I think Rabbet Run has probably boiled it down to the basics pretty well:
- Bates designed an overly complicated set of procedures for climate data archiving.
- He got upper management at NOAA to sign on because the charts looked pretty.
- There were huge delays in implementation because of software problems and more.
- The process was a huge time sink.
- But it had the virtue of making Bates the Gatekeeper.
- Others were not happy with this.
- They had science they wanted to publish so they found a way around Gatekeeper Bates.
- Gatekeeper Bates went crying to Lamar Smith.
- Trump becomes president
- Denialists need an issue and cast about.
Stokes notes that Bates' comments go beyond this, though, and suggest that he is not above making normal denier talking points. But he was not directly involved in the paper, and those that were have made it clear that his claims are based on (to be generous) lack of knowledge of the work on the paper.
And besides, the results have been confirmed by completely independent analysis.
So, it is truly a storm in a teacup, and Bates' willingness to run to climate change denying politicians and journalists to make his "whistleblower" claims shows that any interest he may have in public understanding of science has been completely overwhelmed by personal grudges (and, I suspect, political views). In fact, Rabbet Run's blog now suggests a personal motive.
Of course, David Rose has blown this up into a full blown fraud allegation, complete with use of a clearly dishonest and deceptive graph which has misled his gullible readers who will not read anything critical of Bates' claims, and the graph gets reprinted by Andrew Bolt.
(After complaint, Rose amended the wording to his graph, but not the graphic itself. The visual effect is obviously completely misleading and of course it does not suit his propaganda purposes to change it.)
Matt Ridley has also joined in the massive beat up in, claiming (if I recall him accurately enough) that it doesn't matter if independent work has verified the NOAA finding, it's still a huuuge scandal. [Actually, yes - it matters enormously, you twit, and it makes all the difference as to whether the argument actually changes anything about the results. It doesn't.]*
This whole process is what is infuriating about climate change debate - so many people with "motivated reasoning" to disbelieve that climate change is real, or serious, simply are being conned by dishonest propagandists and will not investigate enough to understand how they are being connned.
I wouldn't be so annoyed about it if it weren't for the way they are trying to take the world with them down their foolish path.
And now that I have finished this, I see there is a great article covering it up at Ars Technica.
* Here's the actual quote from Ridley's huffing and puffing article about politics influencing climate research - truly hilarious coming from him:
Colleagues of Karl have been quick to dismiss the story, saying other data sets come to similar conclusions. This is to miss the point and exacerbate the problem. If the scientific establishment reacts to allegations of lack of transparency, behind-closed-door adjustments and premature release so as to influence politicians, by saying it does not matter because it gets the “right” result, they will find it harder to convince Trump he is wrong on things such as vaccines.Stupid, stupid. As Stokes and others notes - Bates offers no evidence of Karl's thumb "being on the scale", and if those using independent methods confirm Karl's result - then that is strong evidence that Bates' claim is wrong.