Print 67 comment(s) - last by Lerianis.. on Feb 20 at 1:35 AM

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.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

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.

"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki