One thing about “ClimateGate” nagging at the back of my mind is the absence of any discussion by ringleader Phil Jones (or others) of the remarkable, shocking discovery that Jones now claims he had that his precedessor destroyed the raw data in the 1980s.
That is the data that scientists have for years been seeking from Jones under the UK’s freedom of information law. Against numerous such requests he offered equally numerous excuses for refusing access culminating with the September 2009 claim — when it looked like he’d been cornered and had no excuses not to provide it to Prof. Ross McKitrick who met all of his long-stated qualifications — that in fact he’d lost it.
First, it does seem odd that Jones would so firmly and crisply articulate his many, very specific excuses for so many years about why he could not provide something that in fact they had, as he now tells it, lost. His refusals all clearly imply that a belief that he had it.
But where are the emails putting out the word, oh, snap, you guys aren’t gonna believe this?
Among all that has been revealed, there does not appear to be one. Let alone a chain discussing the importance of not at long last actually having the raw data, how this loss might relate to the scores of emails they wrote about whether to release the data and how to avoid releasing the data and how they’d rather destroy it (I don’t know, “pretend to have lost it”) than give it to the folks who seem to be on to them.
This seems like a big email, and a chain of discussions that would pervade that which has been revealed. It doesn’t.
To the contrary, we have numerous emails from Jones explaining how turning over the raw data is one option, but he’d much rather destroy it than let the intrepid start pawing over it which could only lead, as he admits in one email, to figuring out what CRU et al did to said raw data in order to come up with their alarming claims.
So there is a reasonable conclusion, and it is not that the data was lost or destroyed twenty years ago.
But who knows, maybe Jones wrote James Hansen at NASA, or Gavin Schmidt — for so long a taxpayer-funded activist for Environmental Media Services’ RealClimate.blog and now implicated as a major player in these emails (Capo number 6 according to this analysis). Those should turn up when the courts help NASA figure out how to come into compliance with their legal obligations and provide me similar data and correspondence that they have been, similarly and by chance, refusing me for over two years.