Deepening moats has been a lively topic in UK politics recently. One British MP expensed the public for the cost of deepening the moat at his castle and has been forced to resign. We discussed FOI and the MP expense scandal recently.
We have, of course, followed with some considerable amusement the contortions of the UK Met Office to avoid disclosing data. Last year, we reported how John Mitchell, Chief Scientist at the UK Met Office, obstructed compliance with an FOI request for his IPCC review comments by wrongfully claiming that his IPCC correspondence had been destroyed and then that it was his “personal” property, resiling from these absurd claims only when asked whether the Met Office had paid his salary and expenses for trips to IPCC destinations.
Recently, we’ve followed the amusing contortions at the Hadley Center webpage as they are conflicted between their use of Phil Jones’ land station data (CRUTEM3) and Phil Jones’ absurd campaign to keep CRU station data secret.
The Met Office webpage for downloading CRUTEM3 data http://hadobs.metoffice.com/crutem3/data/download.html presently says:
Station data: Most of the station data was given to us under conditions that don’t allow us to redistribute it; but the CLIMAT reports we use to update the data in near-real time have no such restriction. Summaries of these reports are available on this page.
Although many Met Office pages can be retrieved from the Wayback archive, this particular page has a robots.txt block and is not available at the Wayback archive. I wasn’t able to locate a google cache (though perhaps someone else can.)
The statement here raises an interesting question:
1) who is it that it is attaching conditions to the station data and, by what authority are they doing so?
2) If it’s Phil Jones, who is also subject to the UK Environmental Information Regulations, does he have the authority to attach conditions to the Met Office use of this data?
3) If the Met Office can’t show their underlying data, maybe they should discontinue the use of Phil Jones’ data and use data that they can show
4) Maybe whoever is funding Phil Jones (and I believe that the US Department of Energy is one of his funders) should require him to deliver the data back to them.
Update: The following sent to CRU on June 25, 2009:
Dear Mr Palmer,
Pursuant to the Environmental Information Regulations, I hereby request a copy of any digital version of the CRUTEM station data set that has been sent from CRU to Peter Webster and/or any other person at Georgia Tech between January 1, 2007 and Jun 25, 2009.
Thank you for your attention,