Memorandum submitted by Steven Mosher
How independent are the other two national data
1. Declaration of interests. My name is
Steven Mark Mosher. I am a resident of the United States. My interests
in this matter are as follows. I am a published author of the
first book that covered the email release from the University
of East Anglia. That is currently my only source of income. I
have been unemployed since June of 2009. Since 2007 I have been
involved in the climate debate on the web. I have received no
funding or financial support in any way from any person or organizing
for my activities these past 3 years. I volunteer my insights
and analysis free of charge.
2. During the years of 2007 to 2009 I was
employed in the Open source movement. That experience gave me
an appreciation for the power of transparency. Throughout 2007
and into 2009 I followed the quest of Steve McIntyre and others
as they tried to get climate data and climate code released to
the public. As a former data analyst for Northrop Aircraft, former
statistican and former software engineer I was interested in having
access to the data and the code so that I could perform basic
quality checks on the science that was being used to combat global
3. On my view Global warming is a potential
threat to our planet and consequently the evidence in support
of global warming and the software analyzing that data should
be of the highest quality. During the course of 2007 to 2009 the
papers I had read and the limited data I had reviewed gave me
reason to doubt the accuracy of underlying data, the robustness
of the calculations described in papers, and the reliability of
4. In July of 2009 I was witness to a series
of FOIA requests made by Steve McIntyre and others requesting
the underlying data of the global temperature index. In addition
I myself sent in an FOIA request to CRU. That request asked to
see the confidentiality agreements that CRU had made contradictory
5. Recently CRU have been in contact with
various agencies requesting temperature data. I have a pending
FOIA appeal at CRU with respect to the procedures CRI is obligated
to follow when acquiring confidential data. According to FOIA
guidelines CRU is not allowed to use confidential data unless
it is deemed necessary or essential to their mission. In my FOIA
request I requested any supporting information CRU had to support
their decision to contract for confidential data. They had performed
no such analysis.
6. The question in front of the inquiry
pertains to the "independence" of the CRU temperature
data or rather to the CRU temperature series. According to CRU
publications the data they use is largely take from the repository
at NCDC. This database is known as GHCN. The other two series,
NASA's series and NOAA's series also claim to take their data
from GHCN. On the surface if we take the agencies at their word
they are largely dependent on the same sources.
7. There is a fundamental difficulty facing
anyone who wants to validate the claim that all three series use
largely the same data. In order to validate this claim with certainty,
one must have access to the data as used. That is, one must have
the various copies each of the agencies used in constructing their
series. The point is a fine one, but is the typical first test
in any quality assurance test. CRU claim to copy some of their
data from GHCN. To verify this claim one must compare the data
that GHCN has with the copy that CRU claim to have made.
8. This effort to conduct a simple quality
check was thwarted by CRU's unwillingness to share the data as
they used it. It was also complicated by the fact that they failed
to keep good records on which data could be released. Simply,
they comingled confidential data with open data. Consequently
they refused any release. Even a release of data which they claim
to have acquired from GHCN.
9. Since the state of the question regarding
the dependence or independence of the data is undetermined, that
is, since one cannot verify the claim or refute the claim without
access to the actual data as used by CRU, any claim made about
the dependence or independence is a speculation based solely on
the claims made in papers.
10. This is an easy matter within the scientific
community if the scientific method is followed. What follows is
a series of recommendations which will allow the community of
researchers to settle the questions associated with the series.
11. CRU should be required to follow the
guidelines of FOIA legislation. Those guidelines require that
they only acquire confidential data if it is necessary to their
mission. The two other agencies do not use confidential data and
they claim similar results to CRU. It is recommended that CRU
avoid the use of confidential data altogether.
12. If CRU are in the process of acquiring
confidential data or restricted data or have already acquired
it, it is recommended that they justify the necessity of holding
this data. The guidelines require that they do this. However,
my FOIA request indicates that they have not objectively determined
that this data is necessary to their mission.
13. If it is shown to be necessary to their
mission it is recommended that they institute data control procedures
which keep the confidential data segregated from the open data.
14. It is recommended operate an open access
policy with regard to the data that is not covered by confidentiality
agreements. Both the NASA series and the NOAA series provide public
access to their data.
15. It is recommended that CRU publish it
computer source code connected to all aspects of calculating the
Global temperature series under the appropriate open source license.
Currently, NASA provide the source code for the calculation of
their series. This will allow interested parties to compare the
calculations that both agencies perform on the databases.