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Earth Science

Where the Global Warming Data Is 1011

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."
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Where the Global Warming Data Is

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  • Oh, hey, (Score:3, Informative)

    by symbolset ( 646467 ) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @10:05PM (#30265480) Journal
    Where did I read that was a propaganda arm of the AGW movement? Was it in those hacked emails?
  • Re:Oh, hey, (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 29, 2009 @10:15PM (#30265526)
    please please PLEASE/ don't use the word science when talking about this shit, those of us that actually do real scientific research find it offensive. Science is about knowledge, systematic testing of theories and analysis of those results. Whether AGW is real or not, most of the garbage being presented as evidence is NOT scientific.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 29, 2009 @10:23PM (#30265586),2933,576887,00.html

    The above link says it all

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

    by physburn ( 1095481 ) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @10:24PM (#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 [] Feed @ Feed Distiller []

  • by reporter ( 666905 ) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @10:33PM (#30265676) Homepage
    If global warming is, by some remote possibility, neither real nor caused by human activities, then the current convulsions about who should do what to save the planet will be much noise about nothing.

    On the other hand, suppose that global warming is real and is caused by human activities. Then, who shall be responsible for the oceans flooding nations like Great Britain and Japan, shrinking their territories to one-tenth of the original size?

    Common sense tells us that if a nation -- e. g. , China -- pumps greenhouse gases into the atmosphere with wild abandon and if such an act causes global warming which greatly enlarges the oceans, thus flooding much of Great Britain and Japan, then such an act is essentially an act of war against the British and the Japanese. The British and the Japanese then have the moral right to initiate war against China in order to seize Chinese territory for settlement by the Japanese and the British.

    Losing 90% of Japanese (or British) territory due to Chinese thoughtlessness is not a laughing matter and is an act of war. Military force is a legitimate way to eradicate Chinese thoughtlessness and to compel the Chinese to protect the environment.

  • Let's Do That (Score:3, Informative)

    by R3d M3rcury ( 871886 ) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @10:40PM (#30265718) Journal

    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."

    Sounds fair. Let's ignore your findings and recompute using the other's data sets and see if everything comes out equal.

    This is science. If you can't show your work so that other's can reproduce your results, you're out.

  • by symbolset ( 646467 ) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @10:42PM (#30265732) Journal

    The site is the web page of the East Anglia Climate Research Unit [] (CRU), whose data, models and bias is under scrutiny here. This is the server the material was stolen from, and they're struggling mightily to do damage control. The material was assembled in response to a FOIA request and intended to be destroyed when the request was legally thwarted. This same organization has claimed to have "lost" the primary data their published information is based upon, and one of the researchers in a stolen email actually stated a preference for destroying the raw data to releasing it. Their newfound love of openness is nothing but damage control and the data they give should be treated with suspicion. Using them as a primary reference for this issue is of debatable worth.

    And yes, one of the emails did reference using the site for advocacy - I just can't find the reference just now. If you know where it is, please post it here. As to whether or not the site is actually used for policy advocacy, don't trust me. Read it yourself. []

    So there, mister "flamebait" moderator.

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

    by HanzoSpam ( 713251 ) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @10:45PM (#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. []

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 29, 2009 @10:53PM (#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.

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

    by Logic Worshipper ( 1518487 ) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @10:57PM (#30265894)

    You are entitled to your opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.

  • Mod parent up (Score:3, Informative)

    by ChipMonk ( 711367 ) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @11:01PM (#30265916) Journal
    The "statement" from the "beleaguered" "head" is nothing more than a distraction.

    From May 2008 [] comes this little tidbit (sorry about the formatting):

    Phil Jones wrote: > >> Mike, > Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4? > Keith will do likewise. He's not in at the moment - minor family crisis. > > Can you also email Gene and get him to do the same? I don't > have his new email address. > > We will be getting Caspar to do likewise.

    Right there is the reality of "deleted data" in clear violation of the FoIA.
  • by larry bagina ( 561269 ) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @11:06PM (#30265968) Journal
    • A comparison of ice core records suggests conditions today are returning to those of 11,000 years ago.
    • A study by Philip Mote formerly of the University of Washington in the United States and Georg Kaser of the University of Innsbruck in Austria concludes that the shrinking of Kilimanjaro's ice cap is not directly due to rising temperature but rather to decreased precipitation.
  • by ssk77077 ( 855702 ) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @11:16PM (#30266056) Homepage
    In response to the data loss claim, CRU states that only 5% of data was removed but it is still available from NOAA. []
  • Re:Deniers? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 29, 2009 @11:22PM (#30266104)
    Incidentally "climate change" is the trendy new word because "global warming" has the pesky tendency to be falsified whenever temperatures are cooler than expected. With a generic word like "climate change" you're only wrong if the temperature stays perfectly and exactly the same!

    "Deal with it like an adult, or deal with it like a leftist." HAHAHA I loved that. Priceless. People who want big government to provide everything they need and take care of anything that might make them feel bad and thus, make a parental figure of government, are more juvenile and immature than people who understand why this is a bad idea and are satisfied with the parents they have already outgrown. Whodathunkit?

    In all seriousness, whether global warming is real or not, and whether it's caused by human beings or not is immaterial. Regardless of any of that, it will be used to justify the taxation of carbon. Fake global warming will justify this as readily as real global warming so there's no reason for the controversy of the issue to divide people on this one thing. A tax on carbon is a tax on life, seeing how we are carbon-based life forms. This will represent a new era of governmental power and control heretofore unknown to us and found only in the wet dreams of statists and other would-be tyrants.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 29, 2009 @11:26PM (#30266138)
    No, RealClimate is not the East Anglia Climatic Research Unit web site []. RealClimate has some AGW alarmists researchers who spread disinformation and censor comments [].

    If you want to catch up with ClimateGate, start at WUWT ClimateGate []. And if you're a programmer, read along with unfortunate Harry..."Botch after botch after botch". []

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 29, 2009 @11:27PM (#30266154)


    Professor Jones: Just sent loads of station data to Scott. Make sure he documents everything better this time ! And don't leave stuff lying around on ftp sites - you never know who is trawling them. The two MMs [Patrick notes: he is referring to McIntyre and McKitrick] have been after the CRU station data for years. If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I'll delete the file rather than send to anyone.

    Apologies in lieu of flowers are acceptable.

  • by Garrett Fox ( 970174 ) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @11:30PM (#30266180) Homepage
    In fact, part of the information allegedly taken from these researchers is source code, and it's revealing []. It helps reveal the significance of an e-mail about a "trick" done with the data.
  • Re:Oh, hey, (Score:5, Informative)

    by jvillain ( 546827 ) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @11:46PM (#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.

  • by crmarvin42 ( 652893 ) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @11:46PM (#30266274)
    I've said it before and will probably do so again. Just because your data is valid does not mean that your conclusions are equally valid. I reviewed a journal article in my own field in which the author's conclusions were contradicted by their own data.

    That there are concerns with some of the data sets used, as well as with the objectivity of the researchers is of fundamental importance. The authors of the analogous paper that I reviewed had a track record of supporting one possible explanation over any other in their research. That tendancy prevented them from seeing that their own dataset apparently contradicted their previous conclusions.

    Ultimately data is objective, but conclusions are inherently subjective. You take the data, look for trends and then decide based on the larger body of research what it all means. There is no P-value for a conclusion or population parameter, only for sample statistics. My reservations concerning their conclusions are not dependent upon their data being invalid or their ethics being questionable. Those things help reassure me that my skepticism is well placed, but are ultimately unnecessary.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 30, 2009 @12:04AM (#30266374)

    People like Richard Lindzen [] or Roy Spencer or John Christy or Roger Pielke Snr or any of the other climatologists who disagree with the IPCC say this.

    With their PhDs and what not, perhaps they some idea.

  • by smcdow ( 114828 ) on Monday November 30, 2009 @12:05AM (#30266378) Homepage [] Nice summarized digest of the CRU emails. Doesn't look good for the Hockey Team. Not good at all.

    Here's the particular one you're after: []

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 30, 2009 @12:09AM (#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: [] []

    "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.

  • Re:I'm not denying. (Score:2, Informative)

    by DiamondGeezer ( 872237 ) on Monday November 30, 2009 @12:12AM (#30266414) Homepage
    You know that those "thousands of climate scientists" don't exist, don't you? Like the CRU's dataset, your statement was pulled from the place only your proctologist knows well.

    There are at most 40 climate scientists involved in the IPCC and some of them are calling for chief protagonists of AGW scares to be barred from the IPCC []. We're in a long term warming trend since the nadir of the Little Ice Age of the early 17th Century. Long before carbon dioxide began to rise, temperatures in Central England rose by 3 degrees in about 36 years.

    But then, where's the grant money going to come from if the world isn't in crisis?
  • by sarhjinian ( 94086 ) on Monday November 30, 2009 @12:15AM (#30266426)

    Phosphates are also plant food. Flush them in bulk---not toxic levels, just in bulk---into the environment and watch what happens. Pay particular attention to the fish stocks in any nearby lake, for example.

    Climate change is not destructive in the way that, say, irradiation is. No one is saying that we're pumping out toxic amounts of CO2, but that we're risking knocking climate patterns and/or the biosphere out of balance, which could have other effects, like dramatic changes in local weather and/or local flora/fauna, or the lack thereof. We don't quite know how drastic the changes would be, how long they'd go on for, or if they'd harm us or some brown people halfway around the world.

    For example: there's credible evidence that climate change from excessive carbon unlocking is causing ocean acidification, which could cause shifts in the gulf streams and/or dramatically screw up ocean life. It wouldn' t kill you on the spot, but it would cause a lot of people go go without food, either because of fish die-offs or because previously-fertile land is getting no rain. This results in a lot of pissed off hungry people (remember the prarie dustbowls of the Great Depression?).

    Of course it's not so simple as CO2 is teh B4dzorZ. What's funny (or awful) is watching the anti-AGCC skeptics deliberately mischaracterize or outright pervert the science in such a way in order to muddy the waters. Which, I might add, they've been doing more often, longer, and in much nastier ways than this CRU incident.

  • by tftp ( 111690 ) on Monday November 30, 2009 @12:19AM (#30266444) Homepage

    Not if they're trying to measure the same thing - then the outputs should agree within experimental errors.

    Sorry, but that is simply not so. They are measuring a dynamic system, using instruments that introduce several kinds of known, quantified errors (see error bars [].) For instance, each instrument has a static offset and a random error, with latter being represented by its pdf []. I'm amazed that I still remember some statistics :-) On top of that, each of these functions may drift over time due to natural and technical reasons.

    My example was meant to illustrate this very problem. They are filtering the data using a low-pass filter (roughly so.) But the bandwidth of that filter (cutoff frequency) and the slope of the filter *affect the results* ! You can't do anything about it because that's how math works. You can have the needle dancing between 1 and 3, or you can have the needle glued to 2. And that is only assuming that they don't discard outliers, as they should do, and Kalman filter does exactly that. There are tons of matrices of coefficients that control the smoothing process; these numbers are picked more or less by hand, to trade resolution in time for resolution in amplitude. But the output *will* depend on your choice of smoothing methods and coefficients.

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

    by dmbrun ( 907271 ) on Monday November 30, 2009 @12:22AM (#30266470)
  • by Orp ( 6583 ) on Monday November 30, 2009 @12:23AM (#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 LongearedBat ( 1665481 ) on Monday November 30, 2009 @12:29AM (#30266522)

    Kilimanjaro has been retreating since the 1800s [].

    Yeah, once the industrial age had got started in earnest.
    And in the past 50 years the industrial age has really grown, and so have the consequences.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 30, 2009 @12:38AM (#30266592)

    Look at the graph [] on wikipedia, a site aggresively edited by AGW believers.

    Where do the emissions 'shoot up' ? By early into the 1950s things shoot up.

    Also, look at the C02 content in the atmosphere graph from the poster. Estimate where that line crosses 2.8 parts per 10 000.

  • by Hawthorne01 ( 575586 ) on Monday November 30, 2009 @12:48AM (#30266684)

    The facts do speak for themselves.

    From the "HARRY_READ_ME.txt" file of the CRU emails, in the words of the CRU's own programmer, with page numbers annotated: []

    - "But what are all those monthly files? DON'T KNOW, UNDOCUMENTED. Wherever I look, there are data files, no info about what they are other than their names. And that's useless ..." (Page 17)

    - "It's botch after botch after botch." (18)

    - "The biggest immediate problem was the loss of an hour's edits to the program, when the network died ... no explanation from anyone, I hope it's not a return to last year's troubles ... This surely is the worst project I've ever attempted. Eeeek." (31)

    - "Oh, GOD, if I could start this project again and actually argue the case for junking the inherited program suite." (37)

    - "... this should all have been rewritten from scratch a year ago!" (45)

    - "Am I the first person to attempt to get the CRU databases in working order?!!" (47)

    - "As far as I can see, this renders the (weather) station counts totally meaningless." (57)

    - "COBAR AIRPORT AWS (data from an Australian weather station) cannot start in 1962, it didn't open until 1993!" (71)

    - "What the hell is supposed to happen here? Oh yeah -- there is no 'supposed,' I can make it up. So I have : - )" (98)

    - "You can't imagine what this has cost me -- to actually allow the operator to assign false WMO (World Meteorological Organization) codes!! But what else is there in such situations? Especially when dealing with a 'Master' database of dubious provenance ..." (98)

    - "So with a somewhat cynical shrug, I added the nuclear option -- to match every WMO possible, and turn the rest into new stations ... In other words what CRU usually do. It will allow bad databases to pass unnoticed, and good databases to become bad ..." (98-9)

    - "OH F--- THIS. It's Sunday evening, I've worked all weekend, and just when I thought it was done, I'm hitting yet another problem that's based on the hopeless state of our databases." (241).

    - "This whole project is SUCH A MESS ..." (266)

  • by symbolset ( 646467 ) * on Monday November 30, 2009 @01:06AM (#30266816) Journal

    Ah, there it is. [] ESR is a respected member of the community and I'll take his word for it absent definitive proof.

    You can quite clearly see the "fudge factor" (actual code comment) where it was calculated to produce the desired result. Presumably this factor was computed, then munged into the raw data and the code commented out. Here you can see the hockey stick being built in the factory.

    There are nice graphs [] where the "no trend" raw data is added to "a VERY ARTIFICAL correction for decline!!" to create the results graph we have all seen that has no relation to the raw data but does show what would be an alarming trend if it were not for the fact that it's entirely made up. Since you clearly won't believe me, here's The NOAA's own fudge-factor chart by dataset [] and in total []. They're from this page [], and here's an official quote on that page from the NOAA:

    The cumulative effect of all adjustments is approximately a one-half degree Fahrenheit warming in the annual time series over a 50-year period from the 1940's until the last decade of the century.

    Here's another nice link. [] Enjoy.

    This is not science, to my understanding of that symbol.

  • by Mindbridge ( 70295 ) on Monday November 30, 2009 @01:13AM (#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.

  • Re:I'm not denying. (Score:3, Informative)

    by beamdriver ( 554241 ) <> on Monday November 30, 2009 @01:19AM (#30266916) Homepage
    Is this a new thing? First you claim that AGW doesn't exist. Now you claim that the scientists themselves don't exist?

    Most-Cited Authors on Climate Science []

    This table presents some of the many hundreds of scholars working in scientific research on climate change and related fields. The list incorporates all 619 names of the contributing authors to the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report (AR4), working group 1: the scientific basis ('wg1'). A few names have also been tagged for other contributions to the IPCC, either to other workging groups or to prior reports (AR1-3), but I've only added a very few such cases that I've come across in passing.

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

    by bonch ( 38532 ) on Monday November 30, 2009 @01:34AM (#30267008)

    I like how you use the word "deniers" to intentionally reference "Holocaust deniers," as if wanting scientific proof of something is so horrible. I also like how you pretend AGW supporters don't spread propaganda, especially now that we know the AGW movement has been censoring opposing papers. Your post oozes bias.

    Meanwhile, the global temperature record has shown no rise in temperature since 1998.

  • by FiloEleven ( 602040 ) on Monday November 30, 2009 @01:47AM (#30267100)

    That story smells fishy to me, friend.

    You can't kill ghost bats with explosives. Although, perhaps if they were blessed...

    I found a reference [] (PDF link) to the incident in some file from the Environmental Defender's Office, and it didn't go down quite like that according to them.

    The Mount Etna limestone caves
    near Rockhampton provided habitat for endangered
    ghost bats. Conservationists commenced a court
    challenge of the decision to destroy the habitat. To
    [keep] them from proceeding, the cement company
    [claimed] security for costs and undertakings as to
    damages. The conservationists duly raised $30,000.
    However the Queensland Supreme Court made a
    further order that $45,000 additional security be
    provided prior to allowing the conservationists' case
    to be heard. They could not raise the money in the
    time available, and the Mount Etna caves were blasted
    for limestone as a result.

    It wouldn't surprise me if the Queensland Supreme Court ordered the additional security at the behest of the cement company, but that's where the tactical maneuvering would have taken place, not in a pre-emptive strike against the ghost bats (which I suppose are truly ghost bats now, God bless their little bat-souls).

    I'm not out to disprove your point--I find it plausible. I only looked into it in the first place because I like caves. I would however be surprised if a company could get away without punishment if they pulled something like your version of the tale, unless they already owned the land perhaps.

  • by symbolset ( 646467 ) on Monday November 30, 2009 @02:18AM (#30267286) Journal

    Here's a nice graph [] 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 [] 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% [] 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.

  • by GaryPatterson ( 852699 ) on Monday November 30, 2009 @02:32AM (#30267372)

    I don't remember the cooling theory in the 70s, but I remember the ozone hole from the 80s pretty well. In my home state of Tasmania it was a bit of an issue, as it should have been in all the southern places of the world. There were scares about sunburn and skin cancer (which is still an issue), and cool satellite images of a blobby shape over Antarctica. There's a pretty solid link between UV radiation and cancer, and given the ozone layer's role in blocking UV, it was the beginnings of a real problem.

    And then the whole world moved away from chloro-fluorocarbons as a propellant, giving the ozone layer time to rebuild through normal processes. It's mostly better now, and is a good example of the whole planet solving an environmental problem before it got any worse.

    It's odd that you should use it in the opposite way - as an unfounded scare. You're completely wrong on that one. And the lines of code referred to in your link were apparently commented out, based on tree rings and used to produce a poster, not a scientific graph. The whole case is shaky for both sides - no-one is looking good right now. One side has stupidly lost its data (either wilful stupidity or an attempt to hide the truth) while the other is trawling for any word or email to take out of context (lay-people cannot read a few emails and somehow gain all the knowledge and context of an entire field of science).

    No-one looks good right now, and as I've said, your post has its own problems. Perhaps you might like to reconsider your absolute certainty.

  • by tbannist ( 230135 ) on Monday November 30, 2009 @03:04AM (#30267522)

    If we are at the 1934 levels of average global temperature then why are none of the 1930s in the top ten warmest years? []

    If global temperatures have been record for the last 150 years why are of the top 10 years from the last dozen years?

    Apparently, 2009 is going to make it into the top 10. []

    Also, the year 1934 isn't in the global top 10, it is in the U.S. top 10 warmest years. []

  • by ravenshrike ( 808508 ) on Monday November 30, 2009 @03:15AM (#30267576)
    There is very little uncooked data. At least if you define uncooked data as temperatures taken from sensors placed in accordance with NOAA guidelines. Somewhere around 80% of the temp sources in the US are currently placed outside those guidelines. The only source of truly uncooked data currently would be the raw satellite data, but NASA doesn't give that out until they massage it. This doesn't even mention the fact that the tree ring data is entirely unreliable pre or post 1960.
  • RC != CRU (Score:5, Informative)

    by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) * on Monday November 30, 2009 @03:32AM (#30267650) Journal
    "Read it yourself"

    Pity you didn't follow your own advise. Here is an incomplete list of the factual faults with your "informative" post.

    1. The emails were NOT stolen from RC they were stolen from a server at the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit (CRU).
    2.RC's blog is hosted in the US by a company called "webfaction", it has nothing to do with the UAE. Last time I checked the UAE and the US were sperarated by a large body of water.
    3.Here is the list of contributing scientists [], you will note all but one of these internationally recognised scientists work for US institutions, none are employed at UAE.
    4. Their love of open data sources is hardly "newfound", they put up the list as a reaction to morons who can't use google to find existing data.

    "I just can't find the reference just now."

    Yes just like you couldn't find existing data without someone compiling a list for you, suspiciously convienient if you ask me...
  • by amck ( 34780 ) on Monday November 30, 2009 @03:51AM (#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 []: 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.

  • by Shirakawasuna ( 1253648 ) on Monday November 30, 2009 @03:58AM (#30267792)
    > 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?

    Yes. Do you seriously expect to see the data for every experiment or paper put together? Do you have any idea how much raw data there can be? Peer review doesn't work by looking at raw data *unless* there's a reason that it's particularly dubious or if the dataset is extremely small and part of the paper itself. Ideally, the data would be open. Realistically, you don't get paid for open data (not as often, anyways) and you can use that same data to make further papers, making it in your interest to *not* disclose with the very first one. This is common in all sorts of sciences.

    > 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.

    Yes, a lot of science is proprietary. However, if you had actually managed to *read the summary*, not even RTFA, just the summary, you'd know that there is also quite a bit of open work done on climate and it matches the *normal science*.

    > So exactly has been being reviewed all these years?

    The papers. What else do you think gets reviewed? Peer review at a journal isn't about tearing through another person's data, it's about screening for signs of fraud or incompetence. Peer review doesn't stop there, either, it continues on after publication as your *peers* (colleagues) criticize your reports or works. If necessary, a reviewer (at the journal) could access more particular things or ask for them.

    > 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?

    What, you think scientists were completely open in the past compared to today? BS. Despite your utter speculation as to how you could duplicate an experiment without *sharing the dataset or exact model*, it's done all the time in all kinds of sciences. Papers are specific enough for anyone competent in the field to do the same work, it doesn't mean you can have someone else's work handed to you on a silver platter with explanations of what a listed Monte Carlo method is.

    Perhaps in the future, rather than running your mouth off with apparently no familiarity with science, you ask some actual scientists! They're quite accessible, even those apparently 'fallen' climatologists.
  • by hkmwbz ( 531650 ) on Monday November 30, 2009 @04:29AM (#30267914) Journal

    Nice summarized digest of the CRU emails.

    That's pretty pathetic if you ask me. For example:

    "Michael Mann discusses how to destroy a journal that has published sceptic papers.(1047388489)"

    Laughable. They are talking about how an already mediocre journal has been taken over by people with a clear agenda, so it has no credibility anymore.

    "Phil Jones encourages colleagues to delete information subject to FoI request.(1212063122)"

    Nope, not a FoI request. Rather, some guy who tried to get access to other people's e-mails because he feared that they were talking behind his back. Got nothing to do with actual science.

    "Phil Jones says he has use Mann's "Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series" hide the decline". Real Climate says "hiding" was an unfortunate turn of phrase.(0942777075)"

    This is just sheer dishonesty. This "trick" thing has been debunked all over the web.

  • by uid7306m ( 830787 ) on Monday November 30, 2009 @05:41AM (#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.

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

    by Spoke ( 6112 ) on Monday November 30, 2009 @05:51AM (#30268292)

    Meanwhile, the global temperature record has shown no rise in temperature since 1998.

    Stop cherry-picking, 1998 was an abnormally warm year due to a number of factors.

    'Global warming stopped in 1998'--Only if you flagrantly cherry pick []

  • Re:Deniers? (Score:3, Informative)

    by RiotingPacifist ( 1228016 ) on Monday November 30, 2009 @05:55AM (#30268312)

    How is that relevant, am i not allowed to make a case for evolution unless I'm an evolutionary biologist?
    The fundamentals of global warming are pretty simple, certain chemicals absorb certain frequencies of and remit it (some times at lower frequencies) towards earth (well 49% of it but that's more than 0%). Some of the chemicals are short lived (e.g water) other don't absorb much and some are in very low concentrations, the key one that is none of the above is CO2. Various independent research projects have shown a correlation between CO2 levels and global average temperature (long term). One of the key causes of confusion is that global average temperature doesn't map well to local average temperatures. Another is that while the fundamentals are strong, the macro data is pretty weak (but what macro data isn't).

  • Re:Just another day (Score:3, Informative)

    by Vintermann ( 400722 ) on Monday November 30, 2009 @06:28AM (#30268432) Homepage

    Not "the" temperature data. Some temperature data. If your institution has never lost data since the eighties, hats off to you.

  • by makomk ( 752139 ) on Monday November 30, 2009 @06:43AM (#30268482) Journal

    Take for example the raw climate data. It's level noise. Unless you add in adjustments like this and this it's completely boring annual measurements that vary but don't trend.

    Errm... you do realise the second image you linked doesn't say what Eric S Raymond says it does? It's (a) a correction applied to temperature data from tree trunks to artificially correct the divergence between them and all other temperature measurements, and (b) just an ad-hoc hack that doesn't actually seem to be used for anything. Oh, and (c) the program was designed to plot the data with and without that correction, probably in order to compare them.

  • Re:Oh, hey, (Score:2, Informative)

    by Purpendicular ( 528740 ) on Monday November 30, 2009 @07:15AM (#30268616)
    2500 scientists who worked over 6 years... It almost sounds like the Manhattan project. Here is analysis ot what was done: []
  • by makomk ( 752139 ) on Monday November 30, 2009 @07:20AM (#30268642) Journal

    ESR is a conspiracy nut. Has been for a while, actually. His comments on this are about as accurate as would be expected - i.e. a bunch of sensationalist BS:

    • The code in question is fudging temperature measurements from tree cores at high northern latitudes post-1960 in order to match actual temperatures. These aren't used in the reported global temperature figures, because they're known to be wrong.
    • The fudged numbers aren't actually used anywhere - the code that would use them is commented out.
    • If the code in question was uncommented, it would plot the fudged and uncorrected data against each other, complete with an appropriate title and different colours for each line - hardly something you'd do if hiding the fact you were fudging the figures
    • In actual fact, as far as anyone can tell, none of this code was final. It appears to have been a temporary hack that was superseded by later code that calculated its own correction.
    • Even the corrected figures from the newer code don't seem to have been used anywhere. The only version of the MXR tree-core data anyone's been able to find in published papers is the uncorrected one.
    • Oh, and not only was the issue with this data reported in a high-profile paper, it looks like the main author of the paper was the guy behind this code.
  • by makomk ( 752139 ) on Monday November 30, 2009 @07:44AM (#30268732) Journal

    Just sent loads of station data to Scott. Make sure he documents everything better this time ! And don't leave stuff lying around on ftp sites - you never know who is trawling them.

    Ah yes. I think there was an incident where commercially valuable data from some third-party organization - that they'd given to scientific researchers for free - was copied off a publicly accessible FTP server by one of the anti-AGW groups. Very unfortunate incident, since it could've resulted in them losing access to important sources of data.

    The two MMs [Patrick notes: he is referring to McIntyre and McKitrick] have been after the CRU station data for years. If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I'll delete the file rather than send to anyone.

    I think he's joking - but McIntyre and McKitrick aren't exactly popular due to their habit of making a nuisance of themselves and writing rather dubious attacks on climate researchers.

  • by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) * on Monday November 30, 2009 @08:15AM (#30268858) Journal
    "Here you can see the hockey stick being built in the factory"

    I have to ask, who's paying you to write this shit?

    There was a fucking senate inquiry into Mann's hockey stick, it was a result of demands by political hacks who thought that debunking the original hockey stick (Nature 1997) would bring down the entire mountain of evidence that supports AGW. Problem is that the senate committe called in the National Acedenies of Science to examine the claims of the political hacks.

    Their testimony [] (pdf warning), shows that Mann was correct in his conclusions but also gave some minor critisisims about his confidence levels, those critsisims were taken on board and an extended study was published by Mann, et al in the Journal science (ie: the very people who had raised the minor critisisms).

    ESR is a respected member of the OSS community and I'll take his word for it absent definitive proof."

    Sorry for editing your FUD to reflect reality but I would like other readers who may fall for your (unoriginal) tecno-babble to compare the credentials of ESR (zero publications on climate science) to M. Mann, an internationally recognised climate scientist who has published over sixty papers on the subject in journals such as Nature and Science. Having said that, argument from authority will not impress an eductaed reader anywhere near as much as it seems to impress you.

    Both yourself and ESR seem blissfully unaware that when it comes to reproducing scientific studies the source code is about as relevant as the brand of slide rule that a 1960's scientist used. You simply cannot demonstrate that all but the most trivial code is bug free, therfore scientists prefer to reproduce results using the same data and methods with different code. This is a much more robust test and is the reason why the internet is littered with independent source trees that implement the same methods using the same data.
  • by Rockoon ( 1252108 ) on Monday November 30, 2009 @08:25AM (#30268900)
    The sites you are linking to used old bad data for warmest years, that was (embarrassingly) corrected by NASA GIS two years ago.
  • Re:Just another day (Score:3, Informative)

    by DoctorLard ( 926224 ) on Monday November 30, 2009 @08:27AM (#30268912) Homepage
    Oh fuck off. I don't know what planet you are on, but on Earth CO2 and temperature are linked. Try reading a paper about it instead of trying to look clever. []
  • Re:Oh, hey, (Score:3, Informative)

    by asc99c ( 938635 ) on Monday November 30, 2009 @08:28AM (#30268914)

    Surely you should at least read the linked article? It explains 1998 had the strongest El Nino of the century, making it an unusally warm year. Looking at the average trend line shows the warming clearly has not stopped.

    Looking at any individual data point will not give you much information, because global temperature is affected by more factors than just atmospheric carbon dioxide. On average, global temperature moves upwards as atmospheric CO2 increases. That's just correlation. However, the greenhouse theory then provides a mechanism by which the CO2 traps increasing amounts of heat as it's concentration rises.

    At that point we have a theory why increased CO2 should cause warming, we can measure that atmospheric CO2 is increasing, and we can measure that global average temperature is rising. You have to draw your own conclusions though.

  • by Carewolf ( 581105 ) on Monday November 30, 2009 @08:45AM (#30268966) Homepage

    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?

    Yes, Really! Programming code takes up to much space and is not very relevant to Computer Science. If parts of the code is relevant those parts will be part of the article text possible in pseudocode. Even claims of benchmark-improvements, will very rarely be documented by actual code.

    Also not reviewed is: Raw data, because data is usually copyrighted unless randomly generated.

  • by RegularFry ( 137639 ) on Monday November 30, 2009 @08:46AM (#30268970)

    Let's assume your numbers are correct, and that we have the highly simplified situation that you describe, with a simple absorption-reradiation day-night cycle.

    Now, take a 100-year period. What difference between energy absorption and radiation do we need to induce in order to make the air temperature increase by 1 degree C, assuming no change in albedo? That's simple - it's the total energy required (1273 J/m3) divided by the time period (3e9 seconds), which is roughly 0.4e-6 W/m3 or, in other words, half a billionth of the incident energy. That's an order of magnitude which puts the effect in the "plausible, but needs verifying" range for me, and not something to be dismissed out of hand.

    CO2 levels TRAIL [] temperature increases (note the graph is read from right to left)

    Actually they don't. At least, not in that graph. It's an optical illusion. Open the image in an image editor and draw vertical lines; you'll see that the peaks of CO2 and temperature match perfectly, which tells us nothing about causation whatsoever.

    And any scientist worth his salt knows that the MAIN greenhouse gas is WATER VAPOR, not CO2. Well, if you heat the planet, of course you're going to evaporate more water into the atmosphere, which keeps the planet warmer. However the water vapor wasn't the CAUSE of the heating. It's merely acting as an insulator. If you remove the heat, the atmosphere cools, water condenses, and you're back to the beginning.

    That's right. Assume we are heating the planet by adding carbon dioxide; it's made worse by the extra water vapour chucked into the atmosphere by the excess heat.

    Considering the huge amounts of energy involved, the complete inability of mankind to produce even a small fraction of that energy even if we wanted to

    That's irrelevant. We're not producing energy. The argument is that we've artificially increased the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by 30%ish.

    the minimal REAL impact that CO2 (the alleged "culprit") has on the greenhouse effect when compared to water vapor

    It's 25%ish we (might be able to) influence as opposed to 70%ish we can't. I don't view that as "minimal".

    or even methane

    The human-driven change in methane levels has had one third the effect of human-driven changes in carbon dioxide levels. Yes, methane can *potentially* be really nasty, but comparatively it hasn't been - yet. Insert your standard "methane sink going critical" apocalyptic scare story here; there are more than enough to go around.

    and the fact that the martian polar caps are also receding,

    That avenue's a bust [], unfortunately.

    and atmospheric phenomena on Jupiter is recently increasing

    That tells us very little. All we know there is that something changed. The equatorial temperature *appears to have* increased, with a corresponding drop at the poles. What we definitely do know is that a chaotic system underwent dramatic change, which is not exactly surprising in itself.

    it's much more reasonable to conclude that our solar system is receiving more radiation, either from the sun or nearby stars, for whatever as yet unknown reason.

    Not really, given a) the above, and b) a sound physical hypothesis for man-made warning.

  • by tbannist ( 230135 ) on Monday November 30, 2009 @09:12AM (#30269116)

    Sorry, Climate "Skeptics" are using the data from NASA GIS incorrectly. As I specifically said, 1934 is in the U.S. top ten warmest years, but not the global top ten. If you don't believe me go look for yourself: []

  • Re:Just another day (Score:3, Informative)

    by mrcaseyj ( 902945 ) on Monday November 30, 2009 @09:37AM (#30269270)

    Who cares what some scientists are scheming or emailing each other? The facts will remain long after they've been and gone.

    A few dozen scammers can create a lot of bogus results. These emails reveal corruption not just at one place but spread across the climate research community, from journals to multiple universities to government agencies. How do you know what the facts are? Do you just trust who they came from? Does that still seem wise to you?

    trying to argue that either climate change isn't happening, or that it is but it isn't us, just makes you all look like a bunch of ignorant arse-hats, and I'm fucking sick of listening to your drivel.

    Now that you put it like that, I feel so stupid. I realize now that I must be wrong to doubt. After all it's the consensus in the peer reviewed journals:)

    Maybe it's a little warmer now than it was in that exceptionally cold period 150 years ago. But it was almost as hot or hotter a thousand years ago, and it was hotter during many periods in the past. And it's cooler now, so I don't see the need to rush into expensive fixes real soon. Especially not until the data and calculations are unhidden.

  • Re:Congratulations (Score:3, Informative)

    by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) * on Monday November 30, 2009 @10:49AM (#30269862) Journal
    "Wattsuppwiththat really rocks as a site, so do noconsensus, climateaudit and climateskeptic"

    None of whom have published a single paper on the subject. And speaking of religious fundies, guess which "side" the discovery institute is on.
  • Re:Just another day (Score:3, Informative)

    by Orp ( 6583 ) on Monday November 30, 2009 @11:25AM (#30270224) Homepage

    My point was, raw data may be some proprietary binary file that can only be read by some manufacturer's expensive code. So in order to make this data available for public consumption, it would need to be converted, and already you've lost the raw data. I would expect all the original raw data would be archived, but that doesn't mean it will be useful to many people.

    If I gave you the model code I used you would likely find it useless. If you were auditing the code for errors it would take someone with a very high level of meteorological education (PhD with years of experience and who has read all the relevant literature) as well as a lot of programming and computer experience. Very few people in this world have that combination of skills and knowledge. At some level, you just have to accept that even though the peer reviewed process is flawed and the scientific process is not infallible, it works pretty damned well (the fact that you can read this on a computer screen should underscore that point - your grandparents likely sat in front of radios powered by vacuum tubes at some point in their lives, and their grandparents may have made use of the telegraph).

    Climate change is being held to a different standard (expectations of every piece of "raw data" ever collected being made publicly available) because it's so controversial and because everyone and their pet wombat has an opinion about it (opinions mean nothing in science). Thankfully there are enough people who understand both politics and science who are making (slow) headway towards tackling this issue.

    It is going to get worse, much worse.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 30, 2009 @01:04PM (#30271306)

    "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"

    False dichotomy: those aren't the only two options. We have "or we're doing something different".

    Or circular logic: they are the only two if it weren't possible to have AGW therefore they prove we don't have AGW because it's one of them.

    If we aren't in a retreat from the last ice age, we are in a decline towards the next ice age. WRONG. The way to find out if we're coming out of an ice age or going in is to see where we are with respect to the ice age and the previous causes of it.

    We're well beyond the average age of an interglacial, so indicating we should be going in to a new glacial.

    Milankovich cycle is in a cooling rather than warming configuration for the earth, indicating we should be going in to a new glacial.

    But we're warming.

    What's changed?

    We're burning billions of tons of fossil fuels.

    And rather than this being an indication of something different, you just say "it must be we're leaving an ice age".

    What a moron.

"The one charm of marriage is that it makes a life of deception a neccessity." - Oscar Wilde