Re: [asa] Phil Jones Stepping Down..

From: Rich Blinne <>
Date: Tue Dec 01 2009 - 19:17:40 EST

On Tue, Dec 1, 2009 at 4:54 PM, John Walley <> wrote:

> Climate scientist at center of e-mail controversy to step down
> By Juliet Eilperin
> Washington Post Staff Writer
> Tuesday, December 1, 2009 3:45 PM
> A scientist who is one of the central figures in the controversy over
> hacked e-mails from the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit
> announced Tuesday that he is stepping down while the university investigates
> the incident.
> Climate skeptics have seized on several e-mails from Phil Jones, director
> of the university's Climatic Research Unit, to other researchers as evidence
> that prominent scientists have sought to silence their voice in the debate
> over global warming. The e-mails were pirated and posted online last month.
> "What is most important is that CRU continues its world leading research
> with as little interruption and diversion as possible," Jones said in a
> statement. "After a good deal of consideration I have decided that the best
> way to achieve this is by stepping aside from the Director's role during the
> course of the independent review and am grateful to the University for
> agreeing to this. The Review process will have my full support."
> East Anglia's Vice-Chancellor Professor Edward Acton said he had "accepted
> Professor Jones's offer to stand aside during this period. It is an
> important step to ensure that CRU can continue to operate normally and the
> independent review can conduct its work into the allegations."
> Action added the university will disclose details of the probe, including
> who will head it and how long it will last "within days."
> Marc Morano, who edits the climate skeptic blog,, welcomed
> the news with an e-mail stating, "One Down: ClimateGate Scientist Phil Jones
> to temporarily step down... 'pending investigation into allegations that he
> overstated case for man-made climate change.'"
> To unsubscribe, send a message to with
> "unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.

From the UEA:

CRU Update 1 December

Professor Phil Jones has today announced that he will stand aside as
Director of the Climatic Research Unit until the completion of an
independent Review resulting from allegations following the hacking and
publication of emails from the Unit.

Professor Jones said: "What is most important is that CRU continues its
world leading research with as little interruption and diversion as
possible. After a good deal of consideration I have decided that the best
way to achieve this is by stepping aside from the Director's role during the
course of the independent review and am grateful to the University for
agreeing to this. The Review process will have my full support."

Vice-Chancellor Professor Edward Acton said: "I have accepted Professor
Jones's offer to stand aside during this period. It is an important step to
ensure that CRU can continue to operate normally and the independent review
can conduct its work into the allegations.

“We will announce details of the Independent Review, including its terms of
reference, timescale and the chair, within days. I am delighted that
Professor Peter Liss, FRS, CBE, will become acting director.”

The University of East Anglia has previously released the following press
release and statements from Prof Trevor Davies, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for
Research, Prof Phil Jones, head of the Climatic Research Unit, and from CRU.

CRU climate data already ‘over 95%’ available*

Over 95% of the CRU climate data set concerning land surface temperatures
has been accessible to climate researchers, sceptics and the public for
several years the University of East Anglia has confirmed.

“It is well known within the scientific community and particularly those who
are sceptical of climate change that over 95% of the raw station data has
been accessible through the Global Historical Climatology Network for
several years. We are quite clearly not hiding information which seems to
be the speculation on some blogs and by some media commentators,” commented
the University’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Research Enterprise and Engagement
Professor Trevor Davies.

The University will make all the data accessible as soon as they are
released from a range of non-publication agreements. Publication will be
carried out in collaboration with the Met Office Hadley Centre.

The procedure for releasing these data, which are mainly owned by National
Meteorological Services (NMSs) around the globe, is by direct contact
between the permanent representatives of NMSs (in the UK the Met Office).

“We are grateful for the necessary support of the Met Office in requesting
the permissions for releasing the information but understand that responses
may take several months and that some countries may refuse permission due to
the economic value of the data,” continued Professor Davies.

The remaining data, to be published when permissions are given, generally
cover areas of the world where there are fewer data collection stations.

“CRU’s full data will be published in the interests of research transparency
when we have the necessary agreements. It is worth reiterating that our
conclusions correlate well to those of other scientists based on the
separate data sets held by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA) and the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies
(GISS),” concluded Professor Davies.

Statement from Professor Trevor Davies, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Research*

The publication of a selection of the emails and data stolen from the
Climatic Research Unit (CRU) has led to some questioning of the climate
science research published by CRU and others. There is nothing in the stolen
material which indicates that peer-reviewed publications by CRU, and others,
on the nature of global warming and related climate change are not of the
highest-quality of scientific investigation and interpretation. CRU’s
peer-reviewed publications are consistent with, and have contributed to, the
overwhelming scientific consensus that the climate is being strongly
influenced by human activity. The interactions of the atmosphere, oceans,
land, and ice mean that the strongly-increasing concentrations of greenhouse
gases in the atmosphere do not produce a uniform year-on-year increase in
global temperature. On time-scales of 5-10 years, however, there is a broad
scientific consensus that the Earth will continue to warm, with attendant
changes in the climate, for the foreseeable future. It is important, for all
countries, that this warming is slowed down, through substantial reductions
in greenhouse gas emissions to reduce the most dangerous impacts of climate
change. Respected international research groups, using other data sets, have
come to the same conclusion.

The University of East Anglia and CRU are committed to scientific integrity,
open debate and enhancing understanding. This includes a commitment to the
international peer-review system upon which progress in science relies. It
is this tried and tested system which has underpinned the assessments of the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It is through that process that
we can engage in respectful and informed debate with scientists whose
analyses appear not to be consistent with the current overwhelming consensus
on climate change

The publication of a selection of stolen data is the latest example of a
sustained and, in some instances, a vexatious campaign which may have been
designed to distract from reasoned debate about the nature of the urgent
action which world governments must consider to mitigate, and adapt to,
climate change. We are committed to furthering this debate despite being
faced with difficult circumstances related to a criminal breach of our
security systems and our concern to protect colleagues from the more extreme
behaviour of some who have responded in irrational and unpleasant ways to
the publication of personal information.

There has been understandable interest in the progress and outcome of the
numerous requests under information legislation for large numbers of the
data series held by CRU. The University takes its responsibilities under the
Freedom of Information Act 2000, Environmental Information Regulations 2004,
and the Data Protection Act 1998 very seriously and has, in all cases,
handled and responded to requests in accordance with its obligations under
each particular piece of legislation. Where appropriate, we have consulted
with the Information Commissioners Office and have followed their advice.

In relation to the specific requests at issue here, we have handled and
responded to each request in a consistent manner in compliance with the
appropriate legislation. No record has been deleted, altered, or otherwise
dealt with in any fashion with the intent of preventing the disclosure of
all, or any part, of the requested information. Where information has not
been disclosed, we have done so in accordance with the provisions of the
relevant legislation and have so informed the requester.

The Climatic Research Unit holds many data series, provided to the Unit over
a period of several decades, from a number of nationally-funded institutions
and other research organisations around the world, with specific agreements
made over restrictions in the dissemination of those original data. All of
these individual series have been used in CRU’s analyses. It is a
time-consuming process to attempt to gain approval from these organisations
to release the data. Since some of them were provided decades ago, it has
sometimes been necessary to track down the successors of the original
organisations. It is clearly in the public interest that these data are
released once we have succeeded in gaining the approval of collaborators.
Some who have requested the data will have been aware of the scale of the
exercise we have had to undertake. Much of these data are already available
from the websites of the Global Historical Climate Data Network and the
Goddard Institute for Space Science.

Given the degree to which we collaborate with other organisations around the
world, there is also an understandable interest in the computer security
systems we have in place in CRU and UEA. Although we were confident that our
systems were appropriate, experience has shown that determined and skilled
people, who are prepared to engage in criminal activity, can sometimes hack
into apparently secure systems. Highly-protected government organisations
around the world have also learned this to their cost.

We have, therefore, decided to conduct an independent review, which will
address the issue of data security, an assessment of how we responded to a
deluge of Freedom of Information requests, and any other relevant issues
which the independent reviewer advises should be addressed.

*Statement from Professor Phil Jones, Head of the Climatic Research Unit,
University of East Anglia.

*In the frenzy of the past few days, the most vital issue is being
overshadowed: we face enormous challenges ahead if we are to continue to
live on this planet.

One has to wonder if it is a coincidence that this email correspondence has
been stolen and published at this time. This may be a concerted attempt to
put a question mark over the science of climate change in the run-up to the
Copenhagen talks.

That the world is warming is based on a range of sources: not only
temperature records but other indicators such as sea level rise, glacier
retreat and less Arctic sea ice.

Our global temperature series tallies with those of other, completely
independent, groups of scientists working for NASA and the National Climate
Data Center in the United States, among others. Even if you were to ignore
our findings, theirs show the same results. The facts speak for themselves;
there is no need for anyone to manipulate them.

We have been bombarded by Freedom of Information requests to release the
temperature data that are provided to us by meteorological services around
the world via a large network of weather stations. This information is not
ours to give without the permission of the meteorological services involved.
We have responded to these Freedom of Information requests appropriately and
with the knowledge and guidance of the Information Commissioner.

We have stated that we hope to gain permission from each of these services
to publish their data in the future and we are in the process of doing so.

My colleagues and I accept that some of the published emails do not read
well. I regret any upset or confusion caused as a result. Some were clearly
written in the heat of the moment, others use colloquialisms frequently used
between close colleagues.

We are, and have always been, scrupulous in ensuring that our science
publications are robust and honest.

*CRU statement*

Recently thousands of files and emails illegally obtained from a research
server at the University of East Anglia (UEA) have been posted on various
sites on the web. The emails relate to messages received or sent by the
Climatic Research Unit (CRU) over the period 1996-2009.

A selection of these emails have been taken out of context and
misinterpreted as evidence that CRU has manipulated climate data to present
an unrealistic picture of global warming.

This conclusion is entirely unfounded and the evidence from CRU research is
entirely consistent with independent evidence assembled by various research
groups around the world.

There is excellent agreement on the course of temperature change since 1881
between the data set that we contribute to (HadCRUT3) and two other,
independent analyses of worldwide temperature measurements. There are no
statistically significant differences between the warming trends in the
three series since the start of the 20th century. The three independent
global temperature data series have been assembled by:

• CRU and the Met Office Hadley Centre (HadCRUT3) in the UK.
• The National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) of the National Oceanographic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Asheville, NC, USA.
• The Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS), part of the National
Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) in New York.

The warming shown by the HadCRUT3 series between the averages of the two
periods (1850-99 and 2001-2005) was 0.76±0.19°C, and this is corroborated by
the other two data sets.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its 4th Assessment
Report (AR4) published in 2007 concluded that the warming of the climate
system was unequivocal. This conclusion was based not only on the
observational temperature record, although this is the key piece of
evidence, but on multiple strands of evidence. These factors include:
long-term retreat of glaciers in most alpine regions of the world;
reductions in the area of the Northern Hemisphere (NH) snow cover during the
spring season; reductions in the length of the freeze season in many NH
rivers and lakes; reduction in Arctic sea-ice extent in all seasons, but
especially in the summer; increases in global average sea level since the
19th century; increases in the heat content of the ocean and warming of
temperatures in the lower part of the atmosphere since the late 1950s.

CRU has also been involved in reconstructions of temperature (primarily for
the Northern Hemisphere) from proxy data (non-instrumental sources such as
tree rings, ice cores, corals and documentary records). Similar temperature
reconstructions have been developed by numerous other groups around the
world. The level of uncertainty in this indirect evidence for temperature
change is much greater than for the picture of temperature change shown by
the instrumental data. But different reconstructions of temperature change
over a longer period, produced by different researchers using different
methods, show essentially the same picture of highly unusual warmth across
the NH during the 20th century. The principal conclusion from these studies
(summarized in IPCC AR4) is that the second half of the 20th century was
very likely (90% probable) warmer than any other 50-year period in the last
500 years and likely (66% probable) the warmest in the past 1300 years.

One particular, illegally obtained, email relates to the preparation of a
figure for the WMO Statement on the Status of the Global Climate in 1999.
This email referred to a “trick” of adding recent instrumental data to the
end of temperature reconstructions that were based on proxy data. The
requirement for the WMO Statement was for up-to-date evidence showing how
temperatures may have changed over the last 1000 years. To produce
temperature series that were completely up-to-date (i.e. through to 1999) it
was necessary to combine the temperature reconstructions with the
instrumental record, because the temperature reconstructions from proxy data
ended many years earlier whereas the instrumental record is updated every
month. The use of the word “trick” was not intended to imply any deception.

Phil Jones comments further: “One of the three temperature reconstructions
was based entirely on a particular set of tree-ring data that shows a strong
correlation with temperature from the 19th century through to the mid-20th
century, but does not show a realistic trend of temperature after 1960. This
is well known and is called the ‘decline’ or ‘divergence’. The use of the
term ‘hiding the decline’ was in an email written in haste. CRU has not
sought to hide the decline. Indeed, CRU has published a number of articles
that both illustrate, and discuss the implications of, this recent tree-ring
decline, including the article that is listed in the legend of the WMO
Statement figure. It is because of this trend in these tree-ring data that
we know does not represent temperature change that I only show this series
up to 1960 in the WMO Statement.”

The ‘decline’ in this set of tree-ring data should not be taken to mean that
there is any problem with the instrumental temperature data. As for the
tree-ring decline, various manifestations of this phenomenon have been
discussed by numerous authors, and its implications are clearly signposted
in Chapter 6 of the IPCC AR4 report.

Included here is a copy of the figure used in the WMO statement, together
with an alternative version where the climate reconstructions and the
instrumental temperatures are shown separately.

Rich Blinne

Member ASA

To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Tue, 1 Dec 2009 17:17:40 -0700

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Tue Dec 01 2009 - 19:18:12 EST