Crowley Tries to Get Data from Jacoby

In 2004, prior to starting Climate Audit, I tried to get data from both Gordon Jacoby and Tom Crowley – neither experience being very pleasant. Climategate-2 emails provide an interest vignette in which Crowley got very frustrated trying to get data from Jacoby in 2008.

I recounted my experience in trying to get data from Jacoby in early CA posts – see In 2004, I’d also sent about 26 emails to Crowley trying to get the data versions used in Crowley and Lowery 2000. Crowley subsequently wrote a defamatory editorial in Eos about the experience, making untrue allegations about my requests. Eos delayed reviewing my reply, then said it was no longer newsworthy and refused to correct it. Crowley recently apologized privately as I mentioned previously.

In fall 2005, as a reviewer of the First Draft of AR4, I requested data under IPCC policies from two then unpublished studies cited in AR4 for which no data had been archived. Ironically, the two studies involved both Jacoby (D’Arrigo et al 2006) and Crowley (Hegerl et al 2007). As CA readers are aware, IPCC refused to require the authors to provide data and referred me to the journals. One of the journals (JGR) was governed by a data polcy (AGU) that theoretically required authors to archive data, but, in paleoclimate, was honored in the breach more than the observance. JGR did not require D’Arrigo et al to archive data. Both Hegerl and D’Arrigo complained back to IPCC about being required to supply data and IPCC WG1 Chair Susan Solomon said that I would be expelled as a reviewer if I asked for data.

In 2003, Mann and Jones 2003 had used Jacoby’s Mongolia series, but only through digitization of the graphic in the original Jacoby publication (with some distortion from the digitization.)

In August 2008, Crowley (email 3118) tried again to get Jacoby’s Mongolia data, this time sending his request to Michael Purdy, the Director of Lamont Doherty:

Subject: problem with one of your people not sharing data

Dear Dr. Purdy:

I am writing to you as the “last course of appeal” – otherwise I wouldn’t bother you from more important work.

For years I and many fellow investigators have been trying to get Gordon Jacoby to share his data on a valuable long tree ring record he has produced from Mongolia.

the efforts have almost always failed – the only exception I know of is when he let Ed Cook use the data – big deal!

after appealing to NSF Gordon did release some of the data to the NOAA data repository but he did not release the synthesized index that is useful for including in other time series – only the raw data from the individual time series

yes one could look at the raw data and compile it oneself but don’t you think it is best to have what the original investigator thinks is the best long term (back to about 900 AD*) reconstruction?

I compile ice core records to develop a unified record of volcanism for the last 2000 years – if an investigator want a copy of my reconstruction I send the final version to them, the one that involved several years work, not the individual cores – the analogy should be the same with Gordon.

as a receiver of tons of federal money Lamont is obligated to share such data, and I KNOW they do so virtually all the time. sadly this is an exception and if I cannot get you to get him to release the synthesized data, then no one will ever have it – it will be a repeat of the Gerard Bond case where he refused to have his data released EVEN AFTER HE DIED (equivalent to giving everyone the finger from your coffin!)

please please – you are really the last hope for us.

with regards,
Tom Crowley
University of Edinburgh
* I specifically list 900 AD because, knowing Gordon, if he were asked by you, he would probably only give it back to 1500 AD unless someone was twisting his arm to give up the whole time series

Phil Jones was copied on this email and forwarded it to Briffa on August 22, 2008.

Crowley’s request to the Lamont Doherty was successful as, on Aug 28, 2008, the chronology was archived at NCDC.

As we’ve seen in other incidents with petulant academics, Lamont Doherty did not notify Crowley that they had archived the chronology.

On November 3, 2008, Crowley contacted Rosanne D’Arrigo, telling her of his lack of success in getting the chronology in August and asking for her help (email 8610:

From: Thomas Crowley
To: “Rosanne D’Arrigo
Subject: last chance

Dear Rosanne,
you may know by now that I appealed to the Director of Lamont to pressure Gordon to release the Mongolia time series composited record back to ~900

He indicated that it might take some time to look into this matter.

for other reasons I would like very much to include this time series in a paper we are now writing, and since I have not heard from the Director of Lamont, I am going to the NSF Director with my complaint.

I hate to put you in the middle of this – I like you and admire your work and don’t want you caught in any crossfire.

but I feel that the community has been exceedingly patient and cordial on this matter and that I am doing this only as a last recourse.

I am willing to wait only until this Thursday (November 6) before I send my message to the NSF Director. I hope very much one final appeal will do it and obviate the need for any public dispute on this matter.

Please Rosanne, you have to make Gordon realize that it is not just him vs the world – you have rights too.

With sincere regards, Tom

ps don’t forget — because the data were already released to Ed Cook (who has honored his promise to Gordon not to release it), Gordon and you are on even more precarious grounds with respect to justifying the withholding of the data from the rest of the community

Lamont Doherty director Purdy had told Crowley that the requested data had been archived in August (4532):

To the best of my knowledge, the data that you are requesting were deposited in the NOAA data bank in August 2008.

In the morning of November 4, 2008 (the day of the US elections), Crowley wrote to Purdy as follows (4532), copying D’Arrigo:

Dear Mike,
thank you very much for your response. but I think Gordon is not being entirely frank with you. The data from individual trees were in fact deposited. But what people really want to know is what the lead author of such a project considers the best guess composite of the individual trees – none extend the entire length of the time series, and they must be spliced together, after making some not-so-simple corrections for the growth rate effect of the trees and the relative importance of “site effects” for different trees (only the person doing the field work really understands that).

Gordon published his best estimate of the composite time series — the one that is most valuable to other climate scientists (who, being less familiar with site idiosyncracies, might not make the right choice in producing their own composite).

The analogy in geophysics might be when someone requests a composite seismic synthesis published on a particular site, and all you release is the individual seismic lines and effectively say – “go to it”. Gordon has repeatedly refused to release this composite to other scientists – EXCEPT to fellow Lamont scientist Ed Cook. If Ed feels more comfortable with Gordon’s composite than one he could produce on his won, surely other scientists even more removed from the procedures must feel the same way.

It is therefore frustrating not only to the field that Gordon won’t release his reconstruction to them, it is doubly frustrating because he has been inconsistent on this matter in giving it to Ed.

I wrote a separate letter to Rosanne D’Arrigo on this matter yesterday, saying that I was at the end of my patience on this matter (it has been going on almost TEN YEARS!), and that I am going to write the Director of NSF on the matter.

Gordon has still not met his obligations to the field and I intend to write that letter unless he releases it immediately. I am sorry it has come to this stage. I am not mad at you or Rosanne (she has been caught in the middle on this fracus).

But the community deserves that composite and I feel the matter has come to the point where either Gordon releases the data or I go to the Director of NSF, with cc’s to the head of Ocean and Atmsopheric Sciences, and head of Directorate.

I apologize in advance for the action, because it seems very determined, but in fact it is really due to one very obstinate person – Gordon – and after ten years my patience is now at an end.
Tom Crowley

Later that day, Jones wrote Briffa and Osborn about the exchange as follows (861), saying that they would only archive cores that were used “if they were mindful to lodge any series”:

subject: Fwd: last chance
Keith, Tim,
These two emails came Tuesday. I seem to be a blind cc on them. I’ve not sent them on to Ed, but you can if you want. I did tell Ed when I saw him in Greece, that Tom Crowley had started this. I am wondering what has got Tom going like this. Tom used to work for 3 years at NSF, so has lots of contacts there. I wonder if Tom has tried to reproduce the chronology from the cores that have been lodged. I would reckon that Gordon/Rosanne would only lodge the cores they have used. It is what we’d do – or what we should do, if we were mindful to lodge any series.

Crowley followed up with Purdy on November 4 (the day of the US election) as follows (5106):

I did not mean to imply that I would send anything to NSF (and probably NOAA) until Lamont has a last chance to shake the reconstruction out of Gordon. I just meant to say the letter will go off in a few days unless I hear otherwise. and again, believe me, I do not want to get Lamont in trouble – I have many fond memories of working with Lamont scientists and overall the institution has been exemplary in sharing – it is just that sometimes you wind up with difficult situations that you haven’t planned for, and this is certainly one of them…..

Purdy replied (5106) that they were closed for the election and that he would revert the next day. Crowley wrote back that that must be exciting.

On November 5, Purdy wrote back (5106) providing an exact URL for the chronology:

Subject: Re: ps
>Tom – I believe that the composite data that you are looking for are at:
Let me know if that is not the case. This is in the Solongotyn Davaa (Tarvagatay Pass) folder that you can get to via
And search on Country: Mongolia and Investigator: Jacoby.
Mike Purdy

On Nov 10, Crowley wrote to D’Arrigo as follows (5106):

subject: [Fwd: Re: ps]
to: “Rosanne D’Arrigo”
I want this business to end just like you – but there is one very puzzling element of this business that leads me to ask further questions: “if this information was available on the web”, why didn’t you just say so? “why didn’t Gordon just say so”? after getting a runaround for years, the community deserves to hear the answer to this.

there is also the business of the Tar Pass (Solongotyn Davaa) extension to 262, and composites for Bairam Uul, Khalzan Khamar, and Khentii Uul – can you give me the status of these?

While checking, I notice that measurement data was recently updated. (In my files, I have two older versions, the most recent as of 2004.)


  1. Jean S
    Posted Dec 3, 2011 at 2:47 PM | Permalink

    Kindergarten games. Correlation stats-file:

    Measurements file updated 11/14/2011 to extend period of record
    to 558-1999 AD. Measurements file previously updated 6/30/2004
    to extend period of record to 900-1999 AD. Chronology files
    updated 8/25/2008, also extending period of record to 900-1999 AD.
    Original version archived with ITRDB had period of record 1475-1994.

    Mann&Jones 2003-version of the chronology (archieved under Jones&Mann 2004) goes back to AD264. So Gordon is still holding some data .. maybe the rest is relesed with a new update around 2015?

  2. pouncer
    Posted Dec 3, 2011 at 2:50 PM | Permalink


    Do you take any smidgen of comfort in knowing, now, that you were NOT singled out for obstruction by the Team? (That is, that they even obstruct the science as conducted by other/fellow Team members, not just players they view as being “on the other side”? )

    Steve – Rob Wilson had told me that Jan Esper had been unable to get data from Hughes. So I was aware of this. It was, however, much worse for me. The emails show examples of data being willingly sent to pals that was refused to me e.g. Mann’s “dirty laundry”.

  3. Hu McCulloch
    Posted Dec 3, 2011 at 3:00 PM | Permalink

    I hadn’t heard of Lamont-Doherty, so I googled it and found that it is Columbia’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory campus in Pallisades NY. An interesting press release about a new article by Laia Andreu-Hales with D’Arrigo, Beck, Goetz and Frank popped up at .

    It reports a new finding that contrary to some “skeptics”, white spruce trees indeed grow faster with higher temperatures, and that the “new” indicator of tree ring density gets around the “divergene problem” that TR width sometimes does not correlate well after 1950 or so. This is odd, given that TR max density (MXD) is what Briffa’s notoriously divergent series measures. The press release specifically mentions that it refutes doubts arising from Climategate.

    According to the press release, trees absorb about 1/3 of human CO2 emissions. But if trees gobble up human CO2 emissions, could it be that those same emissions fatten up the trees? There was no mention in the press release at least of any control of growth for CO2.

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Dec 3, 2011 at 3:20 PM | Permalink

      it makes sense that trees will move north and higher with warming. Treelines seem to me to be a very intuitive (if low-frequency) proxy. Lamb used treelines. The Team denounced treelines as a proxy as not providing annual information.

      • Speed
        Posted Dec 3, 2011 at 6:40 PM | Permalink

        Kultti et al. [Holocene 2006] has just been published in Holocene, showing higher medieval treeelines in northern Finland (27 deg E). This is consistent with the more northerly distribution of oak in medieval Finland reported in Hulden [2001] discussed here and adds to the growing inventory of articles both demonstrating higher medieval treelines and using this to estimate MWP temperatures locally higher than at present, some of which I’ve posted about from time to time Medieval Category. These “local” results from treelines are not limited to the north Atlantic and Greenland, but extend to the Sierra Nevadas (117 W), Sweden, Finland, Polar Urals (65 E) and a Siberian transect (90-100E).

      • dougieh
        Posted Dec 3, 2011 at 8:40 PM | Permalink


        re – “The Team denounced treelines as a proxy as not providing annual information.”

        can you point to where you get this impression/denunciation.

        like you, to a layman (me) treeline movement seem like a common sense overview test for trees against temp.


  4. Posted Dec 3, 2011 at 4:37 PM | Permalink

    Obstructionism as a way of life. Amazing.

  5. Tom C
    Posted Dec 3, 2011 at 5:56 PM | Permalink

    These people are really weird. Why do they feel such a strong need to “own” data and meter it in such byzantine fashion? I’ve never seen this sort of thing in any other field.

    • Streetcred
      Posted Dec 3, 2011 at 6:06 PM | Permalink

      Talk about ‘climate weirding’, this is human weirding caused by the attachment to The Cause.

  6. Posted Dec 3, 2011 at 6:47 PM | Permalink

    This email indicates that Mike Hulme was complaining to Fred Pearce about data availability from fellow climatologists (‘What specific data have you been refused access to?’). Pearce appears to have been checking facts…

    Pearce to Hulme:

    Thanks very much for the paper. And yes, I am most interested in the ECSN
    story. I’ll read your Weather piece and then get back to you. Meanwhile it
    would be useful to have:
    1) names of some other people/organisations likely to have the same complaint as
    2) any ideas you have about standing up the cartel charge. How did it manifest
    itself at the recent meeting? What specific data have you been refused access
    to? Or whatever.

  7. theduke
    Posted Dec 3, 2011 at 8:48 PM | Permalink

    I suppose my last post provides the reason they would keep the data from eachother. In Steve’s case, the reasons for withholding have more to do with the fear of having their work refuted.

  8. theduke
    Posted Dec 3, 2011 at 9:04 PM | Permalink

    Forgive me for thinking on the fly but it occured to me that there is one other reason some of them would not want the data made public: they knew the work was refutable, but they published it anyway because it aided the “cause.”

    In other words, the science was deliberately rigged to come to the proper conclusions and they didn’t want to give anyone the tools to prove it.

    • P. Solar
      Posted Dec 4, 2011 at 3:22 AM | Permalink

      That would seem to be a reasonable conclusion.

      We see, yet again, that the very basis of science: reproducibility, is being deliberately and steadfastly thwarted.

      Scientific validation *requires* reproduction.

      In refusing to release his data for over ten year he is taking the very clear position that he does not want his work validating.

      It is difficult to imagine any other motivation for this other than he knows it will not stand up to inspection.

      Steve; it’s not as simple as that. Jacoby was a field guy and got annoyed at his data being used in multiproxy studies that got more attention than the studies by the guys that did the collection. So Mann annoyed him on that basis. Jacoby’s problem was that he didn’t publish or archive the “bad” data – the data that didn’t show the pattern he was looking for – thereby biasing the literature.

      I think

    • Richard T. Fowler
      Posted Dec 4, 2011 at 9:03 AM | Permalink

      “[. . .] one other reason some of them would not want the data made public: they knew the work was refutable, but they published it anyway because it aided the “cause.” ”

      You know, I’m pretty cynical when it comes to dendros, but I have to admit that it strikes me as being possible that he didn’t _know_ if it was refutable, but didn’t want to take the chance, because to do so posed a _risk_ to the “cause”.

      Just a thought.


  9. P. Solar
    Posted Dec 4, 2011 at 2:54 AM | Permalink

    Both Hegerl and D’Arrigo complained back to IPCC about being required to supply data and IPCC WG1 Chair Susan Solomon said that I would be expelled as a reviewer if I asked for data.

    I think that is probably the most succinct and damning evidence I have seen of how the IPCC functions.

    Is that response in IPCC records?

  10. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Dec 4, 2011 at 5:36 AM | Permalink

    Dendro has not been the same since heating and temp were replaced by eating and hemp.
    While Dendrochronology still seems relatively ok, I deleted Dendrothermometry from my reading list a year ago because it failed several essential tests of science – and scientists – but it’s hard to avoid accidental encounters.

  11. P. Solar
    Posted Dec 4, 2011 at 1:13 PM | Permalink

    Since Ed Cook’s name came up in this discussion , I thought something Jeff Id found from him may be relevent.

    Ed Cook #3253

    the results of this study will show that we can probably say a fair bit about 100 year variability was like with any certainty (i.e. we know with certainty that we know fuck-all).

    Yep that last bit sums it up nicely, it would make a good by-line for the next IPCC report: summary for decision makers.

  12. P. Solar
    Posted Dec 4, 2011 at 1:17 PM | Permalink

    Damn, wordpress screwing around again. To ensure it does not remove this text with less-than and greater-than signs I’ll post with source code tags.

    Ed Cook #3253

        the results of this study will show that we can probably say a fair bit about <100 year extra-tropical NH temperature variability (at least as far as we believe the proxy estimates), but honestly know fuck-all about what the >100 year variability was like with any certainty (i.e. we know with certainty that we know fuck-all).
  13. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Dec 5, 2011 at 11:59 AM | Permalink

    “It reports a new finding that contrary to some “skeptics”, white spruce trees indeed grow faster with higher temperatures, and that the “new” indicator of tree ring density gets around the “divergene problem” that TR width sometimes does not correlate well after 1950 or so. This is odd, given that TR max density (MXD) is what Briffa’s notoriously divergent series measures. The press release specifically mentions that it refutes doubts arising from Climategate.”

    I find these pronouncements from the consensus (primarily from the media but also from the science community) to be so general and vague and unconnected with specific instances and details as to be worthless. I can only hope that so-called skeptics and those criticizing the consensus can avoid discussions of generalities and rather delve into the details of the matter.

  14. MikeN
    Posted Dec 12, 2011 at 2:17 PM | Permalink

    The BCS polls do not release methodology and data to the public. Only one poll does, and that poll was found to have an error, which would have changed the 10th and 11th spots.

  15. Punksta
    Posted Dec 27, 2011 at 5:14 AM | Permalink

    The obvious answer to the data hiding problem is surely for journals to
    – make full archiving a condition of publication
    – delist / retract (or whatever the word is) any papers later found to have been inadequately archived.

    However, since journals like Science and Nature are so doggedly opposed to genuine openness in science, and so do not insist on archiving, what can anyone do about this?

    My suggestion is to start compiling a register of all climate papers, with each entry having
    – an openness rating and details of how to access the archive (if applicable)
    – what journal is is published in
    – reports (eg the IPCC’s) that cite it

    This would provide a quick reference point for anyone wanting to know if data for a given paper is available, as well as shine a light on the openness or otherwise of journals and reports.

    The overall effect would be to highlight what parts of climate science and its core institutions depend on data hiding, the idea being to name and shame them back to more honest practices.

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  2. By Moderate Low Weight « Climate Audit on Dec 4, 2011 at 3:35 PM

    […] NH series has the same six proxies as the main reconstruction plus Jacoby’s Mongolia series (discussed by Steve yesterday) and Fisher’s West Greenland series, both shown in the Eos Figure […]

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