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McIntyre versus Jones: climate data row escalates

Many of our readers will no doubt be aware of the long-standing dispute between Steve McIntyre and members of the climate science community whose data McIntyre is keen to get hold of.

For those of you less familiar with the story, here’s some background. McIntyre, who runs the Climate Audit blog, is best known for questioning the validity of the statistical analyses used to create the ‘hockey stick’ graph. The ‘hockey stick’ is the graph that illustrates the past 1000 years of climate based on palaeo proxy data and was published by Penn state climatologist Michael Mann and co-authors in Nature back in 1998.

More recently, McIntyre has turned his attention to criticizing the quality of global temperature data held by institutes such as NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies. Several organizations worldwide collect and report global average temperature data for each month. Of these, a temperature data set held jointly by the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia and the UK Met Office’s Hadley Centre in Exeter, known as HadCRU , extends back the farthest, beginning in 1850.

Since 2002, McIntyre has repeatedly asked Phil Jones, director of CRU, for access to the HadCRU data. Although the data are made available in a processed gridded format that shows the global temperature trend, the raw station data are currently restricted to academics. While Jones has made data available to some academics, he has refused to supply McIntyre with the data. Between 24 July and 29 July of this year, CRU received 58 freedom of information act requests from McIntyre and people affiliated with Climate Audit. In the past month, the UK Met Office, which receives a cleaned-up version of the raw data from CRU, has received ten requests of its own.

I’ve reported the full story for this week’s Nature, but here’s a breakdown, plus some details that didn’t make the cut.

Why does McIntyre want the data?

Given McIntyre’s track record in critiquing data that comprise a significant part of the evidence for global warming, one might wonder whether he is in fact interested in having a go at reproducing the global temperature record. But McIntyre insists hat he’s not interested in challenging the science of climate change, or in nit-picking; rather he is simply asking that the “data be made available”.

Why won’t Jones give McIntyre the data?

Jones says that he tried to help when he first received data requests from McIntyre back in 2002, but says that he soon became inundated with requests that he could not fulfill, or that he did not have the time to respond to. He says that, in some cases, he simply couldn’t hand over entire data sets because of long-standing confidentiality agreements with other nations that restrict their use.

Although Jones agrees that the data should be made publicly available, he says that “it needs to be done in a systematic way”. He is now working to make the data publicly available online and will post a statement on the CRU website tomorrow to that effect, with any existing confidentiality agreements. “We’re trying to make them all available. We’re consulting with all the meteorological services – about 150 members of WMO – and will ask them if they are happy to release the data”, says Jones. But getting the all-clear from other nations could take several months and there may be objections. “Some countries don’t even have their own data available as they haven’t digitized it. We have done a lot of that ourselves”, he says.

Are there likely to be ‘holes’ in the data’?

Everyone agrees that raw station data are imperfect; that’s why they are cleaned up before being handed over to the UK Met Office. Jones says that existing issues include stations being relocated without being renamed, but he emphasises that these minor errors do not affect the global temperature trend, because there are thousands of individual stations collecting data worldwide at any one time.

McIntyre says that he does not expect to find any major errors in the data. But he also believes that too few resources are put into quality checking climate data, and that independent professional statistical services should be employed to check the data. Any thoughts on who might offer such services?

What was the CRU ‘data purge’ about?

A couple of weeks ago, it became clear that McIntyre had in fact retrieved some of the HadCRU data from a server on the CRU website. On realizing this, CRU immediately removed the data from their website, leading to speculation about a CRU ‘data lockdown’ over on Climate Audit. It transpires, however, that these data were on an anonymous ftp server intended for Met Office Hadley Centre project partners only, and were not for public use.

What’s next?

Given that McIntyre’s wish for access to the data will take time to be granted, this dispute will likely continue for some time. He’s especially aggrieved by the fact that hurricane expert Peter Webster at Georgia Tech University was recently provided with data that had been refused to him. McIntyre’s point here is that he should be treated as a legitimate academic given his background and publication record.

But Webster points out that he was allowed access because of the nature of his request, which was very specific and will result in a joint publication with Phil Jones. “Reasonable requests should be fulfilled because making data available advances science”, says Webster, “but it has to be an authentic request because otherwise you’d be swamped".

Once the data become publicly available, Jones wants McIntyre to produce a global temperature record. “Science advances that way. He might then realize how robust the global temperature record is”, says Jones. Asked if he would take on the challenge, McIntyre said that it’s not a priority for him, but added “if someone wanted to hire me, I’d do it”.

Olive Heffernan

Comments

  1. Report this comment

    Bishop Hill said:

    McIntyre has said repeatedly that he doesn’t believe there is a smoking gun in the CRU figures. He just thinks the data should be public. I’m sure Dr Jones must know this, so I’m at a loss to understand his demand that McIntyre produce a global temperature record.

    I wonder if the code will be released too?

  2. Report this comment

    michel said:

    What many of us find impossible to understand is the following.

    The future of the human race on earth is at stake. Drastic measures are essential. There are however many influential skeptics who are not convinced of this, their main argument is that the studies on which the above assertions are based are impossible to verify, because the data and the algorithms are being kept secret.

    Professor Jones, along with Mann, Thompson, and others has done the work, has generated studies, and it is all totally securely based. If we had access to the raw data and the code, we could see that the evidence is overwhelming, the results reproducible. We would, if we came to accept this, immediately swing behind Copenhagen and Kyoto. Because we would see that the studies were right, there is no alternative, we must act now to save humanity.

    Yet, when offered this simple method of silencing all objections, and compelling agreement on so vital an issue, Jones, Mann, Thompson and others decline to reveal the totally convincing evidence they have. Thus allowing skepticism to flourish, and the future of humanity to be threatened.

    Why?

  3. Report this comment

    Fred said:

    It seems that Dr. Jones believes he is a Scientist doing Science. But if he won’t release his data or his data manipulation methods then he is really saying “Just trust me”.

    Real Science, done by real scientists means the data, the methods and the results must be made public so other scientists can do the same analysis and compare results.

    What Dr. Jones is doing has more in common with peddling religious doctrine than advancing the cause of Science.

    Quite shameful. Certainly doesn’t bolster the Warmist case or provide the public with a sense of trust

  4. Report this comment

    Stephen McIntyre said:

    independent professional statistical services should be employed to check the data. Any thoughts on who might offer such services?

    I said nothing about retaining “independent statistical services to check the data”. That is a misunderstanding on Ms Heffernan’s part. Ross McKitrick has long observed that important indices like the Consumer Price Index are collected by national statistical services and not by professors in their spare time. Such statistical services have a more formal approach to data management and data audit trails and would be far less likely to simply lose agreements and fail to save data, both of which CRU has done. I identified Hadley Center as an alternative to CRU.

    As to Jones’ supposed challenge to construct a global temperature index, I said that to do such a job to the standard that I expected is something that would required detailed technical studies of many sites, is something that is more properly done by a statistical service, would take several years and is not something that I’m interested in doing.

    In terms of personal interests, I’m more interested in the statistical issues related to proxies. If CRU wishes me to take time away from other interests in order to provide consulting services to them, I see no reason why I should do so for free. However, as noted above, I have no interest in spending time on the organization of proper quality control on temperature data and metadata. There are many other people qualified to do so at an age and stage of their careers, where that would be of interest to them.

  5. Report this comment

    Chad said:

    I don’t think Steve is just concerned about the data/code being released. Steve constantly brings up replication. He did the same with GISS and it just makes sense that he would do the same with HadCRUT and see how well it can be replicated.

  6. Report this comment

    Stephen McIntyre said:

    You say:

    It transpires, however, that these data were on an anonymous ftp server intended for Met Office Hadley Centre project partners only, and were not for public use.

    Included in the purge was the file of station data cruwlda2.zip that had been online since 1996. It was linked from a webpage for the Advance 10-K project that had nothing to do with the Met Office.

    Initially they just purged the cruwlda2.zip, then they even purged the directory – old versions linking to cruwlda2.zip may be seen at http://web.archive.org/web/19970118063310/http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/advance10k/climdata.htm

    A download of cruwlda2.zip is cited in academic literature: Simister and van de Vliert, 2005. Pakistan J of Meteorology. Is There More Violence In Very Hot Weather? Tests Over Time In Pakistan, And Across Countries Worldwide

    http://www.pakmet.com.pk/rnd/pdf/violence.pdf

    It states in its citations:

    CRU (2001), temperature file ‘cruwlda2.zip’, downloaded from http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/temperature/ ">http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/advance10k/climdata.htm

    Phil Jones thought so little of the confidentiality of this data that he emailed cruwlda2.zip to me in fall 2002.

    I am unaware of any reason why Jones would have become “inundated” with requests soon after my 2002 request to him. If so, it was nothing to do with me, as I had no contact with him until a considerable time later. Climate Audit did not start until nearly 3 years later and my interests at the time were restricted to proxies.

  7. Report this comment

    w r paterson said:

    A famous definition reads “science is what scientists do”. But it can’t be reversed, apparently: the activities of McIntyre and his chums bear a much greater resemblance to science than the efforts of many of the people who style themselves Climate Scientists.

  8. Report this comment

    Bernie said:

    Let’s be clear. This issue should have been resolved 7 years ago. There is no legitimate justification for the delay – possible confidential requirements notwithstanding. It is embarrassing for Prof Jones, Hadley, UEA and UK Met.

  9. Report this comment

    JFD said:

    Steve McIntyre has a large following of well experienced scientists, engineers and statisticians who can quickly audit conclusions of technical papers for verification or falsification; provided they have access to the data and methodologies used. McIntyre is a rare person who has strong capabilities in all of the required technical categories to do professional technical audits plus a great ability to smell out problem areas. He has proven those capabilities over and over the past several years.

    Given the absolute major impact of global warming corrective actions on our way of life, there is an overpowering need to audit the technical papers that are used as the basis for making such decisions. Peer review is not technical auditing or even close to it. Professor Phil, James Hansen, Mike Mann and all the rest of the climate researchers should be more than willing to post their raw data, machinations to the raw data and code that underpin their global warming conclusions; to allow climate auditing.

    Making all global warming data public should also be done by gatekeepers such as UK Met, Goddard Institute and universities. Failure to do so will result in the world’s governments inability to pass global warming mitigation legislation. Gaining approvals to take corrective actions on the basis that carbon dioxide is the root cause of global warming with only a unproven correlation that atmospheric temperature goes up as carbon dioxide goes up is doomed to fail. Correlation has never been proof of causation in the technical world. Direct measurements and hind casting are required.

  10. Report this comment

    Al said:

    Paraphrasing very slightly:- “Webster was allowed access because his request will result in a joint publication with Phil Jones”

    Is this reasonable basis for restricting access to important government funded data?

  11. Report this comment

    John Archer said:

    The heading in your breakdown “Why won’t Jones give McIntyre the data?” concentrates, rightly, on McIntyre but others have had refusals from Jones to similar requests too. Here’s one that is rather illuminating.

    Jones’s response of 21/02/2005 to Warwick Hughes’s request for Jones’s raw climate data:

    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.

    It’s a gem, a real sparkler — a fitting ornament to climate science, as practised, it appears

  12. Report this comment

    Steven Clark said:

    The most alarming revelation from the CRU posting on their refusal to release data is this:

    ‘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.’

    They no longer have the raw data, and only hold the ‘adjusted data’! This means the adjustments that have been made (for UHI or inhomogeneities) can never be altered or independently tested.

  13. Report this comment

    Tim Davis said:

    Dr Jones is reputed to have replied when asked by Warwick Hughes for this data on a previous occasion:

    “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?”

    Did Dr Jones ever actually make this reply in these words or is this aprocryphal?

    If he did not say this, or has been misquoted, then perhaps the Climate Realist community should back off a bit and let him finish responding to these data requests as he has started to do (although apparently very reluctantly).

    If he did say this, then anyone involved in Climate Science or having an interest in it, on whichever side of the fence they sit, should rightly be astonished and appalled at the attitude displayed.

    Can anyone shed light on this?

  14. Report this comment

    steven mosher said:

    You wrote:

    “Jones says that he tried to help when he first received data requests from McIntyre back in 2002, but says that he soon became inundated with requests that he could not fulfill, or that he did not have the time to respond to. He says that, in some cases, he simply couldn’t hand over entire data sets because of long-standing confidentiality agreements with other nations that restrict their use.”

    1. Jones had no problem supplying the data to peter webster, so his reason was not FOI fatigue.

    2. the 58 requests were not for data. they were requests for the AGREEMENTS.

    You wrote:

    “Given that McIntyre’s wish for access to the data will take time to be granted, this dispute will likely continue for some time. He’s especially aggrieved by the fact that hurricane expert Peter Webster at Georgia Tech University was recently provided with data that had been refused to him. McIntyre’s point here is that he should be treated as a legitimate academic given his background and publication record.

    But Webster points out that he was allowed access because of the nature of his request, which was very specific and will result in a joint publication with Phil Jones. “Reasonable requests should be fulfilled because making data available advances science”, says Webster, “but it has to be an authentic request because otherwise you’d be swamped". "

    1. Steve is not the least bit emotional about the webster access to the data. (personal communication)

    2. None of the PURPORTED confidentiality agreements set preconditions that webster lays out.

    3. Posting the data on a FTP server obviously did not swamp CRU when they did so accidently.

  15. Report this comment

    FrancisT said:

    As I’m sure you are aware numerous governments are passing CO2 reduction legislation based, in large part, on the reports that Jones & Co have written indicating that the earth is warming. It is no exaggeration to say that these laws and the CO2 reduction schemes they produce will impact the global economy on the order of 5% of total global GDP.

    As noted Ross McKitrick by (partly paraphrased by Steve above) other measures of similar impact to the global economy such as GDP and CPI statistics are produced in a transparent fashion with the raw data archived so that if required the calculations can be rerun. This is key because it allows economists to modify the weighting of different items or correct raw data and then rerun their calculations.

    In the case of the CRU land surface temperature record this does not seem to be possible which means that should an error be found in some of Dr Jones’ normalization methods we cannot recalculate some of the historical record. Furthermore I believe (but I could be mistaken) that the normalization methods used on the raw data are not available publicly. This means that production of the CRUTEM data series is, essentially, a black box whose output we have to take on trust.

    I think that something which is likely to impact about a twentieth of total global GDP ought to be subject to rather moew critical scrutiny than just “trust us”

  16. Report this comment

    Paul Graham said:

    I’ve been following this story for a while and it’s only made me more sceptical and will to challenge prevailing points of view. There is simply no reason for stance and the more excuses that are given the more disgusted I get.

  17. Report this comment

    Demesure said:

    Mr Heffernan,

    It appears that you have made several factual errors in your report as shown by several reader’s comments, particularly Steve McInctyre.

    Would you care to correct them in “updates” that blog formats permit, not to let the annoying impression that you’re condonning demonstrated misreporting.

  18. Report this comment

    Bishop Hill said:

    Tim Davis

    You wonder if Jones really said what he is reputed to have said about releasing data. I understand that Hans von Storch queried this with Jones, who confirmed that it was true.

  19. Report this comment

    bigcitylib said:

    I guess some people here still don’t get the idea of an “authentic request”. McIntyre is merely out to stir the pot and get his face on the Rush Limbaugh show. For anyone whose forgotten, in the past some of his attempts to get data constituted inadvertant Denial of Service attacks on the GISS servers

    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2007/06/assault-on-mt.html

  20. Report this comment

    maurice said:

    It seems entirely reasonable that climate scientists providing key data series be asked to release their data and codes so that independent parties can verify claims being made.

    The ‘debate’ about AGW has been characterised by acknowledgement of the need for ‘exaggeration’ to ‘convince’ the public that AGW is a serious problem requiring decisive action.

  21. Report this comment

    Will J. Richardson said:

    @bigcitylib 8/13 11:42 AM

    Who decides what constitutes an “authentic request”?

    What objective evidence do you have that “McIntyre is merely out to stir the pot and get his face on the Rush Limbaugh show.”

    Bigcitylib, Do you understand what an ad hominem is?

  22. Report this comment

    bigcitylib said:

    Richardson,

    Let us please not play silly games with McIntyre, okay? Impugning the quality of the data is simply a part of his schtick….and shouting conspiracy when he doesn’t get quite exactly what he wants. Its all par for the course.

    And as evidence, I already provided you a link to his bungled attempts to download GISS date. Here’s another one

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2007/05/steve_mcintyres_dos_attack_on.php

    …plus protestations afterwards, declarations of victory, and etc.

    It all gets tiresome after awhile. And pretending either he or you guys in this thread are doing anything resembling real science is like pretending those clowns waving guns outside of the townhalls are engaged in a real debate healthcare debate.

  23. Report this comment

    michel said:

    bigcitylib, do we take it that your post is arguing that the data should not be revealed to McIntyre, but should be revealed to Pielke (either one) or maybe to other people you could name who do make ‘authentic requests’?

    That is, you do most definitely believe that the data should be revealed, just not to McIntyre?

    Because you feel it is entirely reasonable that before we start spending trillions on the basis of these studies, that we, or some of us, should be able to check that the studies have not inadvertently misconstrued the raw data that they are based on?

    We have got that right, have we?

  24. Report this comment

    John Archer said:

    I guess some people here still don’t get the idea of an “authentic request”.

    bigcitylib [Sean Connery pronunciation is mandatory here].

    Oh, I wouldn’t be too sure of that if I were you. I think we all “get it” — precisely. That would be a request that was NOT, say, “unhelpful” or “inappropriate”, and did NOT come from outside the great paid-up settled consensus, but would be one that would allow us to “move forward” and “save the planet” ……. and stuff. Right?

    Yes, we know all right, city.

    By the way, do you have a reference source that would substantiate your claim that ‘McIntyre is merely out to stir the pot and get his face on the Rush Limbaugh show.’?

  25. Report this comment

    Steve McIntyre said:

    I have never appeared on the Rush Limbaugh show nor have I ever talked to anyone connected with this show. Nor have I ever done anything with a view to “getting my face on the Rush Limbaugh show”.

    But getting my face in Nature News? I haven’t done things for the purpose of getting my face in Nature News, but I’m gratified that it happened. I promptly sent a copy to my family.

    The allegations of “DDOS attack” are totally untrue. I downloaded station data from GISS, using a procedure that they agreed to (after some discussion.)

    In 2006, I had become interested in testing claims that GISS adjustment methods were capable of detecting and adjusting inhomogeneities in station data. I examined some rural-urban counterparts and consistently saw discontinuities at the year 2000, sometimes as over 1 deg C at individual stations. In order to examine this systematically, I decided to statistically analyse all the USHCN stations at GISS. At the time, GISS did not have a properly organized data set available for research purposes, but did permit individual station data information to be downloaded one station at a time. I wrote a program to do so and began the process on a Sunday evening.

    While I was downloading data that was available to the public, GISS blocked my IP address. On other occasions, my IP address has been blocked at Michael Mann’s website, Scott Rutherford’s website and the University of Arizona Tree Ring Lab website, so this was not an entirely unprecedented experience for me. After I publicized the situation at Climate Audit the next day, I had some negotiations with GISS. I told them that my preference was to download one file (which would be no more than about 10 MB) rather than to download individual station data.

    They agreed that I could download the data – which was, after all, public. However, rather than providing me with one proper research file, as I requested, they required me to continue downloading station data, one station at a time, restoring access to my IP address and permitting me to download data the way that I had been – which scraped the data one station at a time. While I was conducting this download, I asked Climate Audit readers to see if there was any impact on GISS service and there wasn’t. Ironically, a few months later, I received an inquiry from a GISS employee, who wanted to acquire a copy of my collated and properly organized data set, since he was then unable to locate one at GISS.

    As it turned out, my surmise that there was a problem with the GISS US data at the year 2000 proved correct. GISS had inadvertently spliced two datasets together which resulted in large discontinuities at individual stations – disproving the original claim that GISS adjustment methods could adjust discontinuities, since they had obviously failed to detect these discontinuities. The error imparted a bias of about 0.15 deg C to GISS US records after the year 2000. I notified Hansen of this error and within a couple of days, to my surprise, the entire GISS US station data set had been overwritten with new values, initially without any notice of the change. As was publicized at the time, the changes affected the “leaderboard” of GISS US temperatures, though not GISS global temperatures.

    After this incident and the publicity attending it, GISS began providing proper change notices, a practice which they have continued. GISS has placed its source code online and provided a commendable archive of intermediate products. GISS realized that climate change is a serious enough issue that there was no purpose in insisting on institutional property rights to their data and code and that insistence on such rights would ring very hollow with a public who are simultaneously being asked to make policy decision based on such data and code – a lesson that CRU might well pay heed to.

  26. Report this comment

    Demesure said:

    Biglibcity seems to be more interested in “authentic requests” than in “authentic data”.

    The CRU should do him and everybody a favor by simply releasing “authentic data”, just like the GISS. It would spare him speculations on the motives of other’s requests. And it would do a big favor to climate science.

  27. Report this comment

    Lucia said:

    Can someone ask Phil Jones or Cru to clarify whether the reason people cannot obtain this data is not owing to confidentiality agreements, but for the reason given to Dr. Roger Pielke Jr which is that the raw data have been lost? (See Dr. Pielke’s blog post. )

    If the raw data hav been lost, which data product is Dr. Jones working to make available in a few months?

  28. Report this comment

    Jeff Id said:

    I just wanted to add something which I didn’t read in the comments. I would like to thank Nature News for deciding to carry this important story.

    It seems that Nature News has taken an important role of credible media as a leader in presenting a story encouraging the availability of the basic data on this globally critical topic. For that I am thankful as we all should be no matter what our views on AGW.

    Dr. Jones is famous for some of his remarks in the past demonstrating a will to not provide the data. It seems from recent news that he may have turned a corner. This is thanks to Steve McIntyres tireless efforts to work through the roadblocks put up by HadCrut personell. Now we owe thanks to Nature News for providing a forum and impetus to move the discussion into the mainstream where it might finally move to a reasonable conclusion.

    ——

    I am disappointed with one of the commentators above who would rather attack the people than understand data availability is the key to understanding. I’ll leave it at that.

  29. Report this comment

    Corey said:

    Originally posted by Ron Cram:

    Tim Davis, I can point you in the right direction. And yes, it is astonishing and appalling. Go to http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=559 and you can read Steve McIntyre’s report which contains a link to a PowerPoint by Hans von Storch who confirmed this exchange with Phil Jones.

  30. Report this comment

    Stuart Harmon said:

    I am absolutely appalled that Mr McIntyre has not been provided with this information and furthermore that the information is not freely and readily available to anyone who wishes to crit Hadcruts work.

    The Met Office needs to get it’s act together very quickly and release this information. We have seen our MP’s humiliated by the leaking of their expenses and the daily revelations.

    I posit that if the information is leaked out and if there were to be any errors then the MET Office reputation and the reputation of UK science will be damaged very badly.

    Furthermore the findings of HADCrut are used to make public policy and it may well be that this matter should be put up for judicial review.

    Mr McIntyre is a reputable statistician who through his own efforts with Mr McKittrick showed that the statistics used to produce the Hockey Stick graph was seriously flawed. See Wegman et al.

    He should be shown the same courtesy as anyone else in matters of data release.

    This matter will not go away

  31. Report this comment

    bigcitylib said:

    “I am disappointed with one of the commentators above who would rather attack the people than understand data availability is the key to understanding. I’ll leave it at that.”

    How has not having this data done anything to slow the progress of climate science? What has not been done that could have been done with that information? With it, Mc could have written a 1,000 tut-tutting posts claiming incompetence whenever he found a typo. And without it, he has written a 1,000 tut tutting posts hinting at a conspiracy. What’s the dif?

  32. Report this comment

    Kursk said:

    Why would you want to store data (or release it for that matter..) that would show how wrong you were in the first place?

    The longer this fiasco goes, the better.The already skeptical public sees data denial, data tweaking, data ‘loss’ outright lies and misdirection and you wonder why those people are tuning the fraud that is global warming out?

  33. Report this comment

    Ron Manley said:

    There are two facts behind this exchange which many are not aware of:

    1. As a hydrologist I have worked with meteorological data in more than 40 countries in most regions of the world. It is almost universal practice that data has to paid for. Countries who provide data to Dr Jones would not want their revenue stream to dry up.

    2. Quality control of long-term precipitation and temperature data is time consuming. It can, for example, mean referring to old observers note books to indentify changes to station location.

    The world is being asked to pay trillions to mitigate the effects of climate change. It is about time it paid a few millions to ensure that the data it uses for projections is of the highest quality. The phrase “the science is settled” will have a hollow ring until the numbers behind the science are credible.

  34. Report this comment

    Bishop Hill said:

    For the avoidance of doubt, my point about von Storch confirming the famous Jones quote about not supplying data is post #559 at Climate Audit.

  35. Report this comment

    Steve Bloom said:

    Olive, you wrote: “But McIntyre insists that he’s not interested in challenging the science of climate change, or in nit-picking; rather he is simply asking that the ‘data be made available’.”

    You must have caught him with his Dr. Jekyll face on. Just the other day, e.g., in his Mr. Hyde persona, he wrote (at his site): “All this exercise does is clear the brush for access to these issues. We’ll see EXACTLY what they do and this can begin the process of analysis.”

    Aha, an analysis! So we see that this is McIntyre’s hoped-for Hockey Stick II, with which he expects to be able to keep the puck in the air for a few years while he carefully “audits” the data and stations. This will all happen sloooowly since of course he’s not being paid to do it (or so he claims), and every week or two he can post on some real or imagined glitch that in the end will turn out to make not a whit of difference. Doing his own recon, though? Nah.

    The problem is that the similar Watts project covering the U.S. has already crashed and burned. Hopefully Nature and other news outlets will take that as a clue to consign McIntyre’s global temp records efforts to the obscurity they so richly deserve.

  36. Report this comment

    Kramer said:

    I can’t believe HadCRU won’t give the data out. How do they expect us to go along with cap-and-trade if it looks as if they are trying to hide something? Sorry, but if you believers expect me and others to go along with AGW cures, you’ve got to be open with your data and methods. Otherwise, no deal.

  37. Report this comment

    Demesure said:

    bigcitylib : "How has not having this data done anything to slow the progress of climate science? "

    ———————-

    Good question. You’ll have a chance to get an objective answer once the CRU makes its data available like any normal and respectable scientific endeavour.

    Any answer otherwise is speculation or rhetorics.

  38. Report this comment

    Trumpet said:

    Attaboy, bigcity!

    Just keep ’em coming. You are doing a superb job. I see you hand out a free ad hominem with every post. Great fun. Indeed, you are an excellent advertisement for “your side” in this “debate”. Well done.

    Just one thing though — it is clear you regard McIntyre as being in error. So is there any chance that with your next post you will graciously provide us with your detailed and (obviously) penetrating analysis of where you reckon his technical output falls down? I, for one, would certainly look forward to reading it. And since this is a Nature site after all, there is no need to hold back on the technicalties. I’m sure there’ll be someone here that can keep up with you.

    Regards,

    Trowser

  39. Report this comment

    John Archer said:

    How has not having this data done anything to slow the progress of climate science? ’ — bigcit

    [I got it right this time, Sean.]

    As practised, clearly nothing whatsoever.

    The point is that what you seem to regard as progress may be nothing of the sort, and an open examination of the raw data and code might reveal a house of cards built on the back of a sleeping turtle who will eventually wake up. If so, it is better he’s woken up now before any further economically ruinous policy decisions are effected with all the misery they entail.

    The “progress of climate science”. You’re kidding. I would be more concerned about the welfare of humanity given there might well be a choice between the two, as climate science currently stands anyway.

  40. Report this comment

    Tim Davis said:

    Bishop Hill,

    Thanks for that info re Hans von Storch confirming the Dr Jones comment re not wanting to provide data to anyone who would use it to find things wrong with his research.

    That attitude is quite extraordinary isn’t it – goes completely against the normal and expected scientific practices of transparency and avialabilty of data and methods, and the resulting possibility of falsifiability that follows.

    Unfortunately this attitude does not appear to be restricted to Dr Jones and mainstream climate science has become a scandal and a farce as a result.

  41. Report this comment

    Richard said:

    True science is spread and enhanced by criticism and argument. The data which is the basis of AGW hypothesis should be open to review and transparent. Saying that “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.”, doesnt exactly engender confidence.

  42. Report this comment

    Olive Heffernan said:

    There’s been some discussion in the comment thread here as to what constitutes a legitimate request for scientific data, with some commenters suggesting that all data requests should be granted without question.

    I’m going to weigh in on this, because I think that’s an unreasonable position, and it’s just not the way science works. When I worked as a scientist, I wouldn’t have given away my data to another academic without first agreeing the terms of use i.e. inclusion on any resulting publications. Let’s be fair to Jones here; as a scientist, your data is invaluable; if you give it to someone else without knowing that they will give due credit to the source, then you’re effectively giving away your work for free. Why should scientists have to do that? No-one in the private sector would be asked to do this.

    What if the other academic publishes results based on years of data you’ve collected and doesn’t even acknowledge you? That’s presumably why Webster’s request was deemed reasonable (he will include Jones on his paper) and McIntyre’s demand for all of the data was presumably deemed unreasonable.

    On the other hand, I can see the public good in having all raw climate data made available. Perhaps if McIntyre was willing to take Jones up on the challenge of producing a global temperature record, for example, that would constitute a fair request?

  43. Report this comment

    Mike M. said:

    A high-falutin’ arena like Nature and all you get for opposition is BigCityLib and Steve Bloom? Two hockey goons? Too bad, Steve.

  44. Report this comment

    Olive Heffernan said:

    For those readers/commenters who remain unclear about the validity of the Hockey Stick graph, subsequent studies – including the NAS report – have found that it’s overall message remains correct.

    My colleague Geoff Brumfiel covered the NAS committee report in Nature at the time. Here’s an excerpt from his story: In its report, released on 22 June, the NAS more-or-less endorses the work behind the graph. But it criticizes the way that the plot was used to publicize climate-change concerns. And it leaves open big questions about whether researchers should be obliged to make their data available.

    “We roughly agree with the substance of their findings,” says Gerald North, the committee’s chair and a climate scientist at Texas A&M University in College Station. In particular, he says, the committee has a “high level of confidence” that the second half of the twentieth century was warmer than any other period in the past four centuries. But, he adds, claims for the earlier period covered by the study, from AD 900 to 1600, are less certain. This earlier period is particularly important because global-warming sceptics claim that the current warming trend is a rebound from a ‘little ice age’ around 1600. Overall, the committee thought the temperature reconstructions from that era had only a two-to-one chance of being right.

    Since then, Mann and colleagues have re-analyzed the data with and without the controversial bristle-cone pine series: http://www.nature.com/climate/2008/0810/full/climate.2008.94.html. Their findings? Without inclusion of the tree-ring measurements, the data showed that recent warming is greater than at any point in at least the past 1,300 years; inclusion of tree-ring data extended this period to at least 1700 years.

  45. Report this comment

    Steve McIntyre said:

    Olive, speaking only to Mann etal 2008 right now (I’ll comment on the NAS report later), Mann 2008 used the controversial Graybill bristlecone chronologies, despite the NAS panel advice that these chronologies be avoided in temperature reconstructions.

    They also used the Tiljander sediment series upside down, interpreting a large increase in 20th century sediment attributed by the authors to local construction and farming to climate change. (I’ve confirmed this with Mia Tiljander.)

    In their article (a point reiterated in their reply to McIntyre and McKitrick PNAS 2009), they said that possible problems with Tiljander series didn’t “matter” because they could get the same answer without this data. However, they used Graybill bristlecones in this alternative formulation.

    They argued that the bristlecones didn’t “matter” because they could “get” a similar answer without them (using upside down Tiljander sediments.)

    Readers should ask themselves why such flawed series were used in the first place.

    You should also be aware that Linah Ababneh updated the key Sheep Mt bristlecone chronology in 2002 and did not replicate the Graybill hockey stick shape.

  46. Report this comment

    John Archer said:

    Olive,

    I strongly sympathise with your comments about “giv[ing] away [one’s] data to another academic” and that “it’s just not the way science works….”. Sure.

    However, as others here have already noted, this isn’t just about science. The science under discussion now forms the basis for policy making, and because of this the usual framework for the relevant scientific practice has changed entirely. The scientists involved need not only to be aware of that fact but to conform to the standards of openness and disclosure expected in a liberal democratic society. Like it or not, the needs of proper, accountable political discourse now trump the social and other norms of scientific practice where the two might otherwise conflict, but especially when it comes to taxpayer-funded research.

    …then you’re effectively giving away your work for free. Why should scientists have to do that? No-one in the private sector would be asked to do this.

    No one is getting anything for free here nor should they expect or demand it. Those in the private sector fund their own research and to the extent that that might be supported by grants of public money they are, or should be, fully accountable for it. The taxpayer wants his slice of the action in return and in whatever form has been agreed. (I’m talking in principle here and ignoring the inevitable political corruption which seems to infect almost everything these days.) Your comparison with the private sector is therefore a red herring and I’m surprised you made it.

    Let’s be fair to Jones here; as a scientist your data is invaluable….

    Excuse me. Please let me interrupt you there. Who’s data…?

    Perhaps if McIntyre was willing to take Jones up on the challenge of producing a global temperature record, for example, that would constitute a fair request?

    McIntyre can answer for himself. But let me ask you a question. You’ve just paid to have to plumbers in and they are at the point of putting all the panelling back after installing your new bath and you ask they hold back for a couple of minutes while you inspect the quality of their work, in particular to make sure there are no minor leaks that would shortly be hidden from view but that could eventually damage your property. The gaffer refuses and when you protest he challenges you to do the job yourself but still requests his bill be paid. So, would that constitute a fair request?

    With respect, I regard Jones’s challenge as childish in the extreme and, again, I’m surprised you asked. But for what it’s worth, in my view McIntyre would be perfectly capable of rising to the challenge and making an excellent job of it.

  47. Report this comment

    Dano said:

    Surely from the sheer number of members of the CAmen Choir commenting here, the whole world by now knows th’ scientists are in on a big conspir’cy, and honorable Steve is diligently working to expose them. Thank Gaia for Stevie, they all seem to say.

    Fortunately, these noble, just, honorable, brave efforts are coming Just In Time to prevent corporations from paying carbon taxes for their externalities (pollution)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes, even the tinfoil companies will be charged for their carbon (perhaps the reason for the CAmen Choir’s shrillin’).

    Best,

    D

  48. Report this comment

    Steve McIntyre said:

    Olive, I disagree strongly with your characterization of the conclusions of the NAS panel. I provided relevant quotations from the actual reports and proceedings at Climate Audit here: http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=2322

    In testimony under oath, both Gerry North and Peter Bloomfield were asked whether there were any aspects of the highly critical Wegman Report with which they disagreed. There were none:

    CHAIRMAN BARTON. I understand that. It looks like my time is expired, so I want to ask one more question. Dr. North, do you dispute the conclusions or the methodology of Dr. Wegman’s report?

    DR. NORTH. No, we don’t. We don’t disagree with their criticism. In fact, pretty much the same thing is said in our report. But again, just because the claims are made, doesn’t mean they are false.

    MR. BLOOMFIELD. Thank you. Yes, Peter Bloomfield. Our committee reviewed the methodology used by Dr. Mann and his coworkers and we felt that some of the choices they made were inappropriate. We had much the same misgivings about his work that was documented at much greater length by Dr. Wegman.

    In another contemporary report on the NAS Panel, Eduardo Zorita, an observer highly knowledgeable of the matters in dispute and one who has shown no favoritism to either side, stated:

    in my opinion the Panel adopted the most critical position to MBH nowadays possible. I agree with you that it is in many parts ambivalent and some parts are inconsistent with others. It would have been unrealistic to expect a report with a summary stating that MBH98 and MBH99 were wrong (and therefore the IPC TAR had serious problems) when the Fourth Report is in the making. I was indeed surprised by the extensive and deep criticism of the MBH methodology in Chapters 9 and 11.

    The various strands in the NAS spaghetti graph all contained bristlecones. Even though the NAS panel had recommended that they not be used in reconstructions, they did not carry out any due diligence to ensure that the studies in their own spaghetti graph did not also use these proxies known to be flawed – a point admitted by North in an online colloquy some time later. In a Texas A&M seminar, North also said that they just “winged” it, explaining that that’s what you do in these sorts of expert panels – not a particularly reassuring comment.

    One of the leading NAS panelists told me at AGU (requiring that his identity be kept confidential) that he thought that we had demonstrated that the problems with present proxies were pretty much insurmountable for comparing the medieval and modern periods and that it would take entirely new and better proxies to cast light on the matter – a process that he reckoned would take 10 to 20 years.

    There’s a flip side to this conundrum – it’s just as hard to show that the medieval period was warmer than the modern period to equivalent standards. One can get high-MWP squiggles by making minor changes to proxy selection, but such squiggles are themselves subject to the same criticism as Mannian squiggles.

  49. Report this comment

    Antonio San said:

    Dear Olive, do you really think Steve or other researchers would fail to “give due credit to the source”? LOL

    Your recent postings August 14, 2009 12:25 PM, August 14, 2009 01:21 PM and August 14, 2009 01:24 PM need to be put in perspective with the left side of this web page: Science

    Real Climate

    Scitizen

    Stoat

    Mongabay

    James’ Empty Blog

    Bright Green Blog

    Analysis and Policy

    Prometheus

    AMS Climate Policy blog

    Bill Hewitt’s FPA blog

    Climate Ethics Blog

    The Intersection

    Climate Progress

    Environmental Voices

    Gristmill

    TreeHugger

    DeSmogBlog

    Mark Lynas’ blog

    A Few Things Ill Considered

    Other Voices – ‘skeptics’, industry, marginalized views

    Climate Audit

    Emissions Trading

    Business Green Blog

    Open Democracy Global Deal

    Indeed, Nature’s position is clear and unmistakable: the fact Nature mentions a site such as the people discriminating, racist “desmogblog” before marginalizing “Climate audit” is speaking volume.

    Good luck.

  50. Report this comment

    Lucia said:

    Olive—

    What if the other academic publishes results based on years of data you’ve collected and doesn’t even acknowledge you? That’s presumably why Webster’s request was deemed reasonable (he will include Jones on his paper) and McIntyre’s demand for all of the data was presumably deemed unreasonable.

    You seem to be confusing Jones right to be cited for citation with a right to deny access to data. You may also be confusing the ownership rights associated with private scientific data created by a private entity using private funds with the ownership rights of data collected under government funds.

    First: no one is suggesting that Jones or CRU would not be cited when data he or they compiled. There is no reason to believe making the data public would cause this to occur. In fact, peers reviewing journals would not permit anyone to use the data without citing the provenance.

    But this has nothing to do with whether or not the data should be made public. Many agencies routinely make data available to the public; this is particularly true when the data was collected under government grants. The intention of the granting agency is often to compile data for the benefit of the public; it rarely the intention of the funding agency to create a trove of data that becomes the personal property of the specific individual they hired to pull the data set together.

    When this sort of data are used by people other than those who compiled it, those using it cite the groups that compiled the data or added value. It is nonetheless inappropriate for any individual scientist or to treat such data as his personal property merely because he is the one who was funded to create the archive. I realize that some individual scientists may wish to believe they have the right to provide data only to distribute this publically owned data only he personally benefits by being named as co author on all papers that might benefit from access to that data. But that individual scientists preference is irrelevant to the question of whether he has the right to treat otherwise public data as his personal property.

    If the data are private property, then CRU and Jones can treat it as private property. If they are not, they are not. I suspect this data is not the private property of CRU or Jones. Your suggestion that Jones has a right to freely distribute data to those who agree to list him as co-author on their papers, while refusing it to the public seems might make sese if he’s collected all this data on his own dime, but it makes little sense if his efforts were publicly funded.

    FOI is being pursued to obtain this data because many believe this data is public data. It appears the process is working. As a result of the blizzard of FOI’s Jones and CRU appear to be undertaking efforts to make this public data public as required under the relevant statues.

  51. Report this comment

    Steve Reynolds said:

    Olive: “Let’s be fair to Jones here; as a scientist, your data is invaluable; if you give it to someone else without knowing that they will give due credit to the source, then you’re effectively giving away your work for free. Why should scientists have to do that? No-one in the private sector would be asked to do this.”

    People like me who do engineering work in the private sector generally have to deliver our data and results to the customer that paid for it. It is my understanding that Jones was paid by the US DOE for this work. As a US taxpayer, I believe I am entitled to review this data.

  52. Report this comment

    Richard said:

    Why have you censored my posts? I have been polite and factual. Is criticism not tolerated here?

  53. Report this comment

    michel said:

    There is only one issue here, and Bloom and BCL need to just give a simple answer to the following question.

    The future of the planet is at stake. It is vital that the studies be replicated and proved to be correct, because this will make effective action more likely.

    Do you both, or do you not, think this data should be made available? Of course, commercial interests must be safeguarded, if there really are any. But that is not the point of principle. The point of principle is: do you or do you not think the information should be available?

    A yes or no is all that is required.

  54. Report this comment

    Bishop Hill said:

    Olive

    That’s a very strange argument you make for not making data available. Dr Jones did not pay for the data, the public did. It is not his data to do as he chooses. It belongs to the public. That is why a claim that he could impose conditions would not be legitimate. (As I understand it, this is not the claim he is making anyway.)

    A private company can, however, impose conditions, or not pass on the information at all. That’s because they’ve paid for it and the public hasn’t. Equally though, if the company was willing to pass on the data, the company officer responsible couldn’t impose conditions like “I must get credit” if that acted counter to the interests of the company.

    It’s a question of ownership, and one thing we can say for certain is that Dr Jones does not own the data.

  55. Report this comment

    Richard said:

    Olive Hefferman nowhere in the NAS committee report does it say that “We roughly agree with the substance of their findings,”. That maybe the Chairman’s personal opinion but he nowhere DETAILS how he arrives at this.

    The statement that "the committee has a “high level of confidence” that the second half of the twentieth century was warmer than any other period in the past four centuries" is meaningless.

    What we are concerned about is the Medieval warm period that the hockey stick graph did away with.

    The Medieval warm period happened without the help of Anthropogenic CO2. If that happened quite naturally it could well be asked why todays warming is in anyway unusual or alarming or indeed if it would continue or enter another cold period.

    This is what the report had to say about that:

    “Very little confidence can be assigned to statements concerning the hemispheric mean or global mean surface temperature prior to about A.D. 900 because of sparse data coverage and because the uncertainties associated with proxy data and the methods used to analyze and combine them are larger than during more recent time periods.”

    You have written: “Since then, Mann and colleagues have re-analyzed the data with and without the controversial bristle-cone pine series:”

    Excuse me, it took 6 years for McIntyre and McKitrick to expose and finally get noticed about the hockey stick graph, forgive me if I am a bit sceptical about his subsequent “reanalysis”.

  56. Report this comment

    ecotech said:

    Latest news is that the world’s source for global temperature record admits it’s lost all the original data. How then can a third party construct a global temperature record? It must be that global warming caused the data to be lost.

  57. Report this comment

    Olive Heffernan said:

    Ok, that’s a fair point about CRU data being publicly funded and by rights should therefore be publicly accessible. But scientific instititions and their scientists still have to collect and collate these data, so shouldn’t they be given a period during which they can analyse and publish the data before making them publicly accessible?

    Also, i believe this same issue came up during the NAS committee review of the hockey stick, whereby Mann was asked to provide his data. The committee failed to come up with a recoomendation on whether scientists should have to make their data accessible in such cases.

    Similarly, in the past Steve McIntyre has asked glaciologist Lonnie Thompson for years worth of data that he has personally collected in the field. Is that reasonable?

    Surely there are limits to what constitutes a reasonable data request? I’d love to know what some of you think is reasonable and unreasonable in terms of requesting data from scientists. Are any of you, in fact, arguing that scientists should be obliged to meet any request for access to their data? And do we need a new set of guidelines for access to data that are of public interest?

  58. Report this comment

    Olive Heffernan said:

    Richard –

    Criticism is clearly welcome here, and your comments are valued. But if you’re criticizing an individual’s research, then you need to be specific, rather than just saying it’s rubbish – for obvious reasons. If you can keep it to factual and polite, I’d love to publish your comments.

    Olive

  59. Report this comment

    Olive Heffernan said:

    Antonio San

    I find it fascinating that you only listed the header for the last few blogs on our blog roll. Actually, we’ve categorized blogs here according to how they classify themselves. For example, OpenDemocracy is an excellent website that aims to represent marginalized views. Obviously we’ve listed science and news blogs first because they are most closely related to our blog. But we’re always more than happy to have new suggestions for our blog roll, so there’s anything that you feel is missing please let us know.

    thanks

    Olive

  60. Report this comment

    Lucia said:

    ..so shouldn’t they be given a period during which they can analyze and publish data before making them publicly accessible?

    Sure. What length of time do you propose? A year? 3 years? A decade? How many publications must the PI base on this data before the data become public? 0? 1? 10? 100? 1000?

    According to your own article, requests for this data by SteveM specifically began in 2002— 7 years ago. At that point, the data had already existed for some time. Jones was already publishing papers in the peer reviewed literature and his a value added product was widely used.

    Had this not already been the case, the data set would not have been of interest to members of the public or the research community. So, even as far back as 2002, one might suggest the Jones had already used his grace period and had analyzed and published based on his data compilation.

    Fast forward to 2009: The stated reason for rejection of Roger Pielke Jr.s request was that the raw data are lost. Presumably, Jones is not saying this because he is beavering away performing further analyses on data. Reasons for the loss include the notion that CRU did not have resources to back up the data during the 80s, that is more than 2 decades ago.

    Stated reasons why documents demonstrating the existence of confidentiality agreements do not exist include reports of building moves during the interim period.

    Surely, if the raw data and confidentiality agreements have been disposed of, and numerous publications have appeared, we can assume that Jones felt the time for re-analysis of that data had passed. The time had come to permit other scientists the opportunity to access the data to determine whether more could be learned of it.

    The idea that some other scientists in other circumstances might need a reasonably long grace period before making data public does not apply to CRU’s reluctance to release a data set they worked to compile in the 80s.

  61. Report this comment

    Mikep said:

    In non-experimental areas such as economics and climatolgy replication of results is the nearest we have to being able to repeat the experiment. In experimental sciences people can go out and do the experiment as described in the paper to see if the results stand up. In non-experimental areas it is only if the data and code are freely available that people can really check if the results stand up. Otherwise there can be a lot of pointless to-ing and fro-ing about exactly what was done, instead of a substantive discussion of real issues. Because of some history in economics the major US economics journals (American Economic Review, Journal of Political Economy etc)now require data and code for empirical articles before they are published. There is a discussion of some of the issues and cases where replication failed here

    http://www.fraserinstitute.org/commerce.web/product_files/CaseforDueDiligence_Cda.pdf

    I would have thought that journals outside economics publishing empirical but non-experimental articles should not be left behind in standards.

  62. Report this comment

    William Eschenbach said:

    As one of the original researchers who first politely requested, and then was forced to file an FOI request for Dr. Jones’ data, I’d like to request the space to correct a few misconceptions:

    1. Dr. Jones has not become “markedly less responsive to the public over the past few years as a result of this”. My first polite requests were met by stonewalling, as were the requests of Warwick Hughes, Steve McIntyre and other researchers. You can’t get less responsive than that.

    2. The only (unsigned) confidentiality agreement that the CRU has been able to find says the data is not to be disclosed to “third parties”. If this is the case it should not have been given to Dr. Webster.

    3. Dr. Webster seems remarkably uninformed about the internet when he says ""Reasonable requests should be fulfilled because making data available advances science, but it has to be an authentic request because otherwise you’d be swamped." All that needs to be done is to put the data on an FTP server and forget about it. Swamped? This is 2009.

    4. The idea that the holder of scientific data gets to decide which requests for data are “reasonable”, that he should only give out data in response to “authentic requests” as Rabbett says above, is an abomination on par with Dr. Jones famous statement to Warwick Hughes in 2004 (which Jones has confirmed that he made) that:

    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.

    I applaud Nature for exposing this pernicious belief to the light of day. Science advances by scientists finding flaws in other scientists’ claims. It is no surprise that a scientists looks for “something wrong” in the existing beliefs. That’s what scientists do, that’s how science moves forward, that’s the heart of science. This can only happen if the data is made available to all researchers regardless of their motives, not just the friends and co-workers of the holder of the data.

  63. Report this comment

    Bishop Hill said:

    Similarly, in the past Steve McIntyre has asked glaciologist Lonnie Thompson for years worth of data that he has personally collected in the field. Is that reasonable?

    Yes.

    Firstly because it was a condition of publication that it be available.

    Secondly because Thompson’s work is being relied upon to support public policy decisions.

    Thirdly because as much as twenty years have elapsed since the data was collected.

    Fourthly because the work is publicly funded.

    Fifthly because nobody can attempt to replicate his work unless the data is public.

    Why do you think it might not be reasonable for McIntyre to ask for this data?

  64. Report this comment

    John Archer said:

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” — Dano

    Calm down old chap.

    Fortunately, these [less than] noble, just, honorable, brave efforts are coming Just In Time to prevent corporations from paying carbon taxes for their externalities (pollution)….” — Dano

    Argument by inuendo. Nice. That should clinch it.

    But perhaps not. And surely you don’t think carbon dioxide is a pollutant, do you?

    “Carbon taxes” are a great way for the politicos to wring more money out of everyone, not just your corporations. Then, as is their bent, to keep the votes coming in the charlatans bung the proceeds of their extortion into a payroll support of their captive clients, among whom, as we know only too well, they include themselves for a high-priority slice. In any event, wouldn’t it be better to target actual pollutants?

    For what it’s worth to you, none of the sceptics I know—and I know quite a few now—has any particular financial interest in any polluting-corporation business. Moreover, I am sure you will be delighted to hear—and I am certainly delighted to tell you— that many of these sceptics are apostates to the Unholy Creed of AGW due almost entirely to my noble, just, honorable and brave efforts in spreading the Gospel of Rational Doubt. Amen to that and praise the Lord, I say.

    A personal note. For decades I had what pretty much amounted to a blind faith in the institutions and organs of science. To be clear, that was not so much in any particular institutions or organs but in the structure as a whole. It was unpleasant to have that ‘faith’ shaken. The danger now is that unless something is done to clean up current climate-science practice, public scepticism of it could turn into outright cynicism. Worse still, that public scepticism/cynicism could spread to other disciplines.

    Oh, and Dano, “corporations”? KEYWORD ALERT I think detect a particular strain of toxic politico-ideological fungus. Nothing to do with corporations in themselves, of course.

  65. Report this comment

    Richard said:

    Olive thank you for saying that criticism is welcome here.

    May I remind you that Nature also refused to give McIntyre details of the data and methods used by the Mann et al to create the hockey stick graph.

    Isn’t it the basis of the progress of science and the validation of scientific research that the methods and data that underlie the published results of scientists in any scientific journal should be made available to other scientists so that they can replicate the methods and test whether the results are valid?

    Isn’t that how scientific integrity is maintained?

  66. Report this comment

    Joseph O'Sullivan said:

    When regulations are made in the US there are ample, but not unlimited, opportunities for the public to get involved. Limits allow the system to function. Without them interested parties can use tactics to delay and even prevent results they do not like.

    In legal proceedings in the US a party can oppose a request for information because the request is too onerous. Often the opposition is upheld because the request is a tactic to force an opponent to yield without addressing the merits of the case.

    Making scientific data that is publicly funded or explicitly used for policy available for the public is on its face a good idea. There must be a framework that allows this with the safeguards like those in the regulatory and legal arenas that will allow scientists to keep doing science.

  67. Report this comment

    John F. Pittman said:

    Olive, it seems almost juvenile to point out that in the interests of humanity, the nations of the world have agreed that sharing data is necessary. It is not just at the level of staying within the borders of a national entity. Whether it is AIDS/HIV, nuclear profileration, or other threats to the common humanity, the world as a group has agreed to a basic principle: when the course of action or inaction threatens the common existence, the public factor outweighs the private (or even national) factor. an example, drug comapnies interested in international trade have to be audit and comply with standards.

    The CO2/Climate Change is becoming law, industries will be required subject to penalty and imprisonment, compliance. At the point it s discussed, businesses expect that not just the science, but the auditing, correcting, and verification has been done. It is unreasonable to expect a company to expend millions of dollars for an unaudited, unverified work. As an environmental professional, I assure you that if CO2/GHG’s are regulated, the E.P.A., and other regulatory groups will make sure that industry is audited and their numbers verified. Business will expect that what it has had and will have to pay for, has undergone the same scrutiny.

  68. Report this comment

    Slartibartfast said:

    I’d say this: if the researcher in question was gathering data, and the data-gathering was funded by one or more governments, then that data must be shared.

    Grace period applies, of course. Separate question, really.

    If the gathering of data is funded privately, then no disclosure is necessary. But then, it may be more difficult to get people to agree with you, given you’re doing your own analysis on data that no one else can access.

    Which I think is the whole point, here. People make mistakes, analyzing data. Is it better to sweep those mistakes under the rug by keeping the data secret, or is it better, in the interests of science, to keep discussion open regarding sources and methods?

    I know which way I lean, in this.

  69. Report this comment

    Willis Eschenbach said:

    As one of the original researchers who first politely requested, and then was forced to file an FOI request for Dr. Jones’ data, I’d like to request the space to correct a few misconceptions:

    1. Dr. Jones has not become “markedly less responsive to the public over the past few years as a result of this”. My first polite requests were met by stonewalling, as were the requests of Warwick Hughes, Steve McIntyre and other researchers. You can’t get less responsive than that.

    2. Dr. Webster says ""Reasonable requests should be fulfilled because making data available advances science, but it has to be an authentic request because otherwise you’d be swamped." This is a curious statement, given that all that needs to be done is to put the data on an FTP server and forget about it.

    3. The idea that the holder of scientific data gets to decide which requests for data are “reasonable”, that he should only give out data in response to “authentic requests” as Rabbett says above, is anti-scientific. This is the point of view expressed in Dr. Jones famous statement to Warwick Hughes in 2004 (which Jones has confirmed that he made) that:

    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.

    I applaud Nature for exposing this non-scientific point of view to the light of day. Science advances by scientists finding flaws in other scientists’ claims. It is no surprise that a scientists looks for “something wrong” with the existing beliefs. That’s what scientists do, that’s how science moves forward, that’s the heart of science. This can only happen if the data is made available to all researchers regardless of their motives, not just the friends and co-workers of the holder of the data.

  70. Report this comment

    JimR said:

    “Similarly, in the past Steve McIntyre has asked glaciologist Lonnie Thompson for years worth of data that he has personally collected in the field. Is that reasonable?”

    Lonnie Thompson’s work was funded by grants from the NSF, NASA, NOAA and NGS. As the PI he deserves time to publish first on this data, however since this was funded by government grants the data should be made available after publication. He should have first right to the data but it should not be treated as his personal property.

    Even worse, can such data be collected again? Probably not, and if Dr. Thompson doesn’t archive this data it will be lost to future researchers.

  71. Report this comment

    John Rivers said:

    I have seen global warming first hand. The best footage I’ve ever seen is in a DVD called “Alaska, The Tracy Arm Experience”, which can be found on Film Baby here:

    http://www.filmbaby.com/films/4148

    It’s available for download. Check it out! It has VERY RARE calving events.

    If you want to see calving glaciers, check out this. It has a lot!

  72. Report this comment

    Kooiti Masuda said:

    The main issue that prevents disclosure of the source data, I guess, is not the attitude of the scientists, but the condition posed by the national mateorolgical services who made the original observations (or maybe loss of information about the condition posed in early times).

    It may be incredible to US citizens that meteorological data collected by governmental services are not in public domain. But the situation of the USA, where there is a very strong tradition of serving governmental information to the taxpayers, is rather exceptional. In other countries, governmental data are often (explicitly or implicitly) considered as something like intellectual property. If the government of a certain country forces to disclose source data, it may be considered infringement of the sovereign right of another country. It may develop into international conflicts.

    WMO has made a lot of coordiation efforts to make data internationally available. But the data policy of WMO, formulated as Resolution 40, is not simple. A perspective from a social scientist can be found in the Chapter 6 “Owning information about the planet” of the book: Renee Marlin-Bennett, 2004: Knowledge Power: Intellectual Property, Information, and Privacy. Boulder CO USA: Lynne Rienner.

    I think it would be good that all the observational data are openly available. To achieve the goal, we need to persuade national governments. The logic that we need good science to shape good global (as well as regional) environmental policy may help. But I am afraid whether it can become stronger than the pressure of the modern times to commercialize everything.

  73. Report this comment

    Olive Heffernan said:

    Willis,

    In response to your points below, McIntyre verified that Jones had responded to at least some of the initial data requests. Perhaps those weren’t your requests

    Webster’s point was that legally, FOI requests have to be dealt with individually. With CRU receiving 58 such requests in the space of 5 days, I’m sure you can appreciate that it takes a considerable amount of time and effort to work through them. But you’re right that making the data available would solve this and put an end to the need for FOI requests

    Jones has specifically asked McIntyre to analyze his data in the same way to see whether he comes up with a different conclusion. What could be a better solution to advancing this issue scientifically? Science advances by testing hypotheses and by publishing results in the peer reviewed literature, so why not take that approach here?

  74. Report this comment

    Olive Heffernan said:

    Steve,

    I’m not interested in discussing the ins and outs of the NAS committee report on the hockey stick, because it’s been discussed ad infinitum elsewhere and it’s off the topic of this particular post. So please continue that discussion over on CA; here, it’s just distracting from what could otherwise be a worthwhile conversation

    thanks

    Olive

  75. Report this comment

    John Archer said:

    For those readers/commenters who remain unclear about the validity of the Hockey Stick graph, subsequent studies – including the NAS report – have found that it’s overall message remains correct.”

    Olive Heffernan August 14, 2009 01:21 PM [My emphasis. JA]

    That was the first mention here of the NAS report on the Hockey Stick. But when McIntyre subsequently details his disagreement with your “characterization of the conclusions of the NAS panel” [McIntyre] we get this:

    I’m not interested in discussing the ins and outs of the NAS committee report on the hockey stick, because it’s been discussed ad infinitum elsewhere and it’s off the topic of this particular post.

    Olive Heffernan August 17, 2009 11:14 AM [My emphasis. JA]

    I agree with your aim of keeping on topic but you must allow others to come back on points you yourself raise in support of your argument.

    By the way, I read on Steve McIntyre’s Climate Audit that he is now off travelling in Italy for two weeks and that his “blog attendance will [necessarily] be spotty.” Presumably the same will apply to any of his responses here.

  76. Report this comment

    Lucia said:

    Olive

    Jones has specifically asked McIntyre to analyze his data in the same way to see whether he comes up with a different conclusion. What could be a better solution to advancing this issue scientifically? Science advances by testing hypotheses and by publishing results in the peer reviewed literature, so why not take that approach here?

    a) Jones has specifically refused to give McIntyre his data. Clearly, McIntyre could not indulge Jones request even if he wished to do so.

    b) Previously, you seemed to suggest Jones can refuse to give access to data collected in the 80s on the basis of some sort of grace period to permit him to perform the analysis of his choice. Now to suggest that Jones has some sort of right to dictate which analysis people may or must undertake as a condition to be granted this data.

    While Jones has been acting as a gatekeeper, the reality is that Jones does not own this data. There is no reason whatsoever why Jones should dicatate what people can do with the data. Once CRU and Jones undertake their obligation to contact countries about the confidentiality agreements and the confidentiality agreement with Bahrain airport is cleared up, all the data should be made public, and investigators should be free to undertake the investigation that interest them. Which analyses Jones might wish them to undertake should be, and will be, uttelry irrelevant.

    As for the answer to your question: Science does advance by testing hypothesis and publishing results where people can learn from them. Permitting individual investigators to test the hypothesis of they wish to test would be an efficient solution to advancing scientific issues. Insisitng that all must investingate the specific issues assigned by Jones and only Jones would be an inefficient method. So, why not make the decades old data Jones has had ample opportunity to examine and permit others to test hypothesis Jones may not have thought to test?

  77. Report this comment

    Bob Connelly said:

    Olive,

    Thanks for initiated this blog entry on a very important topic.

    While I am in agreement with most aspects of AGW, I have found the refusal of leading AGW scientists to release the data (and related code, etc) very strange. The resistance to releasing data/code/etc to allow for replication of their results should be troubling to everyone, not just AGW skeptics.

  78. Report this comment

    Willis Eschenbach said:

    Olive, thank you kindly for your comments on my post. You say:

    In response to your points below, McIntyre verified that Jones had responded to at least some of the initial data requests. Perhaps those weren’t your requests

    As I mentioned, I’m one of the many researchers that Dr. Jones has either ignored or refused. I had to use an FOI request just to get the list of the stations used, which is surely not confidential. I know of no CRU station data (the data being discussed in your article) that Dr. Jones sent to Steve, but it is surely possible. Do you have a reference for that statement?

    However, if he did send such data … then how can he now claim that he cannot send any data because it is covered by confidentiality agreements?

    Jones has specifically asked McIntyre to analyze his data in the same way to see whether he comes up with a different conclusion. What could be a better solution to advancing this issue scientifically? Science advances by testing hypotheses and by publishing results in the peer reviewed literature, so why not take that approach here?

    Steve McIntyre has already answered this question in one of his earlier posts, and I will not speak for him. But I agree wholeheartedly with your statement about how science advances. To use your words, we’d love to “take that approach here” … but we can’t. This is exactly why we have fought so hard to make this data public. Until the data is revealed, no one can replicate Jones’s work.

    Finally I appreciate your willingness to post this entire issue on Nature Blogs, and your presentation of both sides of the discussion. It is science at its finest.

  79. Report this comment

    Steve Reynolds said:

    Olive: “I’d love to know what some of you think is reasonable and unreasonable in terms of requesting data from scientists. Are any of you, in fact, arguing that scientists should be obliged to meet any request for access to their data? And do we need a new set of guidelines for access to data that are of public interest?”

    One simple guideline that I have seen mentioned several times is: All data (and code used to implement algorithms) used in a published paper must be publically archived online on or before the release date of the paper. This info should also be available to reviewers if necessary when they need it for their reviews. This gives the scientist exclusive use of the data until his paper is published, should require no extra work for multiple requests for data, and insures against lost data and uncertainty about exactly what version of the data and code was used for a particular paper.

  80. Report this comment

    Richard said:

    Olive,

    My questions were not rhetorical they require answers.

    I am not a climate scientist but I have done science in school and engineering.

    I, like many others, have got interested in the subject, because climate scientists, who fiddle with models on a computer, on the basis of their conclusions, want to interfere with our way of life and dictate the economics and production of the world, fields in which they are not qualified, on the basis of an alleged danger to our world, due to the Carbon Dioxide we have been pumping into our atmosphere.

    Because of this they want to tax every man woman and child in the western world, and siphon money from profitable economic activity based on free markets to non-profitable ones based on ideology and subsidies.

    On examining their claims I find that the science is wanting and it is very dubious whether this CO2 will lead to any catastrophe, but virtually certain that their recommended economic policies indeed will.

    I also find, that their science has been compromised by money, lies and concealment.

    There is no openness and vital climate and temperature data gets changed tens of thousands of times, by the people in-charge, who say we are making it more accurate – trust us.

    Some AGW proponents allege that about 26 million dollars have been spent by Exxonmobile in the last decade to support a network of sceptics. This however pales in comparison to the gravy train of AGW.

    Since 1990 over $US50 billion have been spent on research into global warming. In percentage terms that is 192,308 % more than the alleged Exxonmobile money.

    Al Gore has alleged that that $10 million dollars a year from the fossil fuel industry flows into sceptical organisations.

    But Gore alone launched a $100 million a year multimedia global warming fear campaign and will now be spending $90 million more per year than he alleges the entire fossil fuel industry spends trying to combat this alleged hypothesis.

    Mainstream climate researchers receive between $100,000 to $200,000 from the federal government to conduct research in support of manmade global warming, whereas those against it are vilified and vicious ad hominem attacks launched against them.

    Some are threatened with their jobs. I will give you a very personal example. Were you to examine the science dispassionately and conclude that it was faulty, you wouldn’t be long in your job.

    How can true science exist under these circumstances?

    Richard the Kiwi

  81. Report this comment

    Richard said:

    John Rivers “I have seen global warming first hand.”

    Good for you John Rivers. But when you “saw” that “global” warming did you also “see” the manmade CO2 causing it?

    No one is denying that global warming isn’t taking place. The point is how much, if any, of that warming is due to manmade CO2.

    From 1911 to 1944 the world warmed at the same rate as it has since the last warming trend from from 1976 to 2008 (about 0.164 C/decade).

    The first warming the IPCC admits is due to “natural causes”, the second one due to anthropogenic CO2. But you would never have guessed but for the complicated analysis and computer models it relies upon.

    Since then it has been seen that the amount of warming from increased carbon dioxide emissions has been greatly overestimated. The predictions of the science violated many times, such as:

    The current global cooling trend, despite rising CO2 levels, the absence of a tropical hot spot in the troposphere, which was supposed to be a signature of AGW, Antarctic cooling, ocean cooling and unchanged rates of sea level rise.

    The present warming is well within the natural range of temperature variation that has taken place during our present Holocene interglacial.

    A mere 1,500 years ago the temperature in Greenland, as measured by the GISP2 ice core data was 1 to 1.5 C warmer than today, with no catastrophic results.

  82. Report this comment

    Richard said:

    I should have said the predictions of the hypothesis (The AGW Hypothesis), not the predictions of the science

  83. Report this comment

    labrador said:

    I thought that making code and data available for replication were akin to “motherhood statements” of the scientific process.

  84. Report this comment

    mondo said:

    Surely relevant to this discussion is Nature’s own Editorial Policy with respect to Availability of data and materials:

    “An inherent principle of publication is that others should be able to replicate and build upon the authors’ published claims. Therefore, a condition of publication in a Nature journal is that authors are required to make materials, data and associated protocols promptly available to readers without preconditions. Any restrictions on the availability of materials or information must be disclosed to the editors at the time of submission. Any restrictions must also be disclosed in the submitted manuscript, including details of how readers can obtain materials and information. If materials are to be distributed by a for-profit company, this should be stated in the paper.

    Supporting data must be made available to editors and peer-reviewers at the time of submission for the purposes of evaluating the manuscript. Peer-reviewers may be asked to comment on the terms of access to materials, methods and/or data sets; Nature journals reserve the right to refuse publication in cases where authors do not provide adequate assurances that they can comply with the journal’s requirements for sharing materials.

    After publication, readers who encounter refusal by the authors to comply with these policies should contact the chief editor of the journal (or the chief biology/chief physical sciences editors in the case of Nature). In cases where editors are unable to resolve a complaint, the journal may refer the matter to the authors’ funding institution and/or publish a formal statement of correction, attached online to the publication, stating that readers have been unable to obtain necessary materials to replicate the findings.

    Details about how to share some specific materials, data and methods can be found in the sections below. The preferred way to share large data sets is via public repositories. Some of these repositories offer authors the option to host data associated with a manuscript confidentially, and provide anonymous access to peer-reviewers before public release. These repositories coordinate public release of the data with the journal’s publication date (advance online publication (AOP) or, if the manuscript is not published AOP, print/online publication). This option should be used when possible, but it is the authors’ responsibility to communicate with the repository to ensure that public release is made promptly on the journal’s AOP (or print/online) publication date. Any supporting data sets for which there is no public repository must be made available as Supplementary Information files that will be freely accessible on nature.com upon publication. In cases where it is technically impossible for such files to be provided to the journal, the authors must make the data available to editors and peer-reviewers at submission, and directly upon request to any reader on and after the publication date, the author providing a URL or other unique identifier in the manuscript."

    Few would disagree with these policies. How then can it be argued that Dr Jones can present material in the public arena without complying with normal standards such as those Nature requires?

  85. Report this comment

    Mike Lorrey said:

    I am a rather lazy individual, and even I am shocked at the gall of claiming that dropping a few files onto an FTP server is “onerous”. They seemed to have no trouble getting off their keisters to wipe data from the same FTP server last week.

  86. Report this comment

    curious said:

    Hi Olive

    Thank you for giving this issue a full and fair airing.

    Can I ask if you have read the Wegman Report first hand? The reason I ask is it made a big impression on me and changed my views on the whole debate. IMO its content and conclusions are far from supportive of the work of Mann et al.

    The Wegman Report is here:

    http://www.climateaudit.org/pdf/others/07142006_Wegman_Report.pdf

    and the Executive Summary including Findings and Recommendations are on pp2-6.

    It is for the reasons that Wegman highlights that the publicly funded data of these world temperature indices need to be made public – how else can one have confidence in the conclusions that are being drawn?

    C

  87. Report this comment

    Eli Rabett` said:

    Those of you who think that Mc’s request only requires dragging a few files onto an ftp server, should review the start of the entire nonsense you can find more by searching for threads that are titled “auditing the auditors”

    FWIW Nigel is Mc.

  88. Report this comment

    John Archer said:

    Olive,

    I wish to add my thanks too.

    To be frank with you, this is not what I expected. However, I must say that I am delighted to have been so pleasantly disappointed in that expectation. In my view Nature has regained a good few brownie points here.

    Thank you indeed.

  89. Report this comment

    Pat Michaels said:

    Seems to me something is missing here. Phil has an extensive and admirable publication record on global and hemispheric temperature histories going back to roughly 1982. He certainly has the list of stations that were used (or at least many of them, because of the recent update with Brohan). So he should be able to back-calculate through his own history and should be able to reproduce something very close to the original data. If he can’t remember what he did,then maybe many of his many coauthors do.

    I realize that this would be a lot of work for Phil but it sure would clean up what could really delay policy (at least in the U.S., for technical and legal reasons that are beyond this blog)—policies which many of his associates clearly have espoused.

    On the other hand, maybe this re-reanalysis can’t be done. If it can’t, then we are left to believe that he denied Hughes the data because there WAS something that Hughes would find wrong with it—note he is saying there that the data existed in 2005, sent data to Peter Webster, even as it was destroyed before he denied it to Hughes!

    Makes no sense. Phil should at least make public the data he sent to Webster, explain why he told Hughes that had the data, and (if that was not true, as later statements imply), roll up his sleves and openly—with McIntyre’s cooperation and assistance—backcalculate to the original data by backtracking through his fine publication record.

    Phil, why not? You have the opportunity to restore the credibility of this important record. Otherwise, there is always going to be a shadow over it, and, I assure you, that you have provided a legal avenue to stop or delay for at least a decade any policy that may be promulgated by our Federal goverment.

    Pat Michaels

  90. Report this comment

    Roger said:

    This series of posts was co-ordinated by Steve McIntyre himself, who had to make sure his friends played nice and didn’t resort to the usual personal attacks and conspiracy theory rants as they do on his web site.

    “Update: There is an additional discussion at the Nature Blog. Behave nicely. "

    My bolding.

    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=6797 What is wrong with the usual behaviour of people at ClimateAudit?

    For the usual behaviour McIntyre at al, this topic is typical. Make backhanded accusations, without any pretence at natural justice, and stir up abuse and hatred.

    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=6830

  91. Report this comment

    Robert Crice said:

    Interesting thoughts about data availability. Is not the lager problem that the “hocky stick” results do not reasonably predict current trends in global temp? I believe this is the basis for data requests?

  92. Report this comment

    David Cognito said:

    1. CRU is not obliged or legally allowed to hand out raw data that they receive from third parties to anyone that simply demands it – http://groups.google.com/group/alt.conspiracy/msg/d144f4c668050d59. This applies especially to a discredited, armchair ‘scientist’ from another country with a clear, ongoing agenda to twist and distort the science for his own purposes.

    2. There is nothing unusual or sinister in discarding some raw, uncorrected data. Do you think that every measurement in every laboratory on the planet is recorded and kept in perpetuity? No, of course not. It’s amusing that the anti-science brigade are making such a song and dance about scientific rigour on just this one subject.

    3. The raw data still exists, just not with the CRU. McIntyre could go to the sources if he was really interested in looking at the raw data – but that’s not what this is about. It’s about desperately trying to discredit one respected source for global temperatures.

    4. The attempt to spin this as some kind of conspiracy to cover up the ‘real’ temperature trend is pathetic and impotent because all other data sets say exactly the same thing – the planet is warming. This includes thousands of natural proxies, e.g. growing seasons, ice cover, bird migration, blooming of flowers, migration and spawning of fish, dates of mountain snow melt, peak flow of glacier-fed streams and disappearing glaciers. Are the birds, fish and ice all part of the conspiracy as well?

    5. Even if McIntyre did prove that the UK’s highly respected Climate Research Unit was corrupt, lying and falsifying data, he’d still be no further forward in his campaign to deny reality – the planet is warming – just as the CRU data, NASA data, satellite record, global weather station data and thousands of natural proxies confirm.

    When you cannot refute the science, what is left for those who want to deny it? Attempt to smear sources and create conspiracy theories. That is McIntyre, et al’s game. They know they cannot do science, so they resort to this dishonest, shameful tactic which is eagerly swallowed by the anti-science crowd that desperately want global warming to not be true.

    This topic deserves no attention at Nature, other than to note the intellectual bankruptcy of McIntyre and his Denier brethren.

  93. Report this comment

    David Cognito said:

    michel:

    > If we had access to the raw data and the code, we could see that the evidence is overwhelming, the results reproducible.

    You make the false assumption that giving McIntyre access to all the raw data he demands would lead to clarity. It would not. He would certainly pick over it, and find many ‘interesting’ ‘trends’ and ‘anomalies’ which might appear to the amateur, agenda-driven viewer that the corrected and homogenised data from CRU was somehow faulty. Professor Jones might then feel duty bound to spend time correcting this – wasting valuable time from what he should be doing – climate science.

    Ultimately, Professor Jones and CRU know exactly what the result of spending time preparing and handing raw data over to McIntyre, et al will be – lots more time and expense spent combating flawed and distorted interpretations of it.

    It’s clear, that if you’re a real climate scientist, like hurricane expert Peter Webster at Georgia Tech University, you can gain access to this data in order to do real science. If you’re an armchair ‘scientist’ with an agenda to distort and misrepresent then you’re not going to get it so easily.

    That seems about right to me.

  94. Report this comment

    MilanS said:

    David, real science should be open to scrutiny, especially when the results of the science are to heavily impact national and/or global economy. This applies both to data and methodologies. I can understand that the data and methodologies are being kept secret until the publications but then it must be open if the authors search for truth. Moreover, everybody who follows http://www.climateaudit.org must admit that the openness of Mr. McIntyre work (e.g., sharing his code) is admirable. Every REAL scientist must appreciate the work of McIntyre. Science is about correcting errors or deficiencies of previous work, isn’t it?

  95. Report this comment

    Pascvaks said:

    It is not the credibility of a few that is at stake here, it is the integrity of the entire world’s community of scientists, the profession itself. The increase or decrease of the temperature of the globe is of no importance; this has and will go up and down again and again. NATURE must be seen to be open, and critical of all claims, in all areas, at all times; otherwise you appear to be Papal and people will not buy what you’re selling. Seems there’s a question of verasity-transparency in your In-Box, are you going to kill the messenger or attempt to answer the question, as best you can? Think about it, this is important.

  96. Report this comment

    John Catley said:

    Very interesting collection of comments. I am trying to improve my understanding of an important issue, so I have read through these with no particular bias, but the picture I take away is striking. Most comments are polite and constructive and give a good and balanced view of the topics under discussion. And then, along come the professional assassins. Pouring scorn and bile on people who are trying to do what they think is right.

    For what it’s worth, the reported problems with Climategate are underlined as real and serious when I see such childish posts. You know who you are, and you should be thoroughly ashamed of yourselves.

  97. Report this comment

    Ron Cram said:

    There was no inundation of FOI requests in 2002. The requests did not really begin to pile up until 2009. Jones had said he could not release the data because of confidentiality agreements with different. The readers of CA did not find the excuse credible and wanted to know which countries had put confidentiality requests on the data so we could appeal to the proper authorities for the data to be made public. Since FOI requests must be specific, there was a division of labor. If I remember correctly, Steve Mosher suggested people take five countries and post a comment saying which countries. I did not make a request only because I busy with work.

    If Jones had just provided the data to Steve that he had provided to Webster, this could have been avoided. Jones had made a claim he could not release the data to Steve because he was not an academic, but he also refused Ross McKitrick. We were backed into a corner. Jones forced the FOIs on himself.

  98. Report this comment

    JMurphy said:

    Ron Cram wrote :

    “If Jones had just provided the data to Steve that he had provided to Webster, this could have been avoided. Jones had made a claim he could not release the data to Steve because he was not an academic, but he also refused Ross McKitrick. We were backed into a corner. Jones forced the FOIs on himself.”

    Webster got the data because he was working on a paper with Jones, so the FOIs were forced on Jones by people trying to distract him from his work.

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