You’d think that after all the pain and suffering caused by Climategate to the University of East Anglia and the Climate Research Unit, these guys would have a clue. You’d think that they’d want to get the monkey off their backs, and move on to other research, other issues, instead of repeating the same behavior that got them into trouble in the first place. As the late great John Belushi might say: But nooooooooo!
Steve McIntyre sums it up succinctly:
The easiest way for the climate science to “move on” would be to voluntarily disclose the list of sites and the regional chronology rather than fighting FOI tooth-and-nail. This request is not going to disappear.
This in in response to his latest FOI request for tree ring data, which was denied.
He writes of the denial:
Not only did East Anglia refuse my request for the regional chronology, they even refused to identify the sites. The University claimed that even identifying the sites would result in “financial harm” to the university though an adverse impact on their “ability to attract research funding”. See [the refusal] here.
It’s hard to imagine an institution purporting to justify its conduct in such crass commercial terms.
I suppose this would be to point where we all go Michael Tobis on them and launch a fusillade, but it will accomplish nothing.
I’d like to point out what Steve wrote about Yamal and its role in Climategate:
Yamal was not an incidental issue in Climategate. As noted in my recent post, Phil Jones’ first reaction to Fred Pearce was that Climategate was about Yamal. Refusing essential documents on Yamal simply fuels suspicion.
The reason for that becomes clear in this climategate email from Monday Oct 5 2009 – email # 1254751382.txt written just over a month before Climategate happened. Colored text mine:
David Schnare wrote: [to Tom Wigley]
Briffa has already made a preliminary response and he failed to explain his selection procedure. Further, he refused to give up the data for several years, and was forced to do so only when he submitted to a journal that demanded data archiving and actually enforced the practice.
More significantly, Briffa’s analysis is irrelevant. Dendrochonology is a bankrupt approach. They admit that they cannot distiguish causal elements contributing to tree ring size. Further, they rely on recent temperature data by which to select recent tree data (excluding other data) and then turn around and claim that the tree ring data explains the recent temperature data. If you can give a principled and reasoned defense of Briffa (see the discussion on Watt’s website) then go for it. I’d be fascinated, as would a rather large number of others.
None of this, of course, detracts for the need to do research on geoengineering. David Schnare
That’s pretty damning. Wigley responds:
At 02:59 05/10/2009, you wrote:
This is entirely off the record, and I do not want this shared with
anyone. I hope you will respect this. This issue is not my problem, and I await further developments. However, Keith Briffa is in the Climatic Research Unit (CRU), and I was Director of CRU for many years so I am quite familiar with Keith and with his work. I have also done a lots of hands on tree ring work, both in the field and in developing and applying computer programs for climate reconstruction from tree rings. On the other hand, I have not been involved in any of this work since I left CRU in 1993 to move to NCAR. But I do think I can speak with some modicum of authority. You say, re dendoclimatologists, “they rely on recent temperature data by which to *select* recent tree data” (my emphasis). I don’t know where you get this idea, but I can assure you that it is entirely wrong. Further, I do not know the basis for your claim that “Dendrochonology is a bankrupt approach”. It is one of the few proxy data areas where rigorous multivariate statistical tools are used and where reconstructions are carefully tested on independent data. Finally, the fact that scientists (in any field) do not willingly share their hard-earned primary data implies that they have something to hide has no logical basis.
Phil Jones responds:
From: Phil Jones <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: Tom Wigley <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: [geo] Re: CCNet: A Scientific Scandal Unfolds
Date: Mon Oct 5 10:03:02 2009
Thanks for trying to clear the air with a few people. Keith is still working on a response. Having to contact the Russians to get some more site details takes time. Several things in all this are ludicrous as you point out. Yamal is one site and isn’t
in most of the millennial reconstructions. It isn’t in MBH, Crowley, Moberg etc. Also picking trees for a temperature response is not done either. The other odd thing is that they seem to think that you can reconstruct the last millennium from a few proxies, yet you can’t do this from a few instrumental series for the last 150 years! Instrumental data are perfect proxies, after all.
This one is wrong as well. IPCC (1995) didn’t use that silly curve that Chris Folland or Geoff Jenkins put together.
Bollocks ! This point comes to mind: if you have nothing to hide, and the data provenance has “rigorous multivariate statistical tools are used and where reconstructions are carefully tested on independent data” then sharing it for replication shouldn’t be a problem at all. If this “science” can’t stand independent testing, then it isn’t science at all.
I think we need to help Steve get this data. For that, a website now exists to facilitate the submissions of FOI requests, and UEA has an entry:
Read this before writing your Freedom of Information request
- Browse other requests to ‘University of East Anglia’ for examples of how to word your request.
- Write your request in simple, precise language.
- Ask for specific documents or information, this site is not suitable for general enquiries.
- Keep it focused, you’ll be more likely to get what you want (why?).
- This site is public. Everything you type and any response will be published.
Don’t make frivolous requests, keep it focused to the task at hand. Use Steve McIntyre’s submission here to formulate your request.
Reading the rejection may also prove useful.
CRU and their supporters won’t like this, and those submitting FOI requests for this data will once again be accused of “harassment” for asking for it repeatedly. CRU knows what they need to do, we just need to make sure they listen to themselves.
However, if this stonewalling keeps up, and CRU does not allow independent testing, I would not be at all surprised to find another batch of damning emails and documents, maybe even the data itself, anonymously dropped on the doorsteps of climate blogs worldwide by friends of “Setec Astronomy“.
Get a clue, CRU.