The CRU hack: Context
by Dr. Gavin A. Schmidt
The emails cover a 13 year period in which many things happened, and very few people are up to speed on some of the long-buried issues. So to save some time, I’ve pulled a few bits out of the comment thread that shed some light on some of the context which is missing in some of the discussion of various emails.
- Trenberth: You need to read his recent paper
on quantifying the current changes in the Earth’s energy budget to
realise why he is concerned about our inability currently to track
small year-to-year variations in the radiative fluxes.
- Wigley: The concern with sea surface temperatures in the 1940s stems from the paper by Thompson et al (2007)
which identified a spurious discontinuity in ocean temperatures. The
impact of this has not yet been fully corrected for in the HadSST data
set, but people still want to assess what impact it might have on any
work that used the original data.
- Climate Research and peer-review: You should read about the issues from the editors (Claire Goodess, Hans von Storch) who resigned because of a breakdown of the peer review process at that journal, that came to light with the particularly egregious (and well-publicised) paper by Soon and Baliunas (2003). The publisher’s assessment is here.
- HARRY_read_me.txt. This is a 4 year-long work log of Ian (Harry) Harris who was working to upgrade the documentation, metadata and databases associated with the legacy CRU TS 2.1 product, which is not the same as the HadCRUT data (see Mitchell and Jones, 2003
for details). The CSU TS 3.0 is available now (via ClimateExplorer for
instance), and so presumably the database problems got fixed. Anyone
who has ever worked on constructing a database from dozens of
individual, sometimes contradictory and inconsistently formatted
datasets will share his evident frustration with how tedious that can
- “Redefine the peer-reviewed literature!” . Nobody
actually gets to do that, and both papers discussed in that comment –
McKitrick and Michaels (2004) and Kalnay and Cai (2003) were both cited
and discussed in Chapter 2 of 3 the IPCC AR4 report. As an aside, neither has stood the test of time.
- “Declines” in the MXD record. This decline was hidden written up in Nature in 1998
where the authors suggested not using the post 1960 data. Their actual
programs (in IDL script), unsurprisingly warn against using post 1960
data. Added: Note that the ‘hide the decline’ comment
was made in 1999 – 10 years ago, and has no connection whatsoever to
more recent instrumental records.
- CRU data accessibility. From the date of the first
FOI request to CRU (in 2007), it has been made abundantly clear that
the main impediment to releasing the whole CRU archive is the small %
of it that was given to CRU on the understanding it wouldn’t be passed
on to third parties. Those restrictions are in place because of the
originating organisations (the various National Met. Services) around
the world and are not CRU’s to break. As of Nov 13, the response to the
umpteenth FOI request for the same data met with exactly the same
response. This is an unfortunate situation, and pressure should be
brought to bear on the National Met Services to release CRU from that
obligation. It is not however the fault of CRU. The vast majority of
the data in the HadCRU records is publicly available from GHCN (v2.mean.Z).
- Suggestions that FOI-related material be deleted …
are ill-advised even if not carried out. What is and is not responsive
and deliverable to an FOI request is however a subject that it is very
appropriate to discuss.
http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/ar ... k-context/
And an informative chart (the debunks the "Hockey Stick is Broken Myth") from today's New York Times.