More Data Obstruction: Muir-Wood

One of the more controversial issues in WG2 arose out of Robert Muir-Wood’s calculations on climate-related damages – Pielke Jr taking issue and

Muir-Wood was a Contributing Author to IPCC AR4.

Earlier this year, I attempted to obtain data used in the underlying publications in order to carry out statistical analyses. I wrote on four occasions.

On Jan 27, 2010, I wrote as follows:

Dear Dr Muir-Wood, Could you please provide me with a digital version of the time series used in the production of Figure 12.5 through 12.9 and Tables 12.A.1 and 12.A.2 of Miller, Muir-Wood and Boissonnade, An exploration of trends in normalized weather-related catastrophe losses. Thank you for your attention, Steve McIntyre

In response to my fourth request, Muir-Wood was on holiday and, contrary to Muir-Wood’s total failure to respond, a secretary responded as follows:

Robert is on holiday this week. By copying Auguste [Boissonnade], I am hoping he can help you.

Needless to say, Boisonnade didn’t provide the data either.

Muir-Wood does not work for a public agency – he is employed by Risk Management Solutions (who Bob Ward used to work for.) I asked Ward for assistance, but he refused.


  1. bender
    Posted Jul 23, 2010 at 5:45 PM | Permalink

    UCAR/NCAR & RMS: a different kind of pea & thimble game.

  2. Brooks Hurd
    Posted Jul 23, 2010 at 6:14 PM | Permalink

    it is truly an amazing world that some people inhabit. Once the write something, it can not be questioned.

    Franz Kafka might think that he had stumbled into the world of his fiction.

    • Richard T. Fowler
      Posted Jul 23, 2010 at 10:36 PM | Permalink

      I’m trying my hand at some of that climate haiku that Kim has graced us all with.

      Stonewall and obstruct —
      How to win a marathon.
      Dare not think us daft.


      • kim
        Posted Jul 24, 2010 at 10:30 AM | Permalink

        They come silently
        But with a rush and power.
        How pretty the clouds.

        H/t Lucy Beebe.

      • Dave Dardinger
        Posted Jul 24, 2010 at 11:15 AM | Permalink

        Re: Richard T. Fowler (Jul 23 22:36),

        How can some mere wood
        Crackling bright in the fireplace
        raise the temperature?

        (Not a perfect haiku though as it should have a stop and some people pronounce temperature with four syllables.)

        • Dave Dardinger
          Posted Jul 24, 2010 at 11:24 AM | Permalink

          Re: Dave Dardinger (Jul 24 11:15),

          One improvement which will make the poem fit the topic better

          How can some mere wood
          crackling bright in the fireplace
          raise insurance rates?

  3. Dave L.
    Posted Jul 23, 2010 at 7:05 PM | Permalink

    Perhaps if you requested the data used in the 2006 paper presented at the workshop instead — this was the source cited in AR4 (even though it was unpublished/without peer review), so perhaps since it falls under the realm of IPCC he may be required to release it. Maybe?

    I can find the 2006 workshop paper at:

    Click to access white_papers.pdf

    pages 176-182

    Did the 2008 book publication state that data was used that differed from the 2006 workshop?

  4. ZT
    Posted Jul 23, 2010 at 7:27 PM | Permalink

    It will be interesting to see if lawmakers continue to be enthusiastic about funding these activities now it is clear that openness and science are discretionary niceties.

  5. Doug in Seattle
    Posted Jul 24, 2010 at 12:58 AM | Permalink

    If all the “talk” about openness is to taken seriously, NCAR and others in climate game would have to actually be open wouldn’t you think?

  6. Tony Hansen
    Posted Jul 24, 2010 at 4:29 AM | Permalink

    What they do may not be a good thing,
    but they really are good at doing it.

  7. Robert E
    Posted Jul 24, 2010 at 10:22 AM | Permalink

    Steve if you have followed the discussion at Pielke jr.s site they seems to have traced the source data to an unpublished study by Miller et al. 2006. It does however seem like they have published the same graph in the book:

    Climate Extremes and Society, ed. H. F. Diaz and R. J. Murnane. Published by Cambridge University Press in 2008.

    The relevant chapter 12 can be downloaded from

    For your convenience I have hand digitized the data in fig 12.9 for you:

    Temperature Norm.Losses
    -0.2720060 13.84933
    -0.2326431 36.02785
    -0.2101499 18.65297
    -0.2002011 57.79753
    -0.1889545 70.26655
    -0.1872243 22.94559
    -0.1707870 26.01174
    -0.1703544 47.57702
    -0.1660288 53.40271
    -0.1227728 25.70512
    -0.1046053 12.21405
    -0.0933587 87.33481
    -0.0929262 26.01174
    -0.0834099 69.24450
    -0.0410190 70.26655
    -0.0358283 18.14195
    -0.0306375 27.13600
    -0.0276096 24.88749
    -0.0250143 12.92949
    -0.0059816 22.43456
    0.0076075 37.59362
    0.0132517 120.65853
    0.0156464 51.05199
    0.0188959 32.06866
    0.0309907 26.92473
    0.0390538 103.51210
    0.0398601 37.78413
    0.0446980 64.64687
    0.0567928 37.59362
    0.0616306 19.87564
    0.0672749 41.78497
    0.0930769 36.64104
    0.0954959 50.16767
    0.1003338 10.92140
    0.1156538 61.02707
    0.1333927 24.82906
    0.1398432 31.68763
    0.1632264 39.68929
    0.1793527 60.64604
    0.2261190 69.98131
    0.2277316 71.50544
    0.2333758 64.83739
    0.2406327 27.49628
    0.2511147 76.64937
    0.2535337 38.35568
    0.2914305 31.49711
    0.3099758 76.83988
    0.3398094 68.83822
    0.3736747 52.26334
    0.4123778 45.59528
    0.4228599 23.87647
    0.4551125 83.88897
    0.4752704 38.35568
    0.4752704 17.58946
    0.4994599 158.95222
    0.5808977 105.41726

    Have fun with it!

    The writers conclusion is:

    “In sum, we found limited statistical evidence of an upward trend in normal-
    ized losses from 1970 through 2005 and insufficient evidence to claim a firm
    link between global warming and disaster losses. Our findings are highly
    sensitive to recent US hurricane losses, large China flood losses, and inter-
    regional wealth differences. When these factors are accounted for, evidence for
    an upward trend and the relationship between losses and temperature weakens
    or disappears entirely.”

    • D. Patterson
      Posted Jul 25, 2010 at 10:27 AM | Permalink

      The phrase “or disappears entirely” may be construed as an implied research bias and frustrated intent seeking confirmation of an expected analytical result indicative of “Global Warming.” The reader is tempted to wonder how the author/s may choose to fulfill their efforts at seeking “a firm link between global warming and disaster losses” in their future research and analysis?

  8. FergalR
    Posted Jul 24, 2010 at 3:21 PM | Permalink

    Off topic sorry,

    “July 24, 2010 A new paper in press in Journal of Climate by Jason Smerdon from the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory and collaborators documents surprising, and somewhat inexplicable, errors in some previous pseudo-proxy studies by Mann and collaborators.”

    • Doug in Seattle
      Posted Jul 25, 2010 at 1:12 AM | Permalink

      Mann seems to be just a little miffed that Smerdon et al. didn’t ask for his opinion on the mistakes before publishing.

  9. Charlie H.
    Posted Jul 31, 2010 at 7:31 PM | Permalink

    Comming from the medical-pharmacy-medication world….

    I can not begin to imagin the uproar that would happen if author refused to hand over data from a study they published.

    Heck unpublished study data is often made avalible if a meta analyis is being done.

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