Fox's Rosen advanced misleading claim scientists destroyed climate data
Research ››› ››› CHRISTINE SCHWEN
On the December 8 edition of Fox News' Special Report, correspondent James Rosen advanced the claim that "climate-gate" revealed that "some leading proponents of global warming [...] destroyed" raw temperature data. In fact, according to the scientists, the raw data is still available at the meteorological services where they obtained it and Climate Research Unit director Phil Jones said the CRU simply did not keep copies for "less than 5 percent of its original station data" in its database because those "stations had several discontinuities or were affected by urbanization trends."
Rosen joins conservative media in claiming that scientists "destroyed more than 150 years worth of raw climate data."
Rosen: "Climate-gate" revealed that "some leading proponents of global warming" have "destroyed more than 150 years worth of raw climate data." From the December 8 edition of Fox News' Special Report:
JAMES ROSEN: Issa and others also referenced "Climate-gate," the scandal that has rocked the scientific world with revleations that some leading proponents of global warming have manipulated findings, sought to suppress contradictory evidence, and destroyed more than 150 years worth of raw climate data.
Conservative previously advanced misleading claim scientists destroyed climate data. For example, a November 29 London Times article stated, "Scientists at the University of East Anglia (UEA) have admitted throwing away much of the raw temperature data on which their predictions of global warming are based. It means that other academics are not able to check basic calculations said to show a long-term rise in temperature over the past 150 years." Additionally, a December 1 New York Post editorial claimed: "It turns out that most of the 'data' underlying claims that the planet is on the verge of global-warming destruction got tossed with the trash." And Ed Morrissey wrote in a November 29 post on HotAir.com that the CRU "now admits they threw out the raw data on which much of their theories on anthropogenic global warming are based."
In fact, original data is held by meteorological services
CRU scientist: "We haven't destroyed anything. The data is still there." According to an October 14 Greenwire article, Phil Jones, director of the Climatic Research Unit, said, "We haven't destroyed anything. The data is still there -- you can still get these stations from the [NOAA] National Climatic Data Center." The article said that Jones' statement came after the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) "blasted the research unit for the 'suspicious destruction of its original data.' " The article further noted that Jones "said that the vast majority of the station data was not altered at all" and that "[t]he research unit has deleted less than 5 percent of its original station data because the stations had several discontinuities or were affected by urbanization trends, Jones said."
NASA climate modeler: "The original data is curated at the met services where it originated." In response to a comment on his blog Real Climate asking whether it is true that the CRU lost the data, Gavin Schmidt, a climate scientist at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, replied: "No. The original data is curated at the met services where it originated."
Scientists: CRU climate change findings similar to those of other research centers with separate data sets
Scientists note that datasets from other research centers show the same climate trends. The Greenwire article said that Tom Karl, director of NOAA's Climatic Data Center, "noted that the conclusions of the IPCC reports are based on several data sets in addition to the CRU, including data from NOAA, NASA and the United Kingdom Met Office. Each of those data sets basically show identical multi-decadal trends, Karl said." The article also said that Ben Santer, a climate scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, "said CRU's major findings were replicated by other groups, including the NOAA climatic data center, the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and also in Russia."
Santer: "[K]ey point here is that other groups ... WERE able to replicate the major findings of the CRU." Responding to charges made by the CEI, Santer wrote:
I am sure that, over 20 years ago, the CRU could not have foreseen that the raw station data might be the subject of legal proceedings by the CEI and Pat Michaels. Raw data were NOT secretly destroyed to avoid efforts by other scientists to replicate the CRU and Hadley Centre-based estimates of global-scale changes in near-surface temperature. In fact, a key point here is that other groups -- primarily at the NOAA National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) and at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), but also in Russia -- WERE able to replicate the major findings of the CRU and UK Hadley Centre groups. The NCDC and GISS groups performed this replication completely independently. They made different choices in the complex process of choosing input data, adjusting raw station data for known inhomogeneities (such as urbanization effects, changes in instrumentation, site location, and observation time), and gridding procedures. NCDC and GISS-based estimates of global surface temperature changes are in good accord with the HadCRUT data results.
Media have also distorted stolen CRU emails
Destroyed data claims follow media's aggressive distortion of stolen CRU emails. Since the reported theft of emails from the CRU, several media figures have agressively advanced the notion that those emails undermine the overwhelming scientific consensus that human activities are causing climate change, dubbing the supposed scandal "Climategate." But these critics have largely rested their claims on outlandish distortions and misrepresentations of the contents of the stolen emails, greatly undermining their dubious smears.