To: Tom Wigley <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: FYI--"Phil Jones and Ben Santer respond to CEI and Pat Michaels attack on temperature data record"
Date: Wed Oct 14 12:41:21 2009
Cc: Ben Santer <firstname.lastname@example.org>
What you'd need to point this out is a pdf of his thesis! Or is there a paper where
the thesis is referred to?
I recall Pat wasn't very good at writing stuff up. There was one paper about warming in
Alaska that I recall either you or me reviewing. It related to surface warming in Alaska
and the borehole from Lachenbruch/Marshall (?) from about 1986.
With the pdf you wouldn't need to say that much, as it is as you say stupid to leave the
Trend in with the rest of the variance.
Did the NCDC info help you sort out that data. Tom P told me that they don't infill
certain areas in early decades, so there is missing data. Tom P isn't that keen on the
method. He rightly thinks that it discourages them from looking for early data or including
any new stuff they get - as they have infilled it, so it won't make a difference. It won't
make a difference, but that isn't the point.
At 02:45 14/10/2009, Tom Wigley wrote:
You may be interesting in this snippet of information about
Pat Michaels. Perhaps the University of Wisconsin ought to
open up a public comment period to decide whether Pat Michaels,
PhD needs re-assessing?
Michaels' PhD was, I believe, supervised by Reid Bryson. It dealt
with statistical (regression-based) modeling of crop-climate
relationships. In his thesis, Michaels claims that his statistical
model showed that weather/climate variations could explain 95%
of the inter-annual variability in crop yields. Had this been
correct, it would have been a remarkable results. Certainly, it
was at odds with all previous studies of crop-climate relationships,
which generally showed that weather/climate could only explain about
50% of inter-annual yield variability.
How did result come about? The answer is simple. In Michaels'
regressions he included a trend term. This was at the time a common
way to account for the effects of changing technology on yield. It
turns out that the trend term accounts for 90% of the variability,
so that, in Michaels' regressions, weather/climate explains just 5
of the remaining 10%. In other words, Michaels' claim that
weather/climate explains 95% of the variability is completely
Apparently, none of Michaels' thesis examiners noticed this. We
are left with wondering whether this was deliberate misrepresentation
by Michaels, or whether it was simply ignorance.
As an historical note, I discovered this many years ago when working
with Dick Warrick and Tu Qipu on crop-climate modeling. We used a
spatial regression method, which we developed for the wheat belt of
southwestern Western Australia. We carried out similar analyses for
winter wheat in the USA, but never published the results.
Wigley, T.M.L. and Tu Qipu, 1983: Crop-climate modelling using spatial
patterns of yield and climate: Part 1, Background and an example from
Australia. Journal of Climate and Applied Meteorology 22, 18311841.
There never was a "Part 2".
Rick Piltz wrote:
Just posted on Climate Science Watch Website.
*Phil Jones and Ben Santer respond to CEI and Pat Michaels attack on
temperature data record*
/Posted on Tuesday, October 13, 2009
/Prof. Phil Jones, Director of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East
Anglia in the UK and Ben Santer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory comment in
response to a petition to EPA by the Competitive Enterprise Institute and Pat Michaels,
which misleadingly seeks to obstruct EPAs process in making an endangerment finding on
greenhouse gases. This new CEI tactic is to call into question the integrity of the
global temperature data record and, by implication, the integrity of leading climate
/E&E News PM/ reported on October 7 (CLIMATE: Free-market group attacks data behind EPA
The Competitive Enterprise Institutea vocal foe of EPAs efforts to
finalize its endangerment findingpetitioned the agency this week
to reopen the public comment period on the proposal, arguing that
critical data used to formulate the plan have been destroyed and
that the available data are therefore unreliable.
At issue is a set of raw data from the Climatic Research Unit at the
University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, that includes surface
temperature averages from weather stations around the world.
Republican senators also weighed in yesterday, urging EPA to reopen
the public comment period on the endangerment finding to investigate
the scientific merit of the research data.
We talked with E&E News on this latest maneuver by the ideologues at CEI and contrarian
scientist Pat Michaels and posted on October 8
on-oct09/>: CEI global warming denialists try another gambit seeking to derail EPA
The process initiated by the CEI petition will, we suppose, produce an appropriate
response for the record from EPA and relevant members of the science community. And
while that process drags on, CEI and Michaels no doubt will use their petition as a
basis for attempting to muddy the waters of scientific discourse, while sliming leaders
of the international climate science community and questioning their motives.
A few of those leaders have begun to comment on this attempt. We post below comments
Climate Science Watch has received from Ben Santer at Lawrence Livermore National
Laboratory and Prof. Phil Jones, Director of the Climatic Research Unit at the
University of East Anglia in the UK:
Comment by Benjamin D. Santer
<http://www-pcmdi.llnl.gov/about/staff/Santer/index.php>, Program for Climate Model
Diagnosis and Intercomparison, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory:
As I see it, there are two key issues here.
First, the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) and Pat Michaels
are arguing that Phil Jones and colleagues at the Climatic Research
Unit at the University of East Anglia (CRU) willfully,
intentionally, and suspiciously destroyed some of the raw surface
temperature data used in the construction of the gridded surface
Second, the CEI and Pat Michaels contend that the CRU surface
temperature datasets provided the sole basis for IPCC discernible
human influence conclusions.
Both of these arguments are incorrect. First, there was no
intentional destruction of the primary source data. I am sure that,
over 20 years ago, the CRU could not have foreseen that the raw
station data might be the subject of legal proceedings by the CEI
and Pat Michaels. Raw data were NOT secretly destroyed to avoid
efforts by other scientists to replicate the CRU and Hadley
Centre-based estimates of global-scale changes in near-surface
temperature. In fact, a key point here is that other
groupsprimarily at the NOAA National Climatic Data Center (NCDC)
and at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), but also
in RussiaWERE able to replicate the major findings of the CRU and
UK Hadley Centre groups. The NCDC and GISS groups performed this
replication completely independently. They made different choices in
the complex process of choosing input data, adjusting raw station
data for known inhomogeneities (such as urbanization effects,
changes in instrumentation, site location, and observation time),
and gridding procedures. NCDC and GISS-based estimates of global
surface temperature changes are in good accord with the HadCRUT data
The second argumentthat discernible human influence findings are
like a house of cards, resting solely on one observational
datasetis also invalid. The IPCC Third Assessment Report (TAR)
considers MULTIPLE observational estimates of global-scale
near-surface temperature changes. It does not rely on HadCRUT data
aloneas is immediately obvious from Figure 2.1b of the TAR, which
shows CRU, NCDC, and GISS global-mean temperature changes.
As pointed out in numerous scientific assessments (e.g., the IPCC
TAR and Fourth Assessment Reports, the U.S. Climate Change Science
Program Synthesis and Assessment Report 1.1 (Temperature trends in
the lower atmosphere: Steps for understanding and reconciling
differences), and the state of knowledge report, Global Climate
Change Impacts on the United States, rigorous statistical
fingerprint studies have now been performed with a whole range of
climate variablesand not with surface temperature only. Examples
include variables like ocean heat content, atmospheric water vapor,
surface specific humidity, continental river runoff, sea-level
pressure patterns, stratospheric and tropospheric temperature,
tropopause height, zonal-mean precipitation over land, and Arctic
sea-ice extent. The bottom-line message from this body of work is
that natural causes alone CANNOT plausibly explain the climate
changes we have actually observed. The climate system is telling us
an internally- and physically-consistent story. The integrity and
reliability of this story does NOT rest on a single observational
dataset, as Michaels and the CEI incorrectly claim.
I have known Phil for most of my scientific career. He is the
antithesis of the secretive, data destroying character the CEI and
Michaels are trying to portray to the outside world. Phil and Tom
Wigley have devoted significant portions of their scientific careers
to the construction of the land surface temperature component of the
HadCRUT dataset. They have conducted this research in a very open
and transparent mannerexamining sensitivities to different gridding
algorithms, different ways of adjusting for urbanization effects,
use of various subsets of data, different ways of dealing with
changes in spatial coverage over time, etc. They have thoroughly and
comprehensively documented all of their dataset construction
choices. They have done a tremendous service to the scientific
communityand to the planetby making gridded surface temperature
datasets available for scientific research. They deserve medalsnot
the kind of deliberately misleading treatment they are receiving
from Pat Michaels and the CEI.
(Santer has received several honors, awards and fellowships including the Department of
Energy Distinguished Scientist Fellowship
<https://publicaffairs.llnl.gov/news/news_releases/2005/NR-05-10-01.html>, the E.O.
Lawrence Award, and the Genius Award by the MacArthur Foundation.)
Comment by Prof. Phil Jones <http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/people/pjones/>, Director,
Climatic Research Unit (CRU), and Professor, School of Environmental Sciences,
University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK:
No one, it seems, cares to read what we put up
<http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/temperature/> on the CRU web
page. These people just make up motives for what we might or might
not have done.
Almost all the data we have in the CRU archive is exactly the same
as in the Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN) archive used
by the NOAA National Climatic Data Center [see here
The original raw data are not lost. I could reconstruct what we
had from U.S. Department of Energy reports we published in the
mid-1980s. I would start with the GHCN data. I know that the effort
would be a complete waste of time, though. I may get around to it
some time. The documentation of what weve done is all in the
If we have lost any data it is the following:
1. Station series for sites that in the 1980s we deemed then to be
affected by either urban biases or by numerous site moves, that were
either not correctable or not worth doing as there were other series
in the region.
2. The original data for sites for which we made appropriate
adjustments in the temperature data in the 1980s. We still have our
adjusted data, of course, and these along with all other sites that
didnt need adjusting.
3. Since the 1980s as colleagues and National Meteorological
Services <http://www.wmo.int/pages/members/index_en.html> (NMSs)
have produced adjusted series for regions and or countries, then we
replaced the data we had with the better series.
In the papers, Ive always said that homogeneity adjustments are
best produced by NMSs. A good example of this is the work by Lucie
Vincent in Canada. Here we just replaced what data we had for the
200+ sites she sorted out.
The CRUTEM3 data for land look much like the GHCN and NASA Goddard
Institute for Space Studies data
<http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/> for the same domains. Apart from a
figure in the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4)
showing this, there is also this paper from Geophysical Research
Letters in 2005 by Russ Vose et al.
Figure 2 is similar to the AR4 plot.
I think if it hadnt been this issue, the Competitive Enterprise
Institute would have dreamt up something else!
Prof. Phil Jones
Climatic Research Unit Telephone +44 (0) 1603 592090
School of Environmental Sciences Fax +44 (0) 1603 507784
University of East Anglia
Norwich Email email@example.com