I’m seeing some extraordinary claims based on the report that the University of East Anglia’s (UEA) climate research center may have fudged their data, and that it cannot be checked because they’ve lost (or destroyed) their original data. To be specific, the claims are that this nullifies ALL anthropegenic global warming (AGW) data and claims.
In a word, bull.
Let me begin by noting something that should be obvious with just a little thought. UEA was not the sole CRC producing AGW reports. There are several in the US, Europe, China, Russia, Japan, Australia, and a few other places. These places have done their own research, often with data THEY collected.
That last sentence needs a bit of expansion. There is a message going around that implies UEA had all the original data – that it had been collected and consolidated and is NO LONGER RECOVERABLE.
What is gone is any way of knowing which numbers UEA’s researchers used. The original source data is still available. The source data used by other CRCs is still available.
The ice core data from several expeditions from several universities and governments is still available. Lake and ocean core data is still available. Tree rings and fossilized plant growth and sediment layers and all of that have been collected by literally hundreds of expeditions from almost as many organizations. They did not do this at the bequest and hiring of UEA. They did it for THEIR gain.
Let me make two small examples to lock this in. Michael Mann of the (in)famous “hockey stick” is not a British citizen; is and was not working in the UK. He was at the University of Virginia (US) when he wrote his famed paper, and is presently at Pennsylvania State University. He was ordered by court (well, congress) to release ALL his data for public review in 2005, and did so. He’d have had just a bit of difficulty doing so if it had all been at UEA and destroyed in 1999.
Second example: a fair chunk of data comes from NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a US agency under the Department of Commerce). Those records are in the National Archives. The US does not willfully destroy ‘public’ documents, ever.
AGW proposes two linked hypotheses. The first is that the climate is changing – warming; that this warming has simultaneously reached levels near if not past the highest ever experienced by mankind AND has done so at an extremely rapid rate. The second is that both the degree and the rate are from anthropogenic causes.
There are two countering schools. One is that the warming, both in degree and in rate, is not unprecedented. The second is that the causes are naturogenic (NGW vice AGW).
The first school, though popular to laymen (and still heavily pushed by McIntyre of McIntyre and McKitrick) has been pretty well laid to rest. While McIntyre is still challenging Mann’s work, others (Wahl and Ammann for example) have produced similar curves from alternative data. (A relevant digression: one of these groups who’ve reproduced the curves is led by Jones of UAE. Thus “why” this was an attack point begins to come into focus.) Worse, when McIntyre’s own errors in statistics and data use were corrected, he also got a fairly extreme curve. (This, by the way, is probably why most of his attacks these days are on the data as opposed to his original focus on the statistical analysis of the data.)
The question of anthropegenic vs naturogenic is still in dispute. One thing worth noting is that it is not enough to say either camp is wrong. The requirement is to demonstrate how a camp can account for the extreme and rapid warming. At this time the AGW theories fit the data better than NGW as NGW has to explain why it’s so extreme this time. AGW isn’t proven, it’s just the front-runner in fitting theory to data.
But the claims that the UAE problems kill AGW are wrong. They’re smears by people who are either ignorant or opposed to the consequences and requirements suggested by AGW being right.