The Mysterious Taylor Dome Borehole

Last year, one of the first things that puzzled me about the NAS panel report was the basis for their conclusion that there was no MWP in Antarctica. At the press conference, at about minute 60, North said:

there is evidence of warmth in the record in the MWP. But as Bradley and Diaz a few years ago in Science indicates,. there are many different MWPs and in some places there is not, such as Antarctica. Murky is the right word. There may or may not have been such a MWP over the full globe.

Last year, I observed that the NAS panel didn’t provide any evidence for this claim and tried to figure out what they might have had in mind. Despite two specialists (Tas van Ommen and Eric Steig), no one could figure out what they meant and Steig went so far as to say that their statements were wrong (although he added that no fault should be attached to them for making incorrect statements of this nature.) Here’s an update on this in which I identify the data that supposedly underpins this conclusion – borehole data collected in 1994-96, which the author, Gary Clow, a USGS scientist refuses to release on the grounds that the “results and data are not yet available.”

In my post last year, I excerpted the relevant quotes from the NAS panel and contrasted this with the Law Dome dO18 series which actually showed elevated values at AD1000:

Figure from Jones and Mann 2004 showing elevated dO18 at Law Dome in the MWP

This prompted a few comments from two Antarctic specialists, Tas van Ommen, the Law Dome specialst, and Eric Steig, a prominent ice core-ologist, also affiliated with RC. (see here here

Van Ommen said that dO18 was not necessarily a thermometer and other things affected it as well. That’s fine; I hold no particular conviction that dO18 is a “thermometer” and did not cite this as proof of an Antarctic MWP, but as evidence that this particular ice core was not evidence against an Antarctic MWP. My position on d18O, as I’ve observed elsewhere, is merely that paleoclimatologists shouldn’t suck and blow – if Law Dome reflects regional circulation, fine, but don’t say that d18O that goes up reflects global warming, while dO18 that goes down reflects regional circulation.

Eric Steig, after observing that none of us knew what we were talking and that we should be blamed for our stupidity,

First, it is worth pointing out that your various commenters made a remarkable mess of discussing delta 18O. There is an amazing amount of confusion out there on what is actually a very simple concept. It would help your discussions if your commenters refrained from talking about thing that they have evidently not taken more than 15 seconds to think about, let alone read about. It is such a mess that I feel compelled to explain it on a RealClimate post at some point, so there is no excuse for this sort of confusion in the future.

then said that NAS panel had erred in all the statements that I had highlighted, but should not be blamed because they were not Antarctic specialists.

Regarding the NAS panel statements: I don’t think any of the statements you quote about Antarctica are valid. In fairness the panel was not charged with rigorously evaluating the Antarctic data, …..

His comments seemed a little unfair – excusing a blue-ribbon panel of professors convened by NAS for making incorrect statements, while condemning posters here, even while admitting that my criticsms were correct. Steig went on to say that dating in Antarctic cores was too imprecise to make definitive assertions about the MWP; he himself leaned to the idea that there were contrasting trends in east and west Antarctica. The specialists then swanned off without shedding any light on what the NAS panel might have had in mind when they made their claims. The post and comments are worth re-reading if you’re interested; I won’t re-cap them here. Suffice it to say, I remained puzzled as to the evidence that North and the NAS panel had relied on in asserting that there was no MWP in Antarctica, especially in the face of elevated dO18 values at Law Dome.

At the AGU conference in December, Kurt Cuffey made a presentation which I reported here and I clarified some issues at that time. He presented two borehole diagrams – the Dahl-Jensen borehole from Greenland showing a pronounced MWP discussed here and an Antarctica borehole which didn’t show a MWP. It turned out (and I confirmed this with Cuffey) that the NAS panel argument was based on the different timings of these two borehole diagrams.

What caught my eye at the time was that the “topology” of the two graphics was very similar. The Dahl-Jensen graphic is shown below; the Antarctic borehole looked a lot the same, except that the horizontal scale was dilated differently.

Presented with two curves that are similar up to dilation, my first instinct was to wonder how much certainty could be placed on this dating and whether there was a plausible alternative dating for the Antarctic borehole that might align the two curves. I asked Hugo Beltrami, a noted borehole specialist about ice boreholes, reporting at the time as follows:

I asked Hugo Beltrami about ice boreholes; he said that because glaciers moved, this created additional problems for ice boreholes. I wonder whether a mis-estimate of glacier flow rates could compress the scaling.

Given North had placed considerable weight on the Antarctic situation in the press conference and in arriving at his own view on whether or not their was an MWP, I thought that it would be worthwhile analyzing these two boreholes in detail to see exactly how much weight could be placed on the data. I contacted Cuffey last year and asked him for data on the two boreholes, starting from the pre-inversion information. Cuffey said that I would have to get the Antarctic data from Gary Clow of the USGS. I asked Cuffey for the Greenland data, but haven’t got anything from him. (I’ve only tried 2 or 3 times, not 10.)

Recently I took another pass at trying to get the Antarctic borehole data from Gary Clow of the USGS, an organization which, in general, has a fine record of publishing and archiving information. On April 18, 2007, I wrote to Clow as follows:

Dear Dr Clow,
Kurt Cuffey said that the NAS panel applied your Antarctic borehole results. I presume that these are the Taylor Dome results referred to in . I haven’t been able to locate any archived digital information on these results. Could I get a copy of the reconstruction and the underlying temperature measurements? Thanks, Steve McIntyre

The link cited in my letter is a presentation entitled: Acquisition of borehole temperature measurements from Taylor Dome and the dry valleys for paleoclimate reconstruction, in the Antarctic Journal of the United States Review 1996, stating:

During the 1994-1995 and 1995-1996 field seasons, we acquired high-precision temperature measurements in the 554-meter (m) deep borehole (TD-D) recently drilled through the ice at Taylor Dome (77°50’S 159°00’E).

Clow replied promptly on the same day:

Hi Steve,
Unfortunately these results and data are not available yet.
Gary Clow
USGS – Earth Surface Dynamics
Lakewood, Colorado, USA

also at INSTAAR
Univ. of Colorado
Boulder, CO

On April 23, 2007, I pursued the matter further as follows:

Wasn’t this work done a long time ago? Kurt Cuffey said that the NAS Panel relied on these results for one of their claims. So I presume that the data was sent to him. I want to respond on this aspect of the NAS panel and would accordingly like to have access to the same data that was provided to Cuffey. Thanks, Steve McIntyre

and separately:

Gary, I notice that the following website says:

“During the 1994-1995 and 1995-1996 field seasons, we acquired high-precision temperature measurements in the 554-meter (m) deep borehole (TD-D) recently drilled through the ice at Taylor Dome (77°50’S 159°00’E).”

That seems like an adequate length of time to make results available. Regards, Steve McIntyre

He did not reply. So what we have here: we have a National Research Council panel chairman making statements at a national press conference which rely on an unpublished borehole analysis from data collected in 1994-1996, which the author refuses to provide on the basis that the “results and data are not available yet”.

If Clow hasn’t published in the 11 years since the data was published, then I think that he’s waived any rights that he might have to exclusivity on the data. But the situation is much worse than that. He’s selectively disseminated the data. He gave the data to Cuffey, who applied the results in the NAS panel report. Aside from the 11 years, once the NAS panel applied these results based on Clow’s selective dissemination, then Clow and the USGS have no honorable alternative other than to release the data.

Update May 25, 2007

Gary Clow emailed me the following cordial response:

Hi Steve,

Sorry for the delay in getting back to you regarding the Taylor Dome borehole data; I’ve been bombarded by a series of high-priority requests from within the U.S. Department of the Interior of late that needed my immediate undivided attention.

Just to clarify the situation with the Taylor Dome data, it is position of the USGS to ensure the quality of all data before it’s released. This can take considerable time given our extremely limited staff and a shift in priorities after the acquisition of the Taylor Dome log. Prior to the release of the data, a quality assurance analysis needs to be completed and the documentation approved by the USGS.

Analysis of the ITS-90 temperature measurement uncertainties was completed some time ago. This analysis showed that the total standard uncertainty of the temperature measurement process at Taylor Dome ranged 3.4 – 3.7 mK once the necessary bias corrections are applied. For the borehole paleothermometry climate-reconstruction technique, perhaps a more relevant metric is the standard uncertainty of the relative temperature measurements which ranged 1.8 – 2.0 mK at Taylor Dome.

A comparable analysis of the depth measurements and the associated uncertainties has proved difficult and admittedly has caused some delay. The depth uncertainty analysis, which is finally nearing closure, includes the following effects: thermally-induced radial strains in the measuring wheel and logging cable, thermally-induced longitudinal strain in the logging cable, tension-related strains in the logging cable, the buoyancy of the logging cable and logging tool in the borehole fluid, and tension-induced distortions within the logging winch and level-wind system. The combined standard uncertainty of the Taylor Dome depth measurements, once the necessary bias corrections have applied, will probably be on the order of 300-500 ppm.

The depth and temperature measurement uncertainties for the USGS Polar Temperature Logging System is the subject of manuscript that’s nearing completion. Once this manuscript has received official USGS approval, I’ll be happy to provide you with a copy.

After the manuscript has been approved for release, the next step will be to submit the bias-corrected borehole temperature data to the USGS for official approval. Once approval has been granted, the data can and will be released to the public (it cannot be released until then). Since these data do not yet have official USGS approval, they have not to my knowledge been released beyond the Co-PIs and graduate students directly associated with the Taylor Dome project (Kurt was a graduate student of my Co-PI during the Taylor Dome field days).

The partially-corrected data and preliminary climate reconstructions based on them have been presented at a few workshops. However, until the data and any interpretations based on them are actually published, I don’t believe they should have been cited (it is important that all data and interpretations be subjected to the full review process before they are cited). I hope this helps clarify the situation. I’ll be happy to supply you with the data once they have official USGS approval.

We are making progress on this although it’s admittedly been a fairly low priority compared to our other activities. Thanks for your interest in the MWP. It was an interesting time.

Gary Clow
U.S. Geological Survey

While Clow’s response was cordial, it doesn’t really help much in terms of the NAS Report. It also raises some interesting access questions. Under USGS policy, as Clow observes, Cuffey shouldn’t have used this result in his capacity as a NAS panelist. But once he’s done that, you can’t unbreak the egg. It seems to me that the data – in whatever form Cuffey had it – is what’s relevant and this data should be available somehow. Whether or not USGS change their interpretation down the road is irrelevant.


  1. Jim Edwards
    Posted May 24, 2007 at 8:37 AM | Permalink

    Same pattern as the Jones / UEA and IPCC Bureaucrats threads. It’s good to have a friend on the inside to facilitate quick transfer of data that is well-protected by a Gordian knot of red tape. I guess you get to resort to FOIA. This is corruption; it probably isn’t illegal, but it should be. The data, presumably, belongs to USGS – not Clow, personally. Imagine if you had a “friend” on the Federal Reserve Board who was nice enough to send you “his” unpublished data to adjust your market decisions. Somebody would go to jail. There is a pecuniary advantage that is being punished there, which isn’t immediately obvious in the present case. I’d guess that if you [or another scientist] were denied this data [after FOIA request…] and had a competitive disadvantage in seeking grant money or employment there could be a crime involved. Once it can be shown that the information has monetary value, there might be misappropriation – if given to “friendly” non-gov’t scientists. Somebody out there probably has a handle on federal criminal law. Even if it were criminal, virtually zero chance a US Atty would charge it, though.

  2. jae
    Posted May 24, 2007 at 9:27 AM | Permalink

    Remember, it’s climate science, not regular science….

  3. John Nicklin
    Posted May 24, 2007 at 10:08 AM | Permalink

    I’m not even sure its science any more. The way proxies are used as variables, precise when they supports the cause, poor indicators when they would weaken the cause. I always thought the role of science was to develop new knowledge through posing theories that others can debate. More and more it looks like climate science is a game of secret societies guarding their truths from the unwashed.

    Hunt (1991) holds that “Scientific knowledge thus rests on the bedrock of empirical testability.” Further to this assertion, Malhotra (1994) states that “Empirical replication depends on a comparison of “objective” observations of different researchers studying the phenomenon.” If researchers fail to provide data sets for comparison of objective observation, then there is no science.

  4. Posted May 24, 2007 at 10:27 AM | Permalink

    How about cause there was no money to analyze the measurements (a person’s time is money), so if there were no personnel assigned nor money nor resources to analyze the data, it did not get done. This is quite common. For example there are warehouses full of tapes from satellite measurements that have never been analyzed or even looked at by anyone.

    The strange thing is that it is easier to get funding to take data than to analyze the data once it has been taken. The usual is that groups have enough funding to take the data, to do the first round of analysis, publish a paper, etc. and then the funding runs out, so you leave it and go on from there. Is this what people want to do, NO. Is it what they have to do, YES, especially in organizations where work is assigned, and you are required to do assigned tasks. If the money is not available for the task, it does not get done. You might ask him about that.

    Having argued in many review panels that money must be shifted to analysis, I’m on your side, but it is, alas, a losing battle, if only because there is so much stuff out there aging like a fine cheese that to even make a dent in the backload would take the entire agency budget.

  5. Steve McIntyre
    Posted May 24, 2007 at 10:28 AM | Permalink

    #3. that’s too strong. there’s a great deal of data available. It’s just that key data isn’t. Much of the problem comes merely because the scientists are prima donnas, guarding their own little piece of turf, not because of any machiavellian designs. The management of compliance of researchers with existing federal requirements by the funding agencies is inept, verging on negligent.

  6. Ken Fritsch
    Posted May 24, 2007 at 10:57 AM | Permalink

    Re: #4

    How about cause there was no money to analyze the measurements (a person’s time is money), so if there were no personnel assigned nor money nor resources to analyze the data, it did not get done. This is quite common. For example there are warehouses full of tapes from satellite measurements that have never been analyzed or even looked at by anyone.

    This probably a case of my inability to grasp your point, but I do not see what your observation has to do with the situation that Steve M outlined here. As to inattention to raw data for analysis, I would guess that somebody has certainly peeked at the data preliminarily and either found the data lacking in showing definitive (or even the wrong) results. Data snooping is very natural and strong human tendency and inexpensive to do with digitalized data.

  7. Posted May 24, 2007 at 11:49 AM | Permalink

    Ken, ok, you have a binary file on tape, what is the data format? What information has been encoded? As someone who has dug into some of these data morgues, it ain’t so simple and sometimes it is not possible. An example, Dr. X has some data, you want it. Fine, she sends you the file. You can’t read it. It is a string of numbers (actually that would be great in most cases). You ask for help. The help requires that she go back a decade and dig out the program that read it (on a C64 or maybe an LSI 11/23), translate the program, oh wait, she only has the executable image. . . .Full stop

  8. Bill F
    Posted May 24, 2007 at 11:52 AM | Permalink

    Eli, This isn’t about analysis. This is about data that have obviously already been provided to other researchers and that has been cited by NAS. Its inavailability has nothing to do with the data not being analyzed yet.

    As for the Greenland data, do you already have this file Steve?

  9. Bob Meyer
    Posted May 24, 2007 at 11:59 AM | Permalink

    John Nicklin said:

    More and more it looks like climate science is a game of secret societies guarding their truths from the unwashed.

    Yes, grasshopper, and when you can remove the coins from my hand then you shall be granted access to the sacred data.

    Seriously, how can you tell if the conclusions reached are reasonable unless you have access to the original data? If they want to withhold their data, fine, but then they shouldn’t attack skeptics for being ignorant if they provide no means to remedy that ignorance.

    Steve: The graph (“B”) you show looks like there may be a loss of “high frequency” data as you go farther back in time as if the measurement bandwidth were decreasing. How are these measurements made? It seems that they claim to be making actual temperature measurements of ice layers. Are there any publicly available papers on this measurement technique?

  10. Steve McIntyre
    Posted May 24, 2007 at 12:24 PM | Permalink

    There’s a blog posting that’s readable on “boreholes”. As someone with mineral exploration experience, I find the term “quaint” as “boreholes” are 99% holes of opportunity from old mineral exploration programs. They purport to invert temperature data somehow. I’m convinced that their allowance for water table makes in any sense. In Canada, there’s water everywhere underground. Ice boreholes are complicated by glacier flow but exactly how, I don’t know.

  11. Steve McIntyre
    Posted May 24, 2007 at 12:27 PM | Permalink

    #8. I don’t think that that’s the file that was used in Dahl-Jensen, but I’m not 100% sure.

  12. Bill F
    Posted May 24, 2007 at 1:04 PM | Permalink


    This looks to be the Dahl-Jensen d018 data for the GRIP core in Greenland:

    And this is the GISP2 core also from Greenland that is referenced in several of the papers alongside the GRIP core:

    There appears to be dO18 data for a Taylor Dome core here:

    and here:

    It appears that what Clow did was go back and do borehole temperature collection at the Taylor Dome borehole in the field season after the core was drilled. However, it is not possible from what I can find to determine if this Taylor dO18 series is from the same Taylor Dome borehole or some other hole. Clow’s references appear to refer to the same publications as those attached to this set, but there isn’t enough location data to tell for sure.

  13. jae
    Posted May 24, 2007 at 1:13 PM | Permalink

    7: Eli, if that is the problem, why wouldn’t the guy say so?

  14. steven mosher
    Posted May 24, 2007 at 1:21 PM | Permalink

    RE #7 Eli,

    As you “claim” you have dug into data morgues. You are in good company. I’ve recovered data stored on
    paper streaming tape, punch cards, 1/4″ streaming, 1/2 inch, blah blah bah
    etc etc etc etc etc. Oh my god! it could be worse, it could be raining.

    Well bugs bunny.. formats are not an issue.

    It is not a problem. It is not rocket science. It is not climate science. and THIS stumped
    the eli rabbit? Buy a lucky foot! Today!

    Funny that you thought THIS problem was hard. Got a problem with a digitaly encoded
    file? any teenage boy can crack it for you. Sheesh. lame unlucky rabitt.

    My suggestion Mr rabitt is that you should Steer clear of Mr Fudd.

  15. Steve McIntyre
    Posted May 24, 2007 at 1:26 PM | Permalink

    #12. It probably is the same hole, but the dO18 measurements don’t help in getting at the in-hole temperatures.

  16. Steve McIntyre
    Posted May 24, 2007 at 1:34 PM | Permalink

    How about cause there was no money to analyze the measurements (a person’s time is money), so if there were no personnel assigned nor money nor resources to analyze the data, it did not get done.

    Eli, this is used too often as an excuse by climate scientists for doing a lousy job. On simple issues like archiving about which I’ve talked a lot, if scientists got into the practice of archiving data and code when they published their papers, then they wouldn’t have to spend time afterwards trying to figure out what they did.

    On locating these stations, this would take virtually no time.

    Much of the problem with temperature statistic collection is that it’s not being done in an organized and professional way. This is something that IPCC could and should have pointed out. Guys like Jones and Hansen are smart guys, but they’ve got many other irons in the fire; they’re swanning around the world going to conferences; they’re writing papers on everything under the sun. Thus they don’t bother looking after the details.

    Collecting temperature statistics is like doing the Consumer Price Index. It should be done by clerks, not professors. Actually, the field would be improved if the task of collecting temperature statistics were turned over the statistical agency that did the CPI. At least it would be done professionally instead of by amateurs (in statistical administration) like Jones and Hansen.

  17. crosspatch
    Posted May 24, 2007 at 1:42 PM | Permalink

    As I read all these stories of your difficulties in obtaining data, Steve, I wonder if somehow they could all be documented in some way that is easy for the average person to understand. There must be a journalist someplace who would understand how important it is to this important issue for the data behind the conclusions to be available for review by others.

    This blog is a fine presentation medium for folks in the scientific and academic community but I am starting to believe that only pressure from the public sector is going to produce any movement on the issue of this cloaking of the data and methods.

    I believe it should be possible to present your several cases of mutliple requests for data from multiple sources concerning multiple studies, papers, presentations, etc. in a way that would make it very clear what is going on to the average citizen and I think a journalist who has wide “reach” in terms of readership would see it as a great service to the world community to help you with that.

    My $0.02

  18. Jaye
    Posted May 24, 2007 at 1:42 PM | Permalink

    How about cause there was no money to analyze the measurements (a person’s time is money), so if there were no personnel assigned nor money nor resources to analyze the data, it did not get done.

    I thought that was what grad students were for?

  19. Armand MacMurray
    Posted May 24, 2007 at 3:11 PM | Permalink

    Re: #17
    Along those lines, what about setting up a page (pointed to in the “links” sidebar) that lists your various data requests and their current status (e.g. refused, partially filled, filled, still outstanding), along with links to the blog posts concerning them? It shouldn’t take much effort, and would provide both a useful status-at-a-glance and an index for those interested in particular data sets.

  20. Bill F
    Posted May 24, 2007 at 3:13 PM | Permalink

    If the data hasn’t been analyzed and is sitting lost on an old 8 track cassette somewhere in the USGS basement, how did NAS get a copy to use to back up North’s speech? How did Clow write a paper and make presentations using it and how did he share it with Cuffey? It is simply amazing to me that Jones and Thompson and Wilson and Mann and all the other shining stars of climate science can work their way through extraordinarily complicated statistical contortions to brilliantly peel away the layers of the past so that we all can see them, and have the money to work on and publish a new paper every couple of months using their various sets of accumulated data. Yet when it comes to clicking “copy” and “paste” to put that data into a folder where somebody else can access it, they suddenly can’t find their own backside with both hands, a map, and the assistance of multiple public information officers. And lord knows they don’t have the money left to buy a GPS to help them with the search!

    And people like Eli still defend them when they do it. That is what is so sad. I don’t think Eli is a bad scientist or even a bad person. But Eli isn’t willing to point out bad scientific practice when it bites his furry little cotton tail, unless it is science that contradicts AGW.

  21. John F. Pittman
    Posted May 24, 2007 at 3:19 PM | Permalink

    Steve #5

    #3. that’s too strong.

    I would like you to consider that as one of those who would have to comply with regulations concerning AGW, or what ever acroynm is in vogue, that those of us who have to comply would not consider his comment out of line. As someone who has had numerous designs accepted by regulatory agencies in more than 5 states, if I tried to do a tenth of the handwaving and excuse making I have seen for AGW or its converse, I would have no professional credibility with the regulatory agencies. Keep in mind I have had to provide equations, equipment specifications, citations to accepted engineering practices, site specific data, AND provide information to reasonable requests for all of the above or parameters not even in the regulations. I actually think at this point in time his comment may be the most observant.

    I always thought the role of science was to develop new knowledge through posing theories that others can debate.

    The proposed regulations are approaching my level, which means the above quote is most relevant. When it gets to my level. the “role of science” is already considered complete and “new knowledge” is now OLD knowledge, with replicated equations, “consensus”, and a host of other acceptances.

    It is somewhat disheartening to see issues that should have long been resolved are at their “infant” stage. If it is a consolation to anybody, I have to say that the proponents of AGW are to blame. It is not a consolation to me (for the sake of being honest, I profit either way as far as AGW goes).

  22. Steve Sadlov
    Posted May 24, 2007 at 4:55 PM | Permalink

    RE: #18 – That’s right ….. best to use indentured serv…. I mean, grad students… 🙂

  23. John F. Pittman
    Posted May 24, 2007 at 5:07 PM | Permalink

    Well, this media sometimes confuses my posts. If you see an out of thread comment, it may be because of the way I read the threads, which does not match the physical implementation of the thread versus what I assume I am doing. [lol]

  24. John F. Pittman
    Posted May 24, 2007 at 5:08 PM | Permalink

    I have another post that went somewhre else sorry. Will try to find it.

  25. John F. Pittman
    Posted May 24, 2007 at 5:10 PM | Permalink

    It was under those cunning IPCC thread sorry for the confusion.

  26. Hans
    Posted May 24, 2007 at 5:49 PM | Permalink

    To #17: Crosspatch, if only it were so easy.

    I too cannot understand why the public, the various media, atmospheric physicists and other scientists, let alone the adjudicating bodies (like someday, we hope the IPCC might act as) do not look at the issue [of making data available] a little more critically.
    This is not a new issue. It has been on the burner and Climate Science’s plate for at least 7 years.

    There are seemingly no standards and no enforcement mechanisms for audits (i.e., independent peer reviews), and for posting of data and methodologies, in the Climate Science discipline. While there are many honest and forthright practitioners in the field, there are also many with questionable quick and dirty’ approaches.
    If the IPCC were to set down serious guidelines to remove the “cloaking” of data, then this situation would correct itself overnight. But this will not happen, even for a science that wants and needs to be taken as seriously as does Climate Science.

    As harsh as their criticisms might appear, what other reasonable reaction can you expect, given the above-described situation, from reasonable people? John F. Pittman (#21) and John Nicklin (#3) might well be spot on.

    This reminds me of the science of therapeutic hypnotism and how it was, until very recently, incorporated by various therapists into their practice of uncovering supposed suppressed memories. This technique was even accepted by the courts in finding some accused persons guilty of horrendous crimes, for which crimes there were no other supporting evidential testimonies given. And yet today this “science” has been completely repudiated. In fact, it is now acknowledged that hypnotism has exactly the opposite effect of uncovering “lost” memories ‘€” it happens to be extremely effective in planting new, heretofore non-existent ones.
    And yet the court system used evidence uncovered by this technique for years. And had anyone previously done the hard science to prove that hypnosis was efficacious for what it was purported to do? No. And this is within our Western Court system. Would you expect more from Climate Science. Why?

    Once the public (and THEIR media) lock into a seemingly sound solution, a new seemingly valid paradigm, a fad if you like, then we are stuck with it, no matter that you can honestly demonstrate that the science of AGW (but not the observed warming) is currently of dubious merit. It will take a child to say the Emperor has no clothes (provided the “court” were to listen and hear her words).

    For that possible accomplishment, please see: “15-Year-Old Outsmarts U.N. Climate Panel, Predicts End of Australia’s Drought” at
    As Kristen Byrnes writes “That is why the weather guy said that in 5 years global warming will be a joke.”

    Well that would be nice, if it did end up being just a bad joke ‘€” in which case we could all breathe a lot easier. But that day is not here. We still have to continue with the science and do our best to make it rigorous, as Steve M is dedicated to doing (for those questionable statistical practices, at the very least).

    If indeed AGW is disproved by time, only time will tell. But whatever ends up being the proven and correct (Climate) science for the real effects of CO2, one question will remain regardless. Why are we so gullible in general? Why, psychologically, are we so easily drawn in ‘€” with such poor evidence?

    This is not a lack of conflicting evidence, but partly a lack of its dissemination and partly its perception as being politically incorrect. Why did people in New England believe in witches? Because at the time, everyone else in the immediate environment also believed in witches. But do we believe in witches today? The people in New England may not have had our science and access to information. But I have never taken such people (even in “primitive settings”) to be primitive. They are us. We all live with the same human foibles. We are all dupable.

    And there is another factor. We have all “sinned”. Mother Earth has taken her hits from the human species. So we are already primed for the guilt. So even if CO2 (and other GHG) have little to do with observed warming, we are already in a very receptive mode. There may be scientific explanations as to why people saw witches in the past. Some have theorized that along with rye and other harvested grains, peoples in the past may have harvested ergot, a powerful hallucinogenic ‘€” please see
    We don’t have that excuse (I hope). But we do have a receptive psychological state that predisposes us to plead “guilty”.

    In any case, I wish Steve M well in getting the “Science” to adopt some of his proposed standards. Let’s just acknowledge that there is much more that we are up against than simply bringing back the Scientific Method which seems to have gone AWOL for the time being.

  27. Posted May 24, 2007 at 7:53 PM | Permalink

    Considering that I am up against a similar problem today, I think I will listen to myself, but yes, there is a lot of raw data that has never been processed, in formats that almost if not actually no one has the instruments to read today. To put it into currently readable formats costs M$ maybe G$, but then again, todays stuff may not be readable tomorrow so you also have the cost of continually updating the data archive. Moreover, while the web has made serving the data that is available to users orders of magnitude cheaper, there is very little to no money for holding users hands. At some point every holder of data has to decide whether the costs of maintaining the archive is worth it and if there is no funding for that activity, guess what.

  28. Ken Fritsch
    Posted May 24, 2007 at 9:08 PM | Permalink

    Re: #27

    Eli, if you can provide some specific instances and details of what you claim is a problem, perhaps my confused mind will start to understand your point.

    What it sounds like you are saying is that individuals have collected data (and apparently that would be at no small expense) with no purpose or process for its use in mind and thus it lingers in storage coded with older formats. I do not see the problem you claim in retrieving it, but in any case I would first be most wary of the need for retrieving it, given how apparently it was cavalierly handle initially. Sounds like a government make work project where data without need are collected and then someone, such as you, pushes for more money to make these data more readily available.

    I do not think your point is about what Steve M has discussed at the top of this thread, but you have got me wondering what that point is specifically.

  29. bernie
    Posted May 24, 2007 at 9:11 PM | Permalink

    Tversky and Kahnemann identified a number of common flaws/complexities in decision-making when it came to reacting to risky events. Simply start here and here keep reading: Kahnemann won the Nobel Prize in Economics. What they say essentially underpins the “Precautionary Principle”.

  30. Vick
    Posted May 25, 2007 at 3:20 AM | Permalink

    I like post #14. It’s a really good, cheap sneer. CA at its best.

  31. DeWitt Payne
    Posted May 25, 2007 at 3:47 AM | Permalink

    But do we believe in witches today?

    No, but we did believe, or at least some prosecutors and juries believed very recently, in fantastic tales of child abuse at day care centers concocted by so-called child advocates and implanted in childrens memories by techniques closely resembling hypnotic suggestion. In spite of a complete lack of physical evidence of abuse, some people spent decades in jail. The case of the Amirault’s in Massachusetts was one of the worst examples.

    Eli is correct about space probe data. NASA has or had warehouses full of reels of 9 track tape of the telemetry from space probes that has never been analyzed and likely never will be. Good luck finding a 9 track drive to even read the tapes, presuming the recording hasn’t decayed too much to be readable or the tape itself is still strong enough to survive reading, much less translating the data into information. But then, nobody is citing that data either.

  32. MarkW
    Posted May 25, 2007 at 4:57 AM | Permalink

    What I find interesting, is that this data, which some claim to be archived, unanalyzed and virtually unreadable, has already been cited in two studies.

    Just how, pray tell, does one cite data that one can’t read and one can’t analyze????

  33. fFreddy
    Posted May 25, 2007 at 5:52 AM | Permalink

    Re #30, Vick
    Have you any comment on the substantive issues ?

  34. Paul Zrimsek
    Posted May 25, 2007 at 6:07 AM | Permalink

    Let’s stipulate that the MWP didn’t extend to Antarctica. The current warming doesn’t extend to Antarctica either; does that mean it doesn’t count as global?

  35. tristram shandy
    Posted May 25, 2007 at 7:41 AM | Permalink

    problems Recovering 9 track data?

    google “recovering 9 track data”

    figuring out the formats and data is probably on the order of figuring out tree rings

  36. Jeff Norman
    Posted May 25, 2007 at 8:17 AM | Permalink

    Sorry but I couldn’t resist.

    If the results could be differentiated into a monthly resolution and it was determined that the sixth month’s distribution was very volatile would they be considered the June Taylor Dome dancers, and would one then view them with glea, son?

  37. Posted May 25, 2007 at 9:09 AM | Permalink

    This is a bit off topic for this post, and I’m not sure you have covered this (I only stop in every few months), but I’ve done an amateur review of the cloud/solar connection with links to the researchers involved. It is mostly from a laymans perspective (I’m an aerospace engineer not a climate scientist). However, I cover the cloud/cosmic ray science from the invention of the Wilson Cloud Chamber in 1912 to the work of Dr. Henrik Svensmark of the Danish National Space Center released in 2006. With some updates and explanations from Dr. Nir Shaviv of the 1940 to 1970 cooling period (reduction of cosmic rays not aerosols).

    What struck me is this quote about Dr. Svensmark’s work:

    The chairman of the United Nations Intergovernmental panel on Climate Change, the chief agency investigating global warming, then castigated them in the press, saying, “I find the move from this pair scientifically extremely naive and irresponsible.”

    Yep. Climate science. Not real science. Despite the fact that the cosmic ray connection to climate is verified for at least the last 100 million years. At least for astrophysicists. I suppose the data is too old for “real climate” scientists.

    You can read it at: Clouds in Chambers

  38. Posted May 25, 2007 at 9:11 AM | Permalink

    Jeff Norman,

    Mann you are old.

  39. Posted May 25, 2007 at 9:14 AM | Permalink

    That should be an increase in cosmic ray flux from 1940 to 1970. Let me quote Dr. Shaviv so there can be no error:

    Moreover, since the cosmic ray flux actually had a small increase between the 1940’s and 1970’s (as can be seen in the ion chamber data in fig. 6), this mechanism also naturally explains the global temperature decrease which took place during the same period.

    Posted May 25, 2007 at 10:07 AM | Permalink

    “Yep. Climate science. Not real science”

    The theory of global warming caused by humans releasing too much CO2 into the atmosphere
    and thereby endangering life on earth as we know it, is for all practical purposes settled.
    The science no longer matters. Long ago the political and corporate powers invested billions
    in this theory. Science should now just get out of the way.

    Global carbon markets were worth €22.5 billion in 2006.

    What would happen if the global warming theory were proved to be wrong by scientific methods?
    Nothing, for there is no way the billions already invested will be thrown away.
    Would countries give back money from their sale of carbon offsetting projects?
    Would Al Gore admit he was wrong? Would the World Bank recover the money given for any and
    all alternate energy schemes? Would Ted Turner recant his apocalyptic forecasts?
    Would Michael Mann give up his “15 minutes” of fame and live in seclusion?

  41. MarkW
    Posted May 25, 2007 at 10:10 AM | Permalink

    I could have sworn that Jim Dudhia was telling us that there is not a scintilla of evidence to back up the notion that cosmic rays have any affect on clouds.

    Could the good doctor have been wrong?

  42. Posted May 25, 2007 at 10:38 AM | Permalink

    Didn’t “The Mann” write in his 2003 paper something along the lines that borehole temp series shouldn’t be relied on, partially because they don’t agree with the results of his tree ring circus… er, I mean series?

  43. Ken Fritsch
    Posted May 25, 2007 at 10:52 AM | Permalink

    Re: #31

    Eli is correct about space probe data. NASA has or had warehouses full of reels of 9 track tape of the telemetry from space probes that has never been analyzed and likely never will be. Good luck finding a 9 track drive to even read the tapes, presuming the recording hasn’t decayed too much to be readable or the tape itself is still strong enough to survive reading, much less translating the data into information. But then, nobody is citing that data either.

    My precursory search has not found any example of the data transferring/reading problems to which you and Eli have referred. Call me skeptical, but I would like to see some linked details of these examples before passing final judgment. I also like to note and document instances of obvious government waste in situations like these.

  44. Dave B
    Posted May 25, 2007 at 11:37 AM | Permalink

    dr. rabett…

    are you having problems retrieving 9 track data? try what tristram shandy said in #35…

    lots of help is out there.

  45. DeWitt Payne
    Posted May 25, 2007 at 12:48 PM | Permalink

    Re: #43

    Here’s a statement of the problem in 1967, 140,000 reels of tape at that time.

    Click to access 19670010532_1967010532.pdf

    Here’s a link to a 1996 article about an archive of 100,000 7 track tapes from just one experiment that were being digitized on what seems to have been an ad hoc basis, so the problem still existed then.

    Finally, a lot of satellite image data was transferred from tape and is available on CD-ROM from NSSDC, mostly in raw form. It still doesn’t look all that user friendly, but at least some of it is there or at least it was when the web page was published. See the FAQ here:

  46. James Erlandson
    Posted May 25, 2007 at 2:02 PM | Permalink

    Re: Rare 9 track tape drives
    There’s an IBM 9347 on eBay, current bid $64.95. 41 minutes, 53 seconds remaining.
    Search on “9 track” in “computers & networking.”

  47. moptop
    Posted May 25, 2007 at 3:27 PM | Permalink

    I can’t believe that I am agreeing with Eli Rabbit.

    There is an anomoly in the path of the Pioneer space probe which could have implications on the theory of gravity, yet the recovery of the data on this extremely important matter has been largely unfunded. I read somewhere, but cannot find the link, that a hobbyist, on his own time, has recovered large amounts of the data.

  48. Nordic
    Posted May 25, 2007 at 3:55 PM | Permalink

    What is strange about the discussion of data recovery is that the data we are talking about here is from 1997. That was hardly the dark ages of computing. At worst you might have to find a working machine with a 3&1/2 or ZIP drive. Noted: The true issue does not appear to be inability, but rather lack of desire to provide the data.

  49. Demesure
    Posted May 25, 2007 at 4:45 PM | Permalink

    The true issue appears that Rabbet would invent anything possible to defend malpractices from the AGW church.

  50. Steve McIntyre
    Posted May 25, 2007 at 4:48 PM | Permalink

    Enough already on these 8-track diversions.

    I herd back from Gary Clow – see update at bottom of the post – with a detailed and cordial explanation of why the data is not yet available. He says that Cuffey had the data as a grad student of the co-PI and that the NAS panel should not have used the data. He offers to provide the data in its final form. That’s not really relevant since it’s the form used by Cuffey that’s relevant.

    I wonder if the Data Quality Act applies to NAS.

  51. Steve McIntyre
    Posted May 26, 2007 at 5:45 AM | Permalink

    The original acquisition of data here was jointly financed by NSF’s OPP program (Waddington) and the USGS (Clow). Cuffey was Waddington’s student. There are two online mentions of the progran – both here and here p. 24 say this.

    This research was supported by National Science Foundation grant OPP 92-21261 and by the U.S. Geological Survey’s Climate History Program.

    The USGS has regulations on data quality control, which Clow asserts that the data has not presently met. The USGS QC procedures are here,

    A question: if Waddington/Cuffey were independently financed through NSF, does he have the data courtesy of USGS requiring USGS permission to provide to me? If so, Cuffey’s presentation of the reconstruction at AGU presumably breached USGS regulations, as did his reliance on it as a NAS panelist.

    However, there’s a line of argument that may indicate that Cuffey did not violate any regulations and there’s an interesting legal question here. The original program was co-funded by NSF and USGS. In mineral exploration there are several different legal forms of co-funding exploration, each creating different relationships. The two main forms are a partnership and a joint venture. In one case, the title to the property is registered 100% to the partnership; in the other case, each party has separate legal title according to their interest.

    The tie back to the Taylor Dome data is this: is the Taylor Dome data held as a type of partnership between NSF and USGS so that each party has to sign off on any dissemination of the data? If so, Cuffey would be in violation of partnership terms by his AGU presentation. Or is it a type of joint venture in which each party has its own rights to the data? In this case, Cuffey would not be in violation of partnership terms by his AGU presentation, but would not be able to rely on USGS policies as a crutch to refuse providing me the data.

    I dare say that the parties probably didn’t think about the matter and that no formal agreement on data title exists. However, there’s another well-known legal principle that would come into play. If there are two interpretations to an act, one of which is legal and one of which is illegal, a third party is entitled to attribute the legal one. Here, in one title circumstance, Cuffey’s presentation of the data at AGU would be a breach of title and in the other, it would not. So as a third party, I’m entitled to assume that Cuffey was behaving properly and that he had a legal right to present the data without USGS permission. The corollary is that he cannot rely on USGS policies to refuse to provide me the data.

  52. John F. Pittman
    Posted May 26, 2007 at 7:18 AM | Permalink

    A brief look at #49. You said:

    Last year, one of the first things that puzzled me about the NAS panel report was the basis for their conclusion that there was no MWP in Antarctica. At the press conference, at about minute 60, North said:


    Just to clarify the situation with the Taylor Dome data, it is position of the USGS to ensure the quality of all data before it’s released. This can take considerable time given our extremely limited staff and a shift in priorities after the acquisition of the Taylor Dome log. Prior to the release of the data, a quality assurance analysis needs to be completed and the documentation approved by the USGS.

    Steve, either the agency is covered or the Department is covered. The USGS appears to be both. The implications may mean that original data and statistical procedures have to be provided. Otherwise, how could anyone in the public help with the quality. Of interest, NASA cites FOIA as one of the laws that is part of DMQ. It would appear that what Gary told you does not meet the USGS guidelines if the data is being given to the public. The USGS guidellines were required to be setup by the OMB starting in 2002, there is a link provided, and some quotes. Also, NAS has a hard time as well, based on what I could find at NASA which has implemented DQA. I have sent a request to NAS to provide me with their implementation of the OMB requirement (See link below). I have put several paragraphs below that can be used to help. There is a listed requirement that for NASA that they keep track of complaints as part of their QA/QC, an excellent practice. I did not find the USGS paragraph, but it is required. See the text of the law below, Items 1.) B (ii) in particular. Examples of these requirements of the law for NASA are listed below. Looking at the text with the NASA regs as an example, it would seem that both are required to respond to you with the raw data and other such as the statistical methods used. It would not appear that either could deny you saying it was the other party’s responsibility. The text of the OMB looks simple. That is a problem for the regulated since, it has few exemptions, and the burden is on the regulated. I guess the most important features are the complaint sections. Not only can an agency be audited (implied); they have to audit their performance. Also note as listed below that FOIA applies according to the NASA implementation. I will look at the NAS guidelines if and when I find them or they send them to me. I found the NSF quidelines here:
    from the NSF it became effective on or before October 1, 2002 AND!! applies regardless of when information was first disseminated. Like NASA, NSF states that “statisical information produced and disseminated by the agency, studies and summaries…disseminated by NSF through its web site, or other means” Of interest is the limitation that NSF has about outdated or superseded information. Press releases themselves are exempt per NSF. Once I get NAS response I can do a better analysis.

    I know there is a lot of information. I restricted myself to some paragraphs I thought might be helpful. It looks like each agency will need a DQA staff to even hope to coming close to this Act’s requirements. is where you can ask. The reules are here

    1. Overview of USGS Information Quality Guidelines

    The USGS provides unbiased, objective scientific information upon which other entities may base judgments. Since the bureau’s inception in 1879, the USGS has maintained comprehensive internal and external procedures for ensuring the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of data, analyses, and scientific conclusions. These Information Quality Guidelines cover all information produced by the USGS in any medium, including data sets, web pages, maps, audiovisual presentations, USGS-published reports, or reports by USGS authors published by others. These USGS guidelines also provide an administrative procedure for persons to seek correction of information maintained and disseminated by the USGS that they believe does not comply with these guidelines. Factors, such as imminent threats to public health or homeland security, statutory or court-ordered, or circumstances beyond our control, may limit or preclude applicability of these guidelines.

    3. USGS Influential Information

    “Influential information” means that the USGS can reasonably determine that dissemination of the information could have a clear and substantial impact on important public policy or management decisions of others. USGS recognizes that the information it disseminates includes scientific data or information that can influence policy decisions. All USGS data meet a very high standard of quality.

    USGS scientific information is subject to a high degree of transparency about data and methods to facilitate the reproducibility of such information by other qualified scientists. This information has a high degree of transparency regarding (1) the source of the data used, (2) the various assumptions employed, (3) the methods applied, and (4) the statistical procedures employed. The degree of rigor with which each of these factors is presented and discussed is scaled as appropriate. If access to data and methods cannot occur due to compelling interests such as privacy, trade secrets, intellectual property and other confidentiality protections, USGS will, to the extent practicable, verify information and document that verification steps were taken.

    From Wiki., the text of the law

    The guidelines under subsection (a) shall ‘€”

    (1) apply to the sharing by Federal agencies of, and access to, information disseminated by Federal agencies; and
    (2) require that each Federal agency to which the guidelines apply ‘€”
    (A) issue guidelines ensuring and maximizing the quality, objectivity, utility and integrity of information (including statistical information) disseminated by the agency, by not later than 1 year after the date of issuance of the guidelines under subsection (a);
    (B) establish administrative mechanisms allowing affected persons to seek and obtain correction of information maintained and disseminated by the agency that does not comply with the guidelines issued under subsection (a); and
    (C) report periodically to the Director ‘€”
    (i) the number and nature of complaints received by the agency regarding the accuracy of information disseminated by the agency; and
    (ii) how such complaints were handled by the agency.

    OMB, Guidelines for Ensuring and Maximizing the Quality, Objectivity, Utility, and Integrity of Information Disseminated by Federal Agencies, Final Guidelines (corrected), 67 Fed. Reg. 8452 (Feb. 22. 2002) Parts of the guidelines, the part that NSA came up with

    P.1 Purpose
    In accordance with the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958, as amended, NASA shall “provide for the widest practicable and appropriate dissemination of information concerning its activities and the results thereof.” Unless a determination is made that public dissemination of information must be prohibited or restricted, NASA information is made available to the public. This NASA Procedural Requirements (NPR) identifies requirements for approving, publishing, and disseminating NASA scientific and technical information (STI) under the policy set forth in NASA Policy Directive (NPD) 2200.1, Management of NASA Scientific and Technical Information (STI).

    P.2 Applicability
    This NPR is applicable to NASA Headquarters, NASA Centers and Component Facilities, and NASA contractors and grantees that elect or are required under the terms of their contracts or grants to have their STI reviewed and/or published by NASA. In this NPR, the terms “grant” and “grantee” include “cooperative agreement” and “cooperative agreement recipient,” respectively, unless otherwise indicated.

    P.3 Authorities
    42 U.S.C. 2473 (c)(1), Section 203(c)(1) of the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958, as amended

    NPD 2200.1, Management of NASA Scientific and Technical Information (STI)

    P.4 References
    5 U.S.C. 552, et seq., Freedom of Information Act, as implemented by 14 CFR Part 1206, Availability of Agency Records to Members of the Public
    1.2.1 STI is defined as the results (facts, analyses, and conclusions) of basic and applied scientific, technical, and related engineering research and development. STI also includes management, industrial, and economic information relevant to this research.

    1.2.2 NASA STI is STI derived from NASA activities, including those generated by NASA-sponsored or -funded research and development and related efforts, where NASA has the right to publish or otherwise disseminate the STI. NASA STI may be produced directly by NASA or under NASA contracts, grants, and agreements. For example, NASA STI includes STI authored by a NASA employee as part of the employee’s official duties, STI co-authored by a NASA employee and a non-NASA employee, and STI authored by a NASA contractor or grantee employee in which NASA has the right to publish or otherwise disseminate the STI.

    1.2.3 NASA STI is published or disseminated using mechanisms that include the NASA STI Report Series, NASA websites, and non-NASA scientific and technical channels such as professional society journals, conference presentations, or conference proceedings. NASA STI may include technical papers and reports, journal articles, meeting, workshop, conference papers and presentations, conference proceedings, and preliminary or non-published STI, including any of these examples that will be loaded to a public website or are in multimedia formats.

    1.2.4 The following information is excluded from this NPR:

    Information published in policy documents such as NASA directives and NASA Technical, Engineering, or Safety Standards (NPD 8070.6, Technical Standards)
    Information published as a result of mishap investigations (NPR 8621.1, NASA Procedural Requirements for Mishap Reporting, Investigating, and Recordkeeping)
    Proposal information marked with confidentiality notices furnished to NASA by contractors or grantees
    New Technology Reports (NTR)/Invention Disclosures. Note: While NTRs are not defined as STI, STI may include information that discloses an invention so it must be handled appropriately

    1.3.1 NASA Chief Information Officer (CIO). As specified in NPD 2200.1, Management of NASA Scientific and Technical Information (STI), NASA’s CIO shall plan for and manage implementation of the Agency STI program; assess the effectiveness of the Agency STI program; designate the NASA Headquarters STI program Director; designate an STI program office (STIPO); and review and approve the STIPO plan and implementation.

    1.3.2 NASA Officials-in-Charge. NASA Officials-in-Charge (OICs) shall ensure that activities under their cognizance comply with NPD 2200.1 and this NPR, applicable laws and regulations, and other referenced direction related to NASA STI.

    1.3.3 NASA Headquarters STI Program Director. The STI Program Director is responsible for determining the strategic direction and plan for the STI program, allocating funds for the STIPO, and coordinating and approving the Agency’s STI policies with the NASA CIO and OICs.

    1.3.10 Authors and Originators of NASA STI. All authors and originators of STI, including NASA personnel, contractors, and grantees, shall coordinate with appropriate managers and the Center’s STI Manager (or in the case of Headquarters, the Headquarters STI Manager) and Technical Publications Office to select the appropriate channel to publish their STI. All NASA personnel, contractors, and grantees, to the extent specified in their contracts or grants, are responsible for providing a copy of the results of their basic and applied research and development to NASA so that the results can be included in the NASA Aeronautics and Space Database (

    1.4.4 Additional requirements are currently in place for STI that is published and disseminated outside NASA via the public Internet. See NASA Information Technology Requirements (NITR)-2810-3, “NASA Internet Publishing Content Guidelines.”

    .6.1 All NASA and NASA-funded personnel shall ensure that their work is documented and archived for future use. Following approval via the NF-1676 process, one electronic version (required) and one hard copy (not required, but requested) of NASA and NASA-funded STI shall be sent to NASA CASI via the Center’s STI Manager or designated organization. For alternative media, as identified in section 2.6.3, two copies are required. These requirements apply to the STI Report Series, articles submitted to professional journals, papers presented at technical meetings, visuals-only presentations, and meeting papers that have not been included in NASA CPs. In addition, NASA personnel who retire from or leave the Agency for other reasons must arrange for their documented STI and the NF-1676 to be approved and sent to NASA CASI through the Center’s STI Manager.

    1.6.2 If an author chooses to place NASA STI on a NASA website that is accessible to the public, it must be approved via the NF-1676 review and website content reviews specified in NITR-2810-3, “NASA Internet Publishing Content Guidelines,” prior to being added to the website. The information must also be duplicated via computer back-up storage by the author or website owner and when removed from the website, submitted to NASA CASI for archiving.

    1.6.3 NASA contractors and grantees must submit STI that stems from NASA-funded contracts, grants, and cooperative agreements, pursuant to the requirements of the NASA FAR Supplement or Grant and Cooperative Agreement Handbook and their contracts or grants.

  53. Steve McIntyre
    Posted May 26, 2007 at 7:51 AM | Permalink

    #52. John, unfortunately you’ve been wrongfooted a little by the actonyms. NAS is the National Acadamy of Sciences – although what I refer to as the “NAS Panel” is more properly the “National Research Council panel”. IT’s a different institution than “NASA”. I don’t believe that the National Research Council is governed by the Data Quality Act. One could ask them to voluntarily attorn to those standards, but there would be no recourse if the request were brushed off.

    However, even if one just restricts the consideration to USGS, I think that you’re right that DQA applies to this situation and that there is an avenue through DQA at USGS. Interesting.

  54. John F. Pittman
    Posted May 26, 2007 at 10:09 AM | Permalink

    III. To Whom it Applies

    The DQA applies to all federal agencies that are subject to the PRA. See 67 F.R. at 8453. The PRA defines “agency” as “any executive department, military department, Government corporation, Government controlled corporation, or other establishment in the executive branch of the Government (including the executive office of the President), or any independent regulatory agency . . .” 44 U.S.C. ⥠3502. The term “agency” does not include the General Accounting Office, Federal Election Commission, the D.C. government or the territories and possessions of the U.S. or their subdivisions, nor does it include “Government-owned contractor-operated facilities, including laboratories engaged in national defense research and production activities.” Id.

    As part of NSA if I googled correctly.

    The National Research Council (part of the Congressionally-sanctioned National Academies of Science) has just issued

    The part of NASA I quoted was to show how expansive these guidelines are, and give you examples of what can be pursued. I will look at whether NSA fits and if possible get the NSA guidelines, or request them, and look at the USGS guidelines to give a more definite answer.

    Will have to be later this weekend, though.

  55. Steve McIntyre
    Posted May 26, 2007 at 11:10 AM | Permalink

    John, it doesn’t appear to me that the National Academies of Sciences or the National REsearch Council are subject to the Data Quality Act. The National Research Council is part of the National Academies, which also comprise the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering and Institute of Medicine. They are private, nonprofit institutions that provide science, technology and health policy advice under a congressional charter. owever, the Academy and its associated organizations are private, not governmental, organizations and do not receive direct federal appropriations for their work. Studies undertaken for the government by the National Academies usually are funded out of appropriations made available to federal agencies. The great majority of the studies carried out by the National Academies are at the request of government agencies.

  56. John F. Pittman
    Posted May 26, 2007 at 1:24 PM | Permalink

    #55 This agrees with what I could find.

    However, USGS is. And perhaps more importantly, these good people provide pro bono advice.

    The National Academies perform an unparalleled public service by bringing together committees of experts in all areas of scientific and technological endeavor. These experts serve pro bono to address critical national issues and give advice to the federal government and the public.

    Perhaps we need only to ask these experts to include whether the information has met the federal standards and thus can be considered of highest quality, or that they don’t and therefore are “suspect, premature, or on the cutting edge”. I think that if DQA becomes the standard, NSA and all will have little choice than to include whether the information meets DQA standards or something similar. However, there is a real issue concerning agencies that are covered. If they accept information, not just raw data from outside sources, it appears that they still need to meet the DQA if they publish, use something from an outside source. I will look for exemptions especially for USGS, and NOAA. The question is about data from outside entities that do not meet DQM; can they actually use it at all? I imagine raw data is exempt. I will look into this later this weekend.

    If they carry out these studies, I do not think they meet the criteria of “contractor or grantee”, but will look into this as well.

  57. Steve McIntyre
    Posted May 26, 2007 at 1:51 PM | Permalink

    #56. John, they probably do meet the definition of contractor. In this case, they contracted with the Science Committee. If that’s their only way of evading the issue, it would be worth putting them to the test anyway; they’d look terrible trying to evade on a technicality.

  58. John F. Pittman
    Posted May 26, 2007 at 2:00 PM | Permalink

    Yes, it is the pro bono part that has certain exemptions. However, these persons would not be who and what they are if they weren’t some of the best. I imagine that to use such a technical out while everybody else has to comply, would not suit them well. Also, in that those familiar with regulatory and scientific criteria could use the Fed standard to marginalize NSA or Natioanal Academies positions, thus invalidating the comment of “unparrelled public service”. Can you imagine having to appear in front of Congress claiming you have “unparrelled public service with data of questionable origin, and undocumented procedures”? I have included some of this on another thread because Watts indicated it was part of NASA. NASA had expctional guidelines, and is not exempt.

  59. Steve McIntyre
    Posted May 26, 2007 at 2:07 PM | Permalink

    #58. John, in general, they don’t do work for Congress pro bono. They are paid to do it. Now I’m not sure about the Surface Temperature Reconstructions panel. I think that NAS ended up on its own hook for that one; they started off under an agreement with the Science Committee, but I think that they had a dispute over the terms of reference and NAS ended up on its own.

    Also recall that in the recent Supreme Court hearings on Mass v EPA, it seems to be a US legal principle that NAS reports are blue chip (regardless of Gerry North saying that they just “winged it”) and, for the purposes of legal actions, it’s a waste of time to try to challenge them. (I don’t think that that’s an unreasonable position for courts to take, but NRC panels should also understand the obligation that this reliance imposes on them and actually do some due diligence and not just wing it.)

  60. John F. Pittman
    Posted May 26, 2007 at 2:44 PM | Permalink

    Also recall that in the recent Supreme Court hearings on Mass v EPA, it seems to be a US legal principle that NAS reports are blue chip (regardless of Gerry North saying that they just “winged it”) and, for the purposes of legal actions, it’s a waste of time to try to challenge them.

    I think it is a matter of the right presentation. It is like FOI, agencies can only provide what is requested if requested properly; courts can only rule on what is presented to them. It becomes a whole new ballgame if your claim is that the agency violated a Federal law or regulation. The courts really do see it this way. I live in SC and the state environmental agency took DOD and DOE to court several times and won because the approach was that a violation of federal law occurred. Claim all the exemptions you wish, violation of law is addressable in court.

    If NSA are paid for it, I guess you mean the actual entitiy, not the persons who give time/expertise pro bono. At that point, I would agree NSA is covered whether they pay for employees or not…not part of the guidelines I reviewed. But do not underestimate a position that starts and can show a federal law or regulation has been violated. The guidelines I saw had very specific requirements, as did the text of the law, and OMB’s link for DQA.

  61. Joe Ellebracht
    Posted Jun 1, 2007 at 6:18 PM | Permalink

    Let me speak in defense of the possible misstatements or personal opinions expessed at minute 60 of the press conference. By minute 60 of virtually any press conference all of the prescripted presentation is finished, and personal opinions can come out of the mouths of untrained participants. Your basic blue ribbon committee member is selected because he or she is involved in stuff that might be relevant, perhaps non-public stuff or prelminary stuff or confidential stuff. This burbles out at a press conference. Just because North saw some data or heard about some data and then spoke out of turn doesn’t make the data suddenly qualify as officially correct or ready for general release. It does appear from your summary that North may have misled the public, although when the data are finally released, if ever, it may turn out that they support North’s statement.

    I think your interest will speed up the data release. Sunshine helps governments work faster.

  62. yorick
    Posted Dec 5, 2007 at 1:07 PM | Permalink

    Law Dome Borehole Data:

    I think I see an MWP, but the data is spaced exponentially, and so I can’t really judge that well.

  63. max
    Posted Dec 9, 2007 at 8:36 PM | Permalink

    Not sure if this fits here or not. I am not a scientist, just joe sixpack, so please bare with me.
    When they drill ice core holes, do they drill multiple holes in a line from a the perimeter of an icefield to the approximate center of such a field to plot for any missing levels towards the outer edge to track if the ice had ever receded back past the current perimeter exposed and at what level, thus geological time to see how far ice retreats with added warmth? And also to see at what global temperature point the ice grows forth. I assuming the ice retreats with an angular front instead of a straight vertical perimeter.

  64. David Ermer
    Posted Dec 9, 2007 at 9:23 PM | Permalink

    Not sure if this fits here or not. I am not a scientist, just joe sixpack, so please bare with me.
    When they drill ice core holes, do they drill multiple holes in a line from a the perimeter of an icefield to the approximate center of such a field to plot for any missing levels towards the outer edge to track if the ice had ever receded back past the current perimeter exposed and at what level, thus geological time to see how far ice retreats with added warmth? And also to see at what global temperature point the ice grows forth. I assuming the ice retreats with an angular front instead of a straight vertical perimeter.

    A better question to ask: Are the warmest years (and those proceeding the warmest years) missing from the ice core records…because that is when the ice is receding/melting? Don’t mean to muddy the water but I haven’t heard this discussed.

  65. max
    Posted Dec 9, 2007 at 11:04 PM | Permalink

    Thats kinda where I was leading towards.. Was the ice there when.. When did the ice come back..

  66. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Dec 10, 2007 at 4:39 AM | Permalink

    Re # 29 Bernie

    As a relatively seasoned scientist trying to suggest new areas or emphasis for investigation by scientists with the training and equipment for the job, I’ve often reflected on the “Preacautionary Principle” since my first horrified introduction to it 25 or so years ago.

    FWIIW, the “Precautionary Principle” is a prime example of evasion of duty utilised by pseudo-scientists who are too lazy or too simple to finish the work they started. To avoid embarrassment at the forthcoming waste of their time and effort, they came up with the collective excuse by the name above, then added insult by insisting that people take it seriously enough to spend vast funds on it. It is the sick joke of late 1900s science.

    The antidote to the “Precautionary Principle” is for people to have confidence in the ability, innovation, invention, imagination of professional people like scientists, engineers, etc to find long-term solutions to the problems posed.

    One of the huge weaknesses of Anthropogenic Global Warming and its calls for the “Precautionary principle” band-aid is the amount of ufinished science that is rammed down the public throat as “settled” when diligent scientists know it is not – and say so.

    The excuses, explanations, wrigglings, tortured logic of Eli Rabbett (acronym for Bet Brat Lie?) shown in this thread alone should cure any thinking person of charging a large societal fee for scientus interruptus. My good man Eli, you were trained to do a job in science. Just do it, or retire.

  67. yorick
    Posted Dec 10, 2007 at 1:06 PM | Permalink

    Here is a description of the process behind one borehole, anyway.

    Click to access icecores_palaeoclimate.pdf

  68. Posted Dec 22, 2009 at 10:35 AM | Permalink

    Hey. I got a 502 gateway error earlier today when I tried to access this page. Anyone else had the problem?

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