Judith Curry had a post today which just made my blood boil when she tried to excuse the appalling culture within those groups producing a “global temperature figure” by saying “They are doing their best”. In my experience, that comment is usually only said when someone has done an appalling bad job – with poor quality materials, methods and training. So I posted a quick list of what I thought was needed:
1. Fully audited methodology and systems
2. Quality assurance to ISO9000
3. Some come back WHEN we find out they weren’t doing the job to the standard required that doesn’t involve putting them in jail.
4. Accountability to the public – that is to say – they stop saying “we are doing our best” and start saying “what is it you need us to do”.
Before I go much further I would be interested in some feedback. At the heart of my proposal is the need to remove the compilation of a “global temperature” figure from the current academics who just don’t seem to be up to the job. So what would we have instead?Impartiality as part of its ethos.
That the production of global temperature figures is carried out in an organisation which is rigorously impartial in that it does not in any way either privately or publicly suggest that rising, falling or any other kind of trend or indeed no trend is good, bad or indifferent. And that such a requirement is written into the contract of each and every employee.
Self-Auditing as part of its ethos
That as part of its normal reporting, it publishes details of any forecasts or projections together with a current assessment of those forecasts or projections against actual measured data.
Public scrutiny as part of its ethos
That as part of its everyday operations, that it makes available all aspects of its work to public scrutiny. That it enables members of the public to replicate its own figures where ever possible.
Quality Assurance as part of its ethos
That the organisation should have the relevant assessment by ISO9000 of its own quality assurance system.
That funding is tailored to match the organisations aims and not the organisation aims tailored to match funding.
In the past we saw examples of climate academics producing the global temperature on a spread sheet from third party. As such it was obvious that little or no attempt had been made to audit the suitability of temperature stations for the intended job. As the surface station project found, these were simply not up to the job.
As such it was obvious that funding was totally inadequate for the task at hand, and there was a culture of “make do and mend” for temperature data, rather than “get the data right first time” as it the requirement.
No government should have ever spent a penny on “tackling CO2”, until they had first ensured the funding was available to verify the integrity and accuracy of the temperature data. Instead excuses were given that “they are only trying their best”, when it was quite obvious that massive changes were required very quickly to improve the temperature stations.
As a result, governments committed to fund perhaps $1000,000,000,000 on the basis of data put together on a $400 PC as a sideline to other academic work. As rule of thumb, we might have suggested around 1% – 10% of the budget of $1000,000,000,000 was spent on ensuring quality temperature data. In other words between $10 to $100 billion.
Not a single institute
Whilst I talk of “an” organisation I am instinctively concerned (particularly seeing what has happened at the BBC) that “an institute”, which is in effect a monopoly could end up far worse than anything we have at the moment. Two is better, three is starts to be real competition, more would be better still. However, this would be difficult to achieve in practice – so perhaps given suitable accounting, public scrutiny and availability of data we could live with one
Not a single figure
Whilst I do not agree with those who say we cannot produce any meaningful “global temperature”, as clearly any figure is better than nothing, I do agree with those who say that such a figure is fraught with problems. As such I think any institute charged with producing a global temperature, would and should approach the same problem from various ways.
Moreover, as the raw data should be available to others, others could and should be encouraged to produce competing metrics.
As such there would not be a single figure which is THE global temperature, but instead policy makers will be given a range of figures from competing organisations.