Dear Lord Above

This weekend it emerged that the unit has thrown away much of the data. Tucked away on its website is this statement: “Data storage availability in the 1980s meant that we were not able to keep the multiple sources for some sites … We, therefore, do not hold the original raw data but only the value-added (ie, quality controlled and homogenised) data.”

Are they serious?

They are? They\’ve thrown away the raw data? So no one at all can check what they\’ve done?

Seriously?

We\’re trying to take the most expensive decision the human race has ever had to make and they don\’t have the basic information any more?

10 comments on “Dear Lord Above

  1. Yes Tim, this is the whole point. This is what we “deniers” have been trying to tell you climate agnostics for quite some time now. The only data available on which to make a multi-trillion dollar decision is that which has been massaged by scientists. The real data is no longer in existence; nor has the basis on which the data was massaged ever been made public.

    There is no audit track. It’s as simple as that.

  2. I don’t think this is that unusual – I doubt a lot of the raw economic data for national statistics exists and most companies seem to keep very short series.

  3. A year’s worth of temperature data on a monthly basis can be recorded on a single line, so we are not talking about reams and reams of pages of data.

    But, of course, there really is not a problem. All the corrections were made on the basis of internationally recognised, well-established adjustment techniques (or tricks as Prof Jones prefers to call them). So, since we have the answers, simply reversing the technique will lead us back to the original raw data.

  4. So, since we have the answers, simply reversing the technique will lead us back to the original raw data.

    Only if the technique was very simple. There are plenty of mathematical techniques that cannot be reversed, because their purpose is to reduce the amount of data you have to deal with, e.g. calculating the mean and standard deviation for a set of data is easy, but reconstructing the original data from just the mean and standard deviation is impossible.

    The other problem is that even if the process is reversible in theory, we have to account for the various roundoffs and plain errors that may have occurred on the specific computer systems they used back in the 80′s or 90′s. Different hardware, different floating-point formats, different versions of their codes, different compilers and math libraries used to compile their code, etc, could significantly affect the results.

    We may no longer have access to many of the components (software and hardware) used at the time to even try to understand now how the results were obtained. Thus even if CRU can provide the exact source code that they used in e.g. 1986 to modify the data, we may be able to tell what sort of changes we would _expect_ their code to have made, but we cannot be sure exactly what changes the system they used at the time _actually_ made to the data.

    This may be on interest:
    http://meganmcardle.theatlantic.com/archives/2009/11/the_real_problem_with_the_clim.php

  5. The original, raw data was not recorded by CRU- indeed it goes back way before East Anglia had a university. It was gleaned from weather records kept by various national bodies round the world. It seems probable that if said bodies kept archives then they may have them still- shouldn’t take long to find out.
    If, for example, the Royal Navy managed to maintain an archive back to the 1700s using legers and quill pens then a unit specialising in climate history should have been prioritising the preservation of data, far less of a problem with computers, or even box files.
    Since in the e-mails Jones expressed an intention to destroy the evidence rather than release it I can’t help but be suspicious- I would guess that it is the nature and justification for the adjustments that are the most secret part of the enterprise.
    Tim I’m surprised at you- if I were to tell you the location of a rich mineral deposit and invite your investment I’d have expected you to ask for assay reports- and from a source you trust not one of my mates. In the absence of that I doubt whether you’d find your decision difficult

  6. “Data storage availability in the 1980s meant that we were not able to keep the multiple sources for some sites”

    Bollocks.

    Disk storage was ludicrously expensive, but tape storage wasn’t. The old 3480 tapes weren’t that cheap, but you could have stored all the data quite reasonably on a small number of mag tapes (presumably that’s how it all arrived?).

  7. I don’t believe their data was hacked from the outside, but leaked from the inside. But the whole thing has a very pungent smell of data being “lost” very recently, as a direct result of them being ordered to comply with FOI applications. In other words, a cover up, and an illegal one at that.

    If it was genuinely the case that they dumped the raw data way back in the 80s, why wouldn’t they just say that from the outset? Instead they have flung out a whole load of excuses for not sharing raw data, which they now claim they haven’t had for 20 years anyway.

    This always looked very tribal to me, it was an agenda being pushed onto us, by a bandwagon of folk who know how to manipulate the public. There is some quango paying for expensive looking TV advertising on all the satellite channels, and it’s designed to scare the public.

    I still would like us to sharply reduce our use of fossil fuels. In fact I want us to build lots of nuclear generating capacity. It would be cleaner, and reliable. And it would put the Arabs on skid row, where they belong. But I’m not interested in burdening the entire western world to fund a vast transfer of wealth to a bunch of third world crooks, while China opens new coal-fired stations every month.

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