The disclosure of climate data from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia - Science and Technology Committee Contents

Memorandum submitted by Stephen Prower (CRU 15)

  1.  I write in response to the invitation that the Committee issued on 22 January 2010 for written submissions from interested parties on three questions relating to the unauthorised publication of data, emails and documents relating to the work of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia.

  2.  I reply first to the question:

What are the implications of the disclosures for the integrity of scientific research?

  According to the annexed reports of the Times and Daily Telegraph, on 5 December the Met Office took the view that, in order to restore the integrity of the Climatic Research Unit's analysis of the temperature data, the CRU must re-analyse the data.

  Later the same day, according to the annexed report of BBC News, in confused terms a Met Office spokesman denied the truth of the Times and Daily Telegraph's reports.

  But I share the original view that the Met Office took on 5 December upon the implications of the disclosure of climate data from the CRU for the integrity of scientific research—that is to say for the integrity of the research that the CRU has conducted with a view to establishing the global temperature record of the past 160 years.

  Namely I take the view that the disclosures have so impugned the integrity of the CRU's research that the integrity of the research can only be restored by a full new, openly conducted, reanalysis of the temperature data.

  3.  I reply second to the question:

Are the terms of reference and scope of the Independent Review announced on 3 December 2009 by UEA adequate?

  1.  Examine the hacked e-mail exchanges, other relevant e-mail exchanges and any other information held at CRU to determine whether there is any evidence of the manipulation or suppression of data which is at odds with acceptable scientific practice and may therefore call into question any of the research outcomes.

  For full comprehension, I submit that the words "manipulation or suppression of data" in the terms of reference and scope of the Independent Review should read more extensively: 'manipulation, admission or suppression, or creation of data'.

  Thus eg the "admission" of unreliable data, or the unsupportable "creation" of infilling data, are also capable, as well as the "manipulation" or "suppression" of data, of corrupting the findings of an analysis of data.

  4.  I declare that I have no professional, commercial or financial interest in the subject matter of the Committee's Inquiry.

  I am retired. I had a scientific education in the sixth form at school, and obtained a 2:2 degree in Natural Sciences specialising in Geology from Cambridge University. Part of the activities of my last job was to critically examine scientific and engineering motorcycle research papers.

  Within the limits of my non-specialised scientific knowledge, during the last two or three years I have followed some of the debates on climate change on the internet.

  When I saw the Times story of 5 December 2009, I thought with pleasure and relief that at last the issues between critical scientists, mathematicians and statisticians, such as Steve McIntyre, and the Climatic Research Unit and Met Office might be resolved in a mutually acceptable, proper scientific manner.

  I was thus greatly disappointed when the Met Office reversed its position later the same day.

  Correspondingly my interest in the proceedings of the Committee is the hope that the Committee, upon consideration of the evidence before it, will itself equally be disappointed with the Met Office's action. So the Committee will recommend in its report that the Met Office project again a full new, openly conducted, reanalysis of the CRU's temperature data.

January 2010


  1.   The Times 5 December 2009:

    From The Times 5 December 2009


  Ben Webster, Environment Editor

  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.

  The Met Office database is one of three main sources of temperature data analysis on which the UN's main climate change science body relies for its assessment that global warming is a serious danger to the world. This assessment is the basis for next week's climate change talks in Copenhagen aimed at cutting CO2 emissions.

  The Government is attempting to stop the Met Office from carrying out the re examination, arguing that it would be seized upon by climate change sceptics.

  The Met Office works closely with the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit (CRU), which is being investigated after e-mails written by its director, Phil Jones, appeared to show an attempt to manipulate temperature data and block alternative scientific views.

  The Met Office's published data showing a warming trend draws heavily on CRU analysis. CRU supplied all the land temperature data to the Met Office, which added this to its own analysis of sea temperature data.

  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.

  The Met Office is confident that its analysis will eventually be shown to be correct. However, it says it wants to create a new and fully open method of analysing temperature data.

  The development will add to fears that influential sceptics in other countries, including the US and Australia, are using the controversy to put pressure on leaders to resist making ambitious deals for cutting CO2.

  The UN's Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change admitted yesterday that it needed to consider the full implications of the e-mails and whether they cast doubt on any of the evidence for man-made global warming."

  2.   The Daily Telegraph 5 December 2009:


  Climate scientists may re-examine 160 years of temperature data after admitting that public confidence in the reality of global warming has been undermined by "climategate".

  Published: 8:00AM GMT 05 Dec 2009

  A number of climate models, based on information from weather stations around the globe, show the world has been warming gradually since the 1850s.

  But the figures have been called into question following the "climategate" affair at the University of East Anglia.

  Sceptics alleged that emails stolen from the Climatic Research Unit at the university show scientists were willing to manipulate data to show global warming.

  They also complain that the raw data for the climate models was not made available to the public.

  To try to restore public confidence the Met Office is talking to other meteorological organisations around the world about recreating the model using the same raw data but more modern computers.

  The whole process will also use any new information and be more open to the public.

  However, it could take up to three years for the study to complete, meaning the scientific world would have to wait until after 2012 to provide updated proof of the extent of global warming.

  The UEA has launched an independent inquiry into the leaked emails and the United Nations will also be looking into the scandal.'

  3. BBC News 5 December 2009:

    WSM Weather


  by admin on Dec 05, 2009, under International News

  The Met Office (MO) is to announce it will publish the raw data it uses to analyse man-made global warming.

  It follows a row about the reliability of data from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia which has been dubbed "Climategate".

  The MO has written to 188 countries for permission to publish the historic data it says proves that the world is warming up due to man-made emissions.

  A spokesman denied reports ministers had tried to block the publication.

E-mail row

  The material, dating back 160 years from more than 1,000 weather stations around the world, is expected to be released this week.

  It comes as an independent review is announced into leaked e-mails at the CRU in Norwich to see whether there is evidence of manipulation or suppression of data "at odds with acceptable scientific practice".

  The MO—one of the foremost global authorities on climate change—works closely with the CRU.

  The MO's database is a main source of analysis for the UN's climate change science body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which joins talks next week at the long-awaited Copenhagen summit.

  An MO spokesman denied it would spend up to three years re-examining the climate change data, and said it had already planned to publish the material long before the "Climategate" controversy broke.

  But the spokesman admitted the e-mail row had made the whole exercise more urgent.

  Downing Street has said Gordon Brown is "unequivocal" about the scientific case for action against climate change.

  Mr Brown said the climate was the "greatest challenge" facing the world.

  He is one of several world leaders, including US President Barack Obama, who will attend the Copenhagen summit aimed at cutting emissions.

  Story from BBC NEWS:

  Published: 2009/12/05 05:31:20 GMT



    (1) I am forced to rely upon a recital of the BBC News story by WSM Weather, a Weston-super-Mare weather website, rather than the BBC News story itself, because some unhelpful person in the BBC has made the link to the story in the BBC News archive that WSM Weather gives now no longer point to the story, but instead to another, unrelated story.

    (2) The Met Office denial as reported in the BBC News story seems deliberately worded so as to confuse the three-year project of a complete reanalysis of the temperature data in the audience's mind with the unrelated impending announcement two days later of the intention of the Met Office to release the temperature data for a subset of over 1500 land stations.

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