Climategate intensifies: Jones and Wang apparently hid Chinese station data issues

UPDATE: UEA/CRU has responded!

Looks like a homogenized data comparison. h/t to WUWT reader “splice”


It looks like Doug Keenan has been right all along. He must feel vindicated tonight. See more about Doug’s long road here in an earlier WUWT report.

Excerpts from the Independent and the Guardian


Weather station in Shenzhen, China. 30 years ago, this city for which the name means "the drains" (for its conjunction of creeks and rivers) hardly existed. Now it is a booming economic metropolis. The weather station was originally mostly rural, now strongly urban. - Photo by Anthony Watts

Climategate scientist ‘hid flaws in data’, say sceptics

By Michael McCarthy, Environment Editor

Professor in leaked email scandal tried to hide fact that numbers he used were wrong

The “climategate” controversy intensified last night when the senior British scientist at its centre, Professor Phil Jones, faced fresh accusations that he attempted to withhold data that could cast doubt on evidence for rising world temperatures.

But the new allegations go beyond refusing FOI requests and concern data that Professor Jones and other scientists have used to support a record of recent world temperatures that shows an upward trend.

Climate sceptics have suggested that some of the higher readings may be due not to a warmer atmosphere, but to the so-called “urban heat island effect”, where cities become reservoirs of heat and are warmer than the surrounding countryside, especially during the night hours.

Professor Jones and a colleague, Professor Wei-Chyung Wang of the State University of New York at Albany suggested in an influential 1990 paper in the journal Nature that the urban heat island effect was minimal – and cited as supporting evidence a long series of temperature measurements from Chinese weather stations, half in the countryside and half in cities, supplied by Professor Wei-Chyung. The Nature paper was used as evidence in the most recent report of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

However, it has been reported that when climate sceptics asked for the precise locations of the 84 stations, Professor Jones at first declined to release the details. And when eventually he did release them, it was found that for the ones supposed to be in the countryside, there was no location given.

Climate sceptics have demanded the two professors now withdraw their heat island paper. Professor Wei-Chyung was investigated by his university, but exonerated, but the emails indicate there was also concern among Professor Jones’ s colleagues at UEA, including from Dr Tom Wigley, his predecessor as head of the CRU, about the Chinese weather station data and Professor Jones’s continuing reliance on it.

From The Guardian:

Leaked climate change emails scientist ‘hid’ data flaws

Exclusive: Key study by East Anglia professor Phil Jones was based on suspect figures

By Fred Pearce

Phil Jones, the beleaguered British climate scientist at the centre of the leaked emails controversy, is facing fresh claims that he sought to hide problems in key temperature data on which some of his work was based.

A Guardian investigation of thousands of emails and documents apparently hacked from the University of East Anglia’s climatic research unit has found evidence that a series of measurements from Chinese weather stations were seriously flawed and that documents relating to them could not be produced.

Jones and a collaborator have been accused by a climate change sceptic and researcher of scientific fraud for attempting to suppress data that could cast doubt on a key 1990 study on the effect of cities on warming – a hotly contested issue.

Today the Guardian reveals how Jones withheld the information requested under freedom of information laws. Subsequently a senior colleague told him he feared that Jones’s collaborator, Wei-­Chyung Wang of the University at Albany, had “screwed up”.

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, 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?”

Read the complete report at the Guardian here

See also this story from the Guardian:

• How the location of weather stations in China undermines data

As I’ve been saying for a long time, the dodgy surface data is the key and UHI is a real issue. The Menne et al 2010 preemptive strike against my surfacestations work (using my own early data they purloined) shows just how desperate NCDC’s  Tom Karl is becoming.

What I find most interesting though is that Phil Jones appeared to have a crisis of conscience, because in 2007 he authored a paper that appeared in JGR without much notice (but known now thanks to Warwick Hughes).

The paper is titled:  Urbanization effects in large-scale temperature records, with an emphasis on China

In it, Jones identifies an urban warming signal in China of 0.1 degrees C per decade.  Or, if you prefer, 1 degree C per century. Not negligible by any means. Here is the abstract:

Global surface temperature trends, based on land and marine data, show warming of about 0.8°C over the last 100 years. This rate of warming is sometimes questioned because of the existence of well-known Urban Heat Islands (UHIs). We show examples of the UHIs at London and Vienna, where city center sites are warmer than surrounding rural locations. Both of these UHIs however do not contribute to warming trends over the 20th century because the influences of the cities on surface temperatures have not changed over this time. In the main part of the paper, for China, we compare a new homogenized station data set with gridded temperature products and attempt to assess possible urban influences using sea surface temperature (SST) data sets for the area east of the Chinese mainland. We show that all the land-based data sets for China agree exceptionally well and that their residual warming compared to the SST series since 1951 is relatively small compared to the large-scale warming. Urban-related warming over China is shown to be about 0.1°C decade−1 over the period 1951–2004, with true climatic warming accounting for 0.81°C over this period.

Even though Jones tries to minimize the UHI effect elsewhere, saying the UHI trends don’t contribute to warming in London and Vienna, what is notable about the paper is that Jones has been minimizing the UHI issues for years and now does an about face on China.

It was almost as if Jones was trying to appease his own conscience by publishing a paper that supported a UHI effect in China.

But then we see in his comments about my praise of the paper and WUWT commenters as a “load of plonkers”

From: Phil Jones <>

To: Gavin Schmidt <>, “Michael E. Mann” <>

Subject: FYI

Date: Thu Mar 19 10:52:54 2009

Gavin, Mike,

See the link below! Don’t alert anyone up to this for a while. See if they figure it out for themselves.

I’ve sent this to the Chief Exec of the RMS, who said he was considering changing data policy with the RMS journals. He’s away till next week. I just wanted him to see what a load of plonkers he’s dealing with! I’m hoping someone will pick this up and put it somewhere more prominently.

The responses are even worse than you get on CA. I’ve written up the London paper for the RMS journal Weather, but having trouble with their new editor. He’s coming up with the same naive comments that these responders are. He can’t understand

that London has a UHI of X, but that X has got no bigger since 1900.

I’m away all next week.



[1] by-a-major-climate-scientist/

“Phil Jones, the director of the Hadley Climate Center in the UK.”

Thomas C. Peterson, Ph.D.

NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center

151 Patton Avenue

Asheville, NC 28801

Voice: +1-828-271-4287

Fax: +1-828-271-4876

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



Too funny. “X” got no bigger since 1900.

We’ll see when this all gets sorted out who is a “load of plonkers” and who isn’t.


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Notice how Phil Jones uses two different time bases?
0.1C/decade for UHI compared to 0.81C for the period for GW? The period being 55 years.
Using the same time base, UHI becomes 0.55C compared to 0.81C.
He wrote it specifically that way to minimize UHI, but how can you minimize 0.55C out of 0.81C?

Peter of Sydney

So when will summons be issued to those involved in this conspiracy? The evidence is now overwhelming.

Harold Vance

Um, Dr. Jones, in many other parts of the world, X has gotten much larger. It’s a largely a function of the growth of runways and increasing economic development in areas surrounding airports. London may have stopped growing but it’s hardly representative of the rest of the planet. This plonker would like to know what kind of crack you are smoking.

Now let me take this in: This is Fred Pearce (of New Scientist anti-deniers fame) taking a journalistic lead with an investigative piece in the Guardian that drawing into question the station data that is the basis of the very first question of the whole dispute, vis: Is the world really warming? And in doing so he is vindicating what the vilified sceptics were saying all along. Wow, folks, have I got that right?
REPLY: Yes that’s right, and you know what else is amazing? The Guardian authors emailed me this afternoon to make sure I knew about this story. I’ve never been given a tip from the Guardian staff before, evar. – Anthony

Jeff C.

When you’ve lost the Gruadian…
Quite a feeding frenzy going on in the UK press. It looks like they are doing nothing more than trolling old CA and WUWT posts (and Dr. North’s EU Referendum), adding a few on-the-record quotes, and calling it the latest blockbuster story. I guess we should be glad that this story has finally gotten legs, but the blatant cribbing without attribution is annoying. Where were they the last three years?


With all the UK press going after this (from the Times to the Guardian), Jones must be close to being toast.
And, if this story is good enough for The Guardian, I wonder if the US press will feel safe enough to start reporting on this.

I have to make the point that this is the same pattern with Briffa in hide the decline.
After the initial offense, a contradictory remark/paper buys credibility. I’ve remarked many times about how briffa will put absolutely paper killing comments in the middle of a paper followed by extraordinary conclusions.
Plausible deniability.

Ah yes … the building with the WSR-98D on top …

Douglas DC

Just reading the “Crutape Letters”-nothing surprises me with this crowd.When oh, When is the US Media ever waken to this farce…

Andy Scrase

I was in China for a month last year, teaching in Hangzhou.
The area I was in was green fields 5 years ago; now it has 14 universities, all concrete and steel.
The Mother of all Urban Heat Islands.

“It was almost as if Jones was trying to appease his own conscience…”
It was CYA

Great news!
As the climate scandal unfolds, a lot more filth may be revealed.
Scientists have become instruments of propaganda for those who control grant funds.
The very foundations of astronomy, astrophysics, climatology, cosmology, nuclear, particle and solar science have been weakened by ~50 years of deceit and data manipulation.
What a sad state of affairs for science!
What a sad state of affairs for world government!
With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
Emeritus Professor of
Nuclear & Space Science
Former NASA PI for Apollo


[snip – a bit OTT]
I currently live in Shanghai and the change here, over the last few decades, is enormous. The old houses have been pulled down and replaced by huge apartment blocks. These towers have an air conditioner or 3 for each apartment, where the old houses had very little heating. Everyone of those condensers is pumping out heat. I would sure love to see the records for Shanghai and find the location of the measurements are taken.

John Whitman

Ladies & Gentlemen of the Jury of Independent Thinkers, do you find the accused Dr Jones guilty of crimes against the integrity of Science?
Well commenters? What is your verdict?
If guilty should leniency be applied to his sentence or extra harshness?
Has he shown any remorse? Has he given apologies?
Has he justified himself in any sincere terms (other than hubris)?


Hmmm, what does the Guardian have up its sleeve? Why are they so, so, so journalistic all of a sudden? The um, skeptic in me is well, skeptical.

Methow Ken

This feels like a day for the history books (at least for our friends across the big pond in the U.K.):
That bastion of U.K. AGW political-correctness the GUARDIAN has now joined the Telegraph, Times, and Independent in a Fleet Street chorus; and is actually publishing real news about ClimateGate and its progeny ?!?!
Who would’a thunk it. . . .
Can we say ”tipping point” ??…
Now: What I wanna know is:
Why is the U.S. MSM still largely missing in action (other than FoxNews, of course) ?? Have they no shame ??….


I was surprised how long it has taken for Doug Keenan case to be picked up by analysts of the East Anglia data trove. His story ranks right up there with the “hide the decline” and the Nature trick. The Crutape letters clearly showed the fix was in against him, and without the emails he still would be without justice. Mr. Keenan is a perfect example of how corrupt Universities have become. He had legitimate concerns about the nature of research, but because he was the quintessential outsider he was stiff-armed and told to get lost.
When the Michael Mann results are presented by Penn State, remember his case.

Jimmy Haigh

The Guardian!!! Wow. If the numpties at The Guardian are finally turning there is hope for everyone.
Mr Moonbat! Any response?

Even the Guardian is covering this:
You know the line: One bad paper. A few bad scientists. Nothing to see here. It will get sorted and all will be well with the science.

Layne Blanchard

Holy heat sink, batman…. er, uh, Anthony! You were just commenting a day or two ago about how these stories suddenly get their legs. Could it really be happening? The last few weeks have been one revelation after another.


I’ve written up the London paper for the RMS journal Weather, but having trouble with their new editor. He’s coming up with the same naive comments that these responders are.
Earth to Phil Jones…… to Phil Jones.

Leon Brozyna

and now … Chinagate.
Perhaps we’re reaching a tipping point, where the lamestream media will suddenly notice the feeding frenzy from Fleet Street and will want to join in on the fun, reporting on Climategate and all the ensuing mini-gate spin-offs. NBC’s green peacock may become endangered. Perhaps CBS will try to redeem itself and do an in-depth “follow the money” investigation on all the billions of dollars in grants that have given us this huge gated science community. Should be good for at least an hour of science shame.

Keith Minto

BernieL (20:30:17) :
My thoughts exactly, two investigative pieces in the Guardian by Fred Pearce ! good on him. I see better reporting coming out of the UK than here in Australia and in the US. The reporting tone seems to suggest that this issue has legs and has a long way to travel. I can imagine lengthy editorial meetings at New Scientist deciding on how to to save face over this.


Andy Scrase (20:41:49) :
I was in China for a month last year, teaching in Hangzhou.
The area I was in was green fields 5 years ago; now it has 14 universities, all concrete and steel.

This is fantastic progress! And I agree, UHI!
China is growing so aggressively that it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that it will be the most powerful Nation very soon. This aggressive growth by China should be a smelling salts for America!

John Whitman

I can hear in the background REM singing the post climategate redo of their ’80s old hit song- “Its the end of their world as they knew it. . . ”


REPLY: Yes that’s right, and you know what else is amazing? The Guardian authors emailed me this afternoon to make sure I knew about this story. I’ve never been given a tip from the Guardian staff before, evar. – Anthony
What in the!
You think they wanted to see it as a post here?
What is going on??

John Whitman (20:54:17): Ladies & Gentlemen of the Jury of Independent Thinkers, do you find the accused Dr Jones guilty of crimes against the integrity of Science?
The crime is fraud, and Jones is an accomplice, not the ringleader. Follow the ill-gotten gains.


This is so shameful.
Almost two months and ten days after the fateful weekend when members of the general public read Tom Wigley’s plaintive cry of “Why, why why” (1241415427.txt), we have a newspaper in the country of origin of this enormous scandal, writing furtively about it. And attempting to take credit for as a fresh ‘investigation’.
“…is facing fresh claims that he sought to hide problems in key temperature data …”
A Guardian investigation of thousands of emails and documents…”
Today the Guardian reveals how Jones withheld the information…”

John Whitman

That now makes you the MSM, at least in the UK.
I think that mean congratulations.
REPLY: I’m the MSM? eeeeewwww!

Super D

Love the way the newspapers are trying to claim as a “scoop” widley known information that they could have printed months or in some cases years ago.
I wonder if the Guardian’s next “scoop” will be that the earth is round or that man walked on the moon.


I’m no expert on these things, but when I was reviewing the “Wang Affair” Box in the just released version of the ClimateGate timeline (
I was confused about an e-mail by Jones I found from 18.Jul.2007
Jones talks about his 1986 paper to Geoff Jenkins and says he removes stations with UHI: “David [Parker] is essentially right. In 1986 we rejected [for UHI] 38 (if my memory from 1986) is correct!”
But then in his 1990 paper he takes the position with Wang that UHI is not a factor in temperatures.
How could he conclude this in a 1990 paper if based on the above e-mail he says he removes stations which have UHI. On the one hand in 1986 he knows UHI affects the temperature but on the other hand in 1990 he concludes its a non-issue.
Since I’m hardly an expert on these matters and in no position to make a judgment on this since it may have a stupidly simple explanation.


Attention, SUNY Albany!
Your window of opportunity to unilaterally fix this situation is rapidly closing.
Save the reputation of the university now and come clean before it’s too late.
Think about it. What if Penn State decides to take disciplinary action against Mann? Then, Penn State seems like a respectable university and SUNY Albany is left out in the cold.
This is how things will be remembered:
Penn State – takes action against scientific fraud being perpetrated
SUNY Albany – helps cover up scientific fraud being perpetrated


Oops clicked send without finishing the last sentence properly. It should read:
Since I’m hardly an expert on these matters and in no position to make a judgment on this since it may have a stupidly simple explanation, I didn’t mention this on the timeline but I am really curious about this seemingly contradictory position by Jones.

Douglas DC (20:39:40) :
Just reading the “Crutape Letters”-nothing surprises me with this crowd.When oh, When is the US Media ever waken to this farce…
Who knows? MSNBC is not banging down the door.


Does this mean I should stop looking into the links between Carbon Trading and the Scott Trust and its principal interest holders?
I’m sort of done with: Reed Elsevier, Risk Management Solutions, Halcrow Consulting, RAND Corporation, the CRU and the BBC.
So who should be next?


That email is a proof that Gavin Schmidt is part of the manipulation and should as well be investigated… but so far he seems to enjoy a sort of immunity… why?


Just to clarify that list:
They all have links to Carbon Trading and they all either provided fraudulent input to, or published fraudulent output from the IPCC, and are not listed as being direct funders of the CRU. The direct funders are easy.


I was very interested in all the China stuff when I read the examination of the CRU emails by a statistician (which now seems to have vanished online). Phil Jones seemed very anxious to go after those who had questioned the data – and viciously so – rather than make any serious enquiry of Wang.
Leon – don’t forget Dr Landsea and ‘hurricane-gate’ even though it’s such old news:
As for London, having lived there for about 25 years (btwn 1968 and 1996) I can only say that everyone knows London is always a good deal warmer than anywhere else in Britian; that if leaving London in winter, you take your woolies and fur boots (which you don’t need much in town) and that snow hardly ever settles, except perhaps on Hampstead Heath. London is huge, and full of people and traffic, and overheated buildings where the lights burn all night. Go figure

Maybe we need to be asking different questions in the light of ALL these revelations:
Many parts of the AR4 are being debunked, but some scientists are now claiming this doesn’t “materially” change anything. I wonder if one were to take the AR4 document and color code or line out the offending parts including conclusions drawn from proven false or unsubtanciated – non peer reviewed material, how much of the report would be “materially” left? Any percentage greater than say 10% would prove to be a further PR embarrassment to the IPCC.
How many errors, material and otherwise, does it usually take for a “scientific paper” to be rejected by the peer review process? Would AR4 as it stands now be rejected by a peer review based on what has been found so far? Shouldn’t AR4 be subject to the same standards as any paper it purports to be based upon since it represents itself to be a compendium of studies like the one claiming falsely some years back there was a consensus of studies supporting AGW, i.e. The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change (Oreskes 2004)?
The above process would provide a bullseye on the remaining material for scientists to “subject” to scrutiny to verify it’s validity. I’m not saying every part of AR4 is false but you know how people like to conflate or engage in false correlations.


While it is very surprising to see the Guardian publish anything against the church of AGW, the fact that Fred “Glaciergate” Pearce is the author of “Leaked climate change emails scientist ‘hid’ data flaws” is truly shocking. Fred Pearce has been a true AGW believer and has written a piece entitled “How the ‘climategate’ scandal is bogus and based on climate sceptics’ lies” also on 1/02/10. What’s up with that? Has Fred snapped?

Patrick Davis

OT and I don’t have a link, but in an earlier post I mentioned two teenagers were charge with starting bush fires in Victoria, Australia in 2009 The details are; Two teenagers, 14 and 15, started the bush fire in Bendigo, Victoria, killing 1 person and destroying 65 houses. 135 counts of vandalism/arson have been recorded.
And I recall back then, the fires were more evidence of AGW.

Sam Lau

Et tu, Guardianus?
But can anyone provide the list of the relevant stations, so I might have some idea what those stations are and are they actually affected by UHI.
BTW, we will soon run out of the gates, so we might need to think of tax using it or use less of it. 😛

Leon Brozyna

Sam (21:49:16) :
You’re right — forgot about hurricangate — so here’s another -gate added to their gated community:
The IPCC gated community has so many gates it’s like swiss cheese — it’s leaking all over the place. And I’ve added NGOgate to cover the likes of WWF, Greenpeace, & NWF and their “peer-reviewed” fluff pieces used to inflate the IPCC reports references.
Now we know the lamestream media’s out to lunch on this in the U.S., but where are the late night comics? They chould have a field day with this one, especially with all those billions in grant (tax) monies involved.

chili palmer

I have now read 2 versions of the Fred Pierce Guardian story. In the more recent 2nd version, he states that none of the irregularities around the 1990 paper ‘undermine the case that humans are causing climate change.’ In a version online a couple hours ago, he went on at greater length saying in spite of all of this, there is no doubt that global warming still exists, everyone agrees about that, etc. So it seems in both cases, he’s saying none of the abuse matters anyway. The Guardian makes itself look good for a minute, then takes it all back.


Oliver K. Manuel (20:48:56) :
All the billions wasted on Climate Capers, and now NASA Space gets it’s Moon & Mars missions scuttled. Why should manned space missions have to pay for what others squandered?
i really do hope Jones et al get the hard cover book thrown at them.


” Pete (20:50:39) :
[snip – a bit OTT]”
Fair enough A. but I could not get the thought out of my head 😉


I have to give you your due every once in a while, Anthony, so you can keep up the good work and not get discouraged by the dufuses in the alarmist camp. Great work uncovering that Jones paper (along with the guy who gave you the tip). Once again, Jones’s finagling has been uncovered and will hopefully have serious consequences for him.

James Sexton

Congrats!!!! It is a vindication. Your work wasn’t only right, it was very useful. In my estimation, yours and CA’s contribution to the well being of the planet(along with many others) is immeasurable. I know I won’t wake up tomorrow seeing retractions in all, or any, of MSM, but, it won’t go away if we keep up the fight!!! Thank you.

Jones says of London and Vienna:
>>>Both of these UHIs however do not contribute to warming
>>>trends over the 20th century because the influences of the
>>>cities on surface temperatures have not changed over this time.
How so?
Firstly, London has grown considerably in the last century. The population has increased, from about 5m in 1900 to about 7m in 1990.
Secondly, the density has increased dramatically, as this graphic shows. More people per square meter, more heat.
Thirdly, the amount of energy each person used has probably doubled or trebled. The amount of energy we feed into London, be that oil, gas or electricity, must have a bearing on the resultant temperature. (UHI temperature increase is not simply the result of buildings capturing incident light better than fields and being drier).

old construction worker

How many strikes do these boys get?
BTW “Our Elected Elite” want to Back Door the “CO2 Cap And Tax” through the up coming”Energy Bill”.