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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

All is lost!

According to the Times….

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.

It seems that

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.

and

… the data were thrown away in the 1980s, a time when climate change was seen as a less pressing issue.

Indeed. That fact, that climate change was once seen a less pressing issue and is now seen as a very pressing issue, explains a lot. Firstly, as the article says, it explains why the basis of the famous Settled Science has now presumably settled even more firmly beneath two decades worth of layers of landfill. I sympathise. Nine times out of ten throwing out piles of tatty old paperwork is a good idea. (Though it would have been more honest for the Climatic Research Unit to have admitted that the data had been thrown away when first asked) And it also goes a long way towards explaining why the CRU, and so many of the scientists involved in climate science, have been behaving so badly despite almost certainly not being very bad men. They had the heady experience of being transformed from obscure boffins to Protectors of the World. To have the captain of the ship turn over the wheel to you, the skilled pilot, for expert guidance in dangerous waters is a grave responsibility but also one that makes you stand a little straighter, no? After all that it would be embarrassing to notice, let alone proclaim, that maybe the waters were not as dangerous as first thought.

When I posted yesterday’s Quote of the Day I should have made it clear, as David Foster does in the link, that it has relevance to the story of the scientists who were, and will be for a while yet, part of the Inner Ring.

20 comments to All is lost!

  • Pat

    So according to CRU no-one actually working there has ever seen the data- since it was thrown away 20 years ago? And in all that time no-one has asked them for it, until now? You couldn’t get a science “O” level on that basis. And since the data was gleaned from others, not actually measured by CRU itself- it shouldn’t be too difficult to ask the original sources to re-supply the information.
    I note that raw data is available for both New Zealand and France- and unadjusted shows a flat trend. Given the amount of urbanisation over the last century I woulld expect any adjustment to be don, not up.
    And as for throwing out old papers being generally a good idea- in the home yes, but at an establishment studying (or purporting to study) climate history? Lets hope the curator of the British Museum doesn’t take a hint- though doubtless the building would look tidier if all that old junk were put in landfill.

  • What interests me at this point is the why does anyone still believe in AGW? Other than the human hating Gaia worshippers like Al Gore etc.

    Where is the untainted, non fraudulent evidence for human induced climate change ?

    As long as we are quoting C S Lewis I think that this line from “That Hideous Strength” is appropriate “If anything wants Andrew Mac Phee to believe in its existence, I’ll be obliged if it will present itself in full daylight, with a sufficient number of witnesses present, and not get shy if you hold up a camera or a thermometer.”

  • Taylor asked:

    “Where is the untainted, non fraudulent evidence for human induced climate change?”

    I am trying now to do a posting in answer to exactly that, as best I can, because I consider that to be the absolute key question right now.

    Provisional answer and the easy front runner at present, although this may change: nowhere. It’s all made-up bollocks. The only untainted evidence is evidence of nothing in the slightest bit scary. The evidence for very scary things is all now blown to smithereens.

    As to why people believe otherwise, my attitude is: later. As in: I’ll get to that early to mid next week. Let me try first to be sure about whether there is any decent evidence still standing in favour of AGW and the End of the World, etc. etc. Like I say, my provisional opinion is: none. All gone. But let me firm that up first.

    Meanwhile, any comments in answer to that particular prejudice on my part would be much appreciated.

  • Further thought, though.

    I think a distinction should be made, which I already implied, but did not spell out, in my comment above, between “human induced climate change”, and “human induced catastrophic climate change”. I regard the former as pretty much inevitable, and very trivial comapred to all the other forces in play. I now know of no argument to even suggest that the latter is happening.

  • peter II paleologos

    The maddening bit in the Sunday Times is a column by Charles Clover pointing to the irony of “angry bloggers” getting excited just at the time where, er, lots of rain fell on the Lake District, “entirely consistent with predicted rainfall patterns”.

    You see Mr Clover, that’s just the kind of nonsense that we’re all so sick of. Please show me the research that predicts and explains convincingly why CO2 levels will cause it to rain in Cockermouth (I mean, more than usual – I’ve been there myself 25 years ago when we had 6 inches of rain in one day and no-one batted an eyelid).

    Otherwise if you keep playing that stupid game, then so will I. I’m going skiing next weekend in Val d’Isere where it is currently snowing way down the valley far below the resort. In November. Therefore all warm-mongerers are idiots. There you go.

  • Brad

    have been behaving so badly despite almost certainly not being very bad men. They had the heady experience of being transformed from obscure boffins to Protectors of the World. To have the captain of the ship turn over the wheel to you, the skilled pilot, for expert guidance in dangerous waters is a grave responsibility but also one that makes you stand a little straighter, no?

    And Uncle Adolf perceived himself a misunderstood artist called on by Providence to lead his people. Every tyrant has been fueled by Good. They aren’t excused because their heart was in the right place. Force is Force, style points aren’t given because flowers are twined around the barrel of the gun. And the apparatchiki who flesh out the ranks aren’t excused either.

  • “peter II paleologos”

    I couldn’t see anything wrong with the name “Manuel” to be honest… ;-)

    I notice the Sunday Times have finally got their collective finger out – a full week after the story broke. Useless cretins.

  • When they say “lost”, they mean lost in a special way. Imagine you are collecting a database of temperature statistics. You input the data, and dispose of the no longer needed input media. You are tweaking and correcting them as you go. Now you run a program to collect a summary, and publish a paper. And then you carry on adding (and tweaking) statistics to the database. Adjusting and improving your programs, and so on.

    Ten years later, somebody asks for the data you used to generate the original paper. Problem is, you’ve got no idea of what the state of the database was at the time. That was thousands of additions and hundreds of tweaks ago. You have no regular backups, no archives, no records of what you’ve done. Because after all, why should you keep a record of the old data when you know the new version is so much better? It makes no sense, and would be a waste of valuable storage space.

    And so you tell the enquirers to get knotted. You know what you’re doing, why should these amateurs be allowed to come in and rip 25 years of work to shreds?

    But then some fool politician passes the FOIA, and you’re suddenly told you have to share your data. “Oh God!” What are you going to do?! You don’t have it any more, and it’s going to be a nightmare to reconstruct.

    This, I believe, is the desperate genesis of the HARRY_READ_ME.txt file. Some poor sod (called Ian “Harry” Harris, it is generally suspected) was given the miserable job of going back through the stinking tangled mass of code and intermediate results to try to reconstruct what was done. We gather that several years of late nights and working weekends were involved. Most of the software people who have looked at the file have expressed deep sympathy for the poor fellow. Many of us have been there.

    You are utterly trapped! On the one hand, reconstructing the data is impossible, on the other, admitting what you’ve done is unthinkable, and increasing legal pressure is getting ever closer to forcing a choice, and the politics in the run-up to Copenhagen is doubling and redoubling the stakes. And yet at no point in the whole process did you do anything you consider to be wrong.

    I wonder, did the release of the emails maybe even come as something of a relief? Yes, you are now going to be pilloried before the entire world, but at least the agonising wait is over. And in a few months time, it might even pass. And you can relax in your enforced retirement in that little cottage with roses over the door, instead of that sword of Damocles. Looking at it on a human level, wouldn’t it be nice if that was so?

  • RRS

    And the library at Alexandria was burnt.

    The living went on to learn, in other ways, other things.

    RRS

  • steve

    I found this amusing

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9sZx90EH8N8&feature=player_embedded

    Is there some possibility climategate could expand into reportergate?

  • lucklucky

    For the state of disaster that Mainstream Media is maybe i should welcome that The Times reports news from Months ago…

    Anyway. We don’t know enough about climate. So all that we have are conjectures and hypothesis.
    I try to induce people to research how climate data is collected, its sources, from how much of Land and Sea Atmosphere it came from. It is easy to see we today can’t measure Earth Temperature reliably to the 2º-3ºC. It is impossible, there are large chunks of the Planet we don’t have data to begin with.

  • peter II paleologos

    I couldn’t see anything wrong with the name “Manuel” to be honest… ;-)

    Dunno – it seemed to irk Kim du Toit, so I used my real name. Sort of.

    There’s an interesting bit by Brian Appleyard in the magazine who seems pretty convinced, even by James Lovelock. That’s fair enough – there are plenty of reasons to be alarmed. But as Lomborg says, being alarmed is not a reason to invest in mitigations which we know to be useless and cost more than, say, ridding the world of malaria, and he doesn’t have a good counter to that.

    Still, good to see the matter being debated and to see the warm-mongerers lose a bit of their pious certainty. I’d be happy to believe it all if I ever saw a rational counter to objections, but I never have – all I’ve seen is name-calling and this “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” high-handedness.

  • newrouter

    This might be of interest:

    Global Warming Fraud and the Future of Science
    By J.R. Dunn
    The East Anglia Climate Research Unit (CRU) revelations come as no real surprise to anyone who has closely followed the global-warming saga. The Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) thesis, to give it its semi-official name, is no stranger to fraud. It is no real exaggeration to state that it was fertilized with fraud, marinated in fraud, stewed in fraud, and at last served up to the world as prime, grade-A fraud with nice side orders of fakery and disingenuousness. Damning as they may be, the CRU e-mails are merely the climactic element in an exhaustively long line.

    A short tour of previous AGW highlights includes:

    (Link)

  • Roue le Jour

    Thanks for the link, newrouter. That’s an excellent piece.

  • Have you, ladies and gentlemen, seen this?

    It’s pretty jaw-dropping, and I am only about 1/10 of the way down the page myself.

  • Tedd

    It’s unclear to me exactly what has been lost. If the CRU collected data from sources around the world, would it be correct to assume that those sources still have the original data? If so, it’s then at least theoretically possible to independently construct a new analysis from the original data.

    Surely, it can’t be true that the CRU had the only copy of the source data, and erased it.

  • Kevin B

    Tedd, as I understand the situation, most of the data is recoverable from original sources. There is a possibility that some of the early paper records are not recoverable which would be a big loss to science.

    The other thing that may not be recoverable is which stations were used and what corrections were applied to the stations. From my reading of the CRUtapes so far it appears that most of poor Harry’s job was to recreate V2 of the HadCru temperature series, then update it to V3. It didn’t go well.

  • I read recently that it is now being argued that this claim, about stuff having been lost in 1980, is also a lie. Actually, it is being said, the dumping of this stuff happened much more recently, only after the FoI requests started arriving. The proof being that they did, quite recently, some calculations or whatever with recent stuff, which they could only have done if they still had the original stuff.

    These CRU people are so deep in the mud of mendacity that nothing they say can now to trusted, about anything. They now say when they lost their original data, picking the least disreputable moment they can. But we shouldn’t take their word for that either.

    Let me see if I can find a link. Yes, found it! Here.

  • Reminds me of that Sunday Sport headline:

    “WW2 Bomber Found on Moon has DISAPPEARED”

  • Laird

    Iowahawk has put his typically clever spin on the story.