A CA reader recently wrote to NOAA (which distributes HADCRU3 gridded data) asking them whether the data and methods had been reviewed pursuant to NOAA Quality of Information guidelines. (It is nice to see a reader complete such an exercise himself rather than writing on a thread that I should do it.) NOAA replied that they had not done so because the data came from a third party and that HADCRU3 data “do not meet the definition of influential”. One wonders what sort of data NOAA regards as “influential”. Here’s the correspondence:
The CA reader wrote:
I believe that the HADCRU3 dataset is influential scientific information, which although generated by a 3rd party, is of such importance that it is important that it be of known quality and consistent with NOOA’s information quality guidelines.
Has NOAA reviewed the raw data and processing methods in accordance with NOAA’s Quality of Information standards?
Does NOAA have available the raw station data and metadata and processing algorithms behind the HADCRU3 gridded data? If so, I request a copy of such data, metadata, and processing information.
I would also like to know the nature and description of any specific checks used by NOAA to ensure the objectivity of the HADCRU3 dataset.
Thank you for your inquiry regarding the HADCRUT3 gridded data available on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) website: http://www.cdc.noaa.gov.
NOAA OAR’s Climate Diagnostics Center is now part of the Earth System Research Laboratory, Physical Sciences Division (ESRL/PSD). ESRL/PSD makes available many climatological and meteorological datasets, as a service to the research community and to the general public. ESRL/PSD is not the originator of these datasets.
In the case of the datasets in question, the originator is the United Kingdom’s Meteorological Office’s Hadley Centre for Climate Change. Please refer to the page you reference in your inquiry and you will note the Hadley Centre is identified as the “original source”. Links to the Hadley Centre are also offered on the ESRL/PSD web page: http://hadobs.metoffice.com/hadcrut3/
The HADCRUT3 datasets are third party information. NOAA’s policies regarding dissemination of third party information are specified in the NOAA Information Quality Guidelines:
http://www.cio.noaa.gov/Policy_Programs/IQ_Guidelines_110606.html, as well as the OMB Peer Review Bulletin. According to NOAA IQ Guidelines, when the agency disseminates information supplied by a third party, the agency should review the OMB Peer Review Bulletin for applicability. According to the provisions of the OMB Peer Review Bulletin, dissemination of an information product is not covered unless it represents an official view of the agency. The Hadley Centre datasets do not represent an official view of NOAA. Further, even if the datasets did contain an official agency view, the peer review requirements would apply only if the dissemination of information is “influential”; which is defined to mean, “the information will have or does have a clear and substantial impact on important public policies or private sector decisions”. NOAA OAR has determined that the Hadley Centre datasets do not meet the definition of influential since the data will not have a clear and substantial impact on important public policies or private sector decisions.
ESRL/PSD makes every effort to ensure that the informational content of HADCRUT3 datasets available on NOAA/OAR’s website are the same as the original data disseminated by the Hadley Center. The NOAA IQ Guidelines provide that the accuracy of original and supporting data within an acceptable degree of imprecision or error, are by definition within the agency standard, and therefore presumed to be considered accurate. Because the HADCRUT3 datasets constitute original data, this standard applies and the datasets are presumed to be accurate under the NOAA IQ Guidelines.
As a re-disseminator, and not the originator of the data, ESRL/PSD does not maintain raw station data, nor is ESRL/PSD the correct source for information regarding the processing algorithms used to create the datasets. That information can be found on the Hadley’s Centre’s website and also in the published literature, referenced and/or linked on the web page.
Thank you, and good luck with your inquiries.
Dr. Nick Wilde, Senior IT Manager,
Physical Sciences Division, Earth System Research Laboratory