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Climate Unit Releases Virtually All Remaining Data

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the here's-the-rest-of-it dept.

Earth 507

mutube writes "The BBC is reporting that the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit, target of 'ClimateGate,' has released nearly all its remaining data on temperature measurements following a freedom of information bid. Most temperature data was already available, but critics of climate science want everything public. Following the latest release, raw data from virtually all of the world's 5,000-plus weather stations is freely available. Release of this dataset required The Met Office to secure approval from more than 1,500 weather stations around the world. The article notes that while Trinidad and Tobago refused permission, the Information Commissioner ruled that public interest in disclosure outweighed those considerations."

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507 comments

Pesky critics (2, Insightful)

Scareduck (177470) | more than 2 years ago | (#36902744)

Demanding these heroes of the people show their work. What's next, letting actual statisticians vet their modeling?

<runs in terror>

Re:Pesky critics (1, Interesting)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#36902758)

Hmm I seem to remember it taking a lot to get this information. Lawsuits, and the threat of cutting off funding. Nasty business that.

Re:Pesky critics (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36902762)

Their research was peer reviewed. Who does the modeling is irrelevant. Don't set up strawmen to attack climate change.

Re:Pesky critics (2, Insightful)

JackCroww (733340) | more than 2 years ago | (#36902778)

If all the peers have the same incentives to mis-represent the data (i.e., funding), what good is peer-review?

Re:Pesky critics (2, Insightful)

The Mighty Buzzard (878441) | more than 2 years ago | (#36902826)

Proper flamebait but it's a good point. I'd prefer confirmed-skeptic-review to peer-review on pretty much everything. Not just climate change. 'Peer' just doesn't imply any objectivity.

Re:Pesky critics (4, Insightful)

derGoldstein (1494129) | more than 2 years ago | (#36902940)

So if a doctor says you're ill, you'd get a second opinion from a carpenter? People of the same profession will "flock together". We can hope that some competitive spirit exists which will push some to criticize others (I wanted to say "we can hope that integrity and morality will guide them", but I couldn't stop laughing...). Most other alternatives will end up like the fairness doctrine.

Re:Pesky critics (2, Insightful)

The Mighty Buzzard (878441) | more than 2 years ago | (#36903058)

Bad example but for medical research, for example, I'd prefer doctors who went into it thinking the material to be reviewed was at least probably bullshit. We've seen far too many times throughout history that people (the scientific community included) have some severe resistance to ideas that don't mesh with their commonly held beliefs. It's honestly more important that a skeptical eye be turned on material that fits well with the common wisdom than fantastic results outside the norm; the latter never has any problem finding skeptics.

Re:Pesky critics (2, Insightful)

microbox (704317) | more than 2 years ago | (#36903178)

We've seen far too many times throughout history that people (the scientific community included) have some severe resistance to ideas that don't mesh with their commonly held beliefs

This is true, but people who say this seem to always imply that their armchair philosophizing is somehow better, and that is /false/ and a long stretch.

Re:Pesky critics (1)

The Mighty Buzzard (878441) | more than 2 years ago | (#36903288)

Shrug, I default to not believing anything either side of the argument says. There've been far too many outright lies not to mention people spouting off on things they know nothing about in this argument alone. Which is why I'd like a few more checks on funded research.

Re:Pesky critics (1)

derGoldstein (1494129) | more than 2 years ago | (#36903186)

I gave the medical example because that's something that an individual would seek a second opinion about, rather than a group or an organization.
But in broad terms, how do you define "skeptical"? And where/when do you apply it? Do you set up "rival" teams of researchers? Do you have two isolated teams each do the research, and when they're done they have to review the other team's work? I can think of all sorts of "mechanical" solutions, as well as real-world examples ("a jury of your peers"...), but any effective, reproducible solution would require redundancy, and thus more funding, which is always where the buck stops.

Maybe I'm just overly-pessimistic, but I've witnessed too many examples where proper research was denied because it was in no-one's interest to fund it. It's just the nature of things. You have to find a party who will -- A) have an incentive to verify the data with some veracity, and B) do not have a clear objective to oppose/disprove the research.
That would be almost impossible to find.

Re:Pesky critics (1)

The Mighty Buzzard (878441) | more than 2 years ago | (#36903266)

It wouldn't be difficult if one of the above became the de facto standard. As to finding funding from an impartial source, yeah, that's a pipe dream. Doesn't mean the research has to be as corrupt as the impetus behind it though.

Re:Pesky critics (1)

geekpowa (916089) | more than 2 years ago | (#36903152)

Flawed analogy. It is not about seeking independent diagnosis and then selecting the one which was more popular (how long is the emperors nose problem). It is about analysing how a diagnosis/recommendation is arrived at and determining if the practitioner performed their professional duties with diligence and competency; if you lack the reasoning functions and capacity to analyse work and you uncritically assume that someone else is policing them; you can look forward to going through life been duped and manipulated by others; be it carpenters, doctors and climate scientists. If a practitioner is confident in their diagnosis they have no reason to fear an adversarial critique of their work. And like the parent said, an adversarial review is far more useful for everyone than a friendly one.

My sister-in-law, a rural citizen in a developing country went to a local GP to inspect a breast lump. The doctor proscribed her a very expensive drug. I researched the drug name on the net and discovered it is nothing more than a basic anti-inflammatory. I have no medical background, but I smelled a rat. Put her on a plane to the capital city to get some proper medical diagnostic treatment straight away.

Re:Pesky critics (1)

derGoldstein (1494129) | more than 2 years ago | (#36903336)

I clarified what I meant in the reply post above (the original post was more of a gut reaction).
In theory, sure, I'd like everyone's work/research to be looked over with a skeptical eye, and then a few more skeptical eyes. In reality, achieving that goal is difficult. I mean in the most practical sense -- how do you find the right "intensity" of adversarial critique? The only solution I can think of involves multiple reviews. If an academic paper is published in journal X, readers will have some incentive to disprove it because that in itself is something they can add to their resume. But suppose no one cares. Suppose it's in no one's best interest to review the research, unless they're paid to do so -- and no one's willing to pay.

Like I said above, I'm kind of biased because I've "been there", if indirectly.

Re:Pesky critics (3, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#36903214)

So it boils down to a conspiracy theory. So we have the Creationists claiming a cabal of biologists intentionally attacking Creationism, the asbestos industry questioning the legitmacy of research indicating the health risks, the tobacco industry questioning research that smoking causes lung and cardiovasular disease, an climatologists in a vast conspiracy to lie about climate change.

Have I missed anything here?

Re:Pesky critics (5, Insightful)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#36903234)

"peer" doesn't mean what you think it means.

these people are all competing for limited funding. meaning that they all want to prove how rigorous and innovative they are.

rest assured, scientists argue amongst themselves a lot more than you might imagine.

and, once again, in caps for emphasis and cool:

SCIENCE IS NOT A GOOD WAY TO GET RICH.

this argument that peer review is useless because they're all riding the funding gravy train is just stupid. utterly, utterly stupid. if a scientist wanted to make lots of money, they'd become a plumber, or do modelling for a large bank. climate scientists predominantly want to save the world. i'm sure they'd love to see conclusive proof that everything's going to be fine, but it's just not there.

Re:Pesky critics (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36902818)

Global *cooling* passed peer review. The link between vaccines and autism passed peer review. Don't trust peer reviewers for something that's easy for you to prove to yourself. This data will make that easy.

Re:Pesky critics (2)

Deus.1.01 (946808) | more than 2 years ago | (#36903070)

Global cooling can not be attributed other then a media fuck up, the vaccine biy was attrocius but in the end the lancet and other threw that quack out in the cold where he belonged.

Re:Pesky critics (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | more than 2 years ago | (#36903162)

Peer review is merely the first step in reviewing new science. It makes sure there aren't any obvious errors and that the research was done in a sound fashion. Once it passes peer review then it's open for kudos or pot shots from any qualified scientist.

Re:Pesky critics (4, Informative)

microbox (704317) | more than 2 years ago | (#36903184)

Global *cooling* was not a consensus, but merely a possibility that was put forward in a famous paper, and explored for a little bit.

But this little bit of information will do nothing to dent your certainty that science is just plain flawed.

Re:Pesky critics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36903208)

But this little bit of information will do nothing to dent your certainty that science is just plain flawed.

Nice try at the snark there, but cooking the books and doing all you can to suppress dissenting views as the Hockey Team did, isn't science.

Re:Pesky critics (1, Insightful)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | more than 2 years ago | (#36902792)

"Bury the researchers under mountains of FOIA requests" has been a tactic of the deniers and oil company shills for some time now. It'll be interesting to see what happens now that they've ostensibly gotten everything they wished for. My bets are on them moving the goalposts (again).

Re:Pesky critics (-1, Troll)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | more than 2 years ago | (#36902816)

Wow! Somebody slapped me down hard and fast! I guess "I disagree with you" is a downmoddable offense.

Re:Pesky critics (3, Insightful)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 2 years ago | (#36902842)

Nah, but labeling people you disagree with as deniers and shills seems to be

Re:Pesky critics (1, Flamebait)

microbox (704317) | more than 2 years ago | (#36903210)

But it *is* denial, of the pathological kind [skepticalscience.com] .

I know it is polite and all to be nice to people, but we are dealing with psychosis here, and a lot is at stake.

Re:Pesky critics (1)

Freddybear (1805256) | more than 2 years ago | (#36902926)

How many is "Mountains of FOIA requests"? One? Because they refused to supply anything at all right from the start.

It would be trivial, if they had ever intended to publish the data and analysis.
Just put everything in a tarball on a public server. Simple as that.

Re:Pesky critics (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36903150)

No, they got lots within a two day period. They never refused to supply anything, they only stated that they could not get the data together in the required time, which is very much true given the requests.

FYI, the data was never even the issue. In fact, there really wasn't any sort of issue except the guy who blew it up into some international media frenzy not understanding basic Science or maths.

Go read up on the whole thing. It was basically some idiot blogger, read another idiot bloggers blog (an anti-climate guy who had some old emails from the scientists), came up with stupid conclusions after doing zero research and published it in national press.
The Scientists were asked to take two data sets and create a few graphs for a presentation to non-experts. They did so, splicing the data at the end. They did that because the data sets differed at their tail end. The Scientists used the more reliable data and ditched the less reliable data, perfect;y reasonable, given the task at hand. This gave them graphs that the non-experts would not get confused by and everybody was happy! ... until the idiot made his bogus conclusions and then the circus began. It's a non-story that's been shown to be crap many times.

Re:Pesky critics (2)

microbox (704317) | more than 2 years ago | (#36903224)

Because they refused to supply anything at all right from the start.

They handed over the information that they had access to, and then told the interested parties where to get the rest. Apparently that wasn't good enough. More to the point, the "skeptics" were just plain not interested in the data, and just saw a way to make a nuisance of themselves.

Re:Pesky critics (2)

Freddybear (1805256) | more than 2 years ago | (#36903302)

They tried to palm off some heavily processed "cleaned" datasets in place of raw data. Of course that wasn't "good enough".
And "go get it yourself" isn't good enough either.

Re:Pesky critics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36902850)

It depends.
Is this data the original unadjusted data or is this the data that has been 'fixed' to take in to account the whims of the climate scientists?
Unless you have all the original data (scans of the logs, etc.) with information on the recording instruments and their calibration history (signed in triplicate...) there will be people who claim bias.
I currently claim bias but will be happy to shut up when someone who actually knows about statistics gives a thumbs up on the validity of the historical record.

OIl and coal companies will be sued (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36902918)

"Bury the researchers under mountains of FOIA requests" has been a tactic of the deniers and oil company shills for some time now. It'll be interesting to see what happens now that they've ostensibly gotten everything they wished for. My bets are on them moving the goalposts (again).

In the future, what happened to the cigarette companies will happen to the oil, coal, and all the other greenhouse gas making industries: crushing lawsuits for "causing" the problem.

You'll see. All those politicians who are in bed with the oil and coal industries will suddenly flip because of public outrage and hold those Congressional hearing where they grill the executives ... it'll happen. I'm telling you.

Re:OIl and coal companies will be sued (2)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | more than 2 years ago | (#36902974)

And I don't advocate that, either. It's counter-productive. I fail to see why it's so complicated to say "you know, since the Industrial Revolution started, we've been digging/drilling up billions of tons of trapped carbon and releasing it into the atmosphere. Maybe that's a little irresponsible, and we should try to not be such profligate wasters of both non-renewable resources, AND the atmosphere". Further, I don't understand why the deniers insist on being allowed to do ANYTHING they please. The problem with the Tragedy of the Commons is that it's both a Tragedy, and it's the Commons.

Re:Pesky critics (1)

ivandavidoff (969036) | more than 2 years ago | (#36902928)

My bets are on them moving the goalposts (again).

Or they'll just have someone mess with the numbers. It's amazing how results can be changed by jimmying the margin of error, or selectively weighting certain numbers based on subjective judgement. By focussing on the raw data, the larger picture is obscured.

"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics."

Re:Pesky critics (3, Insightful)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#36902972)

They will dig through the data and find the one datapoint (taken when Jimmy the REU accidentally spilled coffee on the sensor) that disagrees with the other 99 million points. They will then trumpet that one datapoint to the high heavens, and the disinterested masses will pay only just enough attention to get the subliminal impression that there is some doubt about climate change.

It really is absurd that purportedly educated people can believe that climatologists would spend over a decade in school, working long hours for peanuts, only to risk their professional careers by accepting bribes from fat cat environmentalists, all while those poor defenseless oil companies can't afford to defend themselves. It would be laughable, if only it weren't such a frightening display of the power demagogy holds over people.

Re:Pesky critics (1, Insightful)

blair1q (305137) | more than 2 years ago | (#36903056)

I expect, if necessary, they will rewrite textbooks on statistics to create mathematical systems that prove up is down, black is white, night is day, and hot is cold.

Their goal is to make money, not to prove the truth. I don't think that's the case for their opponents.

Re:Pesky critics (2)

microbox (704317) | more than 2 years ago | (#36903250)

Their goal is to make money, not to prove the truth.

As someone in the university system, I can attest to the fact that /anyone/ would have their career made, and tenure at big-university-of-choice if they could come up with a substantive claim against climate change science. Heck, if /you/ want to make money, you surely could do that yourself.

Truth is, there is more money to be made as an oil industry shill (just ask Soon and Ballonis). Skeptics already have their minds made up. By definition, that is arrogance, and has nothing to do with seeking truth.

Re:Pesky critics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36903298)

It's really hard to prove a negative.

Re:Pesky critics (5, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#36903242)

The fattest cat environmental group has only a small fraction of the oil and gas industries. If scientists were as vile and corruptable as the pseudo-skeptics always claim, they'd all be shilling for the fossil fuel industry. After all the scientists that do seem to do very well for themselves.

Re:Pesky critics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36903016)

Either that or they'll cherry-pick the data to "prove" whatever they want to prove. I'm sure it's like stock data--You can show pretty much anything you want if you pick the right starting and ending points.

Re:Pesky critics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36903048)

There were never "mountains" of FOI requests - if you maintain that there were, tell us how many and when?

This particular lie was applied retrospectively to justify failure to comply with requests that were readily acceded to when parties who weren't considered hostile requested the same data.

Once they realised that providing the data / metadata may lead to criticism of their results, they subverted the course of FOI requests in a shameless fashion.

Aside from the fact that they simply wanted to pick and choose when to abide by the conditions of their funding, I also subscribe to the theory that they have been reluctant to release raw data because the rest of the world will realise how piss-poor their quality control is, and how little processing and effort actually goes into their product.

Re:Pesky critics (0)

microbox (704317) | more than 2 years ago | (#36903194)

Nothing will happen. The deniers will not even bother to look at the information. They will just seek new ways to be a nuisance.

Why would a FOIA request even be necessary? (2, Insightful)

Quila (201335) | more than 2 years ago | (#36903300)

It's scientific data. For the purposes of advancement of science, transparency and honesty, it should have just been released upon basic request.

That ANY effort was used to fight the release of the data makes me extremely suspicious.

The real story here (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36902892)

UEA has refused for years to show any data. Details on http://climateaudit.org/

Re:The real story here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36903146)

Not true. Some of the data has been available all along. And now all of it is. So what's your point?

Yep (0)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#36902746)

That will probably convince all those politicians paid off by the oil and coal lobby. Also will probably do a lot to restore their reputation with people who took the "gate" to mean that climate change was disproven.

Curbing our carbon emissions, here we come!

Re:Yep (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36903046)

Maybe thats why Rupert closed down his paper in the UK, they were likely the ones who hacked the researchers. http://bobpark.physics.umd.edu/

Re:Yep (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#36903326)

For the true skeptic. They want to look at all the data and all the claims. Not that I doubt global warming but how much impact man is causing on it. Sure there is a correlation with carbon, but what about volcanic activity, perhaps water vapor (as many cities are popping up in the desert opening deep underground water sources and people planting grass), how about the effect of the suns output. Maybe our carbon is a minor factor but the earth is in a "perfect storm" of many factors.

No data will convince the politically motivated group who are courted by the oil companies to make sure that there product isn't put in a bad light. But people who want to see the truth and doesnt trust either side.

Good! (4, Insightful)

King_TJ (85913) | more than 2 years ago | (#36902754)

IMHO, it's not even remotely reasonable to start making political decisions and implementing laws or policies based on climate information, if that information isn't freely available.

Just because someone sold the numbers to someone else doesn't mean it's automatically part of a protected class of information the general public shouldn't be allowed to see. It only makes sense that the most interested parties would be the ones to foot the bill to get the initial information collected up and bundled for their use -- but this content can't be treated like a copyrighted work you can't redistribute without permission!

This is good news (except for Poland, who for SOME reason is holding out on releasing their numbers).

Re:Good! (5, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#36902916)

IMHO, it's not even remotely reasonable to start making political decisions and implementing laws or policies based on climate information, if that information isn't freely available.

Information has been freely available for quite a while. Delaying only makes things worse. You say now "We need to at -LEAST- wait until this particular data set is available." What's the next reason to hold off going to be?

We need to wait until EVERY researcher is on board, even these ones who are funded by BP.
It's not reasonable to start changing things until we're -sure- temperatures are rising everywhere.
We can't curb CO2 emissions until we are sure these rising temperatures are actually doing something bad.
Well OBVIOUSLY we can't cut CO2 emissions now, we're in the middle of a recession!
Why would we start now? These scientists are saying it can't -possibly- get hotter, all the damage has been done.

It only makes sense that the most interested parties would be the ones to foot the bill to get the initial information collected up and bundled for their use

I don't see the public clamoring for this data so they can check it with their own models at home. I see a few people who have vested interests in trying to prove this data wrong, and I see some people who don't want to believe hard times are ahead trying to shoot the messenger. Most of us see no reason to question the conclusions of the experts.

Re:Good! (5, Informative)

Ruke (857276) | more than 2 years ago | (#36903064)

I'm in agreement here; waiting until we have perfect information before making decisions just means that you'll never make any decisions. You take the information available, and weigh all of the options available now with their costs and benefits.
I'm of the opinion that the cost of doing nothing and being wrong far outweighs the cost of acting and being wrong. Worst case in one case is deepening the recession, where worst case in the other is unreversable catastrophic climate change.

Re:Good! (1, Insightful)

Coolhand2120 (1001761) | more than 2 years ago | (#36903078)

Most of us see no reason to question the conclusions of the experts.

There's a name fore people like that.

Re:Good! (5, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#36903116)

Questioning with ignorant questions isn't any more useful than failing to ask any questions at all, which is the problem. But in a competitive field like science where you can make a name for yourself disproving evolution or climate change, going with the majority conclusions is perfectly reasonable. It's not like there haven't been many people looking to shoot the ideas down.

Re:Good! (3, Informative)

microbox (704317) | more than 2 years ago | (#36903274)

There's a name fore people like that.

"Not paranoid" is two words, so I will stick with "sane".

I bet you are incapable of sitting through this 10 minute [youtube.com] video, because you are too emotionally invested in your paranoid bizarro-world.

I happen to personally know something about the science, and the academic debate on the issue has nothing to do with the laughably paranoid public "debate", which is really just a bunch of intransigent know-it-alls flogging one tired dead argument after another, without stopping to ever learn something about what they are saying.

Isn't It Obvious? (5, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 2 years ago | (#36902938)

This is good news (except for Poland, who for SOME reason is holding out on releasing their numbers).

Isn't it obvious? Poland's numbers show that in twenty years, they're going to be the only ones on Earth with cold left. Siberia and Minnesota? Completely out of cold by 2031. Think of it. People will climb over themselves to get to the cold in Poland. China will buy cold pipeline through countries just to have access to it. Europe will be cast back into World War II-like conflict, you might even see England trade a piece of Poland back to the Ruskies just to end the conflict again. Barrels of crude cold will start trading at massively high prices. Ice cubes will be traded illegally on the street like crack until they've all melted. Obama's already foolishly dropped all of the United States' reserves to lessen the suffering during this heat wave--what are we going to do? Canada can easily blockade us from Alaska and claim what is left of the Inuit Cold for their own.

You're probably saying "Oh, America will just do what it always does and get shitfaced instead of worrying about that." How? We won't have any cold for our drinks. What, you're going to drink room temperature wine? Sure and afterward be sure to stick your tannin coated tongue out so everyone knows you're French.

Poland is trying to keep this strategic advantage hidden from the rest of the world. Gentlemen, I think the question here today is not how can we defer or lessen global warming but instead how quickly can we take Poland by surprise with unilateral action from land, air and sea. You might argue that we cannot afford a third war but I say that greedy selfish Poland has brought this upon themselves.

Re:Isn't It Obvious? (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | more than 2 years ago | (#36903004)

We'll strap a big "window unit" air conditioner onto the ISS with some really long bungee cords. That'll do the trick.

Re:Good! (2)

10101001 10101001 (732688) | more than 2 years ago | (#36903036)

IMHO, it's not even remotely reasonable to start making political decisions and implementing laws or policies based on climate information, if that information isn't freely available.

Out of curiosity, would you mind clarifying what "that information" is? I ask because I'm uncertain of what you expect as far as climate information goes. I also ask because I'm curious if you have the same standard for all sorts of other topics of similar scope. For example, I don't think I've seen much discussion about the raw data about the health effects of mercury, lead, etc, yet I don't really see anyone arguing that we should halt all consideration of pollution laws precisely for that reason; I have seen people argue over cost, constitutionality, etc reasons, though.

Just because someone sold the numbers to someone else doesn't mean it's automatically part of a protected class of information the general public shouldn't be allowed to see.

While I would certainly agree the information shouldn't fall automatically into a protected class of information the general public shouldn't be allowed to see--and further, I'd say it shouldn't be in a protected class of information the general public shouldn't be allowed to see--, that doesn't translate into the information being readily available to everyone. Consider, for example, how difficult is to track down how money is borrowed, collected, or spent in the government as a general point and you'd recognize that often times you have to do a good bit of leg work if you're interested. I wouldn't say that's a good thing, but it's just a natural course of things when there's no mandate to publicly divulge information.

It only makes sense that the most interested parties would be the ones to foot the bill to get the initial information collected up and bundled for their use -- but this content can't be treated like a copyrighted work you can't redistribute without permission!

Who are "the most interested parties", though? It'd seem the whole world is "the most interested parties" given the potential scope of climate change, but I don't think you're arguing that we're all responsible for footing the bill to collect the information and bundle it for our own use.

This is good news (except for Poland, who for SOME reason is holding out on releasing their numbers).

Well, at least you didn't forget Poland. :)

Sinister! (1)

ivandavidoff (969036) | more than 2 years ago | (#36902768)

Just what are Trinidad and Tobago hiding?

Re:Sinister! (1)

tkrotchko (124118) | more than 2 years ago | (#36902962)

I almost posted the same thing.

It makes you smile. Maybe they were hoping for more money.

Refuse Permission? (4, Interesting)

The Mighty Buzzard (878441) | more than 2 years ago | (#36902776)

The article notes that while Trinidad and Tobago refused permission...

Wait, on what grounds? You can't copyright/patent/trademark facts. Why did they even bother asking?

Re:Refuse Permission? (1)

nuggz (69912) | more than 2 years ago | (#36902840)

I think it is important that this information is released.

However it sets a VERY scary precident that all researches should be afraid of.
If someone grants linformation for a particular purpose, it should be only used for that purpose, and only released withthe consent of those providing the information.

For someone to simply overrule that agreement suggests they aren't enforcable or even valid. Which means researchers can't guarantee confidentiality. Breaking nconfidentiality agreements should always be done very carefully, and only for very specific reasons.

Maybe this was such a case, but it really shouldn't be taken lightly.

Re:Refuse Permission? (2)

The Mighty Buzzard (878441) | more than 2 years ago | (#36902964)

Seriously? I don't see any reason it should ever have been kept confidential. It's gathered data on temperatures and such not matters of national security and it's not ownable IP because it's just facts. I mean I could see an NDA being useful on things like product specs before you've officially released finalized specs but on temperature/humidity/wind speed? Seriously, WTF?

Re:Refuse Permission? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36903114)

The problem is that, in the future, organizations may be less willing to release information to researchers. This hurts the ability of scientists to do science.

Re:Refuse Permission? (1)

microbox (704317) | more than 2 years ago | (#36903292)

I don't see any reason it should ever have been kept confidential.

I bet it all has to do with money. It /does/ cost money to collect data you know.

Re:Refuse Permission? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36902930)

> Wait, on what grounds? You can't copyright/patent/trademark facts. Why did they even bother asking?

That's a precedent from a case in the USA. I don't believe it's applicable internationally, and even if it were, it wouldn't stop people from objecting. In the UK, for example, there are such things as "database rights" where you can get a copyright just because you gathered it all together, even though people could go out and gather that same data themselves. You may also note that the objection was overruled. In spite of treaties that keep it fairly consistent, copyright is not the same worldwide. Especially not when it comes to details like this.

That said, I agree very much that "database rights" that give one a copyright on facts are a bad idea.

Re:Refuse Permission? (2)

abulafia (7826) | more than 2 years ago | (#36902932)

You can't copyright/patent/trademark facts.

In the U.S. You might notice that Trinidad and Tobago (and England, for that matter) happen to not yet be an official vassal of the empire, and is still a sovereign nation that makes its own rules.

It isn't clear from the article what rules and agreements govern here, but it certainly isn't U.S. copyright.

Re:Refuse Permission? (1)

The Mighty Buzzard (878441) | more than 2 years ago | (#36903098)

Really? I thought we'd taken annexed them last year.

Yes, my reply was asinine. I'm fine with that though since what I was replying to also was. Bare facts not being subject IP law is extremely common worldwide.

Re:Refuse Permission? (0)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 2 years ago | (#36902948)

You can't copyright/patent/trademark facts. Why did they even bother asking?

You can't really quote American law when you are talking about other countries. They may have very different laws. Likely, they just had very different reasons, possibly financial in nature.

Re:Refuse Permission? (2)

blair1q (305137) | more than 2 years ago | (#36903094)

http://www.copyrightaid.co.uk/copyright_information/berne_convention_signatories [copyrightaid.co.uk]

And if you click-through a link at TFA, you find that the Polish sect is still holding out because it does, in fact, sell its data sets.

You can copyright an expression of facts, and a collection of data you emailed to a wonk in Blighty counts as an expression of facts. They would have to somehow reformat it so it's not the same expression, but just changing the instruments doesn't make a tune any different, so changing formatting or number systems doesn't change a data set.

I bet Trinidad & Tobago is pissed and willing to sue.

Re:Refuse Permission? (2)

edjs (1043612) | more than 2 years ago | (#36903174)

Wait, on what grounds? You can't copyright/patent/trademark facts. Why did they even bother asking?

Perhaps not, but you can hold the facts as confidential, and require anyone you give the facts to to agree to treat the data as confidential. By breaking that agreement you risk sanctions such as not being given facts in the future.

Whether there's any good reason to keep this data confidential is another matter.

Re:Refuse Permission? (2, Insightful)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#36903200)

Give me your full name, your high school transcripts, every essay you've ever written, all emails from the past five years, and the names of every person you've ever slept with. After all, they're just facts. You can't trademark, copyright, or patent them. Therefore I should (by your bizzarro logic) be able to compel you to waste time complying with my every demand, even though you know I only want to info so I can find a way to harass you with it.

Re:Refuse Permission? (1)

The Mighty Buzzard (878441) | more than 2 years ago | (#36903252)

Strawman argument. There's a world of difference saying you have no right to keep information private and saying you have a right to determine how any facts you share are used in perpetuity.

Re:Refuse Permission? (4, Insightful)

Xyrus (755017) | more than 2 years ago | (#36903220)

You pay for your credit scores. You pay your insurance premiums. There are numerous industries that generate information that is not available to the public because it is the product they sell.

Not all climate and weather data is generated by government agencies. The government may buy it, but the government is subject to contracts just like everyone else. They may be able to distribute products based on the data, but they may not be free to distribute the data. Happens all the time.

I thought we had it already (1, Interesting)

Coolhand2120 (1001761) | more than 2 years ago | (#36902786)

I was under the assumption that the public already had this data. Certainly many people have trumpeted "Look at the raw data". Others still have claimed that the "raw data has been deleted" presumably a long time ago. Why wasn't the data released 5 years ago? So many questions, this just creates a dozen or so more.

Re:I thought we had it already (1)

The Mighty Buzzard (878441) | more than 2 years ago | (#36902856)

I'm going to go with: Because an informed public is in no party's best interest.

Re:I thought we had it already (1)

microbox (704317) | more than 2 years ago | (#36903304)

All the information wasn't released because there was not license to do so. It is just a matter of rules. /Most/ of the data was released though. This is purely a storm in a tea-cup.

Re:I thought we had it already (1)

WeatherGod (1726770) | more than 2 years ago | (#36903084)

Yes and no. The data that was already released was the "reanalysis" data which is the culmination of many, many, many observations from all around the world. These observations were all done at different time intervals, with different methods and different instruments. The raw data is nearly useless as it contains faulty data, biases and other effects that have to be accounted for. The work of those at CRU and other places have been to meticulously quality-control and analyze the raw observations down to a uniform grid (spatially and temporally).

In addition to the reanalysis data that was already fully released, much (but admittedly not all) of the raw observational data used to generate the reanalysis data was also already released. The data that was not already released was being withheld by the various organizations that accrued that data (some European countries and such). CRU was not allowed to release that data that they were given access to -- until now.

Personally, I think all data should always be available and most scientists and research groups do abide by this tenet. However, I can't bring myself to hold it against a research unit for being able to obtain some proprietary data and publish results on that information. When I was an undergraduate student, I had the opportunity to work on an analysis of snow storms/ice storms using an insurance company's accident dataset. That is highly proprietary information, and we were very lucky to even get a glimpse of a small subset of this information. If companies thought that one day down the road, some government would come along and force their proprietary datasets to be opened up just because part of it got shared with a public university, then we would never get access to such data and be able to publish useful research based on it. Heck, researchers within various companies would never publish their works either because of that looming threat.

Again, I repeat, I personally believe that all that data should be open anyway, but as a pragmatist, I would rather have some of the proprietary data rather than none.

Re:I thought we had it already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36903218)

Even if we had it, it's not like anyone complaining really looked at it.

And now that we have ti again, it's still unlikely that the detractors will look at it.

Well. Except through the glasses tinted with hate and vitriol trying to find the smallest discrepancies in the data to throw out the entire thing.

"Oh! This is a Ferrari? Oh wait, the tires are not OFFICIAL Ferrari tires."
"Uh, you know that doesn't really matter much."
"NOPE. GOING TO COURT. FUCK YOU."

The CRU was not the "target" of "climategate". (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36902830)

The CRU was the source of "climategate".

Re:The CRU was not the "target" of "climategate". (4, Informative)

microbox (704317) | more than 2 years ago | (#36903322)

No, there were definitely the target. Watch here [youtube.com] and here [youtube.com] .

And what was the problem, what took so long? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36902876)

Shouldn't people be allowed and even encouraged to criticize, and have access to verify or discredit the data? The tone of the submitter seems to be "shut up and take what your told as fact"

This is the basis for a major realignment of global policies. Not all of us trust the new one world government completely.

Is criticism of the new emperor not allowed?

Note, I am not talking about the existence of or lack of global warming, I'm talking about the citizens right to take part in the new world order. Do we just not want transparency at all?

Re:And what was the problem, what took so long? (1)

jjohnson (62583) | more than 2 years ago | (#36903310)

An excessive insistence on access to the "raw data" is a stalling tactic by climate deniers to tie up climate researchers in meaningless paperwork. People like yourself are useful idiots for those deniers.

The data was always widely available to any climatologist who wanted it. "Climategate" happened just because of the release of a bunch of emails between a wide variety of people who were already working with the data. It just wasn't conveniently available to people with little familiarity with climate science and little ability to do meaningful work with the data. Now it is. And now the climate deniers will find some other bogus point to harp on to delay making any policy changes based on the already voluminous data that shows climate change is real and man-made.

This isn't about transparency. This is about intellectual piety being manipulated for political purposes.

If you can't find the link to the data yourself... (2)

NemoinSpace (1118137) | more than 2 years ago | (#36902878)

You probably shouldn't draw any conclusions from the work you do on it.
Anyway, give this a try [metoffice.gov.uk]

The Zip File (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36902888)

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/media/zip/e/0/station_files.20110720.zip

For those into bits.

Global Warming Denial (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36902944)

I don't get the skepticism on slashdot. There is a worldwide scientific consensus that the Earth is heating up and humans are a major factor. It has been known since the 19th century that C02 in the atmosphere absorbs and emits infrared radiation back to the planet. It is also uncontroversial that humans have been putting ever increasing amounts of C02 in the atmosphere. And that it takes a century or two for that C02 to be taken out of the atmosphere. It is also known that glaciers and ice caps are melting / receding. It is also well known that there is a lot methane trapped below the Greenland ice and in the deep sea as sludge. If enough warming on land and in the seas occurs, a lot of methane could be released. It is known that methane is a much more potent green house gas than C02, even though it is shorter lived in the atmosphere.

It's funny how people accept the scientific enterprise as a great tool for understanding the world right up until their views or wallets are impacted. Oh and as for who has the most incentive to misrepresent facts. Why those would be the people who make the most money from fossil fuels. And those with an ideological axe to grind. God forbid reality get in the way of ideology.

Re:Global Warming Denial (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36902990)

In other words, you believe that tiny changes in the tiny amount of a weak greenhouse gas of a very low partial pressure are going to cause the Earth's climate to change. If you believe that you have rocks in your head.

Christ on a fucking pogo stick. The Slashdot of ten years ago would have torn this global warming crap a new asshole. What the hell happened between then and now?

Re:Global Warming Denial (2)

blair1q (305137) | more than 2 years ago | (#36903028)

No, I believe that large changes in the large amount of significant greenhouse gas has been proved to affect Earth's climate. Because that's what happened.

Why you find the need to deny every part of it is the mystery. It's going to make your future hell, unless you're heavily invested in everyone else's future becoming hell, in which case you can go to hell.

Re:Global Warming Denial (2, Insightful)

iggymanz (596061) | more than 2 years ago | (#36903092)

The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is minute. On the other hand, the concentration of the most powerful and dominant greenhouse gas on planet earth is quite large. we cannot model the effects on climate of that most powerful greenhouse gas, because it is too complex. Plenty of credible scientists have many problems with the current version of AGW, already the earth's climate is not following the myriad of models produced with the billions of dollars wasted on the effort.

Re:Global Warming Denial (1)

approachingZero (1365381) | more than 2 years ago | (#36903320)

That needed said. Good work.

Re:Global Warming Denial (0)

NemoinSpace (1118137) | more than 2 years ago | (#36903038)

C02 in the atmosphere absorbs and emits infrared radiation back to the planet.

scientific enterprise as a great tool for understanding both sides of the CO2 molecule - you seem to ignore the vector that radiates back into space.
I fear that you spend more time reading than thinking.

Re:Global Warming Denial (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36903256)

Indeed, when the infrared photon is reemitted it is equally likely to travel upwards as downwards. However, if you would take your own advice and think you might realize that since more infrared photons start their interaction with the atmosphere at the surface of the earth than at the top of the atmosphere, the net effect of the carbon dioxide is to divert the average infrared photon downwards. The average infrared photon being more relevant to climate than the occasional lucky photon that is transmitted upwards every time.

Read up on concepts such as mean free path and thermodynamic equilibrium. It will make you seem like less of an imbecile in discussions about climate.

Re:Global Warming Denial (1)

hldn (1085833) | more than 2 years ago | (#36903082)

There is a worldwide scientific consensus that the Earth is heating up..

yes.

and humans are a major factor.

not so much.

Re:Global Warming Denial (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36903258)

There is a worldwide scientific consensus that the Earth is heating up..

yes.

and humans are a major factor.

not so much.

yes, so much

unless you ignore the dunning-kruger effect that represents pretty much all of the deniers/skeptics

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (2, Insightful)

Coolhand2120 (1001761) | more than 2 years ago | (#36903050)

From: Thomas S. Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions [google.com]

One of the strongest, if still unwritten, rules of scientific life is the prohibition of appeals to heads of state or to the populace at large in matters scientific.

Isn't the CRU constantly breaking "one of the strongest" rules of scientific life: appealing to the state and or populace when your science fails to convince? Science does not require the rule of "Might makes right" to persuade. Logic and strong correlation of data are all that is required. Thus far, in my opinion, CRU has shown themselves to be anything but scientific. They appeal to the head of state and to the public at large! This, more than anything proves that they are not scientists. What other respected branch of science reaches out for a "consensus" in the government or the populace to prove their theories? Science is not the blatant politicizing of science to overpower the paradigm group you disagree with.

Re:The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1)

ivandavidoff (969036) | more than 2 years ago | (#36903228)

What other respected branch of science reaches out for a "consensus" in the government or the populace to prove their theories? Science is not the blatant politicizing of science to overpower the paradigm group you disagree with.

Yes, which is why CRU's work is hopelessly tainted, as is any peer review of their work. That entire branch of science should be mothballed, then secretly resurrected, this time keeping the well-meaning laymen the hell out.

But, just because the CRU screwed up, and a bunch of politicians got involved in all this, does not mean that all the science is unsound. The CRU are not the only ones working on this.

Even so, the IPCC suffers from the same mix of hard science, sensible conclusions, wild speculation, and political calls to action.

Re:The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (2, Insightful)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#36903236)

The scientific community already has a consensus. But you can never convince someone who's decided that they don't want to be convinced. Should we be forced to prove evolution to the satisfaction of creationists before teaching it in schools?

Don't answer that... you're probably some slack-jawed Republican, so I'll go ahead and guess that your answer is an emphatic "yes!"

Re:The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (3, Insightful)

microbox (704317) | more than 2 years ago | (#36903334)

when your science fails to convince?

But the science /does/ convince on its own merits. Nobody who actually knows anything about the science could possibly be a sceptic unless they were stark raving mad [youtube.com] .

Re:The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36903338)

Kuhn's comment applies to doing the science and making scientific interpretations: in other words, to validate or test a particular hypothesis or theory. In that context what political leaders think or even the general public is irrelevant. It's kind of like trying to legislate pi to being 3.14 exactly: it's irrelevant to the mathematical facts. Same for scientific issues. The key phrase in that sentence is "in matters scientific".

Kuhn's statement does not apply to the subsequent, non-scientific step, which is when you attempt to use the output of science to understand problems in broader society. Science can be pursued for it's own sake, but there are many topics in science which bear on matters of social and political policy. To do the science and never talk about it with either political leaders or the general population kind of defeats the point of doing it in the first place, especially if the science is being funded by public funds expressly for that goal (doing science relevant to the public interest). I'm pretty sure if you read the context of Kuhn's book he's not saying scientists should forever keep to their little enclaves and never talk about how science matters to society's broader issues. He's just saying that those broader societal issues don't *determine* the scientific outcome itself. For a the classic example why science isn't supposed to be determined by politics, refer to Lysenkoism [wikipedia.org] .

Good (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36903086)

That'll give the climate change denier/delusional fuckwits one less thing to bleat about.

Well whether you believe in man caused climate... (1)

brim4brim (2343300) | more than 2 years ago | (#36903120)

change or not, can we all agree to clean up our environment so that it is more pleasant to look at and we can breathe clean air again. Coming from a rural area, it takes a while to adjust to smells of pollution in towns/industrial areas and there is sometimes a fog around. More popular in foreign countries than Ireland since we have few of those resources and a heavy manufacturing skipped us as a result. Very noticeable when abroad though don't worry, Dublin still smells like **** so getting rid of industrial pollution won't make towns/cities smell like flowers unless we buy a record amount of scented candles but then we'll be back to square one on the climate change thing :P

but (1)

nimbius (983462) | more than 2 years ago | (#36903286)

this is science, not a popularity contest. 31 scientific institutions have already confirmed the scientific theory of climate change, its causes, and its impacts.
independent analysis of the agency in question and its study have found no fault .

climate change critics have formed their monster, and they want it as big, bold, brassy and sassy
as it can be. In this regard more 'documents' has been equated with more damning and scandalous email.
actual scientists and scientific minded members of the public dismissed this scandal about 3 days after it was
released by a guy who wrote "The Essential Guide to Making Lefty Liberals History" and subsequently covered by
a news agency accused of bribing police and buying politicians.

pfft (1)

kiddygrinder (605598) | more than 2 years ago | (#36903316)

there's no such thing as climate
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