The Met Office is proposing a new international analysis of land surface air temperature data. This is good news in light of the damage done to the credibility of the datasets due to the media misrepresentations arising from the CRU hack. But me thinks celebration is premature — from my small sampling of ‘skeptic’, contrarian and denialist sites, even this will not quell the paranoia.
While there is general positive tone, some are wary:
Dr Iain McQueen
This seems a very good document from the Met Office, and the concept, interestingly suggested a while back by Steve, is very encouraging.
It does seem, in the current climate, so to speak, to put strong emphasis on unhindered accessibilty of the data, and I think importantly homogenization routines. Hopefully a more organized and available record than professor Jones’ might be established!
Could there be a potential for subversion by Government of such a highly centralized and effectively government bought scheme? I do see obvious advantages however in the centralization but I also see risks. Maybe just paranoia!
Some are worried about their taxes:
I read this story at Bishop’s place and I will add the same comment here: the proposed network will obviously require a large amount of funding and therefore to my mind is just another pitch for even more of my taxes. Obviously I would be interested to hear why they think this is needed, given the absolute certainty with which they’ve promoted and sold their existing data.
Here’s an excerpt:
The Met proposal argues says that its old datasets “are adequate for answering the pressing 20th Century questions of whether climate is changing and if so how. Bet they are fundamentally ill-conditioned to answer 21st Century questions such as how extremes are changing and therefore what adaptation and mitigation decisions should be taken.”
Those “21st Century questions” are not small and they are very far from cheap. At Copenhagen, wealthy nations were being asked to spend trillions of dollars on answering them, a deal that only fell through when China, India, and other near-developed nations refused to join the mammoth climate-control deal.
The question after the Met Office’s proposal may be whether environmentalists eager to move those mountains of cash are also ready to stand down until the 21st century questions get 21st century answers.
One can already see the wheels turning on how to spin this.
The current surface temperature datasets were first put together in the 1980s to the best standards of dataset development at that time; they are independent analyses and give the same results, thereby corroborating each other.
In the case of the CRU land surface temperature dataset (CRUTEMP3, which forms the land component of the HADCRUT dataset) there are substantial IPR issues around the raw station data that underpin the dataset: we are actively pursuing resolution of these issues so that the base data can be made openly available. We know that several stations have already been explicitly forbidden from release by the rights’ holders so we will not be able to release all the under-pinning station data.
Consequently we have been considering how the dataset can be brought up to modern standards and made fit for the purpose of addressing 21st Century needs. We feel that it is timely to propose an international effort to reanalyze surface temperature data in collaboration with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which has the responsiblity for global observing and monitoring systems for weather and climate.
There are a number of elements in the proposal, and it looks as if all the complaints and demands of the critics are being taken into consideration, including open access to data and code, independent assessments and comprehensive audit trails to “deliver confidence in the results”.
From the Fox News article:
- “verifiable datasets starting from a common databank of unrestricted data”
- “methods that are fully documented in the peer reviewed literature and open to scrutiny;”
- “a set of independent assessments of surface temperature produced by independent groups using independent methods,”
- “comprehensive audit trails to deliver confidence in the results;”
- “robust assessment of uncertainties associated with observational error, temporal and geographical in homogeneities.”
Here’s an excerpt:
Update on Feb 23, 2010 by Bishop Hill
The text of the Met Office’s proposal (or at least the executive summary thereof) is here. Interestingly it requires the data to be publicly available and the methodology to be published in the peer reviewed literature.
I guess this means that we will have access to the data but not the code. Adjustments to remain a secret then, and remember the warming is all in the adjustments (or it is in the US at least).
While this is potentially a good development, and should quell the criticisms of skeptics that the different organizations responsible for creating these datasets are hiding something, even this won’t satisfy deniers and contrarians of course, who reject AGW for reasons other than science.
Here’s another interesting comment:
Given the climate scientists’ abject failure to challenge or blow the whistle on the shenanigans at CRU and NASA, they are generally the last people who should be put in charge of the project. Perhaps a group from across the spectrum (eg Julia, Prof Curry, etc) could oversee a public effort to rebuild the database of raw data, including if possible the “Zombie stations” and others ignored by GISS.
No disrespect to Dr. Curry and Julia (whoever she is) but come on…
The key here is that the Met office want the business before it is taken away from them… this a pre-emptive strike to retain their control.
The point should also be made the Met Office should not be the Controller of this data, just a user. A user that would have to compete on the new worldwide internet based marketplace of climate studies.
There must be a SEPARATE “OPEN SOURCE” FOUNDATION with a “board” accountable to the people who want to use the data.
I guess this is more proof that the project will not quell the truly tin hat crowd.
I suppose it’s too soon to hope that McI will STFU can now retire and spend his days panning for gold or digging up diamonds somewhere in the wilds of Alberta.