Thursday, December 01, 2011

The trouble with Harry: Was the fate of the world's economies resting on fudged data, "a bloody mess" of computer code, and a programmer with dubious competency and a Green Party affiliation?

Email 3340

I just wish that Harry had more of a feel for what he's been doing. I should have gotten Harry to produce more results as
he was doing the original work. I assumed he'd gotten things right, as I thought it was just a matter of getting Tim M's programs to work.
He ought to have looked at the fortran rather than Tim M's comment lines.

Flashback: Data horribilia: the HARRY-READ-ME.txt file

In other words, these are the guts of CRU's actual computer models—the data, the code and the applications.
And they are, by all accounts, a total bloody mess.
follow the trials and tribulations of Ian "Harry" Harris as he tries to recreate the published data because he has nothing else to go on!

Thrill as he "glosses over" anomalies; let your heart sing as he gets some results to within 0.5 degrees; rejoice as Harry points out that everything is undocumented and that, generally speaking, he hasn't got the first clue as to what's going on with the data!

Chuckle as one of CRU's own admits that much of the centre's data and applications are undocumented, bug-ridden, riddled with holes, missing, uncatalogued and, in short, utterly worthless.


With huge reluctance, I have dived into 'anomdtb' - and already I have that familiar Twilight Zone sensation.

Email 3878

At Board today, Tim and I agreed to review the situation at the end of May and, if necessary, talk to Phil about some USDoE funding for Harry (he is already named on this).

Email 4471

However, the request is just as _valid_ as if it were from a Professor of Climate Studies, isn't it? It seems to me that if we protest about the position of the applicant we are certain to be seen to be wriggling on the hook, since he's probably been put up to it by a better-known skeptic?

I agree we don't have a squeaky-clean story to tell here, but the potential for embarrassment will rise exponentially if we struggle first..


Email 377

Well at least he implicitly acknowledges the labyrinthine nature of the existing site!

Aaaaaand it's obviously not just me having trouble with it :-)

Email 949

I suspect this is just another mystery-never-to-be solved; I'll put with all the others.

2001 climategate email

Have a look at - particularly We're looking at an
*unprecedented* acceleration in temperature, and it's not due to a sudden lack of volvanic eruptions. Even if it turns out to be
naturally-occurring, who's willing to take that chance? We should be trying to wean ourselves off of unsustainable energy generation and
use anyway. [Harry]

Email 4648

Are you happy for me to mention that you work at UEA in a news release to concrete about the elections?

Not particularly after last time (transport meeting) where I got flayed alive by the Director of CRU. [Harry]

If so, can I say you work in CRU

Definitely not [Harry]

and if not should I just put researcher

Well...OK but *no affiliation* please! [Harry]

...CheersHarry -- ----------------------------------------------------------------- Ian Harris - "Harry" Norwich Green Party Election Agent

1 comment:

Norpag said...

Here is part of an article written in 2000 by the Tim M(itchell)who wrote some of the CRU data base programs Harry refers to.

"Climate change and the Christian

Is global warming the end of the world or media scare-mongering?
Global warming is often seen as either the end of the world as we know it, or as mere media scare-mongering. Which is right?

Could it be that I, a respectable Christian, am partly to blame? Might I need to change the way I live? Before we search for climate changes, we ought first to understand what it is that might be changing.

The climate system is made up of the earth's atmosphere, oceans, ice, vegetation, and streams. It is both beautiful and complex. Humans have a mandate to forecast its behaviour and use it (Genesis 1:28). However, we feel in awe of its destructive potential, seen in such things as hurricanes and floods, which are part of the curse inflicted upon the earth following the Fall (Genesis 3.17). Moreover, control and certainty belong to God alone (Job 38-41). So there is a possibility that our actions may affect the climate system in unexpected ways. It was claimed in the 1970s that the earth might be about to enter an ice age. The evidence for this was minimal, but the decades of painstaking research that have followed the 1970s have unveiled both the natural variability in the climate system, and the dramatic effects of human actions.

To assemble a record of global climate changes over the last 150 years we use instrumental records, such as rain gauges and thermometers. Since it is only recently that such instruments have been widely used, to reconstruct climate changes prior to the 19th century we are compelled to use indirect sources of information, such as tree ring widths and ice core layers.

Using this mixture of data, we have assembled global temperature records for the last millennium. There is much natural variability throughout the records, but there is also a 20th-century rise in global temperature that is unprecedented in its magnitude and rate of change. Is it merely a coincidence that this global warming has come at the same time as the huge expansion in human population and industrialisation that we have seen in the 20th century?..........
Firstly, now that we know the consequences, should we continue to pollute? Secondly, given that we may be responsible for hurting our fellow humans, should we help them? To my mind, the Scriptures are clear. Humans are stewards, not masters, of God's creation (Genesis 2.15), and one day we will have to account for our stewardship (Luke 19.11-27). While it is not wrong to change the atmosphere, it is wrong to change it more than we need, certainly if it is at the expense of poor people. Making money at the expense of the weak is condemned (Luke 20.47), and to assist the weak is praised (James 1.27). Yet continuing as we are will make us richer at the expense of the poor. Given that we have stolen from the poor of the world by our pollution, we might learn from Zacchaeus (Luke 19.8). In our selfish world, each state pursues its own interests........
The government urges us to reduce our energy usage so that we may indulge ourselves in other ways, but we have a higher motive for reducing waste (1 Timothy 6.17-19). Although I have yet to see any evidence that climate change is a sign of Christ's imminent return, human pollution is clearly another of the birth pangs of creation, as it eagerly awaits being delivered from the bondage of corruption (Romans. 19-22).

Tim Mitchell works at the Climactic Research Unit, UEA, Norwich, and is a member of South Park Evangelical Church."

Sounds like his motivations are similar to Sir John Houghton.Did this conciously affect the way he assembled the data bases? Who can say?