WUWT readers may recall the bizarre saga of Douglas Keenan’s attempt to bring the research data of CRU’s Dr. Phil Jones and SUNY’s Dr. Wei Chyung Wang to sunlight, which I’ve covered here and here. At issue, is the metadata (or lack thereof) of Chinese weather stations used in a 1990 study by Jones and Wang which concluded that UHI didn’t exist in China. Keenan made complaints of academic misconduct to Wang’s university based on the fact that Wang couldn’t or wouldn’t produce the Chinese station metadata to back up his claims.
The metadata location history of where the weather stations were sited was crucial to Jones and Wang’s 1990 paper. It concluded the rising temperatures recorded in China were the result of “global warming” rather than the UHI effects of China’s rapidly growing cities and industrialization.
The IPCC used the Jones and Wang study in the 2007 TAR to justify the claim that “any urban-related trend” in global temperatures was small. Notably, Dr. Phil Jones was one of two “coordinating lead authors” for the relevant chapter.
From Warwick Hughes:
The IPCC drew that conclusion from the Jones et al 1990 Letter to Nature which examined temperature data from regions in Eastern Australia, Western USSR and Eastern China, to conclude that “In none of the three regions studied is there any indication of significant urban influence..” That has led to the IPCC claim that for decades, urban warming is less than 0.05 per century.
Really? UHI is easily observable. I’ve been telling readers about UHI since this blog started. One notable example that I demonstrated by actual measurement is Reno, NV:
Oddly, Jones recently wrote what may now be viewed as a CYA paper, seeking to distance himself from Wang’s data. I reported in March 2009 that:
A paper in JGR that slipped by last fall without much notice (but know now thanks to Warwick Hughes) is one from Phil Jones, the director of the Hadley Climate Center in the UK. The pager 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.
Now, Steve McIntyre of Climate audit has put the entire tale of Jones, Wang, and Keenan together in one encompassing history. True to form, Steve finds and documents many minor but important details in this two decade long saga which many journo’s have missed.
In Brit parlance, it’s “gobsmacking”.
Steve outlines the Chinese Weather station issue in three parts. It is well worth the read because to really understand the depths of the pea and thimble management that went on over the years, you really need a complete history. Call it metadata.
Part 3 has this Climategate email from Wigley worth noting:
Do you know where this stands? The key things from the Peiser items are …
“Wang had been claiming the existence of such exonerating documents for nearly a year, but he has not been able to produce them. Additionally, there was a report published in 1991 (with a second version in 1997) explicitly stating that no such documents exist. Moreover, the report was published as part of the Department of Energy Carbon Dioxide Research Program, and Wang was the Chief Scientist of that program.”
“Wang had a co-worker in Britain. In Britain, the Freedom of Information Act requires that data from publicly-funded research be made available. I was able to get the data by requiring Wang�s co-worker to release it, under British law. It was only then that I was able to confirm that Wang had committed fraud.”
You are the co-worker, so you must have done something like provide Keenan with the DOE report that shows that there are no station records for 49 of the 84 stations. I presume Keenan therefore thinks that it was not possible to select stations on the basis of …
“… station histories: selected stations have relatively few, if any, changes in instrumentation, location, or observation times”
[THIS IS ITEM “X”]
Of course, if the only stations used were ones from the 35 stations that *did* have station histories, then all could be OK. However, if some of the stations used were from the remaining 49, then the above selection method could not have been applied (but see below) – unless there are other “hard copy” station history data not in the DOE report (but in China) that were used. From what Wang has said, if what he says is true, the second possibility appears to be the case.
What is the answer here?
The next puzzle is why Wei-Chyung didn’t make the hard copy information available. Either it does not exist, or he thought it was too much trouble to access and copy. My guess is that it does not exist — if it did then why was it not in the DOE report? In support of this, it seems that there are other papers from 1991 and 1997 that show that the data do not exist. What are these papers? Do they really show this?
Now my views. (1) I have always thought W-C W was a rather sloppy scientist. I therefore would not be surprised if he screwed up here. But ITEM X is in both the W-C W and Jones et al. papers — so where does it come from first? Were you taking W-C W on trust?
(2) It also seems to me that the University at Albany has screwed up. To accept a complaint from Keenan and not refer directly to the complaint and the complainant in its report really is asking for trouble.
(3) At the very start it seems this could have been easily dispatched. ITEM X really should have been …
“Where possible, stations were chosen on the basis of station histories and/or local knowledge: selected stations have relatively few, if any, changes in instrumentation, location, or observation times”
Of course the real get out is the final “or”. A station could be selected if either it had relatively few “changes in instrumentation” OR “changes in location” OR “changes in observation times”. Not all three, simply any one of the three. One could argue about the science here — it would be better to have all three — but this is not what the statement says.
Why, why, why did you and W-C W not simply say this right at the start? Perhaps it’s not too late?
I realise that Keenan is just a trouble maker and out to waste time, so I apologize for continuing to waste your time on this, Phil. However, I *am* concerned because all this happened under my watch as Director of CRU and, although this is unlikely, the buck eventually should stop with me.
P.S. I am copying this to Ben. Seeing other peoples’ troubles might make him happier about his own parallel experiences.