The creation process is messy, frustrating, and ugly to the
innocently naïevé, like birth the creation process can look
ugly on the surface if you don’t have a deeper understanding
of what is happening. If you don’t know the results, the mess
just looks ugly. Do you think that a song would sound smooth
and graceful on the first day of writing? Do you think that
a non-fiction book would be fully fact-checked and gracefully
written on the first day?
Relax these University of East Anglia emails are not a real issue,
not one regarding the Climate Change data.
In regards to the wattsupwiththat.com web site, speaking as an
engineer, it just looks like they are implementing a new system of
test tools, to me, perfectly benign and just what I’d expect to se.
The source code comments and all look like normal problems and
attempts to find a solution, failed attempt after failed attempt,
looking for a success, it is a proud struggle, they are accomplishing hard
work. That is all perfectly normal when people are
creating a new device.
The only part of it that I can criticize is the role that
wattsupwiththat.com is playing, they are cherry-picking everything,
looking for the statements that are showing frustration and
technological implementation problems, while not giving you
the successes. Every negative word or statement that they have
emboldened seems mundane to me within the contexts that I, as an
engineer, can imagine. The people feeding you us this information
are not giving the audience the basic context. They’re doing a
bad thing, stirring up mischief. This is the rumor-mill.
Any innocently naïevé person might imagine that creating a device
is easy, because they see all these lovely well functioning remote
controls, radios, computers, microwave ovens, etc. in their lives.
But it is not easy to create these things, it does take lots of
work, struggles, and frustration. It is a proud trait, that the
researchers were working hard. You might expect that
all the devices that researchers use are fully developed
and off-the-shelf, as are the ones that you buy for yourself.
You’d be misunderstanding, if you did expect that. The web site
enthusiastically shows the early conversations in the development
cycle, but the ONLY legitimate question that it raises
in me are about the end results? In the end when they
finished all the work, solved the problems, and collected good
data, how’d it turn out?
Here are some perfectly benign statements quoted from the web site:
“There are hundreds if not thousands of pairs of dummy stations,
one with no WMO and one with, usually overlapping and with the
same station name and very similar coordinates.”
If you were to make some new system of devices that communicate
with one another then OF COURSE you might create some
dummy devices or dummy data for testing purposes! If neither
device A nor device B exist, and you want to create them brand
new starting with device A, then you very well might create a
dummy B so that you can use it to test A as you build A anew.
Like thousands of client web browsers talking to one web server,
you obviously create thousands of dummy B’s in order to test A’s
full abilities. The point of creating some sort of dummy is that
it is easier than creating the real B, or thousands of them.
This is standard practice when implementing a new system.
You’d need dummy (or artificial) data because the unfinished
system hasn’t collected any real data, yet.
“printf,1,’NOTE: recent decline in tree-ring density has been
ARTIFICIALLY’ printf,1,’REMOVED to facilitate calibration.
THEREFORE, post-1960 values’ “
The authors of these statements are writing in a computer language
called FORTRAN 90 (F90). “printf,1” commands a computer to display
some characters to the screen so that the user can read them.
It’s just a message for the user. It warns that some data has been
artificially removed, not for some dark and dastardly reason,
but they explain it is for a proper purpose of calibrating some
device(s), that’s a good thing.
I could go on and on like this for lots of the statements on
The wattsupwiththat.com web site has listed dozens of these
statements, emboldening any language that expresses frustration,
anger, disappointment, or any other negative emotions.
That cherry-picking is really giving a biased emotionally charged
picture. Think of the news on television and news papers, it is
negative most of the time, that is because people tend to want
to talk about the problems, hoping for solutions. Delivering the
negative news is perfectly normal! That web site never mentions
if any of the problems were solved, keep in mind the creation
process ends with a beautiful result (hopefully all went well),
the dark and dirty implementation just makes that creation look
more beautiful when you can see the whole picture was successful!
The comments by the software authors look emotionally negatively
charged to me, but technologically completely benign. It’s just about
people being frustrated during work, that’s all it is nothing more.
They were writing to each other candidly rather than in a guarded
way, that’s all that has happened, indelicate wording.
About disclosure and deletions I see…
“Over 95% of the CRU climate data set concerning land surface temperatures
has been accessible to climate researchers, sceptics [sic]
and the public for several years the University of East Anglia
“One particular, illegally obtained, email relates to the
preparation of a figure for the WMO Statement on the Status of
the Global Climate in 1999. This email referred to a “trick”
of adding recent instrumental data to the end of temperature
reconstructions that were based on proxy data.”
Does that look like a minor glitch, or a new trend to you?