More Changes at BAS

More changes at 6 ocean stations at BAS listed here , together with a revised “credit” here. One of the 6 stations is Chatham Island, where I noticed a problem on June 13, 2008 when I was trying to replicate GISS methodology using Wellington NZ as an example. John Goetz pinned the erroneous source to BAS. A little later, we noticed that GISS had made reference a few days earlier (June 9, 2008) to manually adjusting these records, something that we wondered about at the time. GISS reported:

June 9, 2008:… some errors were noticed on (set of stations not included in Met READER) that were not present before August 2007. We replaced those outliers with the originally reported values. Those two changes had about the same impact on the results than switching machines (in each case the 1880-2007 change was affected by 0.002°C). See graph and maps.

A few days ago, pondering Gavin Schmidt’s newly discovered zeal for correcting faulty station data, recalling our prior issues with Chatham Island, I wondered whether GISS had showed similar zeal in correcting Chatham Island and other station problems referred to in their June 9 update note. I checked Chatham Island and it hadn’t been changed – apparently Gavin the Mystery Man hadn’t spent his Super Bowl evening correcting Chatham Island records. So I notified them. They thanked me and said that they would acknowledge me, which they did.

I also wondered whether Gavin’s zeal had extended to correcting GISS’ own version of Harry had been corrected – it hadn’t. It was still uncorrected several days later. A CA reader mischievously suggested that I inform Hansen at GISS of the problem with their Harry data. I did so on Feb 4. I was copied the next day on a businesslike reply from Reto Ruedy to Hansen, explaining that Harry did not enter into GISTEMP calculations – a point that I agree with. Indeed, in my very first post on this topic, I observed that Steig used a considerable amount of data that did not meet GISTEMP quality control standards (including, as it turns out, Harry.)

Later that day, I was copied on an email from Ruedy to BAS, in which he re-transmitted an email to BAS of May 16, 2008 asking them to correct information from various stations, including Chatham Island. For some reason, BAS had never bothered making the changes requested by Reto Ruedy and, even more remarkably, Gavin hadn’t stayed up late ensuring that the BAS record was corrected.

Upon learning that NASA GISS had notified BAS of these errors on May 16, 2008, I sent BAS an email agreeing with Ruedy’s request that the records be correcting and requesting that they correct their notice to reflect NASA GISS’s priority in this matter:

For what it’s worth, I agree with this request. I also note that NASA GISS observed this problem prior to my doing so and request that you correct the notice on your page to reflect this. Regards, Steve McIntyre

Today they corrected the 6 records using NASA GISS’s information as a source. If they are using NASA GISS as a source, then it seems a little circular for NASA GISS to continue using BAS as a dset0 source, so Ruedy will have to put his thinking cap on this issue. The revised notice today credits both Reto Ruedy and myself, for pointing out the problems, but all of the errors were identified by NASA GISS.

This was an example where the identification of the Chatham Island error was truly independent. I noticed the problem in the course of analyzing data for Wellington NZ on June 13 and, at the time, was unaware of the June 9 update at GISS, which, in any event, did not mention Chatham Island. Suppose that the GISS update had said that there was a problem with Chatham Island without saying what it was, I had then consulted the station records and observed the faulty 1988 and 1989 values, which are easily observed once one knows that there’s a problem with these records, and had then rushed off a midnight email to BAS, saying the next day to GISS – if you hadn’t played “games”, then maybe you would got the “credit” with a smiley attached. Until the Gavin Affair, I couldn’t imagine such undignified behavior.


  1. Mo
    Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 12:12 PM | Permalink

    I wonder why BAS didn’t react to GISS’s change request, but complied with Gavin’s rushed? Why was he so desperate to have this record change? This is still the mystery here.

  2. Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 12:26 PM | Permalink

    Congratulations Mr. McIntype! You’ve been credited.

    The above corrections have been made with the help from numberous individuals including Gavin Schmidt, Steve McIntype, Nicholas Lewis and other anonymous individuals on All their effors in identifyting any errors on the READER website are appreciated.

    • NeedleFactory
      Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 1:44 PM | Permalink

      Re: Geoff Olynyk (#2)

      As others have noted, there at least four typos in the credit.
      Perhaps the most serious is ““, which is indeed a website of sorts, but is not the blog run by McIntyre. (Hat tip to Rich, on a previous thread).

      • PaulM
        Posted Feb 8, 2009 at 10:55 AM | Permalink

        Re: NeedleFactory (#12),
        On Friday I pointed out 6 typos on that page, see carnage thread. With the “.com” it makes seven.

  3. Mo
    Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 12:33 PM | Permalink


  4. Robert
    Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 12:34 PM | Permalink

    Steve McIntype

    Isn’t that a sample of british humor?

  5. Mitchel44
    Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 12:38 PM | Permalink

    “Reto Ruedy to Hansen, explaining that Harry did not enter into GISTEMP calculations – a point that I agree with”

    Steve, if you have already thought about it, could you tell me if the other corrected BAS data bits have implications on the other Antarctic studies done recently or in the near past, say some of those papers used as references by Steig?

    As this all started from your disbelief that Steig could get away with calling Hansen’s previous work shoddy, I believe “math on the back of an envelope” or words to that effect were used, how does all this come together?

  6. steven mosher
    Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 12:41 PM | Permalink

    re 1. the Nature paper had nothing to do with it that’s for sure. because as gavin well knew Harry had no bearing on the results. Which, of course, deepens the mystery behind his sudden interest in trivial typos and non scientific ideas. I mean seriously, nothing SM does is ever of any real consequence and can’t be because the results he attacks have already been shown to be robust. they have already survived the viscious onslaught of peer review. So what’s the point of wasting your time reading the lab notes of a gadfly?

  7. Minnesota Fats
    Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 1:03 PM | Permalink

    #6. Cui bono? Who would benefit the most if the bad Harry data was expunged before the problem was pinned down and no one was ever the wiser?

  8. Ruth
    Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 1:03 PM | Permalink

    ‘numberous’ ?

  9. Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 1:14 PM | Permalink

    Off Topic, but amusing.

    In this National Geographic article about the drought in the U.S. West, they discuss tree ring based studies used to determine past waterflow through the Colorado river, and predict the likelihood of future drought conditions. Money quote:

    Tree-ring fieldwork is hardly expensive—you need a device called an increment borer to drill into the trees, you need plastic straws (available in a pinch from McDonald’s) to store the pencil-thin cores you’ve extracted from bark to pith, and you need gas, food, and lodging.

    I know this is old news, but I sort of remember a certain Team member saying that they couldn’t update the proxies used in their CM because it was too expensive to do it.

    And yes, I’m being just a bit sarcastic.

  10. mpaul
    Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 1:23 PM | Permalink

    Is it a true fact that Steig’s Nature article did not use data from Harry? Also, BAS has made a lot of changes. It seems like there was some kind of larger problem. Would any of these changes call into question the results from the Nature article?

  11. Joe Black
    Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 1:43 PM | Permalink

    Will the real Waldo please stand up.

  12. Joe Black
    Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 1:47 PM | Permalink

    “pondering Gavin Schmidt’s newly discovered zeal for correcting faulty station data”

    Heh, Heh, Heh. Steve said “zeal”, butt hay.

  13. MrPete
    Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 2:26 PM | Permalink

    Actually, our most recent straws were donated by Salt Grass Steakhouse — very nice for smaller trees 🙂

  14. jeez
    Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 2:45 PM | Permalink

    I’m curious as to have many other published studies used this now revised data and are the authors even aware?

    • Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 3:09 PM | Permalink

      Re: jeez (#16),
      I’m curious as to have many other published studies used this now revised data and are the authors even aware?

      LOL. The thing I find amazing is that well cited articles are older and generally superseded by better versions that generally improve on the original work. The better versions are generally scorned because they are not as well cited. It is like a circle {snip}.

  15. MarkR
    Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 3:02 PM | Permalink

    PS. S.B. Apology (See how easy a mistake and correction is). PPS I see Connolley, W. M. is still credited on the BAS website, but his website says, “In a former life I was a climate modeller at BAS”. Also, “Connolley served as a parish councillor in the village of Coton (near Cambridge, England) until May 2007.[3] He stood as a Green Party candidate for either South Cambridgeshire District Council or Cambridgeshire County Council every year from 2001 to 2005”. Is there still a link?

  16. W F Lenihan
    Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 3:22 PM | Permalink

    Re: #10, mpaul:
    You used the term “true fact”. It got me wondering what is a false fact.
    The Merriam-Webster dictionary provides the following definitions:

    Fact: something that has actual existence ; an actual occurrence ; or
    a piece of information presented as having objective reality, in fact: in truth.

    Apparently, conventional wisdom defines “fact” to be objective reality, the truth.

    I know, picky-picky.

    • mpaul
      Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 4:55 PM | Permalink

      Re: W F Lenihan (#20),
      There is no such thing as a false fact, but often times people will assert that something is a fact, and a dispute ensues as to whether the statement is true or not. There’s a statement out there that Steig did not use Harry in the Nature Article. Its stated as a fact, but is it true? So purhaps I could have been clearer by saying ‘is this truly a fact’?

      • PhilH
        Posted Feb 7, 2009 at 9:34 AM | Permalink

        Re: mpaul (#29), “Truth,” like beauty, is often, if not always, in the eye of the beholder. Websters: “Truth: a true or accepted statement or proposition; agreement with fact(?) or reality.” When does something become “accepted?” When Rasmussen says so? “Facts,” as you point out, over at “Real” Climate are not necessarily facts at Climate Audit. But the climate science battle, at this stage of persuasion, is over what is “accepted,” not over what is true. The more one reads here and elsewhere the more one realizes that we will never know all the truth about our climate. But that doesn’t mean we stop searching.

  17. Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 3:29 PM | Permalink

    It is a truly factual fact that erroneous errors occur. The measure of the Mann, if he cann, is to issue a corrigendum, which his peers concur.

  18. Dave Andrews
    Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 3:33 PM | Permalink

    Re NeedleFactory (#20),

    Surely the poor typing was because it is so cold down there the operator had trouble moving their fingers? 🙂

  19. Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 3:35 PM | Permalink

    So is it now suddenly the task of BAS to keep a complete changelog for the source data of the publication of Steig, because Steig refuses to zip his source data himself and make it available to whoever is interested?

    Gavin at realclimate suggests that making a turnkey software application available (with source) for this type of exercise were rocket science:

    input – algoritm – output

    It isn’t.

  20. steven mosher
    Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 4:10 PM | Permalink

    re 25. can you spell SVN. I knew you could.

  21. maksimovich
    Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 4:12 PM | Permalink

    On the link to Chatham Island station
    The geographic coordinates are 45 58S 183 26E

    CI Airport coordinates are which are around 20k from the waether station are
    Chatham Islands / Tuuta Airport is a small airport 19.5 km northeast of Waitangi Township.Geographical Coordinates:
    Latitude: -43.812, Longitude: -176.46

    The BAS coordinates would place the weather station in the southern ocean.

    Could someone tell me what the last column of data in the CI reader file pertains to ?

  22. Posted Feb 8, 2009 at 4:03 AM | Permalink

    I’ve just seen on the BBC news programme that the sunday times investigation unit (remember them?) – sorry, haven’t got the link yet – report that the ‘autism docter’ faked his results. This abuse of my beautiful science just takes my biscuit. I think I have a good sense of humour ( yes, the British spelling ), and my breakfasts’ have been much amused by Gavins’ sorry saga but, really, I just cannot bring myself to tolerate, let us say, this obfuscation of the truth. These are very important issues, in some peoples opinion, existantial issues. Let us, therefore, be serious, above all be honest, without, of course, losing this vital sense humour.

  23. Posted Feb 8, 2009 at 10:12 AM | Permalink

    I meant to say, continuing this anology, the ‘autism doctors’ nasty paper has created untold havoc and, indeed, death and to our children. I don’t know why ie is not yet arrested. Climate science is equally as important, though the affects of bad theory or, for that matter, imagined results are less easy to follow.

  24. Hu McCulloch
    Posted Feb 8, 2009 at 2:04 PM | Permalink

    RE Paul M #33,

    I e-mailed Steve Colwell Friday PM about the McIntype and .com typos, and also requesting that the corrections pages be linked on the data pages. At present, these pages don’t seem to be accessible to anyone who doesn’t know their URL. prominently advertises that “their” URL is for sale, should the real be sufficiently annoyed by loss of traffic.

    Back in the Clinton years there was a similar trying to draw traffic from, the official White House site. It used to feature titillations about interns, but now appears to be an anti-Obama platform.

  25. Stu Miller
    Posted Feb 9, 2009 at 7:50 PM | Permalink

    Re truth. From a Harvard Law School professor: “Truth is that which is confidently asserted and plausibly maintained.”

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