events or unusually hot years to any one cause, whether natural ability, new training techniques or doping. They reach decisions only after years working with sophisticated computer models that assess the factors influencing performance of each event, and using statistics to compare each event to other throughout history. Even after this exhaustive process, the wording in official statements tends to be highly cautious, with repeated references to uncertainty.

This year’s decision reflects frustration among scientists with what was viewed as flagrant and obvious drug use in setting the US temperature and Arctic sea ice minimum records, and the persistent denial of what their data shows is a rampant doping problem...


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