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Tree Ring Data has observer bias, isn't a thermometer and is mine, all mine.

Tree-ring patterns are intellectual property, not climate data | Michael Baillie | Environment | guardian.co.uk

In April, the UK Information Commissioner's Office ruled that Queen's University Belfast must hand over data obtained during 40 years of research into 7,000 years of Irish tree rings to a City banker and part-time climate analyst, Doug Keenan. Professor Mike Baillie, the man who collected most of that data, called the ruling a "staggering injustice". He explains his opinion:

I know the Irish data better than anyone else; particularly the highly disparate nature of the samples before the year AD1700 (variously from historic buildings, archaeological sites, lake margins and peat bogs). It is unlikely that these ancient woodland, forest or bog trees would have the same response to climate factors (such as temperature or rainfall) as current living oak trees. Worse still, living parkland oaks in Ireland are much wider ringed than any of the ancient oak populations. This is almost certainly because modern oaks on walled estates are probably imported stock, brought in from the 17th century onwards by landowners who wished to beautify their estates with large oaks. Even worse than that, although ancient bog oaks occur across Northern Europe, there are no good examples of oaks currently growing on raised lowland bogs anywhere. So it is essentially impossible to find out exactly what such oaks were responding to.

And what has that to do with the release? The fact you consider they can't be related to temperature is important, others have used them, so it throws light on their work. But it isn't your analysis that was being blocked but the raw data, for others to research as they wish. Maybe they will see something different in them. But he continues...

...regarding intellectual property and the release of data under FOI, when a dendrochronologist measures the widths of the growth rings in a sample, he or she has to make multiple decisions with respect to the starts and ends of the rings, problem rings, and so on. Repeated measurement of the same sample, will not give exactly the same measurements. The number of rings must be the same, but the actual measured widths will not be. This means that the ring pattern of a tree-ring sample carries the "intellectual fingerprint" of the dendrochronologist who measured it, every bit as much as this text carries my intellectual fingerprint. In my opinion, tree-ring patterns are therefore intellectual property and should not be handed out as if they are instrumental climate data.

Oh, so the data isn't data. Tree ring patterns are subjective, depending on the observer, now that is another important revelation but a pretty poor argument. Reading a thermometer can also be subjective and observer bias can be calibrated, but it is still irrelevant.

Comments

I bet that isn't what he said in the grant proposal.

This clown has obviously not heard of image processing!!

Apart from the admission that tree ring deductions are subjective, he also explodes the argument that ring size is related solely to temperature ("It is unlikely that these ancient woodland, forest or bog trees would have the same response to climate factors (such as temperature or rainfall) as current living oak trees."

Exactly! Tree growth is dependent on lots of factors, e.g. rainfall, fertilization, sunlight, carbon dioxide levels, etc. The idea that you can make linear assumptions (temperature) from a non-linear process is bullfeathers.

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