SIGNIFICANT economic interventions are being planned, that are going to impact on citizens all around the world, based on the premise that global temperatures are increasing. It would thus seem especially important that quality temperature data, the data underpinning the policy, be publicly available.
In fact there are several official temperature data sets and what is publicly available has all been adjusted. Adjustments are made for all sorts of reasons and often multiple times. The number of data bases and the extent of the data manipulation intrigues many amateur and professional statisticians who take an interest in climate change.
Recently statistician and blogger Steve McIntyre was denied access to specific data files at the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in the UK. This Institution holds the longest official records for global temperatures as measured by thermometers. His request was refused on the basis he is not an academic – presumably meaning he is not currently employed by a University. He is a qualified statistician with an impressive career in private industry and various publications. Anyway, one of his colleagues, who does hold a university position, Ross McKitrick subsequently requested the same data and this request was also rejected, but for different reasons.
According to a recent news item in the academic journal Nature, the refusal is because Phil Jones, the director of the Climate Research Unit, is being inundated with requests. A figure of 56 requests is quoted in the article. This doesn’t seem a lot to me. Furthermore, I don’t understand why the director of the institution would be involved in the processing of such requests. Surely there is an army of technicians who can process such requests particularly given the request is for the raw unadjusted data.
Mr McIntyre and others are claiming Dr Jones is hiding something – and the longer he withholds the data the more scandalous it will appear.
Notes and Links
Climate data spat intensifies, Growing demands for access to information swamp scientist, by Olive Heffernan, August 12, 2009. Nature 460, 787 (2009) | doi:10.1038/460787a News
The CRU Gong Show: Refusing Ross McKitrick. by Steve McIntyre on August 13th, 2009. http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=6825
And via Benny Peiser:
The world’s source for global temperature record admits it’s lost or destroyed all the original data that would allow a third party to construct a global temperature record. The destruction (or loss) of the data comes at a convenient time for the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) in East Anglia – permitting it to snub FoIA requests to see the data. –Andrew Orlowski, The Register, 13 August 2009
Even if WMO agrees, I will still not pass on the data. We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it. –Phil Jones, Climatic Research Unit, 21 February 2005
Data storage availability in the 1980s meant that we were not able to keep the multiple sources for some sites, only the station series after adjustment for homogeneity issues. We, therefore, do not hold the original raw data but only the value-added (i.e. quality controlled and homogenized) data. –Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia, August 2009
If this information were to be released contrary to the conditions under which this institution received it, it would damage the trust that other national scientists and institutions have in UK-based public sector organisations. I apologise that your request will be met (sic) but if you have any further information needs in the future then please contact me. –Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia, August 2009
There are stipulations on the data, with the exception that there are no stipulations on the data. Obviously, under such non-stipulated stipulations, we cannot supply the requested data. –Pat Frank, AC, 13 August 2009