It appears earlier reports that the CRU had dumped raw data left out some crucial details. As discussed at Little Green Footballs, the situation looks rather different when those details are included. Greenwire reports:
At issue is raw data from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, including surface temperature averages from weather stations around the world. The data was used in assessments by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, reports that EPA has used in turn to formulate its climate policies.
Citing a statement on the research unit’s Web site, CEI blasted the research unit for the “suspicious destruction of its original data.” According to CRU’s Web site, “Data storage availability in the 1980s meant that we were not able to keep the multiple sources for some sites, only the station series after adjustment for homogeneity issues. We, therefore, do not hold the original raw data but only the value-added (i.e. quality controlled and homogenized) data.”
Phil Jones, director of the Climatic Research Unit, said that the vast majority of the station data was not altered at all, and the small amount that was changed was adjusted for consistency.
The research unit has deleted less than 5 percent of its original station data from its database because the stations had several discontinuities or were affected by urbanization trends, Jones said.
“When you’re looking at climate data, you don’t want stations that are showing urban warming trends,” Jones said, “so we’ve taken them out.” Most of the stations for which data was removed are located in areas where there were already dense monitoring networks, he added. “We rarely removed a station in a data-sparse region of the world.”
Refuting CEI’s claims of data-destruction, Jones said, “We haven’t destroyed anything. The data is still there — you can still get these stations from the [NOAA] National Climatic Data Center.”
If this is correct, then it seems some of CRU’s data was deleted, for legitimate reasons, but this data is still available from other sources and therefore nothing has actually been lost.