Published online 15 February 2010 | Nature | doi:10.1038/news.2010.71
Corrected online: 16 February 2010


'Climategate' scientist speaks out

Climatologist Phil Jones answers his critics in an exclusive interview with Nature.

Phil JonesPhil Jones: facing up to his critics.

Phil Jones holds himself defensively, his arms crossed tightly in front of his chest as if shielding himself from attack. Little wonder: Jones has spent the past three months being vilified for his central role in what is now called 'climategate'.

Jones was director of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK, when, last November, more than 1,000 e-mails and documents were illegally obtained from the university and posted on the Internet. Their contents quickly embroiled him in a controversy that has shaken the climate community and threatened his career. Jones has stood down from his post while several independent investigations look into the affair, including one headed by Muir Russell, former vice-chancellor of the University of Glasgow, UK, which will assess allegations that the e-mails contain evidence of poor scientific practice at the CRU.

Speaking exclusively to Nature, Jones is reluctant to discuss how the past few months have affected him personally, and says he cannot comment on allegations that freedom of information requests for raw climate data were mishandled by the university. But he is eager to set the record straight on the science.

Central to the Russell investigation is the issue of whether he or his CRU colleagues ever published data that they knew were potentially flawed, in order to bolster the evidence for man-made global warming. The claim specifically relates to one of Jones's research papers1 on whether the urban heat island effect — in which cities tend to be warmer than the surrounding countryside — could be responsible for the apparent rise in temperature readings from thermometers in the late twentieth century. Jones's study concluded that this local effect was negligible, and that the dominant effect was global climate change.

In the paper1, the authors used data from weather stations around the world; those in China "were selected on the basis of station history: we chose those with few, if any, changes in instrumentation, location or observation times", they wrote.

“I don't think we should be taking much notice of what's on blogs because they seem to be hijacking the peer-review process.”

Phil Jones

But in 2007, amateur climate-data analyst Doug Keenan alleged that this claim was false, citing evidence that many of the stations in eastern China had been moved throughout the period of study. Because the raw data had been obtained from a Chinese contact of one of Jones's co-authors, Wei-Chyung Wang of the University at Albany in New York, and details of their location had subsequently been lost, there was no way of verifying or refuting Keenan's claim.

Jones says that approaching Wang for the Chinese data seemed sensible at the time. "I thought it was the right way to get the data. I was specifically trying to get more rural station data that wasn't routinely available in real time from [meteorological] services," says Jones, who asserts that standards for data collection have changed considerably in the past twenty years. He now acknowledges that "the stations probably did move", and that the subsequent loss of the stations' locations was sloppy. "It's not acceptable," says Jones. "[It's] not best practice." CRU denies any involvement in losing these records.

Jones says that he did not know that the weather stations' locations were questionable when they were included in the paper, but as the study's lead author he acknowledges his responsibility for ensuring the quality of the data. So will he submit a correction to Nature? "I will give that some thought. It's worthy of consideration," he says.

"The science still holds up" though, he adds. A follow-up study2 verified the original conclusions for the Chinese data for the period 1954–1983, showing that the precise location of weather stations was unimportant. "They are trying to pick out minor things in the data and blow them out of all proportion," says Jones of his critics.

That Nature trick

One of the most politically charged allegations is that Jones, together with scientific collaborators, tried to systematically downplay the importance of the Medieval Warm Period (MWP), a brief phase of natural, pre-industrial warming that may have occurred around 1000 AD. But if the MWP was restricted to mild local warming, it would mean that present-day global warming is unprecedented for the past 1,000 years, as claimed by climatologist Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University, University Park, in his famous 'hockey stick' global temperature reconstruction3. That claim, however, relies on controversial data from tree rings.

In one of the leaked e-mails, Jones wrote that he had "just completed Mike's Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years to hide the decline". Jones was referring to the fact that he — like Mann — used only direct temperature measurements to reconstruct temperatures over the past 20 years or so, rather than using proxy data.

Palaeoclimatologists are confident that the width of tree rings reliably represents real temperatures because they tally with data from thermometers and other instruments taken since the nineteenth century. After the 1960s, however, there is a divergence, with most tree-ring proxy temperatures seeming to be lower than those from instrumental records across the Northern Hemisphere4. The exact cause of this problem is unknown, and is still being investigated by scientists.

Some argue that if the tree-ring data are unreliable for the recent past, including them in older temperature reconstructions is highly questionable, and could understate historic warming — including the MWP — relative to the present day. "It potentially does," admits Jones, but says that analyses using other methods — proxy temperature markers from ice core samples, for example — still show much the same temperature change over the past 1,000 years, backing up Mann's hockey stick.

Jones says that he is unconvinced that the MWP was a global phenomenon, but categorically denies that he has tried to downplay it. "A lot of people have this view that there was a MWP and then a little ice age," he says. "It might not be the case."

"We need more reconstructions from different parts of the world to reproduce a better history of the past thousand years". Jones challenges his critics to help with those efforts. "Why don't they do their own reconstructions?" he asks. "The work that's been published has been through the peer-review process; if they want to criticize that they should write their own papers."

Redefining review

But some of his critics say that Jones has tried to influence that very process by censoring them. In one e-mail, dated July 2004, Jones wrote to Mann: "I can't see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin [Trenberth] and I will keep them out somehow — even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!" Jones stresses that both papers did appear in the final version of the Fourth Assessment Report from the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). But he also defends the right of IPCC authors to exclude papers from the report, based on their expertise.

"The IPCC [report] is an assessment, it's not a review," he says, "so the authors have to know something about the subject to assess which are the important papers to bring in to the particular chapter." In doing so, authors naturally would exclude papers that are scientifically weak or irrelevant, argues Jones.

But he fears that the aftermath of the climategate affair is undermining the integrity of the scientific review process. "I don't think we should be taking much notice of what's on blogs because they seem to be hijacking the peer-review process," says Jones.

It is now essential for climate researchers to stand up for their science, he says. "[I'd] like to see the climate science community supporting the climate science more. Lots of them are trying but they're being drowned out." 


An earlier version of this story implied that the hockey stick reconstruction ended due to problems with tree ring data. It actually used multiple proxy sources and stopped in 1980 because of the limited availability of proxy records thereafter. The reconstruction by Jones terminated in 1960 because of the problem with divergent tree-ring data.
  • References

    1. Jones, P. D. et al. Nature 347, 169-172 (1990). | Article | OpenURL
    2. Jones, P. D., Lister, D. H. & Li, Q. J. Geophys. Res. 113, D16122, doi:10.1029/2008JD009916 (2008). | Article | OpenURL
    3. Mann, M. E., Bradley, R. S. & Hughes, M. K. Geophys. Res. Lett. 26, 759-762 (1999). | Article | OpenURL
    4. D'Arrigo, R., Wilson, R., Liepert, B. & Cherubini, P. Global Planet. Change 60, 289-305 (2008). | Article | OpenURL


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  • #9472

    Phil Jones wrote: "I don't think we should be taking much notice of what's on blogs because they seem to be hijacking the peer-review process"

    Readers may be interested in a decision by President George W. Bush in 2006 to place captured Iraqi Intelligence documents on the Internet, inviting bloggers to help with translation.

    It was a disaster.

    Scott Shane. Iraqi Documents Are Put on Web, and Search Is On New York Times<. March 28, 2006.

  • #9473

    This news report discusses my work on the Chinese weather-station data, but provides no references for that work. The main reference is this: Keenan, D. J. Energy & Environment, 18, 985-995 (2007). It is freely available on the web.

    The news report also misrepresents my allegations.

    My principal allegation is that some of the data on station histories never existed. Specifically, Jones et al. (1990) claim to have sourced their data from a report that was published by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Yet for 49 of the 84 meteorological stations that Jones et al. relied upon, the DOE/CAS Report states "station histories are not currently available" and "details regarding instrumentation, collection methods, changes in station location or observing times ... are not known". Those statements imply that the quoted claim from Jones et al. is impossible: "stations were selected on the basis of station history: we chose those with few, if any, changes in instrumentation, location or observation times". My paper presents more details; some updates are available via .

    I have also alleged that, by 2001, Jones knew there were severe problems with the Chinese research and yet he continued using that research--including allowing it to be relied on by the IPCC 2007 Assessment Report. Evidence is in Section 2.4 of my 2007 paper. Jones was one of the reviewers for my paper (the reviewer tally was 2-1 for acceptance, with Jones being the 1). Although Jones had many comments, he did not attempt to dispute this allegation.

    Additional support for the latter allegation is given in my submission to the UK House of Commons Science and Technology Committee. A copy of my submission is available via . The submission additionally alleges that Jones acted unscrupulously when he was reviewing my paper.

    The news report further claims that "e-mails and documents were illegally obtained from the university". In fact, it is not known whether the leak of the e-mails and documents was illegal: the leak might be covered under whistle-blower legislation.

    Lastly, with regard to Jones' question "Why don't they do their own reconstructions?", the answer is that the data has not been released. In particular, regarding the Medieval Warm Period, what is arguably the most valuable tree-ring data extant remains unavailable. Details on that are at .

  • #9474

    Phil Jones wrote: "I don't think we should be taking much notice of what's on blogs because they seem to be hijacking the peer-review process"

    Does "hijacking the peer-review process" mean exposing a load of mistakes in papers and IPCC reports without publishing a peer-reviewed paper to do so?

    Without the blogs, this interview wouldn't have happened!

    Who said: "Kevin and I will keep them out somehow—even if we have to redefine what the 'peer-review literature' is!"? Why, it was Professor Jones!

    A case of the pot calling the kettle black?

  • #9475

    The whole debate on global warming is misguided, since it focuses on statistical effects of the pathetically low levels of CO2 in the atmosphere now, and tries to portray CO2 and higher world temps as bad. Look at any view of the Earth from Virtual Earth and note the huge areas of desert and snow. They represent dead zones where crops can't be grown. Are they good and worth preserving? CO2 is called greenhouse gas because it's pumped into greenhouses to make plants grow, they breathe it, hence the really worthy global effort is to increase CO2 levels in the atmosphere by 10x-10x to make the deserts green and feed the teeming pop. Temporary adjustment will be difficult, but the longterm benefits are worth it. I propose the Antarctic Volcanoes Project, to release CO2 in an ideal location to spread the CO2 worldwide.

  • #9476
    • A follow-up study2 verified the original conclusions for the Chinese data for the period 1954–1983, showing that the precise location of weather stations was unimportant.*

    Reference 2 shows that the urban heat island accounts for ~40% of total warming, as opposed to <10% in the Jones 1990 paper. "less than 10%" is not the same as "40%". How is it even possible that the follow up study verifies the original conclusions ?

    One wonders if the study of Jones 1990 has been used precisely because it finds that the contribution of UHI to global warming is trivial. It is a much more difficult situation if ~40% of the global warming signal is simply an artefact of the Urban heat island effect.

  • #9477

    In response to David Bell's comment, I agree that if the heat island effect is 40% then global warming models need major reconsideration.

    However, I don't see where the 40% is coming from. Per the abstract:

    Abstract Based on homogenized land surface air temperature (SAT) data (derived from China Homogenized Historical Temperature (CHHT) 1.0), the warming trends over Northeast China are detected in this paper, and the impacts of urban heat islands (UHIs) evaluated. Results show that this region is undergoing rapid warming: the trends of annual mean minimum temperature (MMIT), mean temperature (MT), and mean maximum temperature (MMAT) are 0.40 C decade−1, 0.32 C decade−1, and 0.23 C decade−1, respectively. Regional average temperature series built with these networks including and excluding “typical urban stations� are compared for the periods of 1954–2005. Although impacts of UHIs on the absolute annual and seasonal temperature are identified, UHI contributions to the long-term trends are less than 10% of the regional total warming during the period. The large warming trend during the period is due to a regime shift in around 1988, which accounted for about 51% of the regional warming.

    text to link

    Page 1 preview image:
    text to link

    I can also speak from experience that the warming in northeastern China is much more noticeable than most parts of the world. It would be astonishing if it were all a statistical anomaly.

  • #9478

    I have seen many responses to the "trick" that "to hide the decline".

    The explanation of the word "trick" is fine – just the common-sense use of it to mean clever.

    Then, the explanations move on to talk about what was done: not using the tree-ring data after 1960, and replacing that with thermometer data due to the divergence problem. This is ok too, but only with properly upfront disclosure that it was done, which I am not sure happened.

    What I have never heard is a satisfactory explanation for the phrase "hide the decline" Why "hide"? Why not "correct"? "Hide" from whom?

  • #9479

    "Jones says that he is unconvinced that the MWP was a global phenomenon"

    Here are some papers that give credence to it being global.


    Five thousand years of sediment transfer in a high arctic watershed recorded in annually laminated sediments from Lower Murray Lake, Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada
    Cook, T.L., Bradley, R.S., Stoner, J.S. and Francus, P. 2009; Journal of Paleolimnology 41: 77-94

    “Recent temperatures were the warmest since the fourteenth century, but similar conditions existed intermittently during the period spanning ~4000–1000 varve years ago.�
    Data –

    Summer temperatures in the Canadian Rockies during the last millennium: a revised record
    Luckman, B.H. and Wilson, R.J.S. 2005; Climate Dynamics 24: 131-144

    “The reconstruction shows warm intervals, comparable to twentieth century values, for the first half of the eleventh century, the late 1300s and early 1400s.�
    “In fact, 1434 (1.69°C) showed the warmest reconstructed summer, followed by 1967 (1.46°C) and 1936 (1.45°C).�

    South America:

    A quantitative high-resolution summer temperature reconstruction based on sedimentary pigments from Laguna Aculeo, central Chile, back to AD 850.
    von Gunten, L., Grosjean, M., Rein, B., Urrutia, R. and Appleby, P. 2009.; The Holocene 19: 873-881

    “Our data provide quantitative evidence for the presence of a Medieval Climate Anomaly (in this case, warm summers between AD 1150 and 1350; T = +0.27 to +0.37°C with respect to (wrt) twentieth century)…�

    Tropical glacier and ice core evidence of climate change on annual to millennial time scales
    Thompson, L.G., Mosley-Thompson, E., Davis, M.E., Lin, P.-N., Henderson, K. and Mashiotta, T.A. 2003; Climatic Change 59: 137-155

    “This composite δ18Oice record shows enriched δ18Oice from 1140 to 1250 AD, possibly reflecting the ‘Medieval Warm Period’…�


    A preliminary 3000-year regional temperature reconstruction for South Africa
    Holmgren, K., Tyson, P.D., Moberg, A. and Svanered, O. 2001; South African Journal of Science 97: 49-51

    “Medieval warming with a maximum at around AD 1500 and a pronounced warm episode around 100 BC were prominent features of the record.�

    The Little Ice Age and medieval warming in South Africa
    Tyson, P.D., Karlen, W., Holmgren, K. and Heiss, G.A. 2000; South African Journal of Science 96: 121-126

    “The climate of the interior of South Africa was around 1oC cooler in the Little Ice Age and may have been over 3°C higher than at present during the extremes of the medieval warm period.�


    Alkenone-based reconstruction of late-Holocene surface temperature and salinity changes in Lake Qinghai, China
    Liu, Z., Henderson, A.C.G. and Huang, Y. 2006; Geophysical Research Letters 33: 10.1029/2006GL026151

    “Oscillating warm and cold periods could be related to the 20th century warm period, the Little Ice Age, the Medieval Warm Period, the Dark Ages Cold Period, and the Roman Warm Period.�

    Climate variability in central China over the last 1270 years revealed by high-resolution stalagmite records
    Paulsen, D.E., Li, H.-C. and Ku, T.-L. 2003; Quaternary Science Reviews 22: 691-701

    “The changes include those corresponding to the Medieval Warm Period Little Ice Age and 20th-century warming lending support to the global extent of these events.�

    New Zealand and Indonesia:

    Short-term climate change and New Zealand temperatures during the last millennium
    Wilson, A.T., Hendy, C.H. and Reynolds, C.P. 1979; Nature 279: 315-317

    Climate and hydrographic variability in the Indo-Pacific Warm Pool during the last millennium.
    Newton, A., Thunell, R. and Stott, L. 2006; Geophysical Research Letters 33: 10.1029/2006GL027234

    “The warmest temperatures and highest salinities occurred during the Medieval Warm Period (MWP)…�
    Data –


    Oxygen isotope and palaeotemperature records from six Greenland ice-core stations: Camp Century
    ohnsen, S.J., Dahl-Jensen, D., Gundestrup, N., Steffensen, J.P., Clausen, H.B., Miller, H., Masson-Delmotte, V., SveinbjÃrnsdottir, A.E. and White, J. 2001; Journal of Quaternary Science 16: 299-307

    Holocene environmental variability in southern Greenland inferred from lake sediments
    Kaplan, M.R., Wolfe, A.P. and Miller, G.H. 2002; Quaternary Research 58: 149-159

    “Intervals of ameliorated limnological conditions occurred between 1300 and 900 and between 500 and 280 cal yr B.P., briefly interrupting the decreasing trend in productivity that culminated in the Little Ice Age. Increased lake productivity during the latter half of the 20th century, which reflects the limnological response to circum-arctic warming, still has not reached peak Holocene values.�


    800-yr-long records of annual air temperature and precipitation over southern Siberia inferred from Teletskoye Lake sediments
    Kalugin, I., Daryin, A., Smolyaninova, L., Andreev, A., Diekmann, B. and Khlystov, O. 2007; Quaternary Research 67: 400-410

    “Comparison of these reconstructed Siberian records with the annual record of air temperature for the Northern Hemisphere shows similar trends in climatic variability over the past 800 yr.�

    Environmental changes in the northern Altai during the last millennium documented in Lake Teletskoye pollen record
    Andreev, A.A., Pierau, R., Kalugin, I.A., Daryin, A.V., Smolyaninova, L.G. and Diekmann, B. 2007; Quaternary Research 67: 394-399

    “Around AD 1200, regional climate became warmer and more humid than present, as revealed by an increase of Siberian pine and decreases of dry herb taxa and charcoal contents.�


    Oxygen-isotope (δ18O) evidence of Holocene hydrological changes at Signy Island, maritime Antarctica
    Noon, P.E., Leng, M.J. and Jones, V.J. 2003; The Holocene 13: 251-263

    “Strong similarities with other Holocene proxy records from the Weddell Sea and Antarctic Peninsula Region are apparent, including the mid-Holocene climate optimum followed by the Neoglacial and, most recently, late twentieth-century climatic warming.�

    Unstable climate oscillations during the Late Holocene in the Eastern Bransfield Basin, Antarctic Peninsula
    Khim, B.-K., Yoon, H.I., Kang, C.Y. and Bahk, J.J. 2002; Quaternary Research 58: 234-245

    “The late Holocene records clearly identify Neoglacial events of the Little Ice Age (LIA) and Medieval Warm Period (MWP). Other unexplained climatic events comparable in duration and amplitude to the LIA and MWP events also appear in the MS record, suggesting intrinsically unstable climatic conditions during the late Holocene in the Bransfield Basin of Antarctic Peninsula.�

  • #9481

    One of the main references in this Nature blog series is to Energy & Environment. The author is surely quite sincere. Still, readers should know that E & E has not the best reputation. Search on the Editor's words ""E&E is not a science journal".

    Meanwhile, see the discussion of the urban heat island question at scepticalscience dot com, which covers China in particular.

  • #9482

    C Spurgeon,

    ...and when all valid proxy records (including the ones you omitted) are combined, with the appropriate dating, we get something like:

    Global Signatures and Dynamical
    Origins of the Little Ice Age and
    Medieval Climate Anomaly
    Michael E. Mann,1* Zhihua Zhang,1 Scott Rutherford,2 Raymond S. Bradley,3
    Malcolm K. Hughes,4 Drew Shindell,5 Caspar Ammann,6 Greg Faluvegi,5 Fenbiao Ni4


    When presenting individual proxy studies, the following questions should be asked (by no means comprehensive):

    1. Do the studies represent all valid proxies or are they being presented selectively?

    2. What is the magnitude of MWP or LIA anomalies presented in the proxy evidence?

    3. Are the past "warm" peaks synchronous? For example, one of your studies in Russia puts past peak warming at around 1200 AD. A study in South Africa puts the peak at around 1500 AD (long past what is typically noted as the MWP). One could combine relatively warm U.S. temperatures in the 1930's with relatively warm temperatures from another area in the 1940's to proclaim the early 20th century temperatures were similar to that of the 1990's.

    This is why multiproxy studies that combine all reliable evidence, using the approprite dating, tend to present a more complete picture.

  • #9483

    Was the MWP ever global? ever as warm as the present? The MWP was so far as is known a period of several hundred years during which different places on the earth were warmer than average for a while. Dr. Jones correctly, and as generously as possible, answered a hypothetical question by saying that of course new data could conceivably show it to be more than that. But what does research actually show? A previous comment illustrates that a lot of papers have been written on the MWP. A new paper in press brings it all together:

    The spatial mean and dispersion of surface temperatures over the last 1200 years: warm intervals are also variable intervals
    by Martin P. Tingley and Peter Huybers, both of Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard.

    The conclusion in relation to the "Hockey Stick" is expressed in the Scientific American article on the research: 'Novel Analysis Confirms Climate "Hockey Stick" Graph'.

  • #9484

    Proceed with caution when an authority tells you

    � ...and when all valid proxy records…are combined,… we get something like:

    “Acknowledgements: Many thanks to gp2 who generated the temperature pattern for the last decade based on NOAA data.�

    2. Author: M. Mann
    “26. We thank the ………, and the U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration National Climatic Data Center for the ERSST v3 data set.�

    3. Author: M. Mann

    All three links are authored by Michael Mann.

    As a life-long teacher, I need to ask: “How can you seiously justify your position by citing three sources who share Michael Mann and NOAA in common?�

    Here is just a glimpse of the problem with ERSST “data� set.


  • #9485

    "As a life-long teacher, I need to ask: ââ‚Å“How can you seiously justify your position by citing three sources who share Michael Mann and NOAA in common?"

    I hope you don't indoctrinate your students with this sort of rhetoric regarding scientists and scientific organizations. If you choose this route, you might want to take a critical look at your source, who relies on unsubstantiated allegations and innuendo in nearly every blog post in lieu of doing peer-reviewed academic research.

    It does appear you have a lot more authors of multiproxy reconstructions to attack, as their work is largely in line with work by Mann and colleagues. See:

    Tingley et al. (above) for starters.


  • #9487

    DC, you forgot Wikipedia.

  • #9488

    I could care less if the discussion is by Mann, Jones, McIntyre or Watts, I want to see the data and the discussion. I do not want anyone trying to hide data, declines, papers or anything else. Jones is a scientist, not an advocate. He did what he did and he's been caught and any effort to rationalize his behavior is moot.
    Jones, as we say in Texas when we catch a person of authority with their hand in the cookie jar: I aint no ninny. You used to be the big cheese, but now your are fried okra. RESIGN, RESIGN, RESIGN.

  • #9489

    Jack Neefus (#9477), You've referenced the wrong article. The actual cited abstract reads:

    "Global surface temperature trends, based on land and marine data, show warming of about 0.8 deg 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 deg C decade (-1) over the period 1951–2004, with true climatic warming accounting for 0.81 deg C over this period".

    The total warming they record is 1.13 deg C, so 0.5 deg C (0.1 deg C per decade times ten decades) would be about 44% of the total recorded temperature increase.

    See here

  • #9490

    sorry, five decades

  • #9491

    "I aint no ninny."
    But you have no idea what you're talking about in this case. You let yourself be misled by a word. The "evil scientist" used actual thermometer data where appropriate. Don't overreact to a word used in one email over 13 years.

  • #9494

    There's something wrong with Geoffrey Smith's numbers. If the UHI effect contributes 44%, then on the same basis true climate warming contributes 0.81/1.13 = 72%. That's more than 100% between them.

  • #9496

    "I don't think we should be taking much notice of what's on blogs because they seem to be hijacking the peer-review process." --Phil Jones

    The scientific community best take notice of the reviews the general population is giving their work if they want funding. Peer review can be undermined by undetected errors and political and economic corruption within the field.

    In this case, it is becoming apparent that peer review has failed, and some percentage of the findings that reached the public are inaccurate. Such a conversation is now being taken up, for the important sake of public scrutiny, following the peer review process, in the blogs. Furthermore, this is not to say that blogs cannot inform the peer review process before publication.

  • #9497

    "There's something wrong with Geoffrey Smith's numbers. If the UHI effect contributes 44%, then on the same basis true climate warming contributes 0.81/1.13 = 72%. That's more than 100% between them."

    Classic rounding error. By taking the estimate of 0.1 degrees C per decade and multiplying by 5 to get 0.5 degrees C, or 44%, Geoffry Smith gets a rather larger figure for his urban heat island effect estimate than he would from the more direct subtraction of 0.81 from 1.13 (0.32 degrees C, or 38%).

  • #9498

    Wait, I'm being daft now. 0.32 degrees C or 28%, that should say.

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