From Fox News, word that the Met Office has circulated a proposal that intends to completely start over with raw surface temperature data in a transparent process.
Here’s the proposal from the Met Office metoffice_proposal_022410 (PDF). Unfortunately it is not searchable, as they still seem to be living in the typewriter age, having photoscanned the printed document.
I’d feel better about it though if they hadn’t used the word “robust”. Every time I see that word in the context of climate data it makes me laugh. It seems though they already have concluded the effort will find no new information. Given that they are apparently only interested in ending the controversy over transparency, and because GHCN (source for GISS and HadCRUT) originates at NCDC with it’s own set of problems and it is controlled by one man, Dr. Thomas Peterson, it means that we’ll have our work cut out for us again. In my opinion, this proposal is CYA and does not address the basic weaknesses of the data collection.
By George Russell.
At a meeting on Monday of about 150 climate scientists, representatives of Britain’s weather office quietly proposed that the world’s climatologists start all over again to produce a new trove of global temperature data that is open to public scrutiny and “rigorous” peer review.
After the firestorm of criticism called Climate-gate, the British government’s official Meteorological Office apparently has decided to wave a white flag and surrender.
At a meeting on Monday of about 150 climate scientists in the quiet Turkish seaside resort of Antalya, representatives of the weather office (known in Britain as the Met Office) quietly proposed that the world’s climate scientists start all over again on a “grand challenge” to produce a new, common trove of global temperature data that is open to public scrutiny and “rigorous” peer review.
In other words, conduct investigations into modern global warming in a way that the Met Office bureaucrats hope will end the mammoth controversy over world temperature data they collected that has been stirred up by their secretive and erratic ways.
The executive summary of the Met Office proposal to the World Meteorological Organization’s Committee for Climatology was obtained by Fox News. In it, the Met Office defends its controversial historical record of temperature readings, along with similar data collected in the U.S., as a “robust indicator of global change.” But it admits that “further development” of the record is required “in particular to better assess the risks posed by changes in extremes of climate.”
As a result, the proposal says, “we feel that it is timely to propose an international effort to reanalyze surface temperature data in collaboration with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which has the responsibility for global observing and monitoring systems for weather and climate.”
The new effort, the proposal says, would provide:
–”verifiable datasets starting from a common databank of unrestricted data”
–”methods that are fully documented in the peer reviewed literature and open to scrutiny;”
–”a set of independent assessments of surface temperature produced by independent groups using independent methods,”
–”comprehensive audit trails to deliver confidence in the results;”
–”robust assessment of uncertainties associated with observational error, temporal and geographical in homogeneities.”
The Met Office proposal asserts that “we do not anticipate any substantial changes in the resulting global and continental-scale … trends” as a result of the new round of data collection. But, the proposal adds, “this effort will ensure that the data sets are completely robust and that all methods are transparent.”
Despite the bravado, those precautions and benefits are almost a point-by-point surrender by the Met Office to the accusations that have been leveled at its Hadley Climate Centre in East Anglia, which had stonewalled climate skeptics who demanded to know more about its scientific methods. (An inquiry established that the institution had flouted British freedom of information laws in refusing to come up with the data.)
When initially contacted by Fox News to discuss the proposal, its likely cost, how long it would take to complete, and its relationship to the Climate-gate scandal, the Met Office declared that no press officers were available to answer questions. After a follow-up call, the Office said it would answer soon, but did not specify when. At the time of publication, Fox News had not heard back.
The Hadley stonewall began to crumble after a gusher of leaked e-mails revealed climate scientists, including the center’s chief, Phil Jones, discussing how to keep controversial climate data out of the hands of the skeptics, keep opposing scientific viewpoints out of peer-reviewed scientific journals, and bemoaning that their climate models failed to account for more than a decade of stagnation in global temperatures. Jones later revealed that key temperature datasets used in Hadley’s predictions had been lost, and could not be retrieved for verification.
Jones stepped down temporarily after the British government announced an ostensibly independent inquiry into the still-growing scandal, but that only fanned the flames, as skeptics pointed out ties between several panel members and the Hadley Centre. In an interview two weeks ago, Jones also admitted that there has been no “statistically significant” global warming in the past 15 years.
The Met Office’s shift in position could be a major embarrassment for British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who as recently as last month declared that climate skeptics were “flat-earthers” and “anti-science” for refusing to accept that man-made activity was a major cause of global warming. Brown faces a tough election battle for his government, perhaps as early as May.
It is also a likely blow to Rajendra Pachauri, head of the United Nations backed International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), whose most recent report, published in 2007, has been exposed by skeptics as rife with scientific errors, larded with un-reviewed and non-scientific source materials, and other failings.
As details of the report’s sloppiness emerged, the ranks of skepticism have swelled to include larger numbers of the scientific community, including weather specialists who worked on the sprawling IPCC report. Calls for Pachauri’s resignation have come from organizations as normally opposed as the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the British chapter of Greenpeace. So far, he has refused to step down.
The Met Office proposes that the new international effort to recalibrate temperature data start at a “workshop”‘ hosted by Hadley. The Met Office would invite “key players” to start the “agreed community challenge” of creating the new datasets.
Then, in a last defense of its old ways, the Met proposals argues says that its old datasets “are adequate for answering the pressing 20th Century questions of whether climate is changing and if so how. But they are fundamentally ill-conditioned to answer 21st Century questions such as how extremes are changing and therefore what adaptation and mitigation decisions should be taken.”
Those “21st Century questions” are not small and they are very far from cheap. At Copenhagen, wealthy nations were being asked to spend trillions of dollars on answering them, a deal that only fell through when China, India, and other near-developed nations refused to join the mammoth climate-control deal.
The question after the Met Office’s shift in stance may be whether environmentalists eager to move those mountains of cash are also ready to stand down until the 21st century questions get 21st century answers.
h/t to Dr. Richard North, EU Referendum