Thursday, December 29, 2011


From: Ben Santer <>
To: Smithg <>
Subject: Re: data request
Date: Fri, 30 Jan 2009 09:33:53 -0800

Dear Mr. Smith,

Please do not lecture me on "good science and replicability". Mr.
McIntyre had access to all of the primary model and observational data
necessary to replicate our results. Full replication of our results
would have required Mr. McIntyre to invest time and effort. He was
unwilling to do that.

Our results were published in a peer-reviewed publication (the
International Journal of Climatology). These results were fully
available for "independent testing and replication by others". Indeed, I
note that David Douglass et al. performed such independent testing and
replication in their 2007 International Journal of Climatology paper.

Douglass et al. used the same primary climate model data that we
employed. They did what Mr. McIntyre was unwilling to do - they
independently calculated estimates of "synthetic" Microwave Sounding
Unit (MSU) temperatures from climate model data. The Douglass et al.
"synthetic" MSU temperatures are very similar to our own. The scientific
differences between the Douglass et al. and Santer et al. results are
primarily related to the different statistical tests that the two groups
employed in their comparisons of models and observations. Demonstrably,
the Douglass et al. statistical test contains several serious flaws,
which led them to reach incorrect inferences regarding the level of
agreement between modeled and observed temperature trends.

Mr. McIntyre could easily have examined the appropriateness of the
Douglass et al. statistical test and our statistical test with
randomly-generated data (as we did in our paper). Mr. McIntyre chose not
to do that. He preferred to portray himself as a victim of evil
Government-funded scientists. A good conspiracy theory always sells well.

Mr. Smith, you chose to take the extreme step of writing to LLNL and DOE
management to complain about my "unresponsiveness" and my failure to
provide data to Mr. McIntyre. You made your complaint on the basis of
the information available on Mr. McIntyre's blog. You did not understand
- and still do not understand - that the primary model data used in our
paper have always been freely available to any scientific researcher,
and are currently being used by many hundreds of scientists around the
world. Any competent climate scientist could perform full replication of
our calculation of "synthetic" MSU temperatures - as Douglass et al.
have already done.

Your email to George Miller and Anna Palmisano was highly critical of my
behavior in this matter. Your criticism was entirely unjustified, and
damaging to my professional reputation. I therefore see no point in
establishing a dialogue with you. Please do not communicate with me in
the future. I do not give you permission to distribute this email or
post it on Mr. McIntyre's blog.


Dr. Ben Santer

Smithg wrote:
> Dear Dr. Santer,
> I'm pleased to see that the requested data is now available on line.
> Thank you for your efforts to make these materials available.
> My "dog in this fight" is good science and replicability. I note the
> following references:
> The American Physical Society on line statement reads (in part):
> "The success and credibility of science are anchored in the willingness
> of scientists to:
> 1. Expose their ideas and results to independent testing and
> replication by others. This requires the open exchange of data,
> procedures and materials.
> 2. Abandon or modify previously accepted conclusions when confronted
> with more complete or reliable experimental or observational
> evidence.�
> Also I note the NAS booklet �On Being a Scientist: Responsible Conduct
> in Research� (2^nd edition) states �After publication, scientists expect
> that data and other research materials will be shared with qualified
> colleagues upon request. Indeed, a number of federal agencies, journals,
> and professional societies have established policies requiring the
> sharing of research materials. Sometimes these materials are too
> voluminous, unwieldy, or costly to share freely and quickly. But in
> those fields in which sharing is possible, a scientist who is unwilling
> to share research materials with qualified colleagues runs the risk of
> not being trusted or respected. In a profession where so much depends on
> interpersonal interactions, the professional isolation that can follow a
> loss of trust can damage a scientist's work�. I know that the 3rd
> edition is expected soon, but I cannot imagine this position will be
> weakened. Indeed, with electronic storage of data increasing
> dramatically, I expect that most of the exceptions are likely to be
> dropped.
> I understand that science is considered by some to be a "blood sport"
> and that there are serious rivalries and disputes. Nevertheless, the
> principles above are vital to the continuation of good science, wherever
> the results may lead.
> Again, I thank you for making the data available, and I wish you success
> in your future research.
> Kind regards,
> Geoff Smith
> ----- Original Message -----
> *From:* Smithg <>
> *To:* <>
> *Sent:* Tuesday, January 06, 2009 11:23 PM
> *Subject:* data request
> Dear Dr. Santer
> ref: Santer, et. al.
> Consistency of modelled and observed temperature trends in the
> tropical troposphere
> International Journal of Climatology
> Volume 28, Issue 13, Date: 15 November 2008, Pages: 1703-1722
> As a courtesy, I would like to advise you that I have requested data
> to support the above paper (monthly model data (49 series) used for
> statistical analysis in Santer et al 2008 or a link to a URL with a
> file of the data as used in the paper) be made available to me via a
> request to Dr. Anna Palmisano of the DOE, Office of Science, the
> funding agency. This request is for "recorded factual material
> commonly accepted in the scientific community as necessary to
> validate research findings".
> This data is already the subject of an FOIA request, but I have
> asked Dr. Palisano to obtain and send me the data independently of
> the outcome of any FOIA review. My reasons are:
> 1) further analysis of the data is important for public policy
> 2) there is no valid intellectual property justification for
> withholding this data
> 3) the data is readily available as obviously you (Dr. Santer) used
> the information in preparing the recently published paper
> My request has been copied to Dr. George Miller.
> Since I have not asked you directly for the data, I now request this
> data directly from you (monthly model data (49 series) used for
> statistical analysis in Santer et al 2008 or a link to a URL with a
> file of the data as used in the paper).
> Your reported replies to requests of other individuals that the
> datasets are publicly available is non-responsive to the request.
> You may be aware that the head of the Royal Meteorological Society
> (who are the publishers of the above referenced journal) has
> announced that their data archiving policies will be reviewed at
> their next general editors meeting. That may change things for the
> future, but a future change does not have retrospective force.
> Nevertheless, there is a high probability that requests for this
> data will continue until provided.
> In the absence of the requested data, it is very likely this
> publication will be judged "non-replicable" and therefore of no
> evidentiary value in public policy.
> Kind regards,
> Geoff Smith

Benjamin D. Santer
Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
P.O. Box 808, Mail Stop L-103
Livermore, CA 94550, U.S.A.
Tel: (925) 422-3840
FAX: (925) 422-7675


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