Open and Transparent Data Needed for Reproducibility and Verification of the Climate Models

Watts up with that explains the core of the Climategate issues

CRU’s decision to withhold data and code from public inspection is not only against the scientific method, given the impact their work has on governmental policies and taxpayer funded programs, it is, in my opinion, unethical. – Anthony Watts

(H/T J Storrs Hall at Foresight who also has two articles that explain more about how science works and Why raw data is important

George Monbiot, a climate change activist and author, says the following

But there are some messages that require no spin to make them look bad. There appears to be evidence here of attempts to prevent scientific data from being released and even to destroy material that was subject to a freedom of information request.

Worse still, some of the emails suggest efforts to prevent the publication of work by climate sceptics or to keep it out of a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. I believe that the head of the unit, Phil Jones, should now resign. Some of the data discussed in the emails should be re-analysed.

Those who are making the case about climate change need to do the extra work to address the doubts about the data and about the lack of transparency.

Some of the raw data has been dumped

Scientists at the University of East Anglia (UEA) have admitted throwing away much of the raw temperature data on which their predictions of global warming are based. The data were gathered from weather stations around the world and then adjusted to take account of variables in the way they were collected. The revised figures were kept, but the originals — stored on paper and magnetic tape — were dumped to save space when the CRU moved to a new building.

The CRU is the world’s leading centre for reconstructing past climate and temperatures. Climate change sceptics have long been keen to examine exactly how its data were compiled. That is now impossible.

There is also reports that data was deleted on purpose in 2009.

Steven McIntyre had sought release of CRU’s data under the UK Freedom of Information Act. At first, Jones simply refused this and several similar requests from other parties. Then on July 27, 2009, CRU erased three key files from its public database, as Mr. McIntyre can prove easily because he has before-and-after screenshots. CRU followed up, in short order, with what McIntyre and some of his readers called an “unprecedented” “purge” of its public data directory. McIntyre’s screenshots tell a breathtaking story of wholesale removal of files previously made available to the public, including, at one point, the deletion of every single listing in Phil Jones’ public directory. Anthony Watts summed up the situation in one word: “panic.”

CRU has posted its response that over 95% of the raw data is public

Our global temperature series tallies with those of other, completely independent, groups of scientists working for NASA and the National Climate Data Center in the United States, among others. Even if you were to ignore our findings, theirs show the same results. The facts speak for themselves; there is no need for anyone to manipulate them.

We have been bombarded by Freedom of Information requests to release the temperature data that are provided to us by meteorological services around the world via a large network of weather stations. This information is not ours to give without the permission of the meteorological services involved. We have responded to these Freedom of Information requests appropriately and with the knowledge and guidance of the Information Commissioner.

Wall Street Journal assessment of the CRU response: The response from the defenders of Mr. Mann and his circle has been that even if they did disparage doubters and exclude contrary points of view, theirs is still the best climate science. The proof for this is circular. It’s the best, we’re told, because it’s the most-published and most-cited—in that same peer-reviewed literature. The public has every reason to ask why they felt the need to rig the game if their science is as indisputable as they claim.

Accuracy and Quality of the Climate Model Code

Ronald Bailey at summarizes some of the analysis of the CRU models.

British statistician William Briggs is not impressed by the CRU climatologists’ statistical acumen:

8 out 9 things are statistical factors that boost statistical uncertainty are not covered by CRU. Just one of the factors boosts uncertainty by 2 to ten times.

Detailed analysis of the climate modelling program code has begun

Any large computer programs will have bugs. The climate modelling code should be open source and public so that everyone knows exactly what is being done to produce the climate models and bugs can be found and corrected.

Climate change models were used by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) to set policy and is being used to set international policy which effects many billions and even trillions of dollars in projects.

Absolute openness and transparency is needed for the data and computer models on which the discussions and decisions are based.

Many of the policy changes that are being made based on the climate change case can also be made based on air pollution. I think the air pollution case is more solid. Air pollution has been correlated with increased health risks and deaths. Climate change needs to have accurate science and then let the policy decisions go where they will based on accurate science.