Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Earth Science

Where the Global Warming Data Is 1011

Posted by kdawson
from the premiere-cru dept.
Several readers noted the latest fallout from the Climate Research Unit's Climategate: the admission by the University of East Anglia that the raw data behind important climate research was discarded in the 1980s, "a time when climate change was seen as a less pressing issue" according to the Times (UK) article. The Telegraph quotes Phil Jones, beleagured head of the CRU: "Our global temperature series tallies with those of other, completely independent, groups of scientists working for NASA and the National Climate Data Centre in the United States, among others. Even if you were to ignore our findings, theirs show the same results. The facts speak for themselves; there is no need for anyone to manipulate them." Some of the data behind these other results can likely be found in a new resource that jamie located up at the Real Climate site: a compilation of links to a wide variety of raw data about climate. From the former link: "In the aftermath of the CRU email hack, many people have come to believe that scientists are unfairly restricting access to the raw data relating to the global rise in temperature. ... We have set up a page of data links to sources of temperature and other climate data, codes to process it, model outputs, model codes, reconstructions, paleo-records, the codes involved in reconstructions etc."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Where the Global Warming Data Is

Comments Filter:
  • Oh, hey, (Score:3, Informative)

    by symbolset (646467) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @09:05PM (#30265480) Journal
    Where did I read that RealClimate.org was a propaganda arm of the AGW movement? Was it in those hacked emails?
    • Re:Oh, hey, (Score:5, Informative)

      by physburn (1095481) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @09:24PM (#30265600) Homepage Journal
      I think they're exaggerating the lost of one particular set of data, from one set of researchers, in one university, compared with thousands of different climate research around the world. So this case of data mismanagement at one university, isn't going to make much difference to the case for global warming being caused by humanities energy usage.

      ---

      Global Warming [feeddistiller.com] Feed @ Feed Distiller [feeddistiller.com]

      • Re:Oh, hey, (Score:5, Informative)

        by HanzoSpam (713251) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @09:45PM (#30265760)

        I think they're exaggerating the lost of one particular set of data, from one set of researchers, in
        one university, compared with thousands of different climate research around the world. So this
        case of data mismanagement at one university, isn't going to make much difference to the case
        for global warming being caused by humanities energy usage.

        Problem is, some of the other sources aren't looking so good, either. [telegraph.co.uk]

      • Re:Oh, hey, (Score:5, Informative)

        by jvillain (546827) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @10:46PM (#30266272)

        Except for the fact that this university is the co-ordinating site for many other centers and many of them got their facts and calculations from CRU. So CRU is about to drag a bunch of other universities down with it.

        • Re:Oh, hey, (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Curunir_wolf (588405) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @11:11PM (#30266408) Homepage Journal

          Except for the fact that this university is the co-ordinating site for many other centers and many of them got their facts and calculations from CRU. So CRU is about to drag a bunch of other universities down with it.

          And the IPCC, too, since they kind of acted as the "gatekeeper" for studies that ended up in the IPCC reports.

      • Re:Oh, hey, (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Curunir_wolf (588405) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @11:10PM (#30266400) Homepage Journal

        I think they're exaggerating the lost of one particular set of data, from one set of researchers, in one university, compared with thousands of different climate research around the world. So this case of data mismanagement at one university, isn't going to make much difference to the case for global warming being caused by humanities energy usage.

        How many "lostes" will it take, then?

        The real issue that the "climategate" leaks expose is that many of the "scientists" involved are more concerned with promoting their ideology than with finding the facts. It doesn't matter which side of the policy debate you happen to be on - justifying the means because of your support of the ends should never be okay.

      • by symbolset (646467) on Monday November 30, 2009 @01:18AM (#30267286) Journal

        Here's a nice graph [noaa.gov] of the NOAA's "adjustments". If you subtract these "adjustments" (their term, not mine) from every OMG Global Warming Will Kill Us ALL graph you've ever seen, you get noise. It doesn't matter whether you add the noise back in forward or backward, or substitute it with properly scaled level data from your favorite MP3: the result is the same alarming graph. But if you reverse the timeline on this "adjustment" and feed in your favorite source of noise you get a chart that looks like a precipitous drop in temperature in 1900-1909 that levelled off. Why did they make these adjustments? Was it because their raw data didn't agree with someone else's [ibiblio.org] observations? I find it difficult to believe that NOAA's measurements became increasingly inaccurate over time with a determinable bias and that at the precise moment their instruments became reliable, the temperature increases stopped. That doesn't jive with my understanding of modern technology and error measurement, nor with my understanding of thermodynamics.

        In short since the adjustments are the cause for alarm it would be best if they were examined closely. Most especially since several of the presumably credible sources use such similar "adjustments". The cause for alarm does not appear to be in the raw data. If you know of some credible source of uncooked raw data that does show this cause for alarm continuing to the present day (not ending in 1999), I'd love to see it. Be careful though - adding in these "adjustments" and throwing away the raw data appears to be the order of the day. If that raw data isn't out there, this is just the most amazing piece of pseudo-scientific groupthink I've ever seen.

        The story now is that they've only lost 5% [strata-sphere.com] of the data, and the rest is good - trust us. This situation is fluid and there will be much more back-and-forth before the truth is finally heard. With the basic facts this dynamic, now is not the time to take bold action on questionable information.

    • AGW = ? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mdmkolbe (944892)

      So does AGW stand for "anthropomorphic global warming" or "anti-global warming"? And would "anti-global warming" mean you are against global warming (meaning you think it's happening) or you are against the theory that global warming is happening?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 29, 2009 @09:07PM (#30265490)
    After seeing all this talk about these guys, they sure do seem like a motley CRU.
  • by areusche (1297613) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @09:15PM (#30265530)
    Regardless if global warming is a problem, we should ALL strive to lessen our effect on the environment. Restricting emissions that may not heat up the planet, BUT have noticeable problems on health of humans and wildlife. I feel like I have to remind people that even if global warming is false we should always do what we can to conserve our resources and lessen pollution.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Opportunist (166417)

      The problem is the general creed that conservation and restriction is good, as long as you do it and leave me alone.

    • by wrf3 (314267) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @09:41PM (#30265724) Homepage

      If I were to be "worked up" it would be because it is not rational to do the right thing for the wrong reasons. And when I'm told, "oh, well, even if the conclusion of AGW is wrong it still means we need to do such and such" then I become immediately suspicious. I don't like handwaving. The data should stand, or fall, on it's own merits.

    • by jo42 (227475) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @09:45PM (#30265762) Homepage

      if global warming is false

      Look at pictures of Mount Kilimanjaro [wikipedia.org] today, 20, 30 and 50 years ago. Where have the glaciers gone? Travel to any of the glaciers fields in Europe, North America or Asia. Where have the glaciers gone [wikipedia.org]? Global cooling sure as fuck hasn't caused them to recede drastically.

      • by sien (35268) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @09:52PM (#30265836) Homepage

        Kilimanjaro has been retreating since the 1800s [nationalgeographic.com].

        C02 in the atmosphere has only been shooting up since the 1950s. Pre-industrial C02 levels were about 2.8 parts per 10 000. As opposed to 4 or so now [noaa.gov].

        If these things pre-date C02's big increase this indicates a large role for natural climate variations.

        This is what many skeptic say.

      • by MMORG (311325) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @10:24PM (#30266118)

        Where have the glaciers gone?

        My city of residence was covered by massive glaciers not too long ago by geologic standards. My house is built on a big pile of glacial till. I'm happy my area is warmer now than it was.

        It's not a simple matter of true/false, either/or, all or nothing. People to reduce the problem to those terms are making it impossible to have rational discussion.

        Yes, climate temperatures fluctuate with or without our influence. Yes, human influence is large enough and pervasive enough to alter those fluctuations. Yes, some areas of the world will benefit from further warming. Yes, some areas of the world are already at the limit of habitation/productivity because of warm temperatures and further warming may ruin them. Yes, it's always better to pollute less and have less man-made impact on the environment if we have a choice about it. Yes, we will someday run out of useful oil reserves. Yes, significantly changing our behavior may cost trillions of dollars and hurt many people. Yes, making those changes may leave us better off politically and financially in the long term.

        These things are all true. Some of these facts are in tension with other facts. No simple solutions exist. We need a complex, nuanced solution. Unfortunately in these days of conservative vs. liberal sound-bite-bashing, it's impossible to discuss any complex solutions. The only choices we seem to have are "environmentalists are total frauds, burn all the oil you want" and "the world is about to end unless we impose a fascist state to dictate every detail of our lifestyles".

        • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 30, 2009 @01:43AM (#30267430)

          Where have the glaciers gone?

          My city of residence was covered by massive glaciers not too long ago by geologic standards. My house is built on a big pile of glacial till. I'm happy my area is warmer now than it was.

          It's not a simple matter of true/false, either/or, all or nothing. People to reduce the problem to those terms are making it impossible to have rational discussion.

          Yes, climate temperatures fluctuate with or without our influence. Yes, human influence is large enough and pervasive enough to alter those fluctuations. Yes, some areas of the world will benefit from further warming. Yes, some areas of the world are already at the limit of habitation/productivity because of warm temperatures and further warming may ruin them. Yes, it's always better to pollute less and have less man-made impact on the environment if we have a choice about it. Yes, we will someday run out of useful oil reserves. Yes, significantly changing our behavior may cost trillions of dollars and hurt many people. Yes, making those changes may leave us better off politically and financially in the long term.

          These things are all true. Some of these facts are in tension with other facts. No simple solutions exist. We need a complex, nuanced solution. Unfortunately in these days of conservative vs. liberal sound-bite-bashing, it's impossible to discuss any complex solutions. The only choices we seem to have are "environmentalists are total frauds, burn all the oil you want" and "the world is about to end unless we impose a fascist state to dictate every detail of our lifestyles".

          What I don't get, and maybe someone can answer this for me, is why do people care if global warming is man made or not? Even if it isn't man made, continued rising global temperatures will eventually trigger a runaway greenhouse effect that is catastrophic to our survival as a species and we need to do something to stop it or come up with alternatives for our survival. People also seem to forget about our alarming deforestation rates as well. Sure, there have been cool down periods on Earth, but what caused them and do we know for sure that will happen again? Do we want to place the survival of our species on the unknown possibility that there might eventually be another global cool down? As Carl Sagan said, Venus has the same amount of Carbon as Earth, except most of Earth's Carbon is still in the ground... for now...

          Personally, I've resigned myself to accept the fact that the shit is going to hit the fan some decades from now. I'm reminded of the many pacific island civilizations that were wiped out because they destroyed their island's ecology. It's pretty clear collectively humans are incapable of any self control when it comes to resource consumption and we will continue these behaviors at the expense of our own survival. The extinct pacific island civilizations were modern humans so they are were as smart as we are today, yet there was still someone who thought it was a good idea to cut down the last tree or eat the last animal. Even if we had solid evidence that energy consumption would lead to catastrophic climate change, I have no doubt that we would ignore it and continue our consumption.

          If it's not climate change that does it to us, we still have deforestation, desertification, and a rising global population. With the increase in competition for resources and everyone wanting to get nukes, it's looking like this will be a fun century for us...

          • by ekhben (628371) on Monday November 30, 2009 @02:30AM (#30267642)

            What you do about GW depends on its cause. If you accept GW and all its dire consequences then a reasonable course of action is to look to ways to mitigate some of those consequences, but one should also be looking at ways to slow, stop or reverse GW too. And then it matters what the cause is.

            (The cynic in me also says that debating the cause also stalls any action without needing to directly debate the truth of the effect).

    • by Garrett Fox (970174) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @10:18PM (#30266076) Homepage
      If it's not truly as serious a problem as some would have us believe, then we don't need to radically restructure the global economy, expand government at the expense of freedom, or transfer more wealth to other countries. At least for this reason.
      • by Antique Geekmeister (740220) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @11:21PM (#30266468)

        What remains is serious enough. The _depletion_ of minable resources, coupled with the draining of reserves of arable land, petroleum, potable water, and harvested food stocks all amount to plenty of reasons to stop the population increase that will overwhelm any reasonable ecological efforts by the burgeoning billions of humnity. It's going to take a pretty radical restructuring to run the world's economies without population growth, but Malthus had a point.

    • by jellomizer (103300) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @10:30PM (#30266178)

      However we should get correct data. If Global Warming is not an issue, then why are we focusing so much on Carbon. Carbon Trading, Carbon Free Energy, your Carbon Footprint... The only think I have been hearing that is Bad about Carbon Dioxide is it is contributing to Global Warming, and perhaps raising acidity in the oceans.... But the issue is if you are going to make policy to protect the environment you need real facts to make the right choices. Environmental policy is about making the right tradeoffs it isn't about prohibitions it is about measuring what will benefit society the most without the most harm to the environment, and hopefully get to a point where we are doing good enough to allow the earth catchup to what we cause.

  • Just another day (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Davemania (580154) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @09:17PM (#30265542) Journal
    This is just another sissy-fit thrown by the denier groups that are willing to use any tactics to distract people from the real issue. If there was any substance to these email, they would've produced the evidence by now. A few sentences blown out of context from a few cherry picked emails are merely red-herring.
    • by catchblue22 (1004569) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @11:02PM (#30266360) Homepage

      This is just another sissy-fit thrown by the denier groups that are willing to use any tactics to distract people from the real issue. If there was any substance to these email, they would've produced the evidence by now. A few sentences blown out of context from a few cherry picked emails are merely red-herring.

      The parent posting isn't a troll. He is saying it like it is. This "incident" involves four scientists. Just four. And I'm trying to figure out the scientific arguments being put forward by the contrarians. Are they saying that data has been suppressed that shows the world hasn't being warming significantly since the 1970's?!! Really? Thirty five years ago, I used to skate on local lakes...they used to freeze regularly. Those lakes haven't frozen solid for since 1977. Glacial retreat has accelerated since the 1970's...this is undeniable. And this isn't part of the retreat since the last ice age. To assert that the recent glacial melting is somehow part of a linear decline that began 10000 years ago is an absurd claim that can easily be refuted by looking at measures of sea level over the past 10000 years.

      A Red Herring is a fallacy in which an irrelevant topic is presented in order to divert attention from the original issue. The basic idea is to "win" an argument by leading attention away from the argument and to another topic. This sort of "reasoning" has the following form:

      Topic A is under discussion.
      Topic B is introduced under the guise of being relevant to topic A (when topic B is actually not relevant to topic A).
      Topic A is abandoned.
      This sort of "reasoning" is fallacious because merely changing the topic of discussion hardly counts as an argument against a claim.

      The assertions of the contrarians about these emails are irrelevant to the scientific discussion about climate change. They do not address in any real or logical way the arguments of climate change scientists. They are thus, a clear example of the use of the "Red Herring Falacy".

      • by smoker2 (750216) on Monday November 30, 2009 @07:33AM (#30268930) Homepage Journal
        How the fuck do you get an insightful for basically confirming, against your own argument, that we have been steadily warming since the last ice age ? 10,000 years ago you could walk from the UK to continental Europe. Has sea level not risen ? Even the ice cores show that the climate has been warming [climatedata.info] since about 20,000 years ago. Can you see a pattern in those graphs ? Can you ? Or does your need to bash the so called "deniers" override your visual cortex to the extent that all you can see is red ?

        To me, those graphs show that over a period of time, we can expect the climate to experience rapid warming, followed by a longer period of cooling, where it gets very very cold, followed again by a rapid warming period. At what stage of that cycle are we currently living in ? The peak of the warming stage. Sure we may have higher CO2 than at similar points in past stages but not outside the realms of statistical possibility. There have been times where the peak was much lower than the average maximum, and now the peak is much higher than the average maximum. None of that precludes the fact that the long term cycle exists and going by past evidence will peak and turn down towards ice age. And if you think humans have the capability to prevent a cycle that runs over the order of 120,000 years from happening, just to suit our interests, then you are the one in denial - denial of just how insignificant we really are.

        Basically, if we aren't in a retreat from the last ice age, we are in a decline towards the next ice age. As we seem to be still climbing in both CO2 and temperature, I would go for the former - we are in the last stages of ice age retreat, will soon peak and start dropping towards the worst fucking nightmare, making the global warming scare seem like a sunny day at the beach. Fortunately, CO2 tends to lag temperature meaning that the extra CO2 we have produced will keep us warmer than we would have expected to be when the average temperature drops 3 or 4 degrees. Look at the graphs, specifically the Temp/CO2 graph [climatedata.info]. What happened about 120,000 years ago ? Does that part of the graph look ANYTHING like the current situation ? I say it does, and anybody with working eyes would say the same. But you seem content to blame the warming trend on humans, all evidence to the contrary. What goes up MUST come down. The quicker it goes up, the more rapid the fall when it comes. I would suggest it's a bit too late to be worrying about what we released into the atmosphere, it's done its damage already. If you're suggesting that we can transform the future graph into a straight line at roughly the place where we want it to be, I suggest you see a psychiatrist.

        Maybe, just maybe, we could prevent temps from rising too rapidly, but that does not negate the overall trend, where the average is 6 degrees less, and the maximum is roughly 15 degrees less than today. Surely the most important long term aim is to prevent cooling not warming ? The only issue I have with higher CO2 levels is that we can't breathe it, but to protect ourselves there, maybe we shouldn't cut down all the trees, pollute the oceans and burn things just to make money.

        Now you tell me, where is that actual recorded data wrong ? It wasn't the result of a flawed model, it hasn't been tweaked to suit my agenda, it has been measured by climate scientists from existing sources. But you still claim we are not "coming out of an ice age" ? It seems to me YOU are the denier, YOU are putting forward red herrings, in fact the red herring argument is itself a red herring, because it draws attention away from the facts. As do all the mouth frothing AGW religious types. They claim the data shows the end of the world is nigh but refuse to accept what the data is showing them. Instead they focus on such a short timescale that it can't be measured on the same scale as the evidenc
    • by dcavanaugh (248349) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @11:14PM (#30266422) Homepage

      The deliberate coverup in response to an FOI request pretty much blows the climatologists out of the water. Kaboom! Game over. The British press is all over the issue while the American press ignores it, hoping it will go away. It won't.

      Money rules BOTH sides of the climate debate. You simply don't get funding unless your outcome favors the people who provide the money. If Microsoft funds an "independent study" and the outcome favors Microsoft products (as it always does), we understand, laugh, and life goes on. Why is this climatology such a mystery? If Rob Enderle, Laura DiDio, and the Alexis de Tocqueville Institute opened a climatology division, Slashdot would be challenging them in about 10 minutes. What's taking so long with the climatologists?

      The clues are everywhere. Notice how the "cap and trade" money grab is absolutely essential to solving the problem, while consuming less meat or zero population growth are given hardly any consideration at all. Without the money grab and subsidies for the third world, the sense urgency goes right down the toilet. Things we could be doing at zero cost get zero attention. This doesn't prove climatology is a scam, but it sure looks that way.

      Meanwhile, we had better hope global warming a scam. During the years since Kyoto, China has become the number 1 generator of CO2. And they have far more growth potential than the US does. So do Brazil, Russia, and India for that matter. I have actually visited Shanghai and have seen the pollution first hand. Complex measurements were not required; coughing in the smog was more than enough for me. If anyone claims China is serious about controlling pollution, it's total BS.

      The reality is that Brazil, Russia, India, and China (the BRIC nations) offer to do essentially nothing, while they hide behind the number 2 generator of CO2 - the US. I have news for you folks - the US government is broke. Obama views "cap and trade" as a palatable source of tax revenue that will throw off so much cash, he can distribute it all over the world. Problem is, cap and trade is NOT palatable. The production of CO2 will simply migrate to the countries with the least enforcement or the heaviest subsidies. Obama's Democrats will be "wiped off the map" in large sections of the US if they expect Americans to subsidize [even more] offshoring of jobs. There is a very real possibility that a mismanaged implementation of cap and trade would be both ineffective and indistinguishable from economic suicide. In such a scenario, the Democrats would become a regional party with no real power outside of California and Massachusetts.

      Fortunately, we have been saved by Russian hackers. No deal in Copenhagen, no cap and trade. No support in Congress; it's dead with a capital "D". Obama is already looking for excuses to cancel the trip! Perhaps they can mail him his Nobel Peace Prize. The countries that were determined to do nothing will be joined by all the others, so that we can all continue to do nothing on an equitable basis. This may not be the best outcome, but it is infinitely better than a naive Obama getting hoodwinked into picking up the costs of everyone else's pollution controls.

  • by BlueParrot (965239) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @09:22PM (#30265576)

    If climate scientists refuse to look at proprietary data on the grounds that they can't release it:

    "They are cherry picking their data, the met data shows there is no cooling, it's all a fraud!!!"

    If instead they decide to agree accept the offer to see it by signing a NDA:

    "They don't release the data, they cover it up, it's all a conspiracy!!!!"

    Seriously, you will get some scientists that are fine with using proprietary data and some who are not. What the so called skeptics are arguing is that because SOME scientists decided the benefits of using more data outweigh the cons of being unable to disclose it, that means the entire field of climate science is a fraud. Never mind that their findings agree with research done with open data, never mind that you could in principle go sign an NDA yourself if you mistrust the CRU so badly. No it must all be a conspiracy, including the research that were made with open data that achieved the same conclusions.

    The more I hear from climate "skeptics" the more the arguments feel similar to those of the evolution skeptics.

    • by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris@@@beau...org> on Sunday November 29, 2009 @09:43PM (#30265746)

      > Seriously, you will get some scientists that are fine with using proprietary data and some who are not.

      I don't know what the rules are on your world, but on mine it isn't science if the work can't be peer reviewed, published and duplicated. If you basing results on datasets that can't be released none of that is possible. Seriously, how would you peer review a paper based on data you can't look at? How did 'respected' journals publish papers that they couldn't ask another serious scientist to do a proper review of? Why is work that, even if it COULD in theory be duplicated, in fact never will (and wasn't) be given any weight in the high councils of the world's leaders?

      Should a scientist use a closed dataset to help his company decide which research line to pursue? Yes. Decide where to drill for oil? Yes. Publish in the peer reviewed journals? No. Make recommendations to world leaders with trillion dollar consequences? No.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 29, 2009 @09:53PM (#30265866)

        Review and duplication does not require publishing all raw data. It requires publishing the methods used to obtain the raw data, so someone else can do the same thing and come to the same conclusion. For a proprietary dataset, this could mean, "go sign your own NDA and see the proprietary data", or it could mean, "go gather data the same way they did" (e.g. in the case of ice cores or other repeatable climate data samples.

        Science has never required full access to the publishing scientist's lab notes, lab equipment, or diaries. That's the domain of historians, patent attorneys, regulators, and corporate spies.

        • by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris@@@beau...org> on Sunday November 29, 2009 @11:49PM (#30266688)

          > Review and duplication does not require publishing all raw data.

          No. If you were asked to peer review a paper, would YOU sign off on it without seeing the data that went into it or (usually) the program code that processed the data? Really?

          Most of this global warming stuff isn't much more than the data. They take raw data and either process it and make projections or use it to feed a computer model that makes projections. The only part published is the end result which is taken on faith since there isn't much more to work with. The raw data isn't submitted as part of the publication/peer review process and apparently the actual computer code driving the models is equally private. So exactly has been being reviewed all these years? And forget duplicating the 'work.' You would basically be finding your own datasets (often with no way to even know if you are using the same data) and doing everything from scratch. Science has really fallen this far?

          Here is a hint. If he says "Trust me" he ain't no scientist he is a salesman/politician.

          • by uid7306m (830787) on Monday November 30, 2009 @04:41AM (#30268248)

            No, I do it all the time, and it is the correct thing to do.

            A scientific review is not a trap for fraud or a re-analysis of the data. It is not adversarial (well, it is not intrinsically adversarial). The idea is that you are helping the person write a better paper, in addition to deciding whether it is good enough to publish. And you assume that they have described their work accurately.

            Fraud gets detected sooner or later when people try to replicate the experiment. And, wrong papers get detected that way also.

            Reviews are there to remove (not catch!) any visible errors, to make sure that the logic make sense, to make sure that nothing important was forgotten, and to make sure that the experiment was described completely enough so that someone else could replicate it. That's more than enough work for the poor (unpaid) reviewer.

  • by rlp (11898) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @09:25PM (#30265606)

    Science was the first instance of open source. If someone else can't freely check your data and replicate your experiments you've got nothing. The raw data and source code for the climate models should have been available from day one. The fact that they weren't and that large quantities of data were "lost" throws the conclusions into serious question.

    • by Rising Ape (1620461) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @09:30PM (#30265644)

      That's not quite right. It's important that your results are reproducible. That requires a full description of how the data was gathered and how it was analysed. That way, someone can go and do their own experiments, collect their own data and conduct their own analysis. Giving out the raw data isn't a bad thing, but it's not necessary and actually doesn't happen that often.

      You could make a case that it's in fact bad for people to all work off the same data set or code, as any mistakes (or even deliberate fraud) will then be common to all analyses.

      • by jpmorgan (517966) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @09:46PM (#30265786) Homepage

        Personally, I feel that when you are an activist, not just a scientist, and pressuring for major policy changes based on your research, you should be held to a higher standard.

        If you're going to stand up, proclaim the end of the world, and tell everybody that they need to spend hundreds of billions of dollars to avert it... you have a moral obligation to publish your data.

      • by Mspangler (770054) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @09:49PM (#30265808)

        "You could make a case that it's in fact bad for people to all work off the same data set or code, as any mistakes (or even deliberate fraud) will then be common to all analyses."

        And that deliberate fraud issue, sadly, appears to be the case. How many good models were scrapped because the cooked data made them give obviously bogus results? How much good new data was discarded because it didn't match with the "approved" data. A huge amount of work is scrapped, or is about to be.

        My dissertation was on non-linear modeling. If I had cooked the data like this bunch I'd have been in the dumpster with my data. Although I did not have to show every bit of input data, it was required to be traceable all the way from the raw input through any smoothing, transforming, and normalizing to get to the input of the model. Anything less and there would be no Ph.D. after my name.

        So it's been less than a week, but why are these guys still employed?

    • by amck (34780) on Monday November 30, 2009 @02:51AM (#30267744) Homepage

      If you go look at the CRU mails and responses, the data wasn't "lost". They don't have a copy of it: the original data is still at other institutions.

      The CRU work is based on collecting sets of measurements from around the world, and producing a gridded temperature dataset from this. They've
      been doing this for decades. When they started, disk space was very expensive, and once they had finished they deleted the copy they had (the originals still being available at national archives).

      Secondly a lot of the data was given under Non-disclosure agreements. A number of National Met Services are under an obligation to minimise their costs (ie taxes) by acting commercially and selling "added services" beyond simple weather forecasts (e.g. see met.ie [www.met.ie]: data for the last 3 years is on the web, beyond that you pay). Frequently this data is available free of charge for academic use, but you're not allowed pass it on to third parties. They simply cannot put it up on the website.

      This is basically a non-problem scientifically: you are able to get similar datasets elsewhere for free, and can measure and do experiments yourself ...
      this is the preferred method scientifically, as it checks for systematic error in technique.

  • SOP for Min-Truth (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mspangler (770054) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @09:26PM (#30265618)

    Translating Freely:

    We cooked the data to show what we wanted it to show, then erased the originals to ensure that our version of the truth is the only version.

    Those guys really took the lessons from the Ministry of Truth to heart. Way to inspire confidence guys. Way to convince the non-scientific public that there is a reason to quietly submit to a carbon version of a water command empire.

    Why is Mr Jones still employed?

  • My A*& will be sore (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wdhowellsr (530924) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @09:31PM (#30265646)
    I have an energy patent that will go live January 2010. Forgetting for the moment that I don't own it - more when it's live - , within about sixty seconds of it being available to read, the scientific community will rip me several new ones until every single one of them can duplicate everything that I've done with their own labs and equipment.

    Ponds and Fleishman said they successfully created cold fusion and they are now bus boys at Chili's. What I'm saying is that if the scientific community subjected the CRU to even the most basic scrutiny they would either be forced to prove their conclusions or sent packing.

    Imagine for a moment someone spent thirty years recording data in any field then compiled a report based on their interpretation of the data only to delete all of the raw data. What reasonable person on this planet would say, "No problem, I trust you." Bull$#%@.

    This isn't Republican or Democrat, American or European, this is the very basis of what Slashdot is founded on, that is don't give me bull$%#@ show me the data and your source, and most of all don't patronize me!

    This world is going in the crapper unless we call everyone's BS.

    "When the scientific principal is replaced by conventional wisdom or worse peer pressure, what prevents us from returning to the dark ages?"

    William David Howell Sr.
  • by Dr. Evil (3501) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @09:48PM (#30265792)

    Outside of the science, all I know is that the climate zone in my local area has changed. Plants which you could not grow before, you can grow now. I hear from Innuit that there are plants and animals in the North which they have not seen before. I know that tornadoes dot the German Rhine where no tornadoes were seen before, I know hurricanes on the Eastern seaboard are behaving differently, I know that Crete was so dry when I saw it that I couldn't imagine olive trees growing there without irrigation, I know that our highways are a half kilometer wide and countless kilometers long, with thousands upon thousands of idling cars sitting on them, ten times a week for as long as I've been alive, and I know that sea captains don't want to traverse the Indian ocean because the almanacs are no longer reasonable guides to chart how long a given voyage from one port to the next might take.

    Everything else is told to me by strangers. Maybe the arctic is intact, maybe the rainforests never actually existed. Maybe Mt. Kilamajaro doesn't exist, maybe it's all a mind control plot. All plausible answers I suppose from people telling me that climate change is a myth.

    Has anyone here seen a rainforest? Have you seen the clearcutting? Maybe none of this is real. Right now, the temperature where I am is 6 Celcius. Is my thermometer tampered with by some global warming co-conspirators? If I wrote it down, would somebody question it 100 years from now? Maybe the celcius scale has been tampered with.

  • Where's the beef? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chebucto (992517) * on Sunday November 29, 2009 @10:23PM (#30266116) Homepage

    If the _results_ from the lab in question match up with other independent results, what possible grounds to laymen have to presume the data was deliberately changed? Unless they assume that all independent labs falsified their data in concert, which would be a hell of a conspiracy.

    What really bothers me about the complaints around the emails is that none of them (as I understand it) come close to proving that findings were deliberately falsified to point to one conclusion over another. All of the emails were either innocuous or, at worst, ambiguous.

    And what have some skeptics done with ambiguous data? They have manipulated it to fit their pre-existing theories. Which is very close to the sort of bad behavior they are charging the lab with now.

  • by daemonenwind (178848) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @10:30PM (#30266182)
    Science, and the practice of it, demands that research be repeatable and transparent.

    We have this quote from TFA:

    The CRU is the world's leading centre for reconstructing past climate and temperatures. Climate change sceptics have long been keen to examine exactly how its data were compiled. That is now impossible.

    By deleting the raw data, no one can ever reproduce or review the process by which raw data became tested theory.

    This is not the act of a scientist; in fact, this would make you fail in the Elementary School Science Fair of your choice. The sad truth seems to be that, while Science concerns itself with discovering truth, these scientists have concerned themselves only with discovering funding and prestige.

    Climate change theory must now reside with such things as Cold Fusion and Duke Nukem Forever.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 29, 2009 @11:09PM (#30266398)

    There's been another breaking climate scandal. Some big name climate skeptics have been busted big time manipulating temperature data and lying about it.

    They've manipulated the data to make it look like it was cooling when it was really warming, and the Drudge Report and blogger Anthony Watts have been caught up in the lies, and have tried to blame it on some New Zealand climate researchers:

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/11/new_zealand_climate_science_co.php?utm_source=sbhomepage&utm_medium=link&utm_content=channellink [scienceblogs.com]

    http://hot-topic.co.nz/nz-sceptics-lie-about-temp-records-try-to-smear-top-scientist/ [hot-topic.co.nz]

    "As long as its green, I'm not quite sure about this moralistic issue."

    - Quote about writing "scientific studies" for the tobacco industry by Frederick Seitz, the author of that cover letter for that petition of 30000 questionable signatures against the science of climate change.

  • by Orp (6583) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @11:23PM (#30266478) Homepage

    Let's review... The hacked emails look bad, but they were obtained illegally and were never meant for public consumption - these emails were never "peer reviewed" so to speak. As far as I'm concerned, they are irrelevant, as tempting as it is to see some giant conspiracy in them.

    Concerning the data that was tossed out: This was probably due to something as humdrum as cleaning out a room to make space for new equipment or office space or something similar. I remember in the 90s when I was working at a R1 university our group needed more space for new hardware, and we got money to convert a storage room to a cold room where we could stick our hardware. There were rows and rows of old 9-track tape (probably the same kind of tape that was tossed out from the climate research group in question). Nobody claimed them, nobody wanted them, so we threw them out (not before unravelling one and playing with it first though). Had someone actually wanted to retrieve data off of those 9-track tapes, they probably would have been unsuccessful anyway since magnetic tape degrades with time and tar files don't have any error correction built in.

    So even if these tapes from the 80s were still around they would likely be useless. Unless some sort of data migration plan had been in place, they were probably destined to decay.

    Concerning the paper records, they would likely be just fine assuming they didn't get eaten away from the acid assuming it wasn't acid-free paper. But those were tossed too.

    So, to review: Some asshole gets into the private email system of a university, does who-knows-what to it (we don't know for sure whether the emails were filtered, cherrypicked, manipulated, etc.) and releases it to the world. The text of the email appears to contain some language which could be interpreted as a bit dodgy, but honestly if you think science is all fun and games and doesn't involve egos, power struggles, rivalries, and colossal asshattery, well, surprise, it does. Now we have the data loss issue, which is easily explained and is likely due to cleaning up stored crap to make room for office space (I am guessing but that is not an unreasonable scenario).

    Meanwhile, hundreds of other independent studies from dozens of different sources of instrumentation and other proxies shows over and over and over again that climate is warming and it's anthropogenic in nature due to greenhouse gas emissions. Is anyone arguing that humans are NOT responsible for 280 ppm going to, what is it now, 385 ppm of CO2 over the past 150 years? Is anyone arguing that CO2 is NOT a greenhouse gas and that all else being equal, a shift in the earth's radiative equilibrium temperature upward would NOT be expected with this increase?

    As an atmospheric scientist it's crazy for me to think that anyone would even need to mess with climate data as it doesn't need to be massaged to show the obvious. The fact that there is interdecadal variability (things have flattened out a bit over the past few years) is really nothing too shocking and fits well within the range of predictions.

    So wake me up in 20 years an let me know how this whole "conspiracy" worked out. If we're back to temperatures from the 1960s well, I'll eat my hat or whatever serves as headwear in the 2030s.

    • by mrcaseyj (902945) on Monday November 30, 2009 @10:25AM (#30270232)
      So they said they would delete the data rather than give it up. And the said they would hide behind non-disclosure agreements so they wouldn't have to give up the data. And they said they got other universities and government agencies to go along with hiding the data. But you think we should still give them the benefit of the doubt and believe their story that they just accidentally lost the data.
  • by Mindbridge (70295) on Monday November 30, 2009 @12:13AM (#30266870) Homepage

    During 2001 the IPCC made a number of predictions as to what would happen as a result of the climate change. At the time their results were widely mocked and ignored by the "climate change deniers" circles.

    It now turns out that the actual effects measured today are _worse_ than what was predicted. For example, the rise of the ocean level is 80% greater.

    I think people should concentrate on the larger picture -- the predicted effects are happening. The whole CRU emails issue is peanuts and only diverts the attention from the real issue, even if we assume that everything that is being claimed there is true.

  • Political Agendas (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nathanh (1214) on Monday November 30, 2009 @03:05AM (#30267820) Homepage

    It seems there's a concerted campaign by certain political groups - especially USA political groups - to push the meme that this is a "scandal". But there is no scandal because the stolen emails don't invalidate the science.

    They can't attack the science, so they attack the scientists. The science has been peer reviewed, independently verified, and the predictions made by CRU have already come to pass. The science is robust. So all they can do is attack the scientists.

    This is a smear campaign, conducted by political screechers with a clearly visible agenda.

    • by Neon Aardvark (967388) on Monday November 30, 2009 @06:59AM (#30268788) Homepage

      They can't attack the science, so they attack the scientists.

      This statement is utterly false.

      Read climate audit. Read about the divergence problem. Read about unreproducible graphs. Read about bizarre weightings. Read about manipulated data from now "lost" raw data. Read about white noise input yielding "increasing temperatures" as output.

      There is much to attack in this "science".

  • by Rockoon (1252108) on Monday November 30, 2009 @08:52AM (#30269406)
    Real Climate is claiming that data is available and has this nice link and stuff (given in the slahsdot summary.)

    Following their link I noticed that there was no link to raw data for stratospheric temperatures but there was a link to processed data.

    I followed the link to the processed data in the hopes that there would be some explanation as to why only processed data was available. I discovered that the processed data wasnt available either, instead the link only pointed to a page with GIF files (graphs.)

    Essentially, Real Climate just lied to us about the stratospheric data. Not only is the raw data unavailable, the processed data isnt available either even tho it claims it is available and claims to link to it.


    I then clicked around most of the "raw" sites linked to and almost all are fairly devoid of data.

    Mr. Jones, the public may buy your bullshit because they might think a GIF file with a graph is relevant "data" but I do not. Mr. Jones, RELEASE YOUR FUCKING RAW DATA.

Dennis Ritchie is twice as bright as Steve Jobs, and only half wrong. -- Jim Gettys

Working...