Climategate 3.0-: Jones advises Briffa not to respond to expert criticism of tree-ring data

“This is what happens – they just keep moving the goalposts.”

The e-mail exchange is below.


date: Wed Oct 28 16:04:00 2009
from: Phil Jones

subject: FW: Yamal and paleoclimatology
There is a lot more there on CA now. I would be very wary about
responding to this
person now having seen what McIntyre has put up.
You and Tim talked about Yamal. Why have the bristlecones come in now.
This is what happens – they just keep moving the goalposts.
Maybe get Tim to redo OB2006 without a few more series.
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Subject: FW: Yamal and paleoclimatology
Date: Wed, 28 Oct 2009 15:39:48 -0000
Thread-Topic: Yamal and paleoclimatology
Thread-Index: AcpDQ2sqWC+z2djuSqC1Ax4HdHoH1wUn1Ocw
From: “Keiller, Donald”

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Dear Professor Briffa, I am pleased to hear that you appear to have
from your recent illness sufficiently to post a response to the controversy
surrounding the use of the Yamal chronology;
and the chronology itself;
Unfortunately I find your explanations lacking in scientific rigour and I
more inclined to believe the analysis of McIntyre
Can I have a straightforward answer to the following questions
1) Are the reconstructions sensitive to the removal of either the Yamal
and Strip pine bristlecones, either when present singly or in combination?
2) Why these series, when incorporated with white noise as a background,
still produce a Hockey-Stick shaped graph if they have, as you suggest, a
individual weighting?
And once you have done this, please do me the courtesy of answering my
initial email.
Dr. D.R. Keiller
—–Original Message—–
From: Keiller, Donald
Sent: 02 October 2009 10:34
To: ‘’
Cc: ‘’
Subject: Yamal and paleoclimatology
Dear Professor Briffa, my apologies for contacting you directly,
since I hear that you are unwell.
However the recent release of tree ring data by CRU has prompted much
discussion and indeed disquiet about the methodology and conclusions of a
number of key papers by you and co-workers.
As an environmental plant physiologist, I have followed the long debate
starting with Mann et al (1998) and through to Kaufman et al (2009).
As time has progressed I have found myself more concerned with the whole
scientific basis of dendroclimatology. In particular;
1) The appropriateness of the statistical analyses employed
2) The reliance on the same small datasets in these multiple studies
3) The concept of “teleconnection” by which certain trees respond to the
“Global Temperature Field”, rather than local climate
4) The assumption that tree ring width and density are related to
in a linear manner.
Whilst I would not describe myself as an expert statistician, I do use
inferential statistics routinely for both research and teaching and find
difficulty in understanding the statistical rationale in these papers.
As a plant physiologist I can say without hesitation that points 3 and 4 do
not agree with the accepted science.
There is a saying that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof”.
Given the scientific, political and economic importance of these papers,
further detailed explanation is urgently required.

Yours sincerely,
Dr. Don Keiller.

One thought on “Climategate 3.0-: Jones advises Briffa not to respond to expert criticism of tree-ring data”

  1. So a tree expert is telling the “climate” experts that they can’t use trees as thermometers … seems like someone is ignoring the science …

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