Tuesday, December 22

ClimateGate: CRU Scientists Did Destroy Data. Their defense is pure BS

Many of the ClimateGate issues have to deal with the raw data used by the scientists as proof that the world is warming. This is an issue because the scientists have taken raw weather readings and made corrections to this data which seem to alter the trend of the readings. Watts Up With That? has been documenting this scandal/fraud, with the Darwin weather readings a perfect example of how other scientists adjustments resulted in a warming trend where none was observed before.

(Analysis from Watts Up With That?)

In the above example it is possible to analyze what kind of corrections have been made as both the raw data and the adjusted data were available. Thanks to the availability of the raw data, other researchers discovered that the corrections applied to the data grew over time, effectively creating evidence of global warming where there was none before. Even more odd, is that the corrections were made to the newer data rather than older readings, as I would expect the more-recent readings to be more accurate/compatible with readings taken in the present. (Maybe there is a reason for this that I am not aware of, so it is posted as mere comment)

Unfortunately, at the moment, it is not possible to create similar graphs for other weather station readings being used to 'prove' Global Warming because the raw data from the UK's Climate Research Unit is not available because the scientists destroyed their raw data.

Of course they deny destroying the raw data.
CRU scientist: "We haven't destroyed anything. The data is still there." According to an October 14 Greenwire article, Phil Jones, director of the Climatic Research Unit, said, "We haven't destroyed anything. The data is still there -- you can still get these stations from the [NOAA] National Climatic Data Center." The article said that Jones' statement came after the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) "blasted the research unit for the 'suspicious destruction of its original data.' " The article further noted that Jones "said that the vast majority of the station data was not altered at all" and that "[t]he research unit has deleted less than 5 percent of its original station data because the stations had several discontinuities or were affected by urbanization trends, Jones said." - MediaMatters
Simply put, this is a BS answer. Just because the data still exists 'somewhere' does not mean that they did not destroy the data. After all, how is anyone going to be able to check their work if there is no confirmed starting point? How can anyone be sure that Phil Jones or anyone in his team started with raw data and not data already adjusted by the source? How can anyone be sure that they used the right data and not another set of data by mistake? We can't. At least not without working backwards; taking the adjusted data and undoing the corrections made to get back to the original numbers. This of course would require the record of adjustments made. However, it does not seem likely that we are going to get access to this information. That is very convenient given that there are two unknowns, the raw data and the corrections, which then prevents any analysis of the corrected data. And when you are talking about a change of only 1 degree, it becomes very easy for a scientist to adjust the data to back up his work, in this case a planet that is warming. (They then of course simply blame humans as the cause of rising temperatures)

Worse, given that there is no official starting point, any attempt to deconstruct their work can simply be met with the response that they did it wrong. Also, by being the first ones, their work, no matter how flawed, becomes the version that has to be disproven by others, even though they themselves cannot possibly prove their work without the raw data that they started with.

To Summarize:
  • The claim is that the CRU did not destroy data in that the data exists elsewhere. This is not accurate for two reasons.
  1. We need to see the base readings in order to better understand the adjustments made
  2. We need to be able to confirm that the source data they are using matches the data from the source itself.
  • Now, it should be able to work backwards to get the source data by undoing the corrections that they made. However, there has been no mention of releasing that information. Without that information and without the source data that we started with their work cannot be accurately checked.
  • So, there are two pieces of data that is needed in addition to their adjusted numbers
  1. - Source numbers
  2. - Corrections
  • Scientists can do with one of the two to get the other, but with both ‘missing’ it is impossible as there are two variables. Plus, the suggestion that they could destroy the source data because it exists elsewhere is bogus. That data is the starting point of their analysis. They should have it. Period.
  • In some respects the data on the corrections made are more important than the raw data given that this is where they would introduce their bias if they wanted to.
There are many bigger issues but that does not mean that the scientists should get a free pass in this area. Not for anything, but this 'trivial' issue makes the job of checking their work that much more difficult, if not impossible.

That said, if the scientists cannot release the raw data that they started with, then they should release the adjusted numbers as well as the information on the corrections made to get to these numbers used for their study. This is especially important given that there are questions concerning the types of corrections made in addition to issues about the raw data itself.

After all, in something this important, they should have to 'show their work' just like the rest of us.
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