Bad Astronomy’s “Is it hot in here, or is it just me?”

# Maurizio Morabito on 11 Aug 2007 at 12:55 am

To the BA: what is your opinion about the difficulty with which raw data is given to the public? And to Hansen’s refusal of providing McIntyre with the algorithms used?

More details at

Correct me if I am wrong but usually in astronomical circles all raw data including photographs are published, obviously after the paper is published. Shouldn’t we ask as much in all sectors of science, climatology included?

# Maurizio Morabito on 11 Aug 2007 at 5:30 pm

Phil: To clarify: even if I am experiencing problems with the spam filter, it WASN’T me accusing you of removing comments. It was Magnus Andersson.

As for the reasons to have the correction algorithms removed from the public eye, if there is any we should be told about it.

You correctly point out the Hubble data isn’t available for a year. That’s rightfully so, but that’s also completely different from having them never available at all.

If Hansen wants to keep his stuff secret for N years, can’t we just be told how big the number N is?

Finally one thing you may have missed. McIntyre had to a heck of a job all by himself. Frankly, it bordered on the insane. And still he was able to find something. That should not be considered minor achievement, nor dismissed because it was “only” about US data, or “just” a few tenths of a degree of a change.

On the contrary, it clearly indicates there could be lots of mistakes in the published results.

Imagine taking Tiger Woods, blindfolded, with one hand tied behind his back and the shoes laced up together. Then he tries to hit the golf ball, but almost misses it, and moves it by a few inches. Would that be evidence that Tiger Woods is not really good at golf? Of course not.

It would be a loud statement regarding the fact that nobody should be forced to pursue a quest with unfair, almost unbearable restrictions.

And so if McIntyre or anybody else wants to check if Hansen’s data are correct, they should be given full access.

We would all gain from that, and if the world is indeed warming, it would show from the data, as clear as it gets.

# Maurizio Morabito on 12 Aug 2007 at 4:55 pm

To conclude my contribution about the public (un-)availability of the full data, algorithms and code used by Jim Hansen and the climatologists at NASA (and at Hadley’s), for that matter), let me point out that there would be much less brouhaha, and much less interest, were this discussion about the sex life of snails or the behavior of neutrinos.

One important issue instead is that, based on their results, those climatologists and other people are campaigning to get our lifestyles changed. Otherwise, as Hansen says, in 10 years’ time or so the whole world can be a much harsher place.

Well, all more the reason to get their methodologies fully in the open, lest futile discussions about bugs in the code retard any work to save humankind.

So if you think the world is going pear-shaped (bad astronomical pun, I know…), you should campaign for this absurd reticence to stop: let’s publish everything and anything, before it’s too late


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