Non-casual readers already know I do not like to dwell into topics covered in great depth elsewhere. I will make a very short exception to that “policy”, simply because the McIntyre/Briffa story is too big.
Too big, that is, not to warrant some huge dose of skepticism before getting carried away with it.
We have a saying in Italian, “if they’re roses, they’ll bloom”. AKA “time will tell”.
As much as I admire McIntyre’s relentless quest to go always back to the original data, I am sure I am not the first one that has seen apparently-straight forward things turn around all of a sudden. There’s no reason to celebrate… if the Briffa reconstruction will implode, it will implode anyway.
Now we have a blog on the topic, by Gavin Schmidt at RealClimate, and a brief note by Briffa himself.
Gavin is his usual self, the worst enemy of AGW that is, with a blog post choked by its own sarcasm. Through the deep, rather undignified fog, one can get a glimpse of what appears to be a potentially strong riposte to Steve McIntyre (but with Schmidt’s emotions running so raw, I am afraid McIntyre will always have the upper hand).
Briffa is very calm and measured, therefore making his decision not to share the data sooner even more puzzling
Right now, it looks like there will be a “war of words” with claims and counterclaims. On that, I have no interest whatsoever. And too many people already are “jumping in” in ways that can only dent their credibility.
I might come back to the story after the battle. For now, this is my comment at RC:
Kudos to Briffa for having decided to “review the details of [McIntyre’s] work”.
Is it too much to state that most of what has happened, would not have happened had the data been made available upon (first) request?
On that topic, I believe that NASA changed its policy regarding space probes a decade ago or more, in order to avoid (crackpot) accusations of being in the business of airbrushing aliens out of the photos. That is why mission websites like MER’s _prominently_ show the just-received “raw images”, especially in the first days of the mission (please correct me if I am wrong).
Wouldn’t it therefore make sense to apply the same rules to all just-published papers, i.e. presenting the “raw data” to the visitor, rather than simply leaving it “available for anyone who cares to look”? Especially in a field such as climate change, where any accusation/finding is bound to elicit plenty of reaction.