Today’s Times of London reveals the UK Met (Meteorological) Office will go through the painstaking job of reassembling all of the original temperature data that was recently discovered to have been destroyed by the CRU, reportedly in the 1980s. This earth shattering news was discovered by the University of East Anglia shortly after it announced all source data and code used in the CRU’s reports would be made public. Two days after the revelation of the destroyed data, it was announced Phil Jones, CRU’s director would temporarily step down, pending an independent investigation.
The Met Office plans to re-examine 160 years of temperature data after admitting that public confidence in the science on man-made global warming has been shattered by leaked e-mails. The new analysis of the data will take three years, meaning that the Met Office will not be able to state with absolute confidence the extent of the warming trend until the end of 2012. Since the stolen e-mails were published, the chief executive of the Met Office has written to national meteorological offices in 188 countries asking their permission to release the raw data that they collected from their weather stations.
This is a necessary task for any future climate research to be credible. Not only will this provide verifiable baseline data, but it will also determine to what extent Jones et al fudged the data. Many of us are waiting for that. I would love to have been a fly on the wall when the university had its meeting with Jones, to question why all the difficulty in releasing data and source code, only to discover it didn’t even exist. Now for a university to find it’s most highly publicized and respected department continued to publish papers for at least 20 years, papers that had a major influence on all the economies of the world and not have the data to back them up, must have had those in the room dumbstruck.
The real question is why nobody was ever told. And another question is why none of the peer reviewers ever picked it up. Well we do know the answer to that from reading the emails. They could be counted on “without being nudged.” My guess is the question wasn’t whether or not Jones should be sacked, it was a matter of when.