Open-Sourcing the Global Warming Debate

The email and documents recently netjacked from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia raise serious questions about the quality of the research being used to underpin major public-policy decisions.

In the open-source software community, we understand about human error and sloppiness and the tendency to get too caught up in a pet theory. We know that the most effective way way to combat these tendencies is transparency of process — letting the code speak for itself, and opening the sources to skeptical peer review by anyone.

There is only one way to cut through all of the conflicting claims and agendas about the CRU’s research: open-source it all. Publish the primary data sets, publish the programs used to interpret them and create graphs like the well-known global-temperature “hockey stick”, publish everything. Let the code and the data speak for itself; let the facts trump speculation and interpretation.

We know, from experience with software, that secrecy is the enemy of quality — that software bugs, like cockroaches, shun light and flourish in darkness. So, too. with mistakes in the interpretation of scientific data; neither deliberate fraud nor inadvertent error can long survive the skeptical scrutiny of millions. The same remedy we have found in the open-source community applies – unsurprisingly, since we learned it from science in the first place. Abolish the secrecy, let in the sunlight.

AGW true believers and “denialists” should be able to agree on this: the data get the last word, because without them theory is groundless. The only way for the CRU researchers to clear themselves of the imputation of serious error or fraud is full disclosure of the measurement techniques, the raw primary data sets, the code used to reduce them, and of their decisions during the process of interpretation. They should have nothing to hide; let them so demonstrate by hiding nothing.

The open-source community has many project-hosting sites that are well adapted for this sort of disclosure. If they require assistance in choosing one and learning how to create and manage an open-source project, I and many others in the open-source community will be happy to provide it.

For the future, we need to restore the basic standards of science. No secrecy: no secrecy of data, no secrecy of experimental methods, no secrecy of data-reduction or modeling code. Such transparency and accountability are especially vital when the public-policy stakes are large. This is among the excellent reasons that both the US and UK have Freedom of Information Acts, and the logic of those acts has perhaps never applied more pressingly than it does here.

61 thoughts on “Open-Sourcing the Global Warming Debate

  1. Tag line, seen on another blog, regarding this subject:

    Why, yes, I will have a side of gloat go to with the schadenfreude, thank you!

  2. I can’t believe journals let them publish without showing their data and letting everyone have the code. I *was* a scientist. You have to agree to turn over anything to anyone if you publish in these journals. But the rules were somehow different for the global warming guys.

    (In fact, once we did have to threaten another lab with going to the journal they published in, because they were dragging their feet about sending the DNA for their protein which we were interested in looking at.)

    Furthermore, it’s *tax* money paying for it all anyway — where do they get off calling it propietary?

    Sorry, but nothing they did looked like science (and the emails prove it) which is why I never believed it to begin with.

  3. Good idea. It’s not going to happen. They’ve already been asked to do this and categorically refused.

  4. Agreed. 100%.

    I still believe that the theory of AGW will be vindicated in the end, but I’m not attached to it. If I’m wrong, hey, party time.

  5. >Good idea. It’s not going to happen. They’ve already been asked to do this and categorically refused.

    If it doesn’t happen, we’ll know they were scamming all along. Useful outcome either way.

  6. AGW true believers and “denialists” should be able to agree on this: the data get the last word, because without them theory is groundless. The only way for the CRU researchers to clear themselves of the imputation of serious error or fraud is full disclosure of raw primary data sets, of the code used to reduce them, and of their decisions during the process of interpretation. They should have nothing to hide; let them so demonstrate by hiding nothing.

    I totally agree. My problem is that the raw data does not appear to be available for scrutiny. We only get someone’s twisted, biased view, and that’s the point I was trying to make in the last article. If we really, really, had the raw data in front of us, for all of us, AGW ‘true believers’ and ‘denialists’ alike, then one thing is for certain: the data, if properly collected, does not lie. The truth will be found, and I’m willing to contribute code and CPU cycles to analyzing it, if necessary. I guess at point I was a ‘true believer’; but the more I see the more skeptical I’ve become.

  7. # Jeff Read Says:
    > I still believe that the theory of AGW will be vindicated in the end, but I’m not attached to it. If I’m wrong, hey, party time.

    No Jeff, not party time. Time for mourning. Mourning how much wealth has been lost. Mourning for how many people have died. Mourning for the loss of so much of value and so much that is good on the altar of the political agendas of a small number of people.

    Not a party. Mourning.

  8. I have felt in my bones for some time that all this hoopla about global warming and climate change was utter bs. Yet certain people kept beating us over the head with scientific consensus and the debate being over. Hogwash.

    People like Al Gore are making a tremendous amount of money off of this hoax. They will not let go of it lightly.

    Anyone here remember in the 70s when it was all about global cooling?

    This whole thing about climate change is the perfect reason to take control of more and more of our lives…. from what kind of toilet you can use, what light bulbs you can use, what kind of car you can drive, what food you can eat, etc ad nauseum.

    If you really care about freedom, don’t fall for this crap. The advocates of it are mendacious and have discredited themselves.

  9. # JessicaBoxer Says:

    > “No Jeff, not party time. Time for mourning. Mourning how much wealth has been lost. Mourning for how many people have died. Mourning for the loss of so much of value and so much that is good on the altar of the political agendas of a small number of people.”

    If I didn’t know better, I’d think that capitalism had been abolished and Jeff had suggested celebrating, and that you were reading my mind.

  10. >Yet certain people kept beating us over the head with scientific consensus and the debate being over.

    And now, I think, those people are going to pay. Because it could still be that full disclosure will vindicate the AGW crowd, but having read the CRU material…I don’t think so. In all of the scenarios that are now plausible, those who bayed the loudest about “consensus” and howled for the persecution of “denialists” are now set up for a hard fall.

  11. It is indeed a sad day for science when a story like this comes out, and it is shameful the mainstream media is ignoring this. However, it saddens me even more to see how it arms AGW-skeptics, gives them so much ammunition to work with…

    So the world’s temperatures aren’t increasing like their models predicted, fine, but really people, pollution is still a big problem, maybe not in our time or our childrens’ time, but somewhere down the line, there’s going to be a price to pay, and maybe our descendants won’t have the technological ability to solve the problem. I would say it’s best to nip this problem in the bud, how? I don’t know, and I’m sad because research groups like the CRU were supposed to show us.

    While I agree that better science than what has been shown so far should influence policy decisions, reading their correspondence, on can see an environment of reaction to their skeptics, wanting only to present data that their skeptics could not interpret differently. This is of course in no way good science, but alas, mere humans with all the flaws that condition entails are staffing the CRU..

    To return to the temperatures, yes, they aren’t increasing as predicted, but the oceans are acidifying, and weather systems are displaying more extreme weather, and yes, sea levels are rising. I am typing this on a laptop in a certain south pacific country. I have seen with my own eyes the insidious creep of the waves. Of course, a deeper question would not be how we could stop anthropogenic climate change, but whether we should. Mass extinctions and consequent adaptive radiation of surviving species have happened many times (as shown in the geological record), and from a more detached perspective, we could ask “Should we really get in the way of this cycle, which seems to knock less fit species out of existence, that has been repeating itself for millions of years?”

  12. A couple of years ago I remember being able to download both temperature and carbon data from at least a 100,000 years ago to present day in a text format. About two weeks ago I went searching for the raw data again (I couldn’t find it on the original data I had download on my computer) in response to another thread on this blog. I wasn’t able to find any raw data sets online anymore, which seemed strange to me at the time.

    I sort of resent the lack of trust the AGW community must have in people like me by hiding the raw data. I would love to get that stuff, read a few of the papers, do my own analysis and come to my own conclusions. I don’t have the expertise to predictively model future warming (or cooling) and wouldn’t try. However, I do have the training to look at real, raw temperature data from the last 10,000 years and determine if what we are seeing now is unusual or not. If anybody can link to such raw data in the climate-gate bundle somewhere online, that would be really cool. I apologize, I’m kind of lazy haven’t been going through it myself.

  13. >So the world’s temperatures aren’t increasing like their models predicted, fine, but really people, pollution is still a big problem,

    Agreed. One of the reasons AGW flimflam angers me is that it crowds out sane, constructive environmentalism. An environmental lobby that really cared about saving the planet would be agitating for crash programs to replace the burning of fossil fuels with nuclear energy; buying up rainforest acreage to stem loss of biodiversity; funding research into better battery- and supercap-based storage technology so low-density renewable power sources could be aggregated into baseload power. But the environmentalists we have won’t do these things, because they’re fixated on the wrong problems and the wrong means of solving even those.

  14. From the HARRY_READ_ME.txt file, it’s not clear that uncorrupted temperature data is available from CRU, so you could open source the garbage data, and I’m all for it, but it wouldn’t mean much. The temperature satellites were launched in 1979 and might be the only really valid data available.

  15. >You could open source the garbage data, and I’m all for it, but it wouldn’t mean much.

    That in itself would be valuable. If the historical temperature data were generally known to be garbage (which I was pretty sure was true even before the leak), it couldn’t be used to justify public policy that is both bad and expensive – like the U.S.’s “cap-and-trade” bill in progress, which has so many giveaways and exemptions that it subverts its own ostensible purposes.

  16. No Jeff, not party time. Time for mourning. Mourning how much wealth has been lost. Mourning for how many people have died. Mourning for the loss of so much of value and so much that is good on the altar of the political agendas of a small number of people.

    LOL WHAT

    The amount of money spent by the US government on global warming since 1989 [source] is about half a percent of the US GDP in 2008 [source]. My google fu is not strong enough to find stats on deaths due to global warming countermeasures, but I’d give you 3:1 odds that the number killed in that time is less than the number killed in car accidents in one year.

    Get a grip.

  17. > Not a party. Mourning.

    It’s called a Wake.

    And as a born-and-bred Conservative, I agree with both Marko and and ESR in that we NEED to focus on reducing pollution, we NEED to work on sustainable technologies and on increasing efficiencies.

    But AGW was never about pollution. Carbon Dioxide is not a pollutant in most parts of the ecosystem, it is a CRITICAL nutrient for most plant life.

    One poster in a different forum asserted that “recycling is a good thing”. I’ve not seen the numbers in the last 10 years, but in the 90s only glass and aluminum were worth recycling. Plastic recycling is HUGELY problematic, especially for food grade polymers. Paper is usually not worth the effort to recycle, especially if you’re using coal to fire the electrical plants. (Coal isn’t problematic because of the CO2 it releases, but because of the radioactive material and mercury, amount other solids). In fact, if you take uncoated paper printed with soy-based inks you might just be better off shoving that crap in your compost pile, or burying it in a landfill.

    If we can bury (rationally, with good science) Global Warming for good, we can then focus on moving to renewable fuel sources like bio-fuels (again it looks like bad science made ethanol look bad, either that or bad science is making it look good again) which we can tailor to our desired enviroment MUCH more efficiently and effectively than “sweet light crude”.

    The problem is that these asswipes have demonstrated to “the masses” that not only can individual scientists not be trusted, but that the process of science can be co-opted. Which means that it’s going to be a LOT harder to get good science accepted.

    We may not be able to destroy the planet, but without good stewardship we CAN make it a much more miserable place to live.

  18. # esr Says:
    > buying up rainforest acreage to stem loss of biodiversity;

    It is not obvious to me why biodiversity is such an important goal. I am all for free market solutions such as this, by why is saving a particular species of rodent in Brazil so important, for example? Biodiversity is really only important at a local level AFAIK.

    And although you do not mention it, one of the other big concerns with the rainforest is that as the “lungs of the planet” we could be reducing the amount of oxygen production. Putting aside whether that is even true or not, it strikes me as an odd argument. If I cut down the rain forest (and use the wood to build houses and furniture), then I plant wheat, am I not doing more to remove C02? After all the C02 is now in the house frame and dresser drawer, and every year I suck up some more to make new crops of wheat. Fast growing and frequently harvested crops are surely better at converting CO2 to oxygen.

    I often get email from people who sanctimoniously add “Please consider the environment before printing this email.” Seems to me that if you consider the environment you would print it several times. After all, the paper it is printed on comes from a tree, the tree fixes CO2 in the form of starches. When the tree is cut down, a new one is planted. When my email goes in a landfill it quickly degrades and stores the carbon in a bio available form in the ground. This seems like an environmentalists dream to me. (Please people, for the love of the environment, PLEASE print out this web page a few times.)

  19. esr > There is only one way to cut through all of the conflicting claims and agendas about the CRU’s research: open-source it all.

    Steve McIntyre (www.climateaudit.org) and Anthony Watts (wattsupwiththat.com) have been doing just that. Their sites have evolved from blogs to forums with vigorous debates of data, methods and issues. I am not a climate scientist, but I have learned a lot about data analysis from following their sites. In a sane world, these guys would get the Nobel prize and not Al Gore.

  20. It is not obvious to me why biodiversity is such an important goal. I am all for free market solutions such as this, by why is saving a particular species of rodent in Brazil so important, for example? Biodiversity is really only important at a local level AFAIK.

    Well, as ecologists would put it, our ecosystem is a delicate balancing act and the eradication of species destabilizes it. Think about what happened in Europe in the mid-12th century after some superstitious people decided to kill all the cats. It resulted in a surge in the rat population, which, ultimately, resulted in the Black Plague, killing off between 30 and 50% of Europe’s population. That’s just from the killing off of common house cats; what other problems are we causing by killing off the species we are today?

  21. Absolutely 100% agreed.
    I’m not sure if some of the original old datasets survive, according to Steve McIntyre.
    Although, honestly, we shouldn’t even have to ask for this.

  22. This is the way science is SUPPOSED to work. Publish your theory, your data you observed trying to prove the falsified version of your theory, and allow others to reproduce your results or attempt other falsifications to break it down. The problem with climate change theories is that they are trying to explain data without falsifiable claims that can be tested. That makes it debate about it effectively religious instead of scientific.

  23. After all the C02 is now in the house frame and dresser drawer, and every year I suck up some more to make new crops of wheat. Fast growing and frequently harvested crops are surely better at converting CO2 to oxygen.

    Food crops don’t really count, because most of the carbon associated with them is eaten and eventually exhaled by whoever eats them.

  24. The fact is, secrecy is still usually the rule for data and code used to produce scientific papers. I speak of first hand experience (nothing to do with climate research). I cannot open source the code I developed in my previous research groups, nor put any data out. I am not aware of any public dataset in road safety for example. This is a shame to the scientific community.

    And as Eric mentions, bugs and errors lurk in the darkness. One often finds errors once a paper is accepted and published, because one rushes to produce results typically for a conference deadline. Obviously, the best strategy should be to open everything, especially related to any publication. This is my plan for future research, but this is not easy.

  25. # Tom Dickson-Hunt Says:
    > Food crops don’t really count, because most of the carbon
    > associated with them is eaten and eventually exhaled by
    > whoever eats them.

    Metabolism isn’t really that efficient Tom, especially if you start the process at the wheat seed.

  26. Jessica – biodiversity is important for the same reason that data backups are important. We appear to be in the midst of an extinction level event comparable to the KT boundary, and possibly a Permian level event.

    While I consider Norman Borlaug to be arguably the most important public figure of the 20th Century, his efforts have also made our food crops MUCH more vulnerable to rusts and blights, because we no longer have the diversity of plants being raised to cultivate resistant strains from.

    Overspecialized species experience die-offs. Ours can suffer that same fate. Most species that have die offs do so from invasive predation, or because they overconsume their resources.

    As to storing carbon, rainforest versus plantation crops, an acre of rainforest sequesters about 20x the carbon that an acre of crops does, just in cellulose, and that cellulose isn’t burned at the end of the harvest. (This is based off of the mass of trees removed from an acre of rainforest, versus knowing the ratio of corn stalk to corn head, and knowing how many bushels of corn are harvested per acre.)

    That being said, most of the oxygen transfer on our planet comes from algae, and the environmental impact from converting rain forest into crop lands (or grazing lands, which is even worse) is horrible.

  27. Marko Says:

    So the world’s temperatures aren’t increasing like their models predicted, fine, but really people, pollution is still a big problem …

    I don’t think any reasonable person would disagree that practical and systematic solutions to fossil fuels are required. But that is not what has been proposed by AGW alarmists. It has become a religion vying for power, influence and control. Control of a molecule. A ubiquitous molecule, without which life itself cannot exist. If we as free people grant governments the authority to regulate and control a molecule, it trumps everything. Forget about civil, Constitutional or any statutory rights. They don’t even need money. They control breath.

  28. # Ken Burnside Says:
    > Jessica – biodiversity is important for the same reason that
    > data backups are important.

    So would you be OK if instead of dedicating billions of acres of land to the task, if we simply put a diverse sample ins storage instead?

    > We appear to be in the midst of an extinction level event
    > comparable to the KT boundary, and possibly a Permian level event.

    Wasn’t the KT boundary event the one that gave rise to mammals like “Ken Burnside”? Are you opposed to such a thing?

    > While I consider Norman Borlaug to be arguably the most important
    > public figure of the 20th Century, his efforts have also made our food
    > crops MUCH more vulnerable to rusts and blights, because we no longer
    > have the diversity of plants being raised to cultivate resistant strains from.

    Let me ask you a question Ken. Restricting our discussion of food sources both plant and animal, do countries like the USA that tend to use carefully cultivated and managed crops suffer more or less famines and food shortages than countries that used the wild, supposedly diverse breeds? What about if you compare on a historical axis instead of a geographical one?

    Do you think it more likely that a purely wild species, with broad genetic diversity, is more likely to die out than a domesticated, highly selectively bred species, for example a cow?

    Would you accept that selective breeding is used both to increase yield and to increase hardiness?

    > acre of rainforest sequesters about 20x the carbon that an acre of
    > crops does, just in cellulose, and that cellulose isn’t burned at the
    > end of the harvest.

    What about if the crop is trees, and you cut them down every ten years. Is the wild thing still better? Would you concede that buying furniture and knick-knacks made of “exotic” woods directly contributes to reducing the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere? Will you accept my position that printing out this web page is also reducing the CO2 in the atmosphere?

    (Not, by the way, that I concede that that is necessarily a laudable goal.)

  29. >Would you accept that selective breeding is used both to increase yield and to increase hardiness?

    Of course it is. But Ken is right to be concerned about the possibility of a monoculture being wiped out by a mutant version of a blight or common pest. The danger is very real.

  30. There is some danger but it is very small.

    There is no monoculture of anything that I am aware of. I think there is more genetic diversity in cultivated crops now than there was in the wild crops they were developed from, because cultivated crops are bred to retain occasional beneficial mutations, like disease resistance, that could be and often is lost in the wild. And there are MANY different varieties of every cultivated crop that I know of being grown. I suspect that the “monoculture” idea came about because of similar selection pressures for larger or more edible parts resulted in most strains looking alike to a casual observer (and of course then it was spread by environmentalist wackos as another stick to beat up on industry and Western civilization).

  31. I actually worked in agriculture during the 1980s and peripherally (edible landscaping/suburban truck farming) in the 1990s, and read a lot about horticulture and animal and dairy science during that time.

  32. Okay, I don’t know jack about AGW. I have no idea whatever which side is correct. I hate it that people act like I am hiding whether I am indeed either a denier or believer. I just don’t know, so why should I have an opinion? I don’t honestly believe that anyone I know really has a basis for opinion either. It is a vexing situation.

    I have always hated polls.

    What is the point in asking the ignorant what they think?

    I am in that “don’t know” group you always see in polls.

  33. > Wasn’t the KT boundary event the one that gave rise to mammals like
    > “Ken Burnside”? Are you opposed to such a thing?

    Sure but the next one could quite possibly remove all the mammals like “Ken Burnside” from the planet. Personally i’m not nihilistic enough to welcome that sort of thing.

  34. Sure but the next one could quite possibly remove all the mammals like “Ken Burnside” from the planet. Personally i’m not nihilistic enough to welcome that sort of thing.

    What about the mammals that are unlike “Ken Burnside”?

  35. > What about the mammals that are unlike “Ken Burnside”?

    I’m sure the dolphins will be fine.

  36. amen.

    …and for those who say it can’t happen – that research is paid for with tax dollars. we can quickly un-pay for it and divert to those willing to play nice with our money.

  37. The more I read through the HARRY_READ_ME doc (and glance at the code) the more I realize that open sourcing this would get huge benefits. There are enormous problems in terms of station IDs and identifying whether stations have moved, been renamed and so on. And there are problems with data quality for stations (record missing, mistranscribed etc etc) where a distributed team would almost sertainy do better in terms of verifying the data (and potentially adding more raw data when it is found).

    The code itself suffers basically from poor version control and a lack of an overall project flow. It also suffers from its designers coming from a fixed recond fortan background which doesn’t help. It needs to be rewritten, and part of the rewrite should include using an actual database (SQL of some variety) to store the intermediate data. Right now stuff gets stored in “data bases” which tend to be one record per line things. These do have the benefit of being directly human readable which the SQL db wouldn’t but sql browse queries aren’t _THAT_ complicated and woudl mean you avoid problems where you need to calculate how many months since 1926 have elapse to get your 1991-1995 data.

    I could go on – and probably will at my blog – but opening this stuff up to public scrutiny and allowing people to contribute patches would go a long way towards improvng the quality of the output and go even further towards improving the credibility of the output which right now is low amongst anyone who’s actually taken a proper look at the process.

  38. Agreed. One of the reasons AGW flimflam angers me is that it crowds out sane, constructive environmentalism. An environmental lobby that really cared about saving the planet would be agitating for crash programs to replace the burning of fossil fuels with nuclear energy; buying up rainforest acreage to stem loss of biodiversity; funding research into better battery- and supercap-based storage technology so low-density renewable power sources could be aggregated into baseload power. But the envorinmentalists we have won’t do these things, because they’re fixated on the wrong problems and the wrong means of solving even those.

    This is VERY interesting. Please do a post on sane environmentalism from an ESR perspective.

  39. FrancisT Says:
    > In fact I just did add a bit at my blog – http://www.di2.nu/200911/25.htm

    Great analysis FrancisT. It sounds about par for the course when you have a bunch of scientists pretending to be computer programmers. Clearly the data not only needs to be open to public examination, but a standard file format needs to be agreed, and all data put in that format, including the ability to flag data as potentially unreliable. One has to remember also that the trends that are claimed to be observed are tiny, less than one degree Celsius per century. Surely the sloppy error overwhelms any signal in there.

    The more you look at this, the more you are reminded of the old saying “garbage in, garbage out.”

  40. Marko,

    “So the world’s temperatures aren’t increasing like their models predicted, fine, but really people, pollution is still a big problem, maybe not in our time or our childrens’ time, but somewhere down the line, there’s going to be a price to pay, and maybe our descendants won’t have the technological ability to solve the problem.”

    There is something very important to consider. Pollution = low efficiency. I put a thousand Joules into a machine, a factory or anything, I get 400 Joules of useful stuff out and 600 Joules worth of scum, smoke, heat, noise, whatever, I have 40% efficiency. If my process becomes 50% efficient that must _necessarily_ reduce the amount of scum, smoke, heat and noise I produce. Therefore, as long as we assume the market aims for more efficiency, it must necessarily reduce pollution anyway. So basically if we assume that, this will be solved “automatically”.

    The core question is, can we assume that?

    Basically there are two ways to increase sales and/or reduce costs: extensive development and intensive development. Extensive means you begin to use more resources, resources that were untapped before, which usually results in more pollution. This was the history of the 19. century. But once you run out of more resources or the costs are increasing because the resources left are hard to tap, the only way to make more money is to be more intensive, which means more efficiency, which means less pollution.

    Has the world ran out of opportunities for extensive development? I think not. Africa for example is full of almost untapped resources.

    Has the Western World ran out of opportunities for extensive development? I think it’s getting close to it. I think it’s likely the Western World is already in the intensive phase where more efficient, less polluting technology is already more profitable than yet another coal mine. However I’m not so sure about other parts of the world.

    Which means: there is a point in environmentalism, sensible environmentalism – I define sensible environmentalism as evangelizing intensive development even when it’s not as profitable yet as the extensive one – but I’d rather do that in Africa and Asia rather than in the West. I think in 2009 Western people do not need to be environmentalists at home because they would be preaching whatever is the profitable thing to do anyway.

  41. The dream of a technocratic-managerial elite is over, killed by its parasites, the political elite impersonating technocrats and managers (in the case of Hadley, pretending to be scientists). People will look elsewhere for their truths. No more “scientific” socialism, a political movement that ended in brutality and mass murder. No more allowing “scientists” like those at Hadley to set agendas and make policy. No more trusting government statistics. This is the end of the Enlightenment.

  42. A comment from one Judy Curry is at http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=7826.

    A quick search gives her as a PHD in geophysical sciences that is “external but internal” (her words) to the HADCRU crowd. Her CV is here

    To summarise, She sees two problems have come to light with this. The first is as stated here, the data and models should be open and freely available. The second is one she calls “tribalism” whereby a group of researchers which formed a tribe and circled the wagons to combat the “politically motivated climate disinformation machine” has now gone too far and are targetting the skeptics and legitimate scientists that aren’t publishing as part of the tribe.

    Call it spin, call it damage control, call it what you will. It’s just interesting to see one of the AGW crowd saying similar things to this.

  43. >Call it spin, call it damage control, call it what you will. It’s just interesting to see one of the AGW crowd saying similar things to this.

    Yeah, that’d be the second stage of damage control. It’s not enough, not in the face of the evidence, but it’ll be tried.

  44. Well, if you folks would actually go and do a bit of research before pontificating, you’d realise that most climate datasets are fully open, and a number of the major climate models are open source too. For example:
    http://www.giss.nasa.gov/tools/modelE/
    http://www.ccsm.ucar.edu/models/ccsm3.0/
    http://mitgcm.org/public/source_code.html
    http://www.mmm.ucar.edu/wrf/users/downloads.html
    http://forge.ipsl.jussieu.fr/igcmg

    Some are protected by fairly open licence agreements. Here’s a summary of availability of all the models used in the last IPCC assessment: http://www.easterbrook.ca/steve/?p=667

    As for data sets, they’re pretty open too. You can get all the IPCC data here:
    http://www.ipcc-data.org/obs/ar4_obs.html
    and a little bit of googling will turn up tonnes of other free, open datasets too.

    Go find bugs in those models, and then tell me about them.
    Or perhaps you’d like to learn a little more about how the science is actually done:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/MCSE.2009.193

    I find it truly amazing that a bunch of very intelligent people can convince themselves that a scientific theory that has been well established for over 100 years, in a field in which tens of thousands of scientists have been exploring the details for decades, could suddenly be invalidated by a few stolen emails which may show that a couple of individual scientists may or may not have done something dodgy. Go attend a geosciences conference, talk to the scientists themselves, and find out what climatologists do. And get a perspective.

  45. > Well, if you folks would actually go and do a bit of research before pontificating, you’d realise that
    > most climate datasets are fully open, and a number of the major climate models are open source too.
    > For example: ….

    “Yes, let’s not focus on the apparent fraud at East Anglia, let’s move on. After all, some of this happened over 10 years ago.” says the magician as he creates a distraction to deceive his audience.

  46. There’s a meme going ’round that this will be great for silencing skeptics. But years of posts at ClimateAudit.org strongly hint at the opposite meme. Namely that within a mere week or two, the entire theory of AGW will evaporate. Why else would these guys be hiding their data and code in the face of increasing controversy?

  47. There are two things that need to be open sourced.

    The first is the raw data, and the second is / are the processing algorithms.

    It strikes me that an open source web application for the raw data, would be quite easy. It could be structured in such a way that any volunteer can enter the data and the metadata, in a standard format, a la wikipedia, and then at some point an agreed set of historical data is negotiated (or moderated if necessary).

    Once the data is entered, then anyone and everyone, can have a go at an algorithm to draw the graphs and generate synthetic data if necessary.

    From what I read of the code, the biggest problem in it is both with the quality of the data and with the routines that process it. If the data is entered (or re-entered) in a defined and consistent format with quality control provided at the point of entry, then you have solved one half of the GIGO problem.

  48. #

    In response to :

    William B Swift

    “There is no monoculture of anything that I am aware of.”

    What people in the US/Canada/Europe refer to as “bananas” (a more accurate description is that this is an edible, desert banana) is the cultivar ‘Cavendish’. All cultivated “bananas” around the world have the exact same genes. The Cavendish cultivar does not produce viable seeds and new banana plants are created by digging up part of the underground stems and planting the stem, which then grows into a new plant, thus keeping the same genes. Although the epi genomics must change.

    All cultivated “bananas” used to be the cultivar ‘Gros Michel’, which was wiped out by disease in the 1950′s (I believe that’s the correct time) and replaced by the Cavendish. The Cavendish is currently being destroyed by a new disease strain and the industry is busy trying to develop a new cultivar.

    Somewhat bizarrely (in a Matrix kinda way) is the fact that these different cultivars don’t taste the same. So people in the 1940s eating bananas where getting a very different taste experience than what we get today.

  49. What people in the US/Canada/Europe refer to as “bananas” (a more accurate description is that this is an edible, desert banana) is the cultivar ‘Cavendish’. All cultivated “bananas” around the world have the exact same genes.

    Could be that the only bananas you know are supermarket bananas but I can tell you that there many more beyond the Cavendish. You obviously aren’t aware of the small rose banana from the Caribean islands or the equally small and delicious one in countries close to Panama or the giant non sweet ones who are cooked in Africa.

  50. Could be that the only bananas you know are supermarket bananas but I can tell you that there many more “beyond the Cavendish. ”

    I’m well aware of that, that’s why I put the term “bananas” in quotes, to indicate that the term is somewhat inaccurate and artificial. I thought that was obvious. But since you want to be pedantic I will point out that the other types of bananas you mentioned are, in fact, sold in supermarkets. Perhaps you didn’t know that?

  51. Pingback: Software Quality in Climate Research | Serendipity

  52. Pingback: It's all over but for the sweating? - Page 57 - Fuel Economy, Hypermiling, EcoModding News and Forum - EcoModder.com

  53. Pingback: The economics of bad science « Samizdata

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> <pre lang="" line="" escaped="" highlight="">