Science works on trust. When that trust is lost, science can't work well. The trust we give to fellow scientists is that they will be honest with the data and that they will also be transparent in telling people what they did, how they did it and allowing for others to inspect the data and logic surrounding the conclusions. In my business, making geological maps, people can come in and look at my data, re-do the maps, inspect all the lines of logic that led me to the conclusions I came to. It can be a bit painful sometimes when someone points out that you are wrong on some issue, but it is a necessary aspect of science.
There is an interesting issue now in climatology in which Phil Jones, the professor in charge of the UK's Climate Research Unit which produces the Hadcrut temperature data set has refused to give the raw data to anyone who might be critical of it. Jones rather infamously once told an Australian researcher:
"Even if WMO agrees, I will still not pass on the data. We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it." Andrew Orlowski, "Global Warming ate my data," The Register, Aug 13, 2009 here
But isn't that the point of science--to double check claims made by a scientist to be sure that it is correct? It seems that Dr. Jones has a particularly thin skin. But now there are reports that Jones has lost the raw data upon which the climate models are based.here
One of the roles of a good manager is to be sure that data is properly stored. Jones has failed in this if the above report is true. Nature magazine notes that Jones has lost further data.
"Jones says he can't fulfil the requests because of confidentiality agreements signed in the 1990s with some nations, including Spain, Germany, Bahrain and Norway, that restrict the data to academic use. In some cases, says Jones, the agreements were made verbally, and in others the written records were mislaid during a move." Olive Heffernan, "Climate data spat intensifies" Nature 460, 787 (2009).
It seems that this guy can't properly manage records and thus should be replaced with the job being given to someone who can keep proper records.
I am of the mind that what Jones doesn't want anyone to see is the absolutely attrocious state of the raw data. If a statistician, like Steve McIntyre, who has been seeking the raw data can see how bad it is, then doubt will be cast upon the global warming. Below are two stations just 24 miles apart which show how incredibly awful the raw data is.
Coldwater Kansas and Ashland Kansas show a huge difference in temperature in the raw data. Such a difference can not be corrected because it is a variable bias. I think this is what Jones doesn't want anyone to see and why he continually refuses to allow other researchers (other than his friends) to actually see the raw data. I get my raw data for the US from .here
Below, I averaged the temperature for each year from 1949 to 2005. It is immediately obvious that something happened in 1967 to separate the two curves. I don't know what it is but any bias applied after 1967 can't be the same as that applied before 1967. But clearly there is something deeply wrong with the raw data.
A plot of the daily difference between the two cities can also be seen to be highly erratic but also shifted towards a warmer Coldwater.
Lets put a 365-day running average on this erratic mess to see if we can make some sense out of it. That is the next picture.
I just checked the forecasts for these two cities. They are 1 deg F different for each day, Coldwater is predicted to be cooler. But the reality is, over the past 60 years, Coldwater is as much as 10 deg F hotter than Ashland. The ability of the climatologists to use data like this to predict the global temperature is absolutely lacking. The data is crap.