On 22nd January 2010, the UK parliament's science and technology committee announced an inquiry into Climategate. Steve McIntyre of Climate Audit made this submission to the committee.
In his submission, Mr. McIntyre compares graphs of data that various climatologists attempted to keep private to the graphs of data that these same climatologists published in their papers. The private data shows a prominent medieval warm period. The published data shows no medieval warm period. The published data suggests that the twentieth century warming is unprecedented. The private data shows quite the opposite. Mr. McIntyre also presents the substitution of thermometer measurements for tree-ring proxy measurements by CRU in 1999, and the deletion of post-1960 tree-ring proxy measurements from the published data sets.
I spent ten minutes looking for a similar submission from the authors of Real Climate, but found none. I did, however, note that recent posts on Real Climate are dominated by assertions that the mainstream media, in particular UK newspapers, are doing a bad job reporting on Climategate. In The Guardian Disappoints, Gavin Schmidt talks of a "complete collapse" in reporting standards in the UK. What I can't find anywhere is the sort of succinct refutation that will be necessary to rebut Mr. MacIntyre's submission to parliament.
On the one hand, we have skeptics who believe in the open disclosure of all data, even when the data conflicts with a scientist's beliefs. On the other hand, we have climatologists who believe the best way to present science to the public is to shield them from data that they would otherwise misunderstand, or which would give fuel to the unreasonable arguments of climate skeptics. It may be that climatologists are absolutely right about anthropogenic global warming and its up-coming catastrophic effects. It may be that they are doing the right and moral thing by hiding the decline. But most of us don't like to have other people hiding things from us. We don't like anyone suggesting that a lunatic can get hold of the wrong data and make us believe something absurd. The climatologist's approach to the public may be caring, but it is also disdainful.
Climatologists have so much invested in their theory of anthropogenic global warming that it's unreasonable to expect them to back down and change their way of doing business after Climategate. We, the public who pay their salaries, will eventually insist that they do the job we want them to do in the way we want them to do it. But until that then, climatologists will stick to their existing methods and remain unrepentant.
After all, there are still people out there who believe that crop circles are made by aliens.
UPDATE: Thanks to Chuck for pointing to the submission of the Institute for Physics.
UPDATE: People who study crop circles are called cereologists.