Third party requests to view the data had been repeatedly turned down, with the UEA giving various excuses for why it could not make it publicly available. But today, they revealed that the excuses were a farce. The data isn’t there. It hasn’t been there since the 1980’s.
The UEA, along with the CRU and the UN’s IPCC, are the main victims of Climategate. Their defense was, to a certain extent, dependent upon the release of this raw data in order for critics to take a look at it.
The UEA’s defense of their data loss leaves much to be desired:
No record has been deleted, altered, or otherwise dealt with in any fashion with the intent of preventing the disclosure of all, or any part, of the requested information.Even if you accept their claim to have not deleted the information to prevent its disclosure, the fact still remains that the data has indeed been deleted. It’s the data on which climate change scientists, and all the major world governments, have based global warming theories.
Rajendra Pachauri of the IPCC has insisted their science is still sound without the original data because the information does exist in an altered form -- a form which conveniently shows world temperatures to have increased steadily. He says that altered data is completely sound because of the “peer review” process used to assess the original stuff. Here's Pachauri in The Guardian:
The processes in the IPCC are so robust, so inclusive, that even if an author or two has a particular bias it is completely unlikely that bias will find its way into the IPCC report.Like the UEA, Pachauri and the IPCC miss the point. Raw data is raw data. Claims made using the data is not legitimate if it is not available. Even supporters of the global warming movement believe that the original leaked emails make these organizations look terrible. Not having the data that could possibly exculpate them makes them look a whole lot worse.