Phil Jones, former head of the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit (CRU) who is in the who’s emails are at the center of the climategate scandal is facing brand new claims of a cover-up. A Guardian investigation of of the thousands of emails and documents a hacked from the CRU found evidence that a series of measurements from Chinese weather stations were seriously flawed and the documents relating to them have disappeared.
It is difficult to imagine a more bizarre academic dispute. Where exactly are 42 weather monitoring stations in remote parts of rural China?
But the argument over the weather stations, and how it affects an important set of data on global warming, has led to accusations of scientific fraud and may yet result in a significant revision of a scientific paper that is still cited by the UN’s top climate science body.
It also further calls into question the integrity of the scientist at the centre of the scandal over hacked climate emails, the director of the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU), Dr Phil Jones. The emails suggest that he helped to cover up flaws in temperature data from China that underpinned his research on the strength of recent global warming.
The Guardian has learned that crucial data obtained by American scientists from Chinese collaborators cannot be verified because documents containing them no longer exist. And what data is available suggests that the findings are fundamentally flawed.
Jones and his Chinese-American colleague Wei-Chyung Wang, of the University at Albany in New York,[Yes my Alma Mater but I was not a science major] are being accused of scientific fraud by an independent British researcher over the contents of a research paper back in 1990.
That paper, which was published in the prestigious journal Nature, claimed to answer an important question in climate change science: how much of the warming seen in recent decades is due to the local effects of spreading cities, rather than global warming?
It is well-known that the concrete, bricks and asphalt of urban areas absorb more heat than the countryside. They result in cities being warmer than the countryside, especially at night.
So the question is whether rising mercury is simply a result of thermometers once in the countryside gradually finding themselves in expanding urban areas.
The pair, with four fellow researchers, concluded that the urban influence was negligible. Some of their most compelling evidence came from a study of temperature data from eastern China, a region urbanising fast even then.
The paper became a key reference source for the conclusions of succeeding reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – including a chapter in the 2007 one co-authored by Jones. It said that globally “the urbanisation influence … is, at most, an order of magnitude less than the warming seen on a century timescale“. In other words, it is tiny.
Jones was asked to share the locations of the Chinese weather stations but refused, at first. When people became suspicious of his research he changed his mind.
And when, in 2007, Jones finally released what location data he had, British amateur climate analyst and former City banker Doug Keenan accused Jones and Wang of fraud.
He pointed out that the data showed that 49 of the Chinese meteorological stations had no histories of their location or other details. These mysterious stations included 40 of the 42 rural stations. Of the rest, 18 had certainly been moved during the story period, perhaps invalidating their data.
Keenan told the Guardian: “The worst case was a station that moved five times over a distance of 41 kilometres”; hence, for those stations, the claim made in the paper that “there were ‘few if any changes’ to locations is a fabrication”. He demanded that Jones retract his claims about the Chinese data.
The emails, which first emerged online in November last year following a hack of the university’s computer systems that is being investigated by police, reveal that Jones was hurt, angry and uncertain about the allegations. “It is all malicious … I seem to be a marked man now,” he wrote in April 2007.
Another email from him said: “My problem is I don’t know the best course of action … I know I’m on the right side and honest, but I seem to be telling myself this more often recently!”
….The apparent attempts to cover up problems with temperature data from the Chinese weather stations provide the first link between the email scandal and the UN’s embattled climate science body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, as a paper based on the measurements was used to bolster IPCC statements about rapid global warming in recent decades.
Wang was cleared of scientific fraud by his university,[again I remind you I had a double major in Theater and Political Science, and had nothing to do with the Science Dept.] but new information brought to light today indicates at least one senior colleague had serious concerns about the affair.
It also emerges that documents which Wang claimed would exonerate him and Jones did not exist.
The revelations come at a torrid time for climate science, with the IPPC suffering heavy criticism for its use of information that had not been rigorously checked – in particular a false claim that all Himalayan glaciers could melt by 2035 – and UEA having been criticised last week by the deputy information commissioner for refusing valid requests for data under the Freedom of Information Act.
The Guardian has learned that of 105 freedom of information requests to the university concerning the climatic research unit (CRU), which Jones headed up to the end of December, only 10 had been released in full.
The temperature data from the Chinese weather stations measured the warming there over the past half century and appeared in a 1990 paper in the prestigious journal Nature, which was cited by the IPCC’s latest report in 2007.
Climate change sceptics asked the UEA, via FOI requests, for location data for the 84 weather stations in eastern China, half of which were urban and half rural.
The history of where the weather stations were sited was crucial to Jones and Wang’s 1990 study, as it concluded the rising temperatures recorded in China were the result of global climate changes rather the warming effects of expanding cities.
The IPCC’s 2007 report used the study to justify the claim that “any urban-related trend” in global temperatures was small. Jones was one of two “coordinating lead authors” for the relevant chapter.
The leaked emails from the CRU reveal that the former director of the unit, Tom Wigley, harboured grave doubts about the cover-up of the shortcomings in Jones and Wang’s work. Wigley was in charge of CRU when the original paper was published. “Were you taking W-CW [Wang] on trust?” he asked Jones. He continued: “Why, why, why did you and W-CW not simply say this right at the start?”
Jones said he was not able to comment on the story.
Its all just another brick in the Climate Change Hoax wall. A lot of that going around these days between all of the bad data coming from the IPCC and now fresh climategate frauds, its no wonder that the global warming argument is collapsing before our very eyes,