CRU refused my FOI request for CRU data stating that:
Regulation 12(5)(f) applies because the information requested was received by the University on terms that prevent further transmission to non-academics
I asked to see the precise language of the underlying agreements because I very much doubted that agreements specifically prohibited “further transmission to non-academics”. If there were such a term in an agreement, it seemed far more likely that the term would be for “academic use” or something like that, and, given that my interest was scholarly rather than commercial, I doubted that the language of any applicable agreement would be applicable.
CRU has only managed to locate three documents pertaining to their agreements with NMSs: an application to Spain and letters from Norway and Bahrain, all from 1993-4. They also include a letter from CRU to the Met Office and, inexplicably, a copy of a current webpage from NERC governing Met Office data.
In their discussion of data availability, they state (in contorted logic) that:
In some of the examples given, it can be clearly seen that our requests for data from NMSs have always stated that we would not make the data available to third parties. We included such statements as standard from the 1980s, as that is what many NMSs requested.
Let’s examine the agreements. If the effect of these and other agreements is to prohibit them from supplying me the data, it is under language that has far more broad reaching consequences than merely preventing the delivery of data to me.
The British Territories Agreement
Here is the language from the CRU request to the UK Met Office regarding information about British Territories. It asks for data in connection with the construction of climatological normals; it makes no mention of the construction of a gridded temperature index nor the construction of a merged land-sea index. It says that the data would be used “unauthorized for any project” – which would obviously include its use in CRUTEM and HadCRU unless such authorization had been obtained. It doesn’t prohibit delivery of the data to “non-academics”; it prevents delivery of the data to “third parties” -which includes all the recipients of Advance 10K data, those people who downloaded cruwlda2 or newcrustnsall and any other academic.
If this language is representative of agreements with NMSs, then it prohibits the delivery of the data to CDIAC at the US Department of Energy (who published versions in the mid1980s and placed a version online in the early 1990s.) For that matter, it would prohibit the delivery of NMS data to the Met Office for use in HadCRU as the Met Office is a “third party” to CRU.
The Norway Correspondence
The Norway correspondence is also from 1993-1994 (pre WNO Resolution 40) and also is about 1961-1990 climatological normals, rather than temperature data. But viewing this as an example of the “lost” agreements, as CRU invites us to do, it says that CRU must not give the data “to a third party”. It doesn’t say “non-academic” – it says “third party.” If CRU seriously holds that this clause is in effect, then, as above, it prevents them from delivering data to the Advance-10K academics, to CDIAC and to the UK Met Office for use in HadCRU.
The Bahrain Correspondence
The language may well not constitute a binding agreement. But let’s stipulate that it does. Again it doesn’t refer to “non-academics”; it refers to “third parties”, including academics, CDIAC and the Met Office.
The Spanish Correspondence
As others have noted, the Spanish correspondence contains no prohibition on delivery to third parties – it merely asks for citation. I suppose that CRU might argue that there was an implied term of the agreement regarding further transmission of the data – but on the available evidence, such implied term would extend to all “third parties” and not merely to Climate Audit readers.