Global Temperature Data Released by "Climategate" Researchers

Mon, 2011-08-01 22:16Graham Readfearn
Graham Readfearn's picture

Global Temperature Data Released by "Climategate" Researchers

Temperature anomaly from HadCRUT3

TEMPERATURE data from more than 5,000 weather stations used to compile a key global record of surface temperatures has been released to the public.

The raw data, sent from weather agencies across the world to the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia in England, was released after an order from the UK’s Information Commissioner, Christopher Graham.

CRU scientists were at the centre of the so-called “climategate” affair when hundreds of emails and some data were hacked and released on the internet.

The release follows a successful freedom-of-information challenge from academics Professor Jonathan Jones, a physics professor at the University of Oxford, and Dr Don Keiller, a biochemist at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge. Professor Jones has decribed himself as a “climate agnostic”.

The data from the CRUTEM3 database is used by the UK Met Office and CRU to compile HadCRUT3 - a global record of surface temperatures going back to January 1850.

The original request for the data was made in August 2009. Professor Jones told the BBC

It was very much a matter of principle. This dataset wasn’t particularly interesting, but we thought the data in general should be available, and we thought people shouldn’t have to make FoI requests for it.

Professor Trevor Davies, UEA Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research, repeated concerns expressed in the long-running case before the Information Commissioner, that the release of data could damage future research efforts.

We remain concerned, however, that the forced release of material from a source which has explicitly refused to give permission for release could have some damaging consequences for the UK in international research collaborations.

Speaking to NewScientist, Thomas Peterson, chief scientist at the US National Climatic Data Center, echoed Professor Davies’ concerns.

If countries come to expect that sharing of any data with anyone will eventually lead to strong pressure for them to fully release those data, will they be less willing to collaborate in the future?

Dr Gavin Schimdt, a climate scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, added:

One can hope this might put an end to the interminable discussion of the CRU temperatures, but the experience of GISTEMP – another database that’s been available for years – is that the criticisms will continue because there are some people who are never going to be satisfied.

Previous Comments

OK Deniers, I was able to download the new CRU data, read the documentation, write a new data decoding module for the simple temperature anomaly gridding/averaging program that I had written previously, and produce these results in just a two or three hours (much of the time spent tracking down a stupid programming “thinko”):

My program implements the simplest possible version of your standard temperature anomaly gridding/averaging procedure – no adjustments, modifications, or homogenization steps of any kind were applied to the CRU data – just a straightforward gridding/averaging procedure that a college freshman/sophomore (or even a talented high-school kid) could code up.

The official NASA/GISS land-station results (copied/pasted directly from the NASA/GISS web-site) are plotted in yellow. My program output for *raw* GHCN data is plotted in dark blue. And my program output for the newly-released CRU data is plotted in red.

See much difference between the new CRU results and the other results? Didn’t think so. And I was able to do all of this without filing a *single* FOI request.

For those of you who still think that the CRU must have “doctored” the data somehow, take off your tinfoil hats and listen up.

The CRU does not own or control the temperature stations that collect the raw data they just released – it relies on the met offices of nations all over the world to supply the data. If you really don’t trust the CRU, you are perfectly free to contact some of those national met offices, request the raw data from them, and then compare their numbers with the numbers in the raw data file that you can now download from the CRU web-site.

But if that’s too hard for you, I guess you can still just keep spinning your silly “climategate” conspiracy theories.

Surely there’s a communist trick hidden in your sneaky computer modeling! :-)

You don’t get it, slick.

McIntyre is the guy who orchestrated the FOI storm over the temperature data.

Now he’s claiming that he wasn’t all that concerned about the temperature data after all…


In all likelihood Keiller and Jones will do nothing with the data. That was not their intent, rather it was to fabricate controversy and doubt, and to harass.

I agree 100 percent – the goal of my little “amateur analysis” project is to try to get some of the people who jumped on the CRU “climategate” bandwagon to start feeling stupid and foolish (well, at least those who actually have the capacity to feel embarrassment).

Hopefully, Keiller/Jones and others who have been hassling the CRU will soon have to start answering questions like “So how’s your temperature data analysis work going? Got anything to show us yet?”

Now that all the CRU data are freely available, the folks who have been loudly demanding access to the data should now be “put on the spot” continuously and mercilessly until they either produce their own analysis results or “cry uncle” and admit that their intent all along was just to harass and annoy.

Its all totally disconnected from policy anyway. It wasnt ever about some dumb emails from the science club. That was just a handy excuse to tune them out - which was going to happen anyway.

This world is not going to be steered by a bunch of guys in white coats measuring tree rings.

This world is a cage match to the death of fierce me first entities and it always has been.

science is fun though.

Or is there a striking parallel here with the birther shenanigans that led to the eventual release of Obama`s birth certificate?

That would seem to be the case…

The CRU has just released its “long-form” global temperature data-set, the very data-set that the deniers have been demanding access to for the past couple of years… and where are those deniers now?

They are all up at the “Conservative White Men and Climate Change Denial” thread, whining about how they are being repressed!

Deniers are like birthers who aren’t literate enough to read (and comprehend) a long-form birth-certificate.


There is no better way to describe self-appointed climate auditor Steve McIntyre than ‘determined’. Highly determined even.

And you would have to be pretty obstinate to try and poke holes in peer-reviewed climate science given that McIntyre claims he does not receive a salary signed by Big Oil. As author of the sceptic blog Climate Audit, all of McIntyre’s work is funded on his own dime.

Of course, his hotel accommodation while in London this August, where our interview was conducted,...

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