Climategate 2.0: Schmidt — Make data available in ‘impenetrable-as-possible form’

Now that’s good-faith disclosure.

From the Climategate 2.0 collection, NASA’s Gavin Schmidt and and Michael Mann’s RealClimate collaborator complains about persistent skeptics and finally offers a solution:

… Frankly, I would simply put the whole CRU database (in an as-impenetrable-as-possible form) up on the web site along with a brief history of it’s provenance (and the role of the NMSs) and be done with it. [Emphasis added]

The full e-mail is below.

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Subject: Jones et al
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Mike, This current situation is a little tricky. As we saw with the
whole HS affair, very few things have traction like the idea that data
is being withheld (possibly only suppression of free speech is as
powerful). You don’t need to know your PC from your elbow to see that as
an issue and so it easily catches fire among those who would like to see
the whole issue go away but who don’t know anything about it.
However, the listing of the sites and sources etc. is completely
peripheral to the real motivations (as you and Kevin correctly note).
Phil is being targeted solely because of the three databases for the
global SAT trends, his is the only one for which the raw data is not
available. All of the issues could be examined using the NOAA or GISS
analyses but what would be the point? The idea is not to find out
anything interesting, but to keep pushing the ‘data is being hidden’
meme. If Phil were to release the whole database, they would spend a
week trying to do something, but then get bored and move on to someone
else who is apparently hiding something.
These games that are being played with the FOIA requests and the like
aren’t going to stop – just playing those games is enough for these
people, regardless of the response, because the very fact they’re doing
it leads people to think the data is hidden.
The current situation where they ask ridiculous and irrelevant questions
and the response is well-meaning but ‘lawyerly’ just feeds the fire.
They aren’t interested in asking questions that can be answered, but in
asking questions that just put Phil on the defensive. The less he can
respond, the happier they will be.
Frankly, I would simply put the whole CRU database (in an
as-impenetrable-as-possible form) up on the web site along with a brief
history of it’s provenance (and the role of the NMSs) and be done with
it. If specific NMS contracts forbid posting of their raw data, then he
should remove the ones that he contractually can’t post and direct
peoples attentions to the NMS’s concerned. Why should Phil be the fall
guy for nutty ‘commercial’ restrictions imposed by various governments?
Bottom line: This isn’t going to stop.
Gavin
PS. feel free to forward to Phil et al if you like.

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6 responses to “Climategate 2.0: Schmidt — Make data available in ‘impenetrable-as-possible form’

  1. Gavin Schmidt, the Amazing Long-distance Mind Reader!

  2. This is a impenetrably hilarious recommendation how to communicate science from the winner of the $20,000 science communication award of the American Geophysical Union, as selected by the AGU science communication director Chris Mooney. ;-)

    Still, despite these efforts, I had no problems to deal with the HadCRUT3 data when they were released, computing the statistics of trends for stations etc. within hours.

  3. Schmidt’s “inpenetrable” suggestion was nasty, but it would have been good enough.

    It is revealing (but not too surprising), that Schmidt was unaware that UEA was utterly incapable, because of disorganization and data loss, of carrying out his mean-spirited proposal.

  4. How ironic that even Schmidt didn’t know at the time that Jones had been trying to hold back releasing the “data” because it was not in actual fact (re)producible. This being one of the foundational principles of sound scientific method, even Schmidt wasn’t able to foresee that kind of nightmare scenario for Dr Jones.

  5. Gavin’s statements are not only ‘mean spirited’, as Tom noted, but are also extremely condescending.

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