This was published Wednesday on NRO. It seems that the temperature data upon which global warming is based – the data that shows a steep rise of 0.6 degrees +/- 0.2 degrees over the past 100 years or so – has disappeared. Author Patrick J Michaels picks up the story:
Imagine if there were no reliable records of global surface temperature. Raucous policy debates such as cap-and-trade would have no scientific basis, Al Gore would at this point be little more than a historical footnote, and President Obama would not be spending this U.N. session talking up a (likely unattainable) international climate deal in Copenhagen in December.
Steel yourself for the new reality, because the data needed to verify the gloom-and-doom warming forecasts have disappeared.
Or so it seems. Apparently, they were either lost or purged from some discarded computer. Only a very few people know what really happened, and they aren’t talking much. And what little they are saying makes no sense.
Back in the 80’s a climate research crew was put together tasked with the job of collating temperature data to see if the global climate had warmed. They used temperature data from weather stations, which was a problem because said stations weren’t set up originally for that purpose. Some were in parking lots where the sun heated the air higher than normal, some were in shade where temps would be lower. The researchers had to adjust the data and process it quite a bit. Eventually they spat out this result: an increase of 0.6 degrees plus or minus 0.2 degrees.
It’s known in the trade as the “Jones and Wigley” record for its authors, Phil Jones and Tom Wigley, and it served as the primary reference standard for the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) until 2007. It was this record that prompted the IPCC to claim a “discernible human influence on global climate.”
So far so good. The story gets interesting a few years later.
Jones and Wigley, however, weren’t specific about what was done to which station in order to produce their record, which, according to the IPCC, showed a warming of 0.6° +/– 0.2°C in the 20th century.
Now begins the fun. Warwick Hughes, an Australian scientist, wondered where that “+/–” came from, so he politely wrote Phil Jones in early 2005, asking for the original data. Jones’s response to a fellow scientist attempting to replicate his work was, “We have 25 years or so 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?”
Isn’t science actually all about publishing your data and process for the exact purpose of allowing others to replicate it to see if your results are correct? Not in climate science, apparently.
Then the story changed. In June 2009, Georgia Tech’s Peter Webster told Canadian researcher Stephen McIntyre that he had requested raw data, and Jones freely gave it to him. So McIntyre promptly filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the same data. Despite having been invited by the National Academy of Sciences to present his analyses of millennial temperatures, McIntyre was told that he couldn’t have the data because he wasn’t an “academic.” So his colleague Ross McKitrick, an economist at the University of Guelph, asked for the data. He was turned down, too.
Faced with a growing number of such requests, Jones refused them all, saying that there were “confidentiality” agreements regarding the data between CRU and nations that supplied the data. McIntyre’s blog readers then requested those agreements, country by country, but only a handful turned out to exist, mainly from Third World countries and written in very vague language.
Pressure for the data increased slowly. Then the Homework-Eating Dog appeared.
Roger Pielke Jr., an esteemed professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado, then requested the raw data from Jones. Jones responded:
Since the 1980s, we have merged the data we have received into existing series or begun new ones, so it is impossible to say if all stations within a particular country or if all of an individual record should be freely available. 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.
Meaning a big chunk of the original raw data is gone. Only the adjusted data exists now, apparently. Or maybe not.
If we are to believe Jones’s note to the younger Pielke, CRU adjusted the original data and then lost or destroyed them over twenty years ago. The letter to Warwick Hughes may have been an outright lie. After all, Peter Webster received some of the data this year. So the question remains: What was destroyed or lost, when was it destroyed or lost, and why?
All of this is much more than an academic spat. It now appears likely that the U.S. Senate will drop cap-and-trade climate legislation from its docket this fall — whereupon the Obama Environmental Protection Agency is going to step in and issue regulations on carbon-dioxide emissions. Unlike a law, which can’t be challenged on a scientific basis, a regulation can. If there are no data, there’s no science. U.S. taxpayers deserve to know the answer to the question posed above.
Remember, this is no minor statistical contretemps. The whole Climate Change movement is based in large part on those numbers. Numbers that now can’t be independently verified – we just have to take their word for it.
UPDATE: Handing over raw data seems to be perilous, no wonder the warmists don’t want to do it.
The tree ring data used to create Mann’s infamous “Hockey Stick” warming graph has been withheld for years. When they finally released it a researcher discovers the whole conclusion was based on samples from only ten trees. When all the other trees were plugged in, this was the result.
Mann should have been smart and lost that data years ago.
Categories: World Events