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Temperature Data Wants To Be Free 489

Posted by timothy
from the could-deal-with-some-nuclear-winter-right-now dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The UK's Met Office Hadley Centre and University of East Anglia have been refusing access to the data used for their global climate averages and scientific studies. A copy of the data has leaked, and attempts continue to accomplish the release of the data by whoever maintains it. Excuses have included confidentiality agreements which cannot be verified because no records were kept, mention of the source has been removed from the Met Office web site, and IPCC records were destroyed."
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Temperature Data Wants To Be Free

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  • 100% worthless (Score:3, Insightful)

    by iYk6 (1425255) on Monday July 27, 2009 @05:13AM (#28834497)

    ... refusing access to the data used for their global climate averages and scientific studies.

    I realize governments are really in to wasting money and all, but this is ridiculous. The UK government has spent who knows how much money on a completely worthless study. Studies mean nothing without data.

    • Re:100% worthless (Score:5, Informative)

      by Bazman (4849) on Monday July 27, 2009 @05:30AM (#28834593) Journal

      Data from a particular NERC (UK Research Council) project I'm involved with are allowed to be kept by the researchers for a certain amount of time (18 months, maybe?) but then have to be released to the BADC: http://badc.nerc.ac.uk/home/index.html [nerc.ac.uk] - this gives the researchers time to do some analysis and get some papers out on all the hard work they've done, but obliges them to release the data to the community.

      Some of the BADC data sets are restricted to non-commercial use only, so you need to flash your 'Academic Investigator' magic card at them to get it. These guys keep good metadata and license agreements and all that stuff. There's even some datasets from CRU, unrestricted (registration required).

      • Re:100% worthless (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Z00L00K (682162) on Monday July 27, 2009 @07:09AM (#28835019) Homepage

        Some of the BADC data sets are restricted to non-commercial use only, so you need to flash your 'Academic Investigator' magic card at them to get it. These guys keep good metadata and license agreements and all that stuff. There's even some datasets from CRU, unrestricted (registration required).

        Where does that leave the hobbyist researchers then?

        Today most household computers are potent enough to be able to sift through amounts of data that we only could dream about a few years ago.

        Don't forget that the collection of the raw data has been done through the money of the tax payers. It is of course possible to have a reasonable fee for obtaining a copy in some cases, but it may as well be put on the web these days.

        • Re:100% worthless (Score:5, Insightful)

          by ceoyoyo (59147) on Monday July 27, 2009 @08:59AM (#28835797)

          "Where does that leave the hobbyist researchers then?"

          You have to get out of the basement, go outside and talk to people. Same as all the professional researchers. If you show up at the appropriate guy's office at the nearest university, tell him you want to collaborate and do some research, for free, he'll likely be happy to get you your data in exchange for some input and his name on the paper.

          Same with scientific journals. Free access equal to the level of any academic is as far away as the nearest university library. A little slower access is probably closer - the nearest local library.

    • by FreeUser (11483) on Monday July 27, 2009 @05:37AM (#28834621)

      This is the first time I've seriously begun to question whether or not the global warming studies are in fact legitimate. If they won't allow free access to the data, so others can verify results or run it through alternative (or more refined) climate models, then the very obvious question becomes "why?"

      What exactly is it they so keen on hiding that they'll remove all source citations from their publicatons?

      NOTE: I am not about to buy into the fossile-fuel-funded arguments that global warming "isn't real"...it's very real, as anyone living in the northern lattitudes can trivially see. Even in London it's obvious that insects and plantlife that never used to thrive this far north now do...but anectdotal evidence, even as widespread and pervasive as this, is no substitute for rigorous scientific study, and I repeat the question: what the hell is it these people are trying to hide? There's no excuse for keeping data that is so fundamental to scientific inquiry, and has such a profound effects on public policy, secret.

      • by Troed (102527) on Monday July 27, 2009 @06:10AM (#28834737) Homepage Journal

        (Please let me know where I can get some of that mythical fossil-fuel-funds for all the posts I do on this subject .. )

        I live in the northern latitudes (Sweden). There's absolutely nothing unusual about the weather/climate today, if you're prepared to go decades and centuries back in time when comparing. And why shouldn't we? Who on earth came up with the crazy idea of some sort of stable weather-utopia where the climate of 1988 (or whatever) is the "true" climate of the world?

        The sun drives the clouds and the winds, and the ocan cycles. Those have wavelengths of 30-60 years, it seems. That coincides really well with the decades of cooling, warming, cooling and warming we've seen the last century.

        • CO2 (Score:5, Insightful)

          by copponex (13876) on Monday July 27, 2009 @06:26AM (#28834813) Homepage

          The important question which I've never seen the math for is how much CO2 is output by random natural events during a certain time period versus how much we output currently.

          We are taking a few hundred million years worth of biomass and burning it up in a about a hundred and fifty. Perhaps this has no effect on the environment, but I think it's prudent to make sure that we don't send the climate into a self-feedback loop that destroys our way of life. It's not as if riding around in traffic or having an iPod is worth giving up food and water.

        • by Paltin (983254) on Monday July 27, 2009 @06:42AM (#28834889)

          You're completely wrong. We have excellent data on global climate back about 850ky, good data back to 60mya, and some data back as far as bya. There is something unusual about the climate today.

          The idea that there is a stable weather utopia circa 1988 is CRAZY, and you're the one bringing it up as a straw man. Current models account for solar cycles (Milankovitch and others)--- currently, the sun is currently as a period of low output, actually, based on sunspot activity. These are well understood cycles. In spite of that, we have an overall trend of global warming. When you try to account for that data, the best fit to that data is easily the increased CO2 in the atmosphere.

          • by Troed (102527) on Monday July 27, 2009 @06:59AM (#28834955) Homepage Journal

            No, basically nothing in your post is "true" in any scientific version of that word :) We do not have excellent data (gas diffusion in ice cores is a bitch!) and current models lack incredible amounts of algorithmic data which is instead made up as we see politically fit at the moment :) (for example, the influence of clouds)

            We do not have an unusual trend of global warming at all. On the contrary, there might not be a trend to speak of when removing measurement uncertainties. (http://surfacestations.org should scare anyone who believes the tempereature data we're soon basing our whole economy on)

            The best fit for the temperature changes over the last century is not with CO2 levels but with ocean cycles btw.

            On gas diffusion: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/igsoc/jog/2008/00000054/00000187/art00012 [ingentaconnect.com]

            On ocean cycles: http://atmoz.org/blog/2008/05/14/timescale-of-the-pdo-nao-and-amo/ [atmoz.org]

            Why are you not interested in doing actual science? We simply don't have data to support Hansen's and Gore's wild accusations.

            • by Paltin (983254) on Monday July 27, 2009 @07:15AM (#28835047)
              You really don't get it.

              What effect does diffusion in ice cores cause? It flattens the data-- it causes it to move to average. This means that the real signal would be stronger then that recorded if this is a problem. Which actually just makes the ice core conclusions stronger. Another check on this is using other methods and seeing if the agree; and these other methods, such as isotope ones, support the ice core evidence.

              On ocean cycles: You realize that global temperature controls ocean cycles, right? So you're agreeing with me?

              It's clear you don't really understand the science; both of your citations can't even be used as evidence to support your claim that there isn't data. It's also clear that assumptions are being tested and as such the conclusions that can be reached are stronger. Which is exactly what you'd expect if it's a real trend.
            • by dachshund (300733) on Monday July 27, 2009 @10:43AM (#28837091)

              No, basically nothing in your post is "true" in any scientific version of that word :) We do not have excellent data (gas diffusion in ice cores is a bitch!) and current models lack incredible amounts of algorithmic data which is instead made up as we see politically fit at the moment :) (for example, the influence of clouds). We do not have an unusual trend of global warming at all. On the contrary, there might not be a trend to speak of when removing measurement uncertainties. (http://surfacestations.org should scare anyone who believes the tempereature data we're soon basing our whole economy on)

              And in a nutshell, that uncertainty is the argument for taking drastic action to curb carbon emissions.

              Basically, if we could predict with certainty that our emissions would lead to no, or a tolerable increase in temperatures, then I would be on your side in this argument. We could take sensible, economically appropriate action to protect ourselves (relocating populations if necessary, building seawalls). Beyond that it would be business as usual. The problem is that we can't make any such statement. We know that we're increasing our atmospheric CO2 by a pretty significant amount, and we know that there are physical mechanisms that should lead to warming (we've also ruled out most possible compensatory mechanisms, like the ocean being an unlimited CO2 sink). From there we have a series of well-studied models that show a possibility of mild warming, and a non-zero chance of catastrophic warming. Despite your calming assertions, we can't even come close to ruling out the extreme possibilities.

              Worse, it's highly unlikely that we'll be able to rule out the catastrophic cases any time soon. They're well supported by our best understanding, and nobody's brought anything forth to make them less likely. In fact, scientists have begun to lean more towards them as modeling has become more sophisticated and accurate.

              That's why I laugh whenever someone uses the lack of scientific certainty as an argument against doing something about emissions. It's a great argument --- if you're trying to build a case for an aggressive plan to reduce emissions. The only viable argument against taking action is to show conclusively that we can be certain about the effects of our carbon emissions, and that they're entirely manageable. And to be able to defend that result against all challengers. Not some handwaving about how imperfect our information is.

          • by BlueStrat (756137) on Monday July 27, 2009 @07:19AM (#28835073)

            We have excellent data on global climate back about 850ky, good data back to 60mya, and some data back as far as bya

            [citation needed]

            I wasn't aware we had time-traveling climate researchers or time-traveling meteorological instrumentation to *accurately* measure all the various datapoints. My impression was that accurate & meaningful meteorological data wasn't recorded farther back than a couple of centuries, if that, and that many very-relevant measurements weren't even recorded for much of even that relatively-short (in terms of geologic time) span of time.

            From what I've been able to gather, most of the ice-core and similar geologic records seemed to indicate that CO2 was a lagging factor in warming, not a leading factor. As in; it got warm, then CO2 went up, not the other way around.

            The reluctance to release the data and the destruction of data is a red flag that something isn't kosher. They have to have known that doing this would only fuel the anti-climate change factions, so it would seem logical that what is being hidden must be pretty damning evidence that their current theories are bunk.

            However, there's a ton of grant money to be had by the climate scientists and much power & control to be gained by government by promoting a climate crisis, so it isn't too surprising.

            Strat

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Vintermann (400722)

        WAIT before you leap to conclusion. This article cites only blogs which are known to misrepresent science and actions pertaining to them. The accused - in the blog world, that would be realclimate, which unlike Watt's and climateaudit is run by climate scientists - have not had time to answer yet.

        The denialists have played this game many, many times before. Example: recently, the blogs were up in a huff because a denialist polar bear researcher had been denied a seat on some board. The news even reached sla

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by FourthAge (1377519)

          "Denialists"

          What a great word. What a lovely set of implications it has. Are the climate change "denialists" related to Holocaust deniers by any chance?

          Seems to me, if climate change science were based on solid and irrefutable scientific evidence, then there would be no need to use verbal trickery to influence opinion. If you're so sure of yourself, then why the propaganda?

          • by oneirophrenos (1500619) on Monday July 27, 2009 @06:36AM (#28834859)
            I agree that this data should be shared with all. But keep in mind that not sharing the data does not in any way imply that the data supports the global warming deniers' stance.
          • by jlehtira (655619)

            Seems to me, if climate change science were based on solid and irrefutable scientific evidence, then there would be no need to use verbal trickery to influence opinion. If you're so sure of yourself, then why the propaganda?

            Unfortunately, that's very far from truth. Most citizens and politicians are completely unable to do the science themselves, or even understand every significant part of the reasoning. So for the commoner, it boils down to believing or not believing the panel of scientists, and that is unfortunately a game of propaganda.

            Do note that even if climate change is based on solid and irrefutable scientific evidence, only scientists can tell if some evidence is solid or irrefutable. Besides, it seems to me only sci

        • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday July 27, 2009 @07:03AM (#28834981)

          Denalists? So basically when you don't like someone's opinion, you make up a new, derogatory term to try and marginalize them? That isn't science, that is marketing. In particular, it is the kind of marketing con men do. When people question their products/methods, they shout down the critics, they deride them, they call them names. They basically try to make it look like you must be retarded if you don't agree with them.

          You are also pulling another con man trick: The appeal to authority. That a site is run by "climate scientists" or is not, doesn't matter. Science isn't about who has the authority in a certain area, it is a process for finding out about the world. So trying to say "Well this site is run by climate scientists, this one isn't," doesn't strengthen your argument. That is along the same likes of "4 out of 5 dentists agree!" Ok well so what? Maybe 4 out of 5 dentists are mediocre, and the excellent 20% realize that it doesn't matter?

          There is also the matter of what is a climate scientist? This isn't a degree listed at most universities, and didn't exist at all until recently. If you look at the people who run realclimate you find their PhDs are Applied Mathematics, Geology, Oceanography, and such. None of them have a degree in "climate science." So what a climate scientist is, is simply someone who studies the climate. Ok, fair enough, however that does mean it isn't an exclusive club that only certain people can be members of. For that matter, Watts is a meteorologist, which is also on the topic of climate studies.

          None of that means a given person is right or wrong, but it is incorrect to appeal to authority and try and claim that "Oh realclimate is run by climate scientists so they are the only place you can trust." No, that's not the case. Science doesn't work like that.

          When you pull shit like this, it really doesn't help your case. If you disagree with the theory someone is putting forth, or their criticisms of a theory, deal with that. Don't play salesman/con man tricks. To me, it makes it look as though you've something to hide.

          • by Pentagram (40862) on Monday July 27, 2009 @08:04AM (#28835371) Homepage

            You are also pulling another con man trick: The appeal to authority. That a site is run by "climate scientists" or is not, doesn't matter. Science isn't about who has the authority in a certain area, it is a process for finding out about the world.

            Whilst that is technically true, in practice it's bollocks.

            Let's say you find a lump in your groin. Your doctor checks it and says that the evidence is that it's a malignant tumour. You ask for a second opinion, and another doctor tells you the same. On the other hand, you find a website that says that oncologists are making up diagnoses of cancer because otherwise they'd be out of a job, and it cites a few fringe researchers to back this up. Who do you believe?

            In a specialised scientific field, you have to either defer to the experts or become an expert yourself.

            That is along the same likes of "4 out of 5 dentists agree!"

            You're seriously comparing a marketing slogan to a huge body of scientific research? I wish the scientific method was taught in schools.

            There is also the matter of what is a climate scientist? This isn't a degree listed at most universities, and didn't exist at all until recently. If you look at the people who run realclimate you find their PhDs are Applied Mathematics, Geology, Oceanography, and such. None of them have a degree in "climate science."

            Good. I don't believe in over-specialised degrees. Having people from different specialties is extremely helpful for a field. I'm glad that people with a maths background are checking the models and statistics and people who know about oceans are checking the ocean data, and so on.

            So what a climate scientist is, is simply someone who studies the climate.

            I'd say a climate scientist is a scientist who studies the climate, using the scientific method.

            None of that means a given person is right or wrong, but it is incorrect to appeal to authority and try and claim that "Oh realclimate is run by climate scientists so they are the only place you can trust." No, that's not the case. Science doesn't work like that.

            It's a bloody good heuristic though. It's theoretically possible that the people promoting coffee enemas are right about maximising your chances of beating cancer, but I'll believe the experts thanks.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Bigby (659157)

              You're seriously comparing a marketing slogan to a huge body of scientific research? I wish the scientific method was taught in schools.

              "Denialist" is the marketing slogan of a huge body of scientific research?

        • by Rockoon (1252108) on Monday July 27, 2009 @09:07AM (#28835889)

          WAIT before you leap to conclusion. This article cites only blogs which are known to misrepresent science and actions pertaining to them.

          Let me correct you. This article cites a blog run by a member of the IPCC review panel.

          Lets make this 100% crystal clear.

          ClimateAudit is run by a member of the IPCC review panel and he has also published more than a couple peer reviewed papers on the subject.

          Your vitriol combined with a distinct lack of knowledge is quite revealing.

          Yes, many climate scientists have a big problem with Steve McIntyre, because the only thing he does in the field is try to find faults with other peoples work. He is the kind of scientist that should only be feared if you are knowingly doing sloppy or fraudulent work.

      • I have to agree (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday July 27, 2009 @06:48AM (#28834917)

        It is always a real red flag when data is withheld. The core of science is that "ideas are tested by experiment." Ok well that means that, for science to work, others have to be able to check your work. You have an idea and say "Here's my idea and here's my support." Ok well your support needs to include ALL your data, your methods and so on. Why? So that others can check your work. Only then, after they've repeated and independently verified your results, can we start to feel confident your idea might be correct. To me, hiding data says one of three things is going on:

        1) You are dealing with something commercial, that is being held secret so you can market it. Ok well that shouldn't be the case here.

        2) The data in fact does NOT support your conclusion, however you don't want to admit you are wrong and thus are trying to suppress it. Perhaps you are worried you'll lose grants.

        3) You suck at the science. You think that science is a process where you, the scientist make a claim and the rest of the world just has to listen to you.

        4) You are a charlatan, a con man, and you are trying to convince people of something that isn't real, you are trying to sell them snake oil as it were.

        I just can't see any legit reason in a pure scientific study why all the data wouldn't be made available for all to see. That it isn't really sets off warning bells in my head. I've read papers like this in the behavioral sciences and always what I see happening is that their experiment was basically a bust, it falsified their hypothesis, or simply produced inconsistent results. However they don't want to admit it, so they find a way to tweak the numbers and then refuse to release full methodology and results.

        So this worries me. If climate change is truly a threat to humans, then it should be in the interests of everyone that all the data is made available, unedited, unhindered, so that the theories can be checked and rechecked. Science should be allowed to proceed with as little barriers as possible so that it can proceed as rapidly as possible because the matter is of such importance.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by crmanriq (63162)

          The interesting thing to me is, that I previously worked at a job where I was doing background research on a technology. I had occasion to contact a few of the primary authors of journal articles to ask follow-up questions that the articles didn't cover. (Why did you use this value here? Can I assume that is a correct value for the application that I am using? Do you have a reference that I can use in my research for this equation? type of questions.). Without exception, the authors were happy to answer

      • by zoney_ie (740061) on Monday July 27, 2009 @06:53AM (#28834937)

        What you describe as real is climate change on a short timescale - such fluctuations aren't extraordinary and the claims of "climate change" are for the most part suggesting a mostly permanent change in climate, brought about by man-made influence.

        Even the changes you describe are hard to judge and have varied greatly just year to year - here in Ireland this year everything (plants/animals) was more a stereotypical Spring/Summer - albeit extra plant growth, insects and birds because the sun/rain in Spring were in just the right order for optimal conditions (one particular week of heavy rain, one particular week of strong sunshine, and a lot of other "nice" conditions besides).

        I'm a skeptic in the true sense - I'm skeptical about the climate change hysteria, but not convinced either that there is no merit in the "man-made permanent climate change" argument, and certainly I think it's a good idea to cut back on pollution (although the exclusive focus on carbon/CO2 may need more justification). I don't think we have enough to go on either way and some policies seem very knee jerk and may be counter productive. Plus most policies that are happening as opposed to mere proposals are often due to other interests (ways to make money from it, keep certain section of voters happy, skew competition, raise tax, etc.)

        Here in Ireland there is as much talk as anywhere else about carbon taxes etc. yet there is still next to no enforcement of building standards for example to ensure new houses are properly insulated, pathetic planning that nevermind about transport emissions - makes equal (or even poor) delivery of services across the country very expensive. Too sparse population in rural areas for all kinds of services never mind private car use problems - too unplanned and fast-increasing population in the capital for services needed for such an amount of people - traffic problems and not enough money for public transport due to cost of supporting rural area. Our poor planning also means developers are allowed to put up crummy buildings that last as little as 10 years before being redeveloped - regardless of climate change or CO2 or anything else it's obvious that such things are grossly wasteful.

        All in all, I'd like to see common-sense policies while we continue to research the "big picture" rather than random ideologically-driven hypotheses being put into action where politically convenient.

      • by jlehtira (655619)

        This is the first time I've seriously begun to question whether or not the global warming studies are in fact legitimate. If they won't allow free access to the data, so others can verify results or run it through alternative (or more refined) climate models, then the very obvious question becomes "why?"

        One thing that comes to mind: McIntyre seems to have been asking for raw data. Now raw measurement data, especially if it's combined from a variety of sources, might be pencilled in notebooks, photographs of meter readings, or automatically saved files in several weird formats. That aside, measurements can also come from different devices that act in different ways, and to allow comparison, several corrections may be done and erroneous data points may be removed. HadSST2 seems to be a result of such work, t

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Hammer (14284)

      Why does this give this scary conspiracy nut feeling??
      Just the URL-s of the sources (one even broken) screams tin-foil hat and blackened windows :-)

  • Science? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    We don't believe in it here at the Met Office.
  • There are lots of data sources which are perfectly reasonable to use. NOAA's data being probably the best and most comprehensive.

    Yes, the UK is turning into a strange parody of itself with its attempts to close the government to the public on the one hand and monitor citizens very closely on the other. But it's not the only game in town. Despite my own country's recent 8 year slump towards the same type of fascist state as Britain, the US scientific community is still one of the best and most open in the world.

    So come and get your data from us, ya'll.

    • by wild_quinine (998562) on Monday July 27, 2009 @05:47AM (#28834673) Homepage

      Yes, the UK is turning into a strange parody of itself with its attempts to close the government to the public on the one hand and monitor citizens very closely on the other. But it's not the only game in town. Despite my own country's recent 8 year slump towards the same type of fascist state as Britain, the US scientific community is still one of the best and most open in the world.

      The UK's decline is recent, too. We used to watch the news and laugh at the social conservatism, outrageous media hyperbole and occasional fascist policy of the US. Now we're worse, much worse, and it invades every part of our lives.

      Hell, the BBC now cut shows that air, uncut, on HBO. What they did to 'Rome' was a crime. The idea that US tv would one day be more free to explore the dark side of life than the UK never even occurred to me.

      Since this attitude of fear so closely follows the desperate, terrified, nannying of the Labour government I am begging and praying that things turn around again when they're out on their ear.

      • by abigsmurf (919188)
        I have to admit, as a brit, I used to love my country, I had a genuine pride in being British. No longer though.

        I'm ashamed at people who pump out kids they don't care for just to get themselves a council house and benefits. There's an entire generation of 'ME ME ME' kids being brought up and I'm going to have to work with them or manage them.

        Our DNA database is completely shocking and a disgrace, as are the draconian laws regarding pornography and other restrictions of free speech.

        I used to think
  • by rohan972 (880586) on Monday July 27, 2009 @05:20AM (#28834539)
    Radical deniers have destroyed the evidence of global climate change!!! Will the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy stop at nothing?
    • You may want to take a look at Charles Hapgood's Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings. The evidence from ancient maps, transmitted via the Library of Alexandria, is fairly convincing that Antarctica was ice free as late as 4000 BC. So the question is, if it happened before, can it be all that serious? Clearly penguins didn't evolve in the last 6000 years.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MichaelSmith (789609)
        Hard to see how anybody could have mapped Antarctica 6000 years ago.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Vintermann (400722)

        Are you serious, or is this a parody?

  • Gore (Score:4, Funny)

    by JohnHegarty (453016) on Monday July 27, 2009 @05:21AM (#28834541) Homepage

    See, I tried to warn everyone about Gore's new world order , but no one would listen.

    It was all oil , bush , climate change and look how you all ended up.

  • Tinfoil hat time? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Monday July 27, 2009 @05:31AM (#28834595)
    This may be a very important story, but it references as evidence two websites which are used by conspiracy nuts, one of which appears to be broken - not /.ed, just broken - and no independent confirmation of the claims. Can anybody give any links to any mainstream news or science sites which are reporting this?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by maxwell demon (590494)

      http://slashdot.org/ [slashdot.org]

    • by abigsmurf (919188)
      I'd imagine The Register will run with it. They do well written Global warming articles. They're not so much as sceptical of the theory but report on questionable science and the worrying trend of attacking the people behind sceptical reports rather than their observations/data.
    • It's not broken (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday July 27, 2009 @06:38AM (#28834873)

      It is that submitter, or Slashdot itself, linked to it through nyud.net. Apparently the site doesn't allow that. Just take that out of the URL, it works fine. The site in question is run by Steve McIntyre. While certianly not a disinterested party (then again people who are involved in something are rarely disinterested) he does have some credibility. He was one of two people who worked on the whole "hockey stick controversy" in terms of showing that the model used to generate the graph was flawed (the model generated a similar shape graph with random inputs).

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Burnhard (1031106)

      This may be a very important story, but it references as evidence two websites which are used by conspiracy nuts,

      Nice try, but not good enough. CA is not a conspiracy nut website. It is a website run by a mathematician to show the follies of various "climate science" statistical analysis. It turns out, if you pay attention, that much of what passes for "science" in climate circles is nothing more than unmitigated rubbish. The latest, Steig et al, used PCA and deliberately chose the number of componen

    • Re:Tinfoil hat time? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Rockoon (1252108) on Monday July 27, 2009 @09:23AM (#28836063)
      ClimateAudit run by a conspiracy nut... really?

      He is a member of the IPCC review panel and has more than a couple peer reviewed papers on the subject.
  • Opening Science is the way forward, the path through the darkness, the endarkenment of closed source science.

    If's it's paid by the public purse it must be OPEN data that anyone can see and audit.

    Science is based upon the notion of being able to validate or invalidate in whole or in part the "claims" made by various "hypotheses" put forward.

    When you "BELIEVE" science you're just another religion.

    When you can't audit the work of scientists whose work is the basis of public policy then you and the public are b

    • by itsybitsy (149808) * on Monday July 27, 2009 @05:58AM (#28834701)

      When you "BELIEVE" science you're just another religion.

      In fact, open source science is the BEST and ONLY WAY to avoid science from becoming the new religion as it has, for example, in the climate debates.

      The scientific method is the tool for vetting the works of science and if the work of science is closed and secret and kept close to the scientists chests by refusals to share their data, methods, source codes, procedures, etc... then their work can't be verified and might as well be works of fiction just like those of any religious cleric or priest or nutter.

      If you can't take others vetting your scientific work then maybe you don't belong in science?

      Open Source Science raises the bar and will in the long run improve the quality of the science that is done. Some progress is being made, much more needs to be done.

      • by Rockoon (1252108)
        I have called for this before.

        Something similar to the open source movement, but science instead of software.

        The two methodologies: Open Science and Peer Reviewed Publishing can coexist. If anything, this sort of thing might actualy make the peer reviewers do something.. like actualy review the work they are signing off on.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 27, 2009 @06:00AM (#28834703)

    Let's see, we're supposed to spend literally trillions of dollars to fix global warming, yet we can't see the raw data the hysteria is based on?

    WTF!?!?!

    Along the same lines, when is the source code used for the climate models going to be published and thoroughly reviewed?

    If AGW is in fact true, it can withstand the scrutiny.

  • by berbmit (1150557) on Monday July 27, 2009 @06:36AM (#28834851)
    What's missing here are some additional context facts; recognizing that the data are not UK data per se. Data from many countries has been collected and collated at the CRU (Univ. of East Anglia) and which feeds into some of the UK Met Office work. Some of this data were collected under the arrangement that the source data were not to be made public because of commercial or other interests. Outside of the USA this is quite common -- that national meteorological services (tasked with maintaining a national observing system and archive) treat their data as a commercial product -- and so they will not release it to just anyone. The fact that I and others think this is wrong and inhibits science is not the issue, the reality is that many countries are not willing to freely release their data. So the CRU and Met Office are between the rock and a hard place; publicize the data and risk ruining their relationships with the data sources, or hold onto the data so that they can keep the data stream flowing and be able to produce the valuable derivative products.
  • Here [github.com] is my nice chewy data on climate and temperature stuff that I'll add to, with analysis as time allows and people find data for me.

    My conclusion so far: it's very unlikely not to be co2 responsible for most of the warming we've observed since the 70s, it's likely to get much worse, and there don't seem to be any viable alternative explanations.

    • by Budenny (888916)
      Could be. So why will they not produce the data and the code that would prove it decisively to all the skeptics? You could be right, but what needs explanation is why is it in their interests to conceal what would convince everyone of what they say?
  • by Budenny (888916) on Monday July 27, 2009 @07:05AM (#28834991)

    The thing I cannot understand is this. We have a bunch of scientists, lots of them. Starting with Michael Mann in front of Wegman, but including Jones, Thompson, lots of really well known and respected people. They have all done work which supposedly proves that the human race on Earth is facing catastrophe. They supposedly have decisive evidence for this, in the form of data and code.

    We then have a lot of sceptics who allege that the data does not exist, is not as described, and the code used to process it does not do what it is said to do, and that there is no such threat as described, or at leas that there is no evidence for one.

    You would expect the scientists to immediately produce their evidence and their code and to silence debate once and for all. It would be so simple, it would just be end of story, and now lets focus on what to do about it all. But they do not. Instead they refuse to reveal anything. Jones, for instance, refused to even reveal the names of the stations in China on which his study was based. Mann would not reveal the algorithm which generated the hockey stick to a Congressional Committee. Thompson is silent. Yet supposedly this secret evidence proves decisively, contrary to the claims of sceptics, that the future of the human race is under severe and imminent threat?

    It makes absolutely no sense. They never give any reasons for refusing that make any sense either. Sometimes it is commercial considerations. What commercial considerations can there be that outweigh the possible extinction of humanity? Sometimes it is, as Jones once is reported to have said, that they do not want people trying to poke holes in it. WTF??? Sometimes, as with Thompson's ice core data, there is just silence.

    It is very hard to believe that this wonderful evidence really exists, and really is as represented. Or maybe it is, and they really do not want to convince everyone of the threat? I don't know, but the story as told makes absolutely no sense. Something is not right here.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 27, 2009 @07:25AM (#28835111)

      The "bunch of scientists" you should be paying attention to aren't the half-dozen public figures engaging the quacks, but the ten thousand quietly publishing the research which led to the concensus in the first place. The handful of public scientists who can't whip out smoking-gun data like characters in a Roland Emmerich movie aren't the people who hold the actual science.

      • Not so much (Score:3, Insightful)

        by cirby (2599)

        More than 90% of those "ten thousand" scientists who publicly support global warming did nothing at all to prove or disprove the theory - they're researchers in related (and often unrelated) fields who took government money, wrote a paper, tacked "and was caused by Global Warming" onto whatever they were working on before, and got published. Tens of billions of dollars in government money over the last couple of decades have made sure that many scientists have a distinct financial advantage if they support

  • by scorp1us (235526) on Monday July 27, 2009 @09:00AM (#28835807) Journal
    From his blog: [wattsupwiththat.com] "For all of our UK readers, now is the time for all good citizens to come to the aid of their country (and science). The Met Office refuses to release data and methodology for their HadCRUT global temperature dataset after being asked repeatedly. Without the data and procedures there is no possibility of replication, and without replication the Hadley climate data is not scientifically valid. This isnâ(TM)t just a skeptic issue, mind you, others have just a keen an interest in proving the data. What is so bizarre is this. The FOI request by Steve McIntyre to the Met Office was for a copy of the data sent to Peter Webster. If the restrictions on the data hold for Steve McIntyre, why did they not prevent release of the data to Webster? When asked by Warwick Hughes for this data, Dr. Jones famously replied: Even if WMO agrees, I will still not pass on the data. We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it."

The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth. -- Niels Bohr

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