CRU has posted up an undated webpage on data availability here , responding to the various recent FOI requests for station data and confidentiality agreements. Here they “list the agreements that we still hold”.
I’m preparing a post on this extraordinary document and am posting this thread as a placeholder for now.
Instalment 1 (Aug 11 8 pm) :
Obviously this is a pretty pathetic combination of excuses and whining. Both CRU and the Met Office should be cringing with embarrassment. Obviously there will be more shoes to drop. But let me reiterate one of my own baseline positions (and one which I do not wish to argue about with readers.) Regardless of how pitiful CRU’s management of data and contracts turns out to be, it is not my position that this is an excuse for delaying climate policy until the original data is found and documented. Neither do I think that any exigencies of the big picture excuse negligence in the small picture.
Surely the most surprising revelation is their confession that they’ve lost all their original data – all they have is their “value added version”. They say:
Since the 1980s, we have merged the data we have received into existing series or begun new ones, so it is impossible to say if all stations within a particular country or if all of an individual record should be freely available. Data storage availability in the 1980s meant that we were not able to keep the multiple sources for some sites, only the station series after adjustment for homogeneity issues. We, therefore, do not hold the original raw data but only the value-added (i.e. quality controlled and homogenized) data.
I was around in the 1980s and the 1970s. People used filing cabinets back then. You’d have alphabetically arranged files by customer. If you got paper from Andorra or Zambia, you’d put the data in the Andorra or Zambia file. If a decision were made on the handling of an account, you’d put a memo in the file. How is it possible that they don’t have ANY documentation on the construction of their data? This is getting worse and worse.
Imagine [you fill in the name] saying something like this:
Below we list the agreements that we still hold. We know that there were others, but cannot locate them, possibly as we’ve moved offices several times during the 1980s.
Nobody would take it seriously. Nobody would believe that they were that incompetent. I wonder what would happen if Lonnie Thompson moved offices. Would he lose all his unarchived ice core data?
Or this excuse as to why they can’t get data that any one of us can locate on the internet:
Much climate data are now additionally available through the internet from NMSs, but these are often difficult to use as data series often refer to national numbering systems, which must be related back to WMO Station Identifiers.
Poor babies. Imagine having to do a concordance of CRU numbers to national numbers to enable downloading from NMSs. That would be so boring. After all, they’re climate scientists. Things to do, people to see. When’s the next IPCC authors’ workshop?
But their trials and tribulations get even worse. They report that:
a number of NMSs make homogenized data … available in delayed mode over the internet. Some that provide both raw and homogenized versions, generally do not link the two sets of data together.
Y’mean, that someone somewhere would actually have to inquire as to how to do the links. Hey, Phil, I’ve got an idea. If they won’t tell you, send them an FOI. Or better yet, we’ll save you some trouble. Make a list of all the NMSs that are troubling you and we’ll send FOIs for you. Just have your people contact our people.
And as to why they haven’t documented the source of their data. It’s not their fault – that’s impossible. The reason why they didn’t document anything is that they “never had sufficient resources”.
We are not in a position to supply data for a particular country not covered by the example agreements referred to earlier, as we have never had sufficient resources to keep track of the exact source of each individual monthly value.