There is something weird going with Esper’s delivery of data, where he delivered quite a lot of material – but left out some key data. Here ‘s the status on data – there are some puzzling methodological issues which I’l'l return to.
Chronologies: Esper sent 13 of 14 chronologies in February. This was very interesting and very helpful. However, he failed to deliver the 14th chronology from Mongolia. Despite a couple of iterations, no progress has been made on finishing the job.
Measurement Data: In March, Esper sent 10 of 14 measurement files in March, omitting Mongolia, Polar Urals, Boreal and Upperwright. Why would these have been omitted? The Polar Urals measurement file as used was sent in April. Again, why wouldn’t the others have been sent at the same time? In April, Science cited the existence of the Mongolia file at WDCP. I’m quite sure that this relates to the Esper version, but the dates do not match so the Esper version is different somehow.
Hanson said that he was pursuing the "original authors" for the foxtail data. The context is unclear whether he is trying Graumlich, having been unsuccessful with Esper. It’s hard to tell. But what does Graumlich have to do with it? We’ve seen that Esper changes the versions, so the Esper version is the one that needs to be examined.
If he’s trying to get the measurement data from Graumlich, then he may be in for a rough go. Andrew Bunn, who published on these sites (Bunn et al, 2005 discussed last year on this site) said recently that he did not see the foxtail measurement data during the course of writing Bunn et al. even though chronologies for Boreal and Upperwright are published in Bunn et al 2005 (indeed this is the only publication of them, as the earlier Graumlich study cited in Esper et al 2002 does not report chronologies for these two sites. Bunn said that Graumlich lost the measurement data when she moved from Arizona to Montana a number of years ago – something Crowley would understand, and a good reason for archiving the data in the first place. Someone paid for it.
When Bunn told me that the data had been lost, I hypothesized that Esper might have had a grey version and the data might thus have been preserved despite Graumlich’s loss. But with every week that goes by, I’m beginning to wonder. It could be that Esper’s just being difficult, but now it’s not just me, Science is involved. Every time that Hanson has to pick up this file again, he’s going to get mad at both Esper and me. I’m sure that initially it was me, but as time goes on, and the production of a simple data set by Esper seems to be more and more problematic, Hanson’s surely going to get increasingly irritated with Esper and the Hockey Team.
The foxtail series are not just used in Esper et al 2002; they are also very prominent in Osborn and Briffa 2006. Wouldn’t it be amusing if hypothetically an IPCC lead author was using lost data?