Saturday, March 28, 2015

How not to frame an FOI request - if you really want information

Sou | 5:06 PM Go to the first of 35 comments. Add a comment

I don't normally bother too much with the denier blogger "Steve Goddard". Even among mainstream deniers he's viewed as shonky. However, something popped up at WUWT today (archived here) which is a great example of how deniers manufacture situations to suit their message, and how some disinformers (like Eric Worrall) misrepresent other deniers when it suits them.

This is what happened. "Steve Goddard" and someone I've never heard of, Kent Clizbe (a shady character), submitted an FOIA request to NOAA (the "Steve Goddard" version is archived here). They asked for a huge amount of information going back in history, minus the kitchen sink.

Here is their request as reported by Kent Clizbe - my formatting:
This message is to confirm your request submission to the FOIAonline application: View Request. Request information is as follows:
• Tracking Number: DOC-NOAA-2014-001602
• Requester Name: Kent Clizbe
• Date Submitted: 09/07/2014
• Request Status: Submitted
Description: 1. Temperature Data Record Adjustments: Rationale, Methodology, Discussions–USG employees and others
For the NOAA/National Climactic Data Center: Please provide Internal and external e-mails, letters, phone logs, memos, and other communications, from, to, and between: government employees, external consultants, experts, advisors, or other parties regarding the rationale, methodology, and other issues concerning adjustments/homogenization or other changes to both the US and global temperature record data, from the beginning of the adjustments through today.
2. Temperature Data Computer Code Used to Process/Adjust/Homogenize US Temperature Data
Please provide the complete source code used for processing raw US temperature data.

Let's break that down. First of all, they requested a whole heap of information from the NOAA/National Climatic Data Center. They wanted this information: from the beginning of the adjustments through today.

Notice that the request wasn't for temperature data. That's already available from the NOAA.

How many years of letters, memos and phone logs plus more?

The duo did not make it very clear how many years of data they were wanting. They referred to "the NOAA/National Climactic Data Center" but didn't indicate whether records were also sought for information prior to NOAA taking over the NCDC. All they wrote to indicate the time span was: from the beginning of the adjustments through today.

I've looked over the timeline of the development of the US weather service, but I'm not sure when scientists began making "adjustments". I did find a paper about Milan temperature records, which reports adjustments made way back in 1835, to correct the data. So it's likely that various adjustments have been made by record keepers around the world, including the USA, ever since record-keeping began.

If they were wanting all correspondence and records back to when the US government first set up a weather service in 1870, then the request would span up to 145 years of records.

If they were looking for all correspondence and records back to when the National Weather Records Center was established, the request would span 64 years, back to 1951.

If they were just wanting correspondence and records from when the NCDC itself was established, then they'd be looking at records going back 45 years, back to 1970. I expect that the search, particularly for the first couple of decades, would entail hard copy searches as well as digitised data.

In summary, the information they sought could be over a 145, 64 or 45 year period.

Now as I've pointed out, it's not temperature data they are seeking. Nor are they seeking adjustments to temperature data per se. In addition to asking for "complete source code used for processing raw US temperature data", what they are wanting is at least 45 years (and maybe 145 years) of:
  • Internal emails
  • External emails
  • Internal letters
  • External letters
  • Phone logs
  • Memos

Plus they want other communications going back up to 145 years, and at least 45 years, regarding the:
  • rationale, 
  • methodology, and 
  • other issues 

...concerning adjustments/homogenization or other changes to both the US and global temperature record data. These "other communications" to include those from, to and between - over from 45 to maybe 145 years:
  • government employees, 
  • external consultants, 
  • experts, 
  • advisors, or 
  • other parties.

Not a fishing expedition - a desire to be stonewalled

Clearly neither "Steve Goddard" or Kent Clizbe were really looking for any material. What they wanted was a letter to wave about to claim they were being stonewalled.

They weren't.

NOAA replied, setting out the anticipated costs of meeting their query. As long as "Steve" and Kent were willing to pay, the NOAA was happy to meet the request.

Turns out that "Steve" and Kent aren't willing to pay. The NOAA's polite letter informed them that "NOAA has determined that the cost for searching for responsive documents will far exceed $25.00". The fee for trawling through various archived locations around the country, for documents dating back over anything from 45 years to 145 years, would be a major effort. It is expected to cost $262,000 just for the search, plus additional for copying each search item retrieved. The NOAA estimated the search itself would take about 1.9 person years, which seems about right. That would be around six months full time work for four people, if they were diligent.

Reading between the lines of their letter, the NOAA recognised that the FOIA request may have been broader than "Steve" and Kent required for their purpose. They offered to arrange a teleconference with the NOAA lead responsible for their FOIA request, if "Steve" and Kent decided to narrow the search.

The denier duo were not stonewalled. NOAA was happy to comply, as long as it was compensated for the work. "Steve Goddard" made it plain that information as such was not what he was really seeking. What he was wanting was an excuse to complain, so he could write:
NOAA is desperate to hide their data tampering, and is taking a new tack to defeat FOIA requests.

"Steve" designed his FOIA request in such a manner that he must have known (or ought to have known) it would cost the earth and take an age to fulfil it. All so he could claim, wrongly, that the FOIA was out to "defeat" FOIA requests.

How Eric Worrall spins it wrongly at WUWT

Anthony Watts posted a silly piece by Eric Worrall (archived here), who thinks all that is required is "zipping up a few raw data files". He's wrong of course.

"Steve Goddard's" FOIA request was not seeking raw data files.

The raw data files are freely available. There is no need for the NOAA to "zip them". And there are more than a few "raw data files". For example:
  • here is the portal to the Automated Weather Observing System - where the data can be downloaded via ftp. It includes data going back to 1901.
  • here is the portal to the Automated Surface Observing System
  • here is the portal to all the land-based data, which includes raw data.

No matter how much raw temperature data is zipped or unzipped, it won't contain 45 years or 145 years of:
  • Internal emails
  • External emails
  • Internal letters
  • External letters
  • Phone logs
  • Memos
...and other communications over a period from 45 to maybe 145 years, from, to and between:
  • government employees, 
  • external consultants, 
  • experts, 
  • advisors, or 
  • other parties.

Nor will it include "the complete source code used for processing raw US temperature data." 

The NOAA has an extensive FAQ on temperature data. It provides information on how the US temperature data is processed, in papers by Matthew J. Menne and colleagues - here and here.

From the WUWT comments

Most of the early comments were just regurgitated empty rhetoric of the denier kind. Later in the thread a few people recognised that Eric Worrall was way off base and that the FOIA request was not a serious request.

Ian W probably has a buzz list he goes to for comments at WUWT. His comment had little if anything to do with the article or the FOIA request:
March 27, 2015 at 2:21 pm
Respect is like trust, it cannot be taken it has to be earned. NOAA is forfeiting the respect that people once held for the organization. It will not easily regain the trust and respect that it has lost.

ntesdorf is one of the dumb ignorant deniers who knows nothing of government, nothing about business, and favours conspiracies:
March 27, 2015 at 2:21 pm
They are obviously moving to stand-over tactics and extortion to add to their crimes of Fraud. 

A few people suggested letters to "congressmen". You'd be surprised how many anti-government people run to the guvmint, to complain about the guvmint.  And how many "small government" advocates want to expand government. And how many "free marketers" interpret it as getting stuff "for free". markl wrote:
March 27, 2015 at 2:43 pm
+1….and don’t let up. This is clearly an attempt to stifle dissemination of public data. Someone should look into other FOIA requests and see if like charges were assessed. I’ve written my congressman already about NOAA rewriting historical temperature records.

Carl G. Looney lives up to his name. Do you call Poe?
March 27, 2015 at 2:23 pm
It is obviously a fence built around a crime scene to hide criminals working for our government at NOAA. Congress should investitage teh NOAA and make their data completely public, give names, and expose the entire scan. 

nielszoo thinks if the denier duo posed as someone else, the NOAA would behave differently - not so. (He also assumes NOAA staff wouldn't see that a request of the form of that one would be quite uncharacteristic of any reputable person or organisation.)
March 27, 2015 at 2:24 pm
Someone needs to request a similar set of records under the aegis of proving CAGW from Greenpeace, some obscure UN “agency” or similar eco-loon organization whose hand-in-hand work with US Government bureaucrats is already established. Then let’s see what fee would be charged then… any bets? 

Louis Hooffstetter is a fake sceptic who repeats Eric's lie, and claims the request was for temperature data. It wasn't. That's already free to download from the internet.
March 27, 2015 at 5:12 pm
They requested NOAA’s published monthly temperature data over the past couple of decades; not raw data from a superconducting supercollider, just simple temperature readings. Steve believes they overwrite the data in place in order to hide their ongoing manipulations. From his article:
“The data should be kept in a simple file structure like the NOAA drought data, and it should require no more than 10 seconds for me to recover it online. Instead, they want a quarter of a million dollars.”
When you read between the lines, this is what NOAA really said:
“Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it…?”
-Phil Jones email Feb. 21, 2005
There is only one reason they won’t turn it over. 

This sort of thing went on for lots and lots of comments. It was quite some time before anyone woke up to what the request actually entailed.

March 27, 2015 at 8:00 pm (excerpt)
...Steve Goddard should have been much more specific. He could have asked for a more achievable search such as emails between 1994 and present sent from the following employees…and then list a few. At least that wouldn’t be open ended.

evanmjones sees the request as "pretty big":  
March 27, 2015 at 7:26 pm
I just read the request. It’s a pretty big request.

dbstealey aka Smokey (a WUWT mod), realising that evanmjones is a close, if subordinate worker, for Anthony Watts, doesn't respond as he otherwise would, and asks, meekly and naively:
March 27, 2015 at 7:31 pm
Hi evan,
We pay pretty big taxes. On top of that, what do you think of the charge of $262,000?
Maybe that’s chump change for the NOAA. But it would buy a lot of employee time — and with about $260,000 left over, IMHO.
Tell the truth, now: do you really think that’s an honest charge for what was requested? 
Really? dbstealey really thinks it would only take a bit over a week or so to trawl through archives and collect between 45 years and 145 years of correspondence and phone logs? He's dreaming.

TimTheToolMan agrees the request was "stupid"
March 27, 2015 at 8:05 pm
Do you even know what was requested dbstealey?
In most cases I’m a big fan of full and complete transparency but this time the request was stupid. As if any organisation can effectively identify all the documentation relating to “discussions” about a broad and long term subject like temperature adjustment.
cloa5132013 grossly underestimates the volume of material held by government agencies, and no conception of FOIA or privacy:
March 27, 2015 at 8:29 pm
FOIA was set up to have pretend that there is some sort of transparency. To be serious it would require continuous disclosure- no silly request process required- they put the all information straight out with some other body doing the vetting of what should be openly available.


Menne, Matthew J., Claude N. Williams Jr, and Russell S. Vose. "The US Historical Climatology Network monthly temperature data, version 2." Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 90, no. 7 (2009): 993-1007. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/2008BAMS2613.1 (open access)

Menne, Matthew J., and Claude N. Williams Jr. "Homogenization of temperature series via pairwise comparisons." Journal of Climate 22, no. 7 (2009): 1700-1717. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/2008JCLI2263.1 (open access)

Maugeri, Maurizio, Letizia Buffoni, Barbara Delmonte, and Adriana Fassina. "Daily Milan temperature and pressure series (1763–1998): completing and homogenising the data." In Improved Understanding of Past Climatic Variability from Early Daily European Instrumental Sources, pp. 119-149. Springer Netherlands, 2002. DOI 10.1007/978-94-010-0371-1_5 (pdf here)


  1. Despite the transparency this bizarre expedition it's still likely to be Benghazied before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and to Inhofe's Senate Energy Committee because the Congressional GOP is looking for any excuse to defund NOAA and close GISS.

  2. Hi Sou

    I have looked at numerous historic records over the years although my prime interest is in those prior to 1880.

    The request seemed rather imprecise and the basic question needs to be asked as to how much information is it reasonable to ask for in a FOI request?

    Plainly there are limits.

    Just how much temperature records can be adjusted is well illustrated in the European 'Improve' project, where around 7 million Euros was provided in order for Phil Jones. Camuffo and others to examine 7 historic European records. A task which took several years collectively. The Milan one you reference comes from this project.

    The results are here;


    The book, linked to in the article,encompasses some 900 pages, and I have had to read it twice as it is very meaty and goes into the nuts and bolts as to how and why the adjustments were made.

    It may be that more modern records taken with a better methodology and instrumentation may require substantially less adjustment than the historic ones, but there is still a pile of work involved.

    The US weather Review published from the 1870's onwards show original temperatures from the US and perhaps that would be a good place to start with US based researchers, as the original data and the end results should be traceable.

    How many records could be reasonably asked for if requesting directly from the agency? I think half a dozen at most and those need to be highly specified by place and date.


    1. Thanks for your comment and link, Tony.

      Thing is, the FOIA request wasn't for temperature records, it was for written correspondence and phone logs, plus "complete source code", where it is assumed that all adjustments are made automatically by a computer program, presumably.

      The underlying implication is that the people who maintain the records are doing something nefarious, which is a joke. This is "Steve Goddard" we're talking about remember. An uber-conspiracy theorist of the climate kind. (Actually, I think he's more likely just a plain ordinary climate disinformer trying to make a buck from exploiting deniers, while pleasing those of similar ideological persuasion in the USA.)

    2. Hi Sou

      I am not a conspiracy theorist nor believe anything nefarious is happening with the temperature data. Whether I agree with the algorithms and smoothing involved to get the end results is another matter.

      I have suggested to Richard Betts in person at the Met Office and Mosher of BEST by email that they need to provide a simple clearly worded explanation as to how and why temperatures in say Iceland then end up differently to what they started with.

      This would enable people like me who don't believe there is a hoax to link to it.

      They have both said they will consider doing it but I expect it is down their list of priorities.

      Good luck with the Cricket-Its on here very early Sunday morning.


    3. Sorry about the cricket - we seem to be tracking better than I expected :)

      Have to see how we go against the top dogs - NZ.

    4. In which tonyb says that the instrumental records are borked - but of course it's just incompetence not conspiracy:

      I am not a conspiracy theorist nor believe anything nefarious is happening with the temperature data. Whether I agree with the algorithms and smoothing involved to get the end results is another matter.

      Same net result though: tonyb thinks the GAT data are wrong.

    5. tonyb:

      Let's, for the sake of discussion, assume someone did what you want. They sat down and explained exactly why the temperature records in location X end up the way they do after adjustment/homogenization/whatever.

      I'm sure you're a very reasonable person. But what do you think the general reaction would be from your colleagues at WUWT:

      (a) OK, thanks. That makes sense.
      (b) Look over here! This *other* temperature record has been doctored! Explain that!

      It's not just that no matter how many hoops you jump through there's always another hoop. It's that there's not even an acknowledgment that the previous hoop existed and you obligingly jumped through it. I have spend endless hours on another blog elsewhere doing what you ask -- patiently working with a self-professed "skeptic" and addressing one problem after another. Somehow new objections always appear to take the place of the debunked ones.

    6. Ned W.

      Yes I agree the climate change deniers would just move the goalposts again.

      In my opinion to ask the NOAA, BoM or whomever to explain their results in detail is arrogant. I don't see it as a "good faith" request. It serves a number of purposes:

      - it is a distraction for the agency
      - it is pandering to the faithful, setting up a "David vs Goliath" narrative
      - they might get lucky and turn up a mistake or anomaly which can then be used for propaganda

  3. i'll take skeptics seriously when they start sending FOIA requests to RSS and UAH


  4. Recently, I responded to a homegrown kook's regurgitation of "data manipulation" claims with this post to my local paper's on-line forum.

    The post shows very clearly that (1) the temperature data adjustments don't change the global-average temperature results very much, and (2) a large share of the difference between the raw data and adjusted data results can be attributed to corrections for temperature station moves.

    In particular, many stations in the GHCN record that are currently located at airports didn't start their lives there. Many started their lives at urban centers and then were moved out to outlying airports during the mid-20th century. There are over 400 "at airport" stations in the GHCN data-base with data going back to 1910 or earlier (IIRC, 1910 or thereabouts was the year that the very first airport was established).

    So we've got a large block of stations that obviously must have been moved at some point in their history. Eliminating those stations from the processing substantially reduces the difference between the raw and adjusted temperature data results, and that's what the post at the above link shows.

    This is a pretty simple story that non-technical folks can easily understand; it's also a story that would embarrass deniers if they were capable of being embarrassed.

    I like to keep that link handy to toss at deniers any time they parrot their silly "data manipulation" claims.

    1. Quick follow-up.

      All the data and documentation that a *competent* programmer/analyst needs to confirm that data adjustments largely cancel each other out are freely available on-line.

      For someone with solid programming skills who has experience in handling data-sets similar to the GHCN data-set, conducting a basic "sanity check" confirmation of the NASA/NOAA global-temperature results isn't much more than a weekend project. It's certainly a lot more time- and cost-effective than filing FOI demands.

      FOI'ing is for yahoos who are too incompetent to figure out how to download the NOAA data/documentation and RTFM.

    2. "FOI'ing is for yahoos who are too incompetent to figure out how to download the NOAA data/documentation and RTFM."

      It deserves to be repeated, again and again...

  5. So is this the fossil fuel industry game plan for the Paris climate talks: find an email, any email, connected to data adjustments that can be misrepresented to make a claim of fraud, and there's your Climategate 4.0? I guess attempts at hacking have failed so far.

  6. caerbannog,that is an interesting article on GHCN and the influence of airport relocations. We should really write a scientific article about that. As far as I know this does not exist yet.

    Previously you found only a 0.1°C per century difference between airport and non-airport trends. And the percentage of airport stations is not that large. Thus I am somewhat surprised that you now find a considerable effect on the all over trend.

    1. Actually, it would be interesting to drill further down into the station history data and identify all stations (or at least as many as possible) that were moved sometime during their history and exclude them from the raw data processing.

      Processing just the "non-airport" stations (as I did) is just a crude first-cut attempt using the limited metadata that is supplied with the monthly GHCN data.

      There are probably quite a few "at airport" stations that started their lives at airports and were never moved. My "first cut" processing excludes those stations (for a full "raw data from stations that were never moved" vs. NASA comparison, we'd want to include those "at airport" stations).

      Other formerly-urban stations were also moved out to sewage/water-treatment plants (but those aren't captured in the GHCN-monthly metadata file). We'd want to identify those stations and exclude them from the raw data processing.

      The temperature algorithm I use is pretty crude -- 20deg x 20deg grid cells at the Equator, with grid-cell longitude-dimension adjustments to keep the grid-cell areas as uniform as possible as you go N/S from the Equator, with no interpolation to empty cells. Big grid-cells is a "quick and dirty" alternative to using smaller grid-cells with interpolation. The approach gives you pretty good global-average results, but the area-weighting is too coarse to give you really good average results for limited-size regions.

      To take this from "amateur blog science" to something that would be submitted to a journal, we'd want to do the following:

      1) Replace my "quick and dirty" area-weighted averaging procedure with the full-up NASA reference-station algorithm.

      2) Drill down further into the station history info and identify all (or as many as possible) of the stations that have never been moved.

      Run all of the raw "never been moved" stations through the NASA algorithm and then compare the raw data results with the NASA "meteorological stations" temperature index.

      My guess is that we would see an even closer match between the raw data results and the official NASA results.

      We'd probably also want to look at the geographical distribution of "never been moved" stations vs. the geographical distribution of the full GHCN station collection see what, if any, "geographical distribution bias" there is in the "never been moved" station set.

      The results I have right now aren't really "professional grade" enough for publication (I'm very much an amateur at this), but they do indicate that further effort in this area might be worth considering.

      And just an additional note to folks reading this. The fact that the NASA global-average land-temperature results can be reproduced so closely with such a simple processing algorithm is a testament to the robustness of the NASA results. The warming signal in the global temperature data is so strong that it practically "jumps out at you" with even the simplest processing.

    2. To exclude airport stations that never have been moved is almost impossible for a global dataset. That information is hard to get.

      The computation of the global mean temperature should be done better for a scientific publication, just to be sure, but I would be surprised if it mattered much.

      What surprises me still is that a difference of 0.1°C seen in a small subset of the data (the stations that currently are at airports) makes such a difference for the global mean temperature.

      Thus I wondered whether you had a new way to compute the difference that gives more than 0.1°C, a difference that sounds very small to me. If we have urban heat islands of multiple degrees and people worry about small increases in the urban heat island effect, then taking a station (mostly) out of the heat island should lead to a strong cooling. Furthermore, cities are often in valleys and coasts and the later build airports thus often at a higher and thus cooler location.

      If the difference you find is still 0.1°C, then I wonder whether the fraction of stations that are currently at airports is a larger percentage of the pre-1940 stations than I would guess.

      With some colleagues we have started the Parallel Observations Science Team (POST) in the International Surface Temperature Initiative. There are some people interested in using parallel measurements (simultaneous measurements at cities and airports) to study the influence of these relocations. There seems to be more data as one may think. We are, however, still looking for a leading author (just in case any is reading this comment).

    3. Hi Victor,

      Below is a "data dump" of the number of "at airport" reporting stations that my program identifies. (Stations without enough data to compute a 1951-1980 baseline for at least one of the 12 months are excluded from the processing)

      The number of stations is fractional, because I weight the station-count by the number of months each station reported in a given year. That is, if a station reported data for 6 out of 12 months for, say 1935, I count it as "half a station" for that year.

      As you can see, there are a lot of stations designated as "airport" stations going back before the Wright Bros first flew an airplane.

      1880 136.5
      1881 150.25
      1882 157.75
      1883 158.833
      1884 163.333
      1885 167.083
      1886 178.333
      1887 184.333
      1888 196.833
      1889 210.417
      1890 216.75
      1891 231.583
      1892 257.75
      1893 294.583
      1894 306.167
      1895 317.167
      1896 330.667
      1897 335.834
      1898 337.083
      1899 341.333
      1900 345.084
      1901 345.25
      1902 356.667
      1903 366.834
      1904 369.084
      1905 375.584
      1906 381.667
      1907 395.917
      1908 403.751
      1909 412.667
      1910 418.25
      1911 429.834
      1912 434
      1913 439.666
      1914 446.083
      1915 444
      1916 440.584
      1917 441.25
      1918 447.917
      1919 453
      1920 456.667
      1921 472.25
      1922 475.584
      1923 487.834
      1924 498.25
      1925 500.917
      1926 506.75
      1927 509.418
      1928 510.917
      1929 522
      1930 528.25
      1931 566.083
      1932 578.166
      1933 585.501
      1934 584.75
      1935 589
      1936 594.5
      1937 596.916
      1938 607.667
      1939 626.334
      1940 637.083
      1941 681.417
      1942 694.167
      1943 713.667
      1944 729.083
      1945 763.416
      1946 777.416
      1947 792.415
      1948 899.999
      1949 1075.58
      1950 1123.83
      1951 1411.5
      1952 1474.75
      1953 1513.42
      1954 1538
      1955 1514.75
      1956 1536.58
      1957 1543.17
      1958 1559.5
      1959 1583.75
      1960 1624.08
      1961 1686
      1962 1723.34
      1963 1791.42
      1964 1802.42
      1965 1811.5
      1966 1819.59
      1967 1812.34
      1968 1790.67
      1969 1781.59
      1970 1771.67
      1971 1660.5
      1972 1653.92
      1973 1649.33
      1974 1640.33
      1975 1625.25
      1976 1581.42
      1977 1580.17
      1978 1578.17
      1979 1535.75
      1980 1524.92
      1981 1459
      1982 1388.08
      1983 1383.92
      1984 1369.17
      1985 1342.25
      1986 1333.92
      1987 1336.92
      1988 1324.75
      1989 1324.42
      1990 1205.42
      1991 1080.83
      1992 1064.5
      1993 1079
      1994 1079.5
      1995 1048.75
      1996 1047.75
      1997 1045.58
      1998 1037.83
      1999 1049.5
      2000 1027.83
      2001 917.333
      2002 915.251
      2003 939.418
      2004 863.334
      2005 796.417
      2006 786.751
      2007 806.25
      2008 812.917
      2009 822.333
      2010 837.749
      2011 810.666
      2012 807.75

    4. And here is a year-by-year count of "not at airport" stations. As you can see, a significant fraction of stations with data predating the existence of airports (or even airplanes!) are designated as "at airport" stations (based on their locations where they last reported data).

      1880 197.749
      1881 214.333
      1882 220.583
      1883 239.5
      1884 246.667
      1885 263.25
      1886 284.25
      1887 306.416
      1888 330.833
      1889 365.25
      1890 389.416
      1891 452
      1892 520.583
      1893 699.083
      1894 770.249
      1895 819.333
      1896 866.417
      1897 939.5
      1898 983.501
      1899 1021.5
      1900 1055.08
      1901 1091.08
      1902 1131.75
      1903 1165.5
      1904 1203.67
      1905 1243.5
      1906 1265.08
      1907 1358.67
      1908 1387.41
      1909 1425.5
      1910 1450.25
      1911 1487.92
      1912 1518.67
      1913 1557.67
      1914 1605.75
      1915 1626.5
      1916 1643.5
      1917 1659.67
      1918 1655.83
      1919 1662.25
      1920 1657.92
      1921 1707.25
      1922 1733.41
      1923 1760.33
      1924 1791.33
      1925 1817.17
      1926 1847
      1927 1868.92
      1928 1887.17
      1929 1912.17
      1930 1925.42
      1931 1978.83
      1932 1996.83
      1933 2026.33
      1934 2040.75
      1935 2064.33
      1936 2115.08
      1937 2140.33
      1938 2148.92
      1939 2182.92
      1940 2218.67
      1941 2234.41
      1942 2235.25
      1943 2253.5
      1944 2247.33
      1945 2249.92
      1946 2284.67
      1947 2317.33
      1948 2348.16
      1949 2392.5
      1950 2446.58
      1951 2808
      1952 2898.5
      1953 2990.83
      1954 3056.49
      1955 3099.41
      1956 3141.75
      1957 3121.25
      1958 3156.08
      1959 3179.67
      1960 3231.16
      1961 3383.08
      1962 3445.58
      1963 3504.99
      1964 3549.08
      1965 3674
      1966 3701.92
      1967 3691.75
      1968 3677.84
      1969 3682.84
      1970 3650.67
      1971 3598.58
      1972 3579.17
      1973 3553.83
      1974 3554.25
      1975 3513
      1976 3439.75
      1977 3415.5
      1978 3403.42
      1979 3360.09
      1980 3334
      1981 3215.83
      1982 3155.91
      1983 3140.58
      1984 3069.5
      1985 3023.25
      1986 2958.67
      1987 2916.67
      1988 2899.58
      1989 2843.33
      1990 2602.25
      1991 1945.67
      1992 1897.42
      1993 1739.67
      1994 1720.17
      1995 1675.92
      1996 1712.42
      1997 1717.25
      1998 1710.58
      1999 1699.83
      2000 1676.33
      2001 1525.58
      2002 1525
      2003 1550.25
      2004 1543.92
      2005 1555.92
      2006 1565.34
      2007 1564.67
      2008 1561.58
      2009 1550.75
      2010 1545.25
      2011 1508.58
      2012 1468.58

    5. Poor Sou. Those are long data dumps. :)

      But interesting. The percentage of airport stations is a lot higher than I had thought. Even in the more recent decades. Still not sure if a difference for airports of 0.1°C can explain everything, but the fraction of airport stations is large enough to explain a part. Hard so guess from the figures alone how much. Maybe it is also partially a different sampling of the different climate. For the urban heat island, Zeke Hausfather found that to be something you need to take into account, if I recall correctly.

      Would you be willing to write a guest post based on your San Diego comment? (Without the references to the mitigation sceptics.) It is okay that the figures are preliminary; it is clearly stated that they are tentative. I have a blog series on reasons for a too low trend in the raw data, airport relocations would fit nicely in it. And maybe such a post will stimulate someone to study this and write a scientific article on it.

      If I may make a wish, a 3rd plot with the global mean temperature with and without airport stations plotted together would be nice. Now you have to estimate the size of the effect by comparing the differences between the two curves and GISS. And a plot with the percentage of airport stations would also be interesting.

    6. :)

      Long data dumps but as you say, Victor, it's interesting. Yes, it would make for an interesting paper or blog article. I hope you both follow this one up. Let us know back here if you do an article, and where.

    7. I plan on following up, but it may be a bit of time. The income-tax deadline here in the USA is coming up fast, and I have to stop punting on my tax-return paperwork. :(

      The additional plots (direct comparison of all stations vs. no airport stations, etc.) are definitely doable -- I'll try to put together plots and post links to them here.

      Some time ago, I got a "bee in my bonnet" about developing a prototype app that lets anyone compute global-temperature results from any combination of stations they choose (via mouse-clicks).

      What I ended up with is the package I used to generate the results that I posted to that utsandiego forum. It's a "home brewed proof of concept" prototype app that combines a Google map browser interface with a simple anomaly gridding/averaging "back end". Plots are generated via commands sent to a GnuPlot session via unix pipes (popen(), etc.).

      The app lets me knock out "quick turnaround" global-temperature results that refute almost any "temperature manipulation" claim a denier can think of.

      The whole ball of wax runs inside a stripped down Linux virtual machine; the app will run on newer Windows & OSX(10.6+) PC's/laptops with at least 2GB memory.

      I stashed the package away on my Google Drive account for safe-keeping; for anyone who's interested, here's the link: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B0pXYsr8qYS6RS1tRTBjODI4N00&authuser=0

      It's a fairly big download, but if you have a decent broadband connection, downloading it should take just a few minutes. (It's not as bad as some Windows updates in that regard.)

      To run the app, you first have to download/install Oracle's VirtualBox app (available for free at http://virtualbox.org).

      For folks who are comfortable installing/configuring desktop/laptop software, it's a pretty straightforward procedure to get the app up and running with VirtualBox.

      It would be neat to see a "professional-grade" web-based implementation of this concept available on-line -- I believe that the skepticalscience folks may be working on that right now.

  7. "Plus they want other communications going back up to 145 years, and at least 45 years, regarding the:
    rationale, ~ methodology, ~ and other issues "

    From my own researches I know all that stuff, from the rational behind the reasoning, to the methods employed, are already plenty available. Just needs some good faith curiosity and a desire to learn - rather than defending a cause.

    1. I know the current reasoning, but how the problem was seen 145 years ago is interesting. Unfortunately the tax payer was not seen as willing to pay for such history of science studies up to now. I hope WUWT will crowd fund such as study. Then something positive would come out of this harassment of scientists to punish them for their politically inconvenient results.

  8. It is curious how neither of the original posters cared to correct commenters who thought it was just a request for simple temperature records. It sounds like dog whistle training. Now all they need to say is NOAA FOIA to get a response.

    1. It is only a month ago that they complained about an information request for their 7 friends from Democrat Raul M. Grijalva. Now they cheer at an even more intrusive FOIA request, that will keep many scientists from doing their important work. Curious, amazing and hypocritical does not start describing this.

    2. did they specifically complain about the time it would take though?

    3. Actually, there have been a number of comments on the thread critical of Goddard for the unreasonableness of the scope of his request. A sample:

      ... what bugs me in Goddard is exactly this kind of whistleblowing. It is like if he swallowed the whistle and could not stop breathing through it.

      Which was in response to me having just thrown Grijalva under the bus for what I described as a stupid and potentially harmful political stunt to all publicly-funded research in the US.

      dbstealey is towing the party line, others have pushed back on him. It's a very interesting thread.

    4. Interesting discussion. The number of people condemning Goddard is rather limited, however.

      Just left a comment. Mine normally take a few hours to get through moderation. Although I work on the main topic of WUWT (station data) they do not seem to be keen on talking to a scientists about that. I guess what you expect from a stealth political blog.

      davidmhoffer, the NOAA FTP server always contains the most current version, which is computed every night. However, if you want an older version of GHCNv3 you just have to send an email. No need for a FOIA request for that.

      The problem of this FOIA request is that the time is not limited and that thus also correspondence is asked from a time that everything was done on paper. That is a lot of work.

      Just a month ago this blog was all up in arms because of the FOIA harassment of 7 of your friends by Democrat Raul M. Grijalva. Wouldn’t it be a good idea if all sides stop their FOIA harassment? This is not how science is done. This is targeting scientists for their politically inconvenient results.

    5. Victor,

      Indeed the thread is dominated by support for Goddard. I should have been more clear that the pushback is higher than I would have expected.

      I hope your comment gets through.

    6. I just looked, your comment made it past the mods.

    7. Update: the only climate contrarian response to Victor's post was from dbstealey, quintupling down on the "it's just a request for weather data" while conveniently ignoring Kent Clizbe's interestingly delayed "clarification" of the contents of the FOIA request itself ...


      ... as well as the bizarrely naive notion that a successful lawsuit against the Feds would somehow run them significantly less than $262,000. So, for what it's worth, I have thrown down the gauntlet:


      If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

    8. When dbstealey replies you know that there is no sane politically convenient answer.

    9. He ran away from the bet, and quite ironically, told me to stop obsessing about this issue and get a life. My offer is still on the table with Anthony, explicitly cast in terms of seeing whether he has more spine than his favorite attack poodle.

  9. The point this that, as Sou mentioned, they seem more interested in getting the crowd riled up. Even if the crowd comments are far afield from the the initial issue, or misunderstand it completely, there is no effort to correct the criticisms. They allow "Ain't it awful" to develop as a meme which then will have lasting presence in the conversation.

    It is similar with Richard Tol's criticism of Cook's paper. He never says there is no consensus, only that it is somewhat less than reported, and then quibbles with the statistical methods. But at the same time he makes no efforts to correct the comments (or headlines) on skeptic blogs which misrepresent his critique and insist that there is no consensus at all.


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