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Phil Jones (left) is under fire for leaked emails about his global warming research. He denies wrongdoing and has refuted several of the claims made against him in a new interview.  (Source: Canada Free Press)
Climate expert asserts he did not knowingly publish false data

In November, emails leaked from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK, which offered what appeared to be damning falsification of data and manipulation of the peer review process.  The emails resulted in the center's director, senior climatologist Phil Jones, to step down.

Mr. Jones, who was a frequent party in the leaked emails, is currently being investigated by several academic misconduct committees, including Muir Russell, former vice-chancellor of the University of Glasgow, UK.  However, he insists he did nothing wrong.

While he could not comment on whether he withheld or destroyed data from his critics, he did open up about the validity of his group's studies in an interview with the UK publication The Guardian.  Specifically the accuracy of Jones's famous paper on the urban heat island effect (raised temperatures around cities skewing global temperatures), in which he found it to be secondary to global warming was questioned.

The paper was published in 1990 and almost two decades later would draw fire from Doug Keenan, an amateur climatologist, in 2007.  Unfortunately, at that point Jones's co-author, Wei-Chyung Wang of the University at Albany in New York, had lost the list of climate stations used in the study, so the results could not be validated.  Jones admits that the loss was "not acceptable."

The weather stations used were in China and reportedly moved during the study's period.  Mr. Jones previously wrote, "We chose those with few, if any, changes in instrumentation, location or observation times."

Now he acknowledges that the stations did move during the study and that the paper may need a correction.  He states, "I will give that some thought. It's worthy of consideration."

However, he points out that the conclusions drawn appear to be correct.  In a much later paper published in 2008, he verifies the conclusions with a much broader set of Chinese data ranging from 1954 to 1983.  That paper, for which the station info is available, indicates that the need for correction in the 1990 work is not necessary on accuracy basis, but rather on a clarity basis.

For those who are quick to yell fraud, the standards of publication in 1990 were significantly lower than they are today, especially in the field of climatology.  It now appears that Jones did nothing explicitly wrong, merely published with the data he had, inadvertently overlooking that several of the stations had changed location.  Today, such a mistake would lead to a rejection, but in that era, such errors were relatively commonplace.

He says the flaws were ultimately the result of him trying to get data that wasn't easily available at the time to bolster and verify his conclusions.  He states, "I thought it was the right way to get the data. I was specifically trying to get more rural station data that wasn't routinely available in real time from [meteorological] services."

He ardently denies his critics claims that he fiddled with the peer review process or downplayed the Medieval Warm Period (MWP), an unseasonably warm stretch that occurred around 1000 A.D., which some suggest could be evidence that current warming is merely a cyclic trend.  He says that his critics are "trying to pick out minor things in the data and blow them out of all proportion."

He points out that the infamous email in which he wrote "I can't see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin [Trenberth] and I will keep them out somehow - even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!" was not about a peer reviewed publication, which many have mistaken stated, but rather an IPCC assessment.  Assessments typically are more subjective in content and are not subject to the same level of scrutiny.  States Jones, "The IPCC is an assessment, it's not a review, so the authors have to know something about the subject to assess which are the important papers."

As for the MWP he comments, "We need more reconstructions from different parts of the world to reproduce a better history of the past thousand years.  Why don't they do their own reconstructions ... the work that's been published has been through the peer-review process. If they want to criticize that, they should write their own papers."

Jones certainly seems to be in a bad spot, following the leak and his temporary resignation, however many of his claims do seem to have feet.  Many of his remarks were taken out of context (e.g. mistaking comments on assessment for comments on a peer review).  Further, anyone who works in research today is well aware that the standards of publication were much lower in 1990 than they were today.  Thus, some of the inaccuracies can be explained by that.

Still, more questions do remain and Jones will have to account for them if he wants to restore his good name.

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RE: OIC...
By porkpie on 2/16/2010 10:57:16 AM , Rating: 3
If you keep acting like that, we're going to have to take your lollipop away from you and spank you with it.

Instead of sounding like an adenoidal preteen, why don't you try actually debating the science here? Of course, every time pro and anti-AGW scientists have held a debate, the skeptics have won handily. But who knows, maybe you can break the 25-year trend?

RE: OIC...
By Abrahmm on 2/16/2010 11:16:25 AM , Rating: 4
Debate the science? No way, it's much easier to do the trendy thing and bash Fox News for being the only conservatively leaning news station in the generally liberal dominated media!

Is bashing Bush still the cool thing to do too?

RE: OIC...
By VitalyTheUnknown on 2/17/2010 2:04:44 AM , Rating: 3
"Debate the science? No way, it's much easier to do the trendy thing and bash Fox News for being the only conservatively leaning news station in the generally liberal dominated media!"

Trendy thing is what you are doing here now on DT, lying out of your ass.

Myth: The U.S. has a liberal media.

Read this genius:

Fact: The media are being increasingly monopolized by parent corporations with pro-corporate or conservative agendas.

The U.S. media are rapidly being monopolized by a dwindling number of parent corporations, all of whom have conservative economic agendas. The media are also critically dependent upon corporations for advertising. As a result, the news almost completely ignores corporate crime, as well as pro-labor and pro-consumer issues. Surveys of journalists show that the majority were personally liberal in the 1980s, but today they are centrists, with more conservatives than liberals on economic issues. However, no study has proven that they give their personal bias to the news. On the other hand, the political spectrum of pundits -- who do engage in noisy editorializing -- leans heavily to the right. The most extreme example of this is talk radio, where liberals are almost nonexistent. The Fairness Doctrine was designed to prevent one-sided bias in the media by requiring broadcasters to air opposing views. It once enjoyed the broad support of both liberals and conservatives. But now that the media have become increasingly owned and controlled by corporations, conservatives defiantly oppose the Fairness Doctrine. This is probably the best proof that the media's bias is conservative, not liberal.

RE: OIC...
By knutjb on 2/17/2010 10:22:47 AM , Rating: 2
This "study" is based on very dated info 1980-1996. The media landscape has changed significantly in the past decade. The perception of left and right has changed as well to the general public. The mainstream media have moved further left over the last couple years with Fox sitting just to the right of center.

The fairness doctrine was only intended to prevent lopsided ownership in the early days of TV and radio. That need no longer applies due to the large number of easily accessed news sources from the internet, tv broadcast and cable, papers, etc... The only people who want such a system are trying to push an agenda i.e. Mark Lloyd at the FCC.

Both sides have their data with the truth somewhere in the middle.

RE: OIC...
By VultureTX on 2/17/2010 10:29:53 AM , Rating: 2
VtU said "conservative economic agendas. "

Oh no they are capitalists who run the news companies!

Your link does also provides no factual proof and provides patently untrue assertions (media does not cover consumer issues, err how many product recalls do I see each week on cable news.)
Plus it is based on a bogus survey that was self selective.

RE: OIC...
By VitalyTheUnknown on 2/16/2010 1:49:54 PM , Rating: 1
First of all, I am not a climatologist to debate the actual science behind the climate research, like probably 95% of "experts" readers on this blog, who shout their ignorance day and night; scam, fraud, deception,that is what they call and think are their little facts.

Secondly, I have the capacity to research and analyze the statistics( which is easy accessible for non scientific populace), that shows 70%-80% of climatologist around the world (actually, climatologist would say that there's an absolute consensus) conform that climate shift is caused by the increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases and about 65% of general scientists agree that shift will continue and will cause major problems for humanity; that means, I have a reasonable prove, have to accept that man-made climate change is happening, that it is a threat (for at least some areas on the planet).

So, the only question that remains for me personally and should undeniably be of big concern for general public is, what can be done and at what cost, and that is surely debatable.

Thirdly, if in 10-30 years science will have a better understanding on climate and by understanding I mean new data, innovational techniques, better findings and scrupulous research that will reverse their notion on this matter, then they will reverse my view, and I would certainly accept that because that what science is all about, face the thoroughly researched scientific results, abandon dogmas and you will know the truth.

In short, forgive me for listening to science and rejecting the convictions of an uneducated masses.

I have not fully grasped "general theory of relativity" and time - space complications, but universal scientific acceptance of this principle leaves little to no doubt of it being correct.

RE: OIC...
By DEVGRU on 2/16/2010 2:05:45 PM , Rating: 2
First of all, I am not a climatologist to debate the actual science behind the climate research...

Now theres a newsflash. Shock. Awe. Don't quit your day job.

RE: OIC...
By Grabo on 2/16/2010 2:26:38 PM , Rating: 2
Now theres a newsflash. Shock. Awe. Don't quit your day job.

Heh, he demonstrated some rational thinking, you most assuredly did not.
I mean, since you obviously don't agree with keeping an open and critical mind, are you a climatologist?

RE: OIC...
By Grabo on 2/16/2010 2:30:53 PM , Rating: 2
That doesn't read right..anyway, my point was: why would you critizise him for not being a climatologist if you aren't one either? And say only that? In what way does it add to any sensible discussion?

RE: OIC...
By Ammohunt on 2/16/2010 2:29:43 PM , Rating: 3
10-30 years of future climate information < 4 billion years of unknown climate variations. We could be on a Billion year climate cylce and never know it its assnine to assume that we would be able to detect it.

RE: OIC...
By VitalyTheUnknown on 2/16/10, Rating: 0
RE: OIC...
By islseur on 2/16/2010 4:17:41 PM , Rating: 2
"Do not fight with fools, they do not terribly scary. Do not try to fix them or change. Much scarier are the morons. They are ready to present such that could shake the whole nation."

Not with an intent to hurt you, but:

I think you fit the first bill. This is because you let yourself be lead by what other morons have presented.

People should start to develop critical thinking and not believe every boogie man that comes from the lying and greedy mouth of the establishment and waving it's "majority of scientific community" flag.

RE: OIC...
By porkpie on 2/16/2010 4:24:13 PM , Rating: 3
Vitaly, you can throw out straw men and red herrings all day long; it doesn't build your case. It also doesn't fool anyone.

Let me explain to you the assumptions behind the science here. All scientists (including the most ardent AGW supporters) admit AGW is a very weak GHG, far too much to cause runaway warming. This we've known for 150 years.

Around 30-40 years ago, some scientists began touting the presumption that CO2 can initiate positive feedback with a far stronger and more prevalent GHG: water vapor. They created computer models for this effect, using a factor called 'sensitivity' to calculate the actual warming a given CO2 increase would cause. This value was not calculated from a priori causes though, it was "fitted" to match the amount of warming the earth had already experienced. The end result is a sensitivity that (originally) was more than 25 times stronger than CO2 itself could cause. They then extrapolated out future warming and (right during the warming spike that ended in 1998) got a reasonable fit.

See the assumption? Fitting sensitivity to past warming implies that all that warming was due to CO2 increase. It seems a reasonable assumption, especially when you're not measuring any significant increase in solar insolation levels...except that we now know that past warming cycles (many of which left the earth much warmer than it is today) also occurred without insolation increases.

We're also left with the problem that, despite CO2 levels continuing to increase at an ever-faster rate, warming has stopped entirely in the past 15 years. In fact, if one assumes UHI effects (those Dr. Jones discounted in his flawed paper) have been skewing the data record significantly warmer, then the earth has actually COOLED dramatically in the past 15 years. But whether or not this is true, one conclusion is inescapable: the data no longer fits the model. The model is at fault.

It's no secret that the IPCC has been forced to scale downward their warming predictions in every subsequent report. It's also (now) no secret that most of the frightening predictions they made weren't based on peer-reviewed research, but on WWF presentations, student term papers, and articles in popular magazines. IPCC scientists have publicly ADMITTED to including these factoids to put pressure on world leaders, though they knew they were not backed up with hard data.

There are plenty of dissenting climatolgists that were once part of the UN IPCC but left in disgust. Those who remain are more advocates than they are impartial researchers. They believe because they WANT it to be true. Not because any data supports it.

RE: OIC...
By amirite on 2/16/10, Rating: -1
RE: OIC...
By porkpie on 2/16/2010 9:05:32 PM , Rating: 2
"No reasonable person would be against reducing polution "

No reasonable person would be for spending multiple TRILLIONS of dollars and permanently reducing the standard of living of every person on the planet, just to combat a problem that doesn't exist.

You don't eliminate carbon emissions by banning a single chemical. EVERYTHING mankind does produces carbon. Everything. The kinds of deep cuts demanded by AGW alarmists mean forced deindustrialization, and a reversion to the types of lives we had a century ago.

The amount of sheer human misery generated by the AGW fraud is incalcuable. Hundreds of millions of people in Africa and Asia are still living in 18th century conditions, burning cow dung to heat their homes and cook their food, and you want to deny them cheap energy that would revolutionize their short, brutish, unhealthy lives? And you have the GALL to tell the rest of us to "not rock the boat"?

You should be ashamed, very ashamed.

RE: OIC...
By DominionSeraph on 2/16/2010 9:32:09 PM , Rating: 2
You're not very bright.

Recheck the use of limited resources in a supply and demand economy.

RE: OIC...
By DominionSeraph on 2/16/2010 9:32:10 PM , Rating: 2
You're not very bright.

Recheck the use of limited resources in a supply and demand economy.

RE: OIC...
By VitalyTheUnknown on 2/16/2010 7:50:46 PM , Rating: 2
I respect your opinion on this issue and concede and never denied the possibility of AGW might turn out to be false, but it will not happen today, because data gathering methods, knowledge of past climate, future climate predictions will only improve with time and only time to come will reveal the truth.
You make it clear that you do not agree that there is scientific consensus, I'm for the sake of argument can accept that, but at least you have to be honest in your assessment of this problem and acknowledge that there is contradictory data and analysis of available information supporting either of the theories, for AGW and against it, yet you and your ilk in all your posts repeat the same statement with 100% certainty, AGW is a scam, fraud, isn't that just blatant hypocrisy and insincerity on your part.

All the concerns that you have listed is not something new to me and obviously not unknown to climatologist, this is why collection of new data continues, remains the best source for any theory validity. In-depth and exhaustive research from all related branches of climatology science will show me whether 20 plus years from now I will remember you as that guy on DT that was right about climate or totally wrong, yes, science will show; not ignorant, uneducated and dishonest individuals behind computer screens that just can't stop yelling ignorance and cheering for anyone whose prime theme and proposition, AGW is a hoax. This petty direction that readers on DT have chosen is pathetic, my friend, to say the least.

RE: OIC...
By amirite on 2/16/10, Rating: -1
RE: OIC...
By porkpie on 2/16/2010 9:24:05 PM , Rating: 2
" Never mind, it snowed so everything that several tens of thousands scientists have researched for several decades must be wrong. LOL! "

Please try not to embarrass yourself. There are not "several tens of thousand of climate scientists" in the entire world. Worse, the VAST majority of climate scientists don't even research the causes of AGW, but simply its effects. The actual question of CO2-based climate sensitivity is based on the work of just a few DOZEN modelers, many of whom have no background in climate science.

As for "90% of scientists agreeing", thats a bald-faced lie. There ARE, however, several tens of thousands of scientists who have publicly expressed their doubt and disbelieve in CAGW. They've even signed a petition to that effect, started by a former President of the National Academy of Sciences. Several dozen of those who signed are in fact past or previous members of the UN IPCC.

RE: OIC...
By porkpie on 2/16/2010 9:17:24 PM , Rating: 2
"20 plus years from now I will remember you as that guy on DT that was right about climate"

You can buy me a beer on that date. I intend to hold you to it.

"you have to be honest in your assessment of this problem and acknowledge that there is contradictory data "

There is no data that demonstrates that AGW is a problem serious enough to warrant the sorts of actions many people are proposing. None. Even the IPCC's own conclusions, should you accept them, do not indicate anything more than mild results 100 years from now, all easily alleviated. 12 inches of sea level rise? An extra 2 degrees of temperature? Some areas slightly more arid, others slightly more wet? Nothing we can't easily handle with current technology, much less the 22nd century tech we'll have at the time.

The only truly scary predictions the IPCC made (things like Himalayan glaciers gone in 30 years) were found to not be based on any scientific research at all, but merely coming from environmental group press releases or stories in popular magazines.

RE: OIC...
By VitalyTheUnknown on 2/17/2010 7:18:28 AM , Rating: 1
I can't stop laughing "porkie". What the fuck is wrong with you? Is this joke? Have I not been notified that DT became a comedy blog?

From my post - you have to be honest in your assessment ...

From your post - There is no data that demonstrates that AGW is a problem serious enough to warrant the sorts of actions many people are proposing. None. Even the IPCC's own conclusions, should you accept them, do not indicate anything more than mild results 100 years from now, all easily alleviated. 12 inches of sea level rise? An extra 2 degrees of temperature? Some areas slightly more arid, others slightly more wet?...


IPCC Fourth Assessment Report.


Some observed changes have been associated with climate change at varying levels of confidence.

With a high confidence (about an 8 in 10 chance to be correct) WGII asserts that climate change has resulted in:
More and larger glacial lakes.
Increasing ground instability in permafrost regions.
Increasing rock avalanches in mountain regions.
Changes in some Arctic and Antarctic ecosystems.
Increased run-off and earlier spring peak discharge in many glacier and snow-fed rivers.
Changes affecting algae, plankton, fish and zooplankton because rising water temperatures and changes in:
ice cover
oxygen levels
water circulation

With a very high confidence (about a 9 in 10 chance to be correct) WGII asserts that climate change is affecting terrestrial biological systems in that:
Spring events such as the unfolding of leaves, laying of eggs, and migration are happening earlier.
There are poleward and upward (to higher altitude) shifts in ranges of plant and animal species.

WGII also states that the ocean has become more acidic because it has absorbed human-caused carbon dioxide. Ocean pH has dropped by 0.1, but how this affects marine life is not documented.
Attribution of changes

WGII acknowledges some of the difficulties of attributing specific changes to human-caused global warming, stating that "Limitations and gaps prevent more complete attribution of the causes of observed system responses to anthropogenic warming." but found that the agreement between observed and projected changes was "Nevertheless ... sufficient to conclude with high confidence that anthropogenic warming over the last three decades has had a discernible influence on many physical and biological systems."

WGII describes some of what might be expected in the coming century, based on studies and model projections.
Fresh water

It is projected with high confidence that:
Dry regions are projected to get drier, and wet regions are projected to get wetter: "By mid-century, annual average river runoff and water availability are projected to increase by 10-40% at high latitudes and in some wet tropical areas, and decrease by 10-30% over some dry regions at mid-latitudes and in the dry tropics..."
Drought-affected areas will become larger.
Heavy precipitation events are very likely to become more common and will increase flood risk.
Water supplies stored in glaciers and snow cover will be reduced over the course of the century.

It is projected with high confidence that:
The resilience of many ecosystems is likely to be exceeded this century by a combination of climate change and other stressors.
Carbon removal by terrestrial ecosystems is likely to peak before mid-century and then weaken or reverse. This would amplify climate change.

It is projected with medium confidence (about 5 in 10 chance to be correct) that globally, potential food production will increase for temperature rises of 1-3 °C, but decrease for higher temperature ranges.
Coastal systems

It is projected with very high confidence that:
Coasts will be exposed to increasing risks such as coastal erosion due to climate change and sea-level rise.
"Increases in sea-surface temperature of about 1-3 °C are projected to result in more frequent coral bleaching events and widespread mortality unless there is thermal adaptation or acclimatisation by corals."
"Many millions more people are projected to be flooded every year due to sea-level rise by the 2080s."

"porkpie" how can I take you seriously?

RE: OIC...
By porkpie on 2/17/2010 12:37:00 PM , Rating: 2
"IPCC Fourth Assessment Report. "

Have you had your head buried in the sand the past six months? Pick up a newspaper some time, bub. The IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report has been found to be riddled with inaccuracies. Let's go over a partial list, shall we?

- Some claims taken from a WWF presentation.
- Some claims taken from student term papers.
- Some claims taken from stories in popular magazines.
- Some claims without any source whatsoever.

And worse of all, IPCC scientists publicly ADMITTING they included claims with no scientific basis, simply to put pressure on world political leaders.

How can I take YOU seriously when it seems you haven't read world news since the year 2008?

RE: OIC...
By VitalyTheUnknown on 2/17/2010 1:42:41 PM , Rating: 2
Not a single claim that you have listed discredits AGW theory, period, all these mistakes simply just a minor embarrassments for IPCC panel, for any climatologist it's just a legitimate basis to correct SOME of their data, but the conclusion is the same, in favor of AGW.

In 2010 IPCC will release their 5th assessment, with corrected data to satisfy all ignorant critics, though that is hardly possible in your case, you chewed on petty things and you will continue to do so, and still, probably climatologists again further substantiate AGW.

And guess what will be your reaction
to that? It's really not a shock to me, so at least don't kid yourself "porkpie".

YOU will again bury your head in the sand.

RE: OIC...
By porkpie on 2/16/2010 2:54:44 PM , Rating: 2
"actually, climatologist would say that there's an absolute consensus"

BZZZT! Your answer was incorrect. From Phil Jones BBC Interview:

Asked by the BBC what it means when scientists say "the debate on climate change is over," the keeper of the flame sounded chastened. " I don't believe the vast majority of climate scientists think this ," Jones said. "This is not my view. There is still much that needs to be undertaken to reduce uncertainties, not just for the future, but for the . . . past as well."

Further, your entire premise is unsound. You don't need to be a climatologist to understand the assumptions that (some) climatologists predicated CAGW upon, and to evaluate the lack of data that supports those assumptions.

RE: OIC...
By Jalek on 2/16/2010 3:19:07 PM , Rating: 2
Apparently you didn't get the memo, all scientific processes are different when speaking about climatology.

The scientific method is so... factual. They needed something more flexible.

"This is from the It's a science website." -- Rush Limbaugh

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