Climategate 3.0: Phil Jones slams hockey stick debunkers — ‘have never developed a tree-ring chronology in their lives’

Memo to Phil Jones: one doesn’t need to be Steven Spielberg to know whether a movie is any good.

An e-mail from skeptic Dr. Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen to the UK Climate Impacts Programme warning of CRU data fraud draws an angry response from Phil Jones about hockey stick debunkers Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick.

The e-mail exchange is below.


from: Phil Jones

to: “Graham F Haughton”
Dear Graham,
Thanks for the speedy reply. Just like you are, we are trying here to do
bits of
research mostly related to the current set of contracts we have. Trying to
respond to blogs
is just not part of the deadlines we have entered into with the Research
Councils, the EU
and DEFRA.
You are probably aware of this, but the journal Sonja edits is at the very
bottom of
almost all climate scientists lists of journals to read. It is the journal of
choice of
climate change skeptics and even here they don’t seem to be bothering with
journals at all
I don’t think there is anything more you can do. I have vented my
frustration and have
had a considered reply from you.
At 18:45 27/10/2009, you wrote:
Content-class: urn:content-classes:message
Content-Type: text/plain;
Dear Phil, sorry to hear this. I don’t see much of her these days, but when
I do see
Sonja next I’ll try and have a quiet word with her about the way the
affiliation to us
is used, but at the moment in fairness she is entitled to use it in the way
she does.
Fortunately I don’t get to see many of these email exchanges but I do
occasionally hear
about them or see them and frankly am rarely convinced by what I read. But
as with all
academics, I’d want to protect another academic’s freedom to be contrary
and critical,
even if I personally believe she is probably wrong. I agree with you that
it’d be better
for these exchanges to be conducted through the peer review process but
these forms of
e-communication are now part of the public debate and its difficult to do
much about it
other than to defend your position in this and other fora, or just ignore
it as being,
in your words, malicious.
I can understand your frustration and I am pretty sure I’d be feeling
exactly the same
in your shoes, but I am not sure at the moment that I can do much more. If
you think I
can and should do more then feel free to ring and I am happy to discuss the
—–Original Message—–
From: Phil Jones [[1]]
Sent: 27 October 2009 17:05
To: Graham F Haughton
Dear Professor Haughton,
The email below was brought to my attention
by the help desk of UKCP09 – the new set of UK
climate scenarios developed for DEFRA. It was
sent by the person named in the header of this
email. I regard this email as very malicious. Dr
Boehmer-Christiansen states that it is beyond her
expertise to assess the claims made. If this is
the case then she shouldn’t be sending malicious
emails like this. The two Canadians she refers
to have never developed a tree-ring chronology in
their lives and McIntyre has stated several times
on his blog site that he has no aim to write up
his results for publication in the peer-review literature.
I’m sure you will be of the same opinion as
me that science should be undertaken through the
peer-review literature as it has been for over
300 years. The peer-review system is the
safeguard science has developed to stop bad science being published.
In case you want to read more about the
subject my colleague Keith Briffa has just put this up on his web site.
It has taken him some time, partly as he has
been off after a serious operation in June. He
has had to return early to respond to this. He
has also had some difficulty contacting our Russian colleagues.
The claims on the Climate Audit site are
exaggerated, but get taken completely out of
context by the other blog sites that get referred
to in Dr Boehmer-Christiansen’s email. I will draw your attention to two
1. The Yamal chronology is only used in 3 of
the 12 millennial temperature reconstructions in Ch 6 of the 2007 IPCC
2. McIntyre was sent the data for Yamal by our
Russian colleagues on Feb 2, 2004.
I realize Dr Boehmer-Christensen no longer
works for you, but she is still using your affiliation.
Best Regards
Phil Jones
From: Sonja A Boehmer-Christiansen
Date: 2 October 2009 18:09:39 GMT+01:00
To: Stephanie Ferguson
Cc: “Peiser, Benny”
, Patrick David Henderson
, Christopher Monckton
Subject: RE: Please take note of
potetially serious allegations of scientific ‘fraud’ by CRU and Met Office
Dear Stephanie
I expect that a great deal of UKCIP work
is based on the data provided by CRU (as does the
work of the IPCC and of course UK climate
policy). Some of this, very fundamentally, would
now seem to be open to scientific challenge, and
may even face future legal enquiries. It may be
in the interest of UKCIP to inform itself in good
time and become a little more ‘uncertain’ about its policy advice.
Perhaps you can comment on the following
and pass the allegations made on to the relevant people.
It is beyond my expertise to assess the
claims made, but they would fit into my
perception of the whole ‘man-made global warming’
cum energy policy debate. I know several of
the people involved personally and have no
reason to doubt their sincerity and honour as
scientists, though I am also aware of their
highly critical (of IPCC science) policy positions.
I could also let you have statements by
Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick. Ross McKitrick
currently teaches at Westminister Business School
and who is fully informed about the relevant
issues. He recently addressed a meeting of about 50 people in London.
Best wishes
Sonja B-C
Dr.Sonja A.Boehmer-Christiansen
Reader Emeritus, Department of Geography
Hull University
Editor, Energy&Environment
Multi-Science ([3]
Phone:(0044)1482 465369/465385
Fax: (0044) 1482 466340
TWO copied pieces follow, both relate to CRU and UK climate policy
” Jennifer Marohasy
Leading UK Climate Scientists Must
Explain or Resign, Jennifer Marohasy

MOST scientific sceptics have been
dismissive of the various reconstructions of
temperature which suggest 1998 is the warmest
year of the past millennium. Our case has been
significantly bolstered over the last week with
statistician Steve McIntyre finally getting
access to data used by Keith Briffa, Tim Osborn
and Phil Jones to support the idea that there has
been an unprecedented upswing in temperatures
over the last hundred years – the infamous hockey stick graph.
Mr McIntyre’s analysis of the data –
which he had been asking for since
2003 – suggests that scientists at the
Climate Research Unit of the United Kingdom’s
Bureau of Meteorology have been using only a
small subset of the available data to make their
claims that recent years have been the hottest of
the last millennium. When the entire data set is
used, Mr McIntyre claims that the hockey stick shape disappears
completely. [1]
Mr McIntyre has previously showed
stick’. But scientists at the Climate Research
Centre, in particular Dr Briffa, have
continuously republished claiming the upswing in
temperatures over the last 100 years is real and
not an artifact of the methodology used – as
claimed by Mr McIntyre. However, these same
scientists have denied Mr McIntyre access to all
the data. Recently they were forced to make more
data available to Mr McIntyre after they
published in the Philosophical Transactions of
the Royal Society – a journal which unlike Nature
and Science has strict policies on data archiving which it
This week’s claims by Steve McInyre that
scientists associated with the UK Meteorology
Bureau have been less than diligent are serious
and suggest some of the most defended building
blocks of the case for anthropogenic global
warming are based on the indefensible when the
methodology is laid bare.
This sorry saga also raises issues
associated with how data is archived at the UK
Meteorological Bureau with in complete data sets
that spuriously support the case for global
warming being promoted while complete data sets
are kept hidden from the public – including from
scientific sceptics like Steve McIntyre.
It is indeed time leading scientists at
the Climate Research Centre associated with the
UK Meteorological Bureau explain how Mr McIntyre is in error or resign.
[1] Yamal: A “Divergence” Problem, by
Steve McIntyre, 27 September 2009
Jennifer Marohasy BSc PhD
b. National Review Online, 23 September 2009
Patrick J. Michaels
Imagine if there were no reliable
records of global surface temperature. Raucous
policy debates such as cap-and-trade would have
no scientific basis, Al Gore would at this point
be little more than a historical footnote, and
President Obama would not be spending this U.N.
session talking up a (likely unattainable)
international climate deal in Copenhagen in
December. Steel yourself for the new reality,
because the data needed to verify the
gloom-and-doom warming forecasts have disappeared.
Or so it seems. Apparently, they were
either lost or purged from some discarded
computer. Only a very few people know what really
little they are saying makes no sense.
In the early 1980s, with funding from
the U.S. Department of Energy, scientists at the
United Kingdom’s University of East Anglia
established the Climate Research Unit (CRU) to
produce the world’s first comprehensive history
of surface temperature. It’s known in the trade
as the “Jones and Wigley” record for its authors,
Phil Jones and Tom Wigley, and it served as the
primary reference standard for the U.N.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
until 2007. It was this record that prompted the
IPCC to claim a “discernible human influence on global climate.”
Putting together such a record isn’t at
all easy. Weather stations weren’t really
designed to monitor global climate. Long-standing
ones were usually established at points of
commerce, which tend to grow into cities that
induce spurious warming trends in their records.
Trees grow up around thermometers and lower the
afternoon temperature. Further, as documented by
the University of Colorado’s Roger Pielke Sr.,
many of the stations themselves are placed in
locations, such as in parking lots or near heat
vents, where artificially high temperatures are bound to be recorded.
So the weather data that go into the
historical climate records that are required to
verify models of global warming aren’t the
original records at all. Jones and Wigley,
however, weren’t specific about what was done to
which station in order to produce their record,
which, according to the IPCC, showed a warming of
0.6° +/- 0.2°C in the 20th century.
Now begins the fun. Warwick Hughes, an
Australian scientist, wondered where that “+/-”
came from, so he politely wrote Phil Jones in
early 2005, asking for the original data. Jones’s
response to a fellow scientist attempting to
replicate his work was, “We have 25 years or so
invested in the work. Why should I make the data
available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with
Reread that statement, for it is
breathtaking in its anti-scientific thrust. In
fact, the entire purpose of replication is to
“try and find something wrong.” The ultimate
objective of science is to do things so well that, indeed, nothing is
Then the story changed. In June 2009,
Georgia Tech’s Peter Webster told Canadian
researcher Stephen McIntyre that he had requested
raw data, and Jones freely gave it to him. So
McIntyre promptly filed a Freedom of Information
Act request for the same data. Despite having
been invited by the National Academy of Sciences
to present his analyses of millennial
temperatures, McIntyre was told that he couldn’t
have the data because he wasn’t an “academic.” So
his colleague Ross McKitrick, an economist at the
University of Guelph, asked for the data. He was turned down, too.
Faced with a growing number of such
requests, Jones refused them all, saying that
there were “confidentiality” agreements regarding
the data between CRU and nations that supplied
the data. McIntyre’s blog readers then requested
those agreements, country by country, but only a
handful turned out to exist, mainly from Third
World countries and written in very vague language.
It’s worth noting that McKitrick and I
had published papers demonstrating that the
quality of land-based records is so poor that the
warming trend estimated since 1979 (the first
year for which we could compare those records to
independent data from satellites) may have been
overestimated by 50 percent. Webster, who
received the CRU data, published studies linking
changes in hurricane patterns to warming (while others have found
Enter the dog that ate global warming.
Roger Pielke Jr., an esteemed professor
of environmental studies at the University of
Colorado, then requested the raw data from Jones. Jones responded:
Since the 1980s, we have merged the data
we have received into existing series or begun
new ones, so it is impossible to say if all
stations within a particular country or if all of
an individual record should be freely available.
Data storage availability in the 1980s meant that
we were not able to keep the multiple sources for
some sites, only the station series after
adjustment for homogeneity issues. We, therefore,
do not hold the original raw data but only the
value-added (i.e., quality controlled and homogenized) data.
The statement about “data storage” is
balderdash. They got the records from somewhere.
The files went onto a computer. All of the
original data could easily fit on the 9-inch tape
drives common in the mid-1980s. I had all of the
world’s surface barometric pressure data on one such tape in 1979.
If we are to believe Jones’s note to the
younger Pielke, CRU adjusted the original data
and then lost or destroyed them over twenty years
ago. The letter to Warwick Hughes may have been
an outright lie. After all, Peter Webster
received some of the data this year. So the
question remains: What was destroyed or lost,
when was it destroyed or lost, and why?
All of this is much more than an
academic spat. It now appears likely that the
U.S. Senate will drop cap-and-trade climate
legislation from its docket this fall – whereupon
the Obama Environmental Protection Agency is
going to step in and issue regulations on
carbon-dioxide emissions. Unlike a law, which
can’t be challenged on a scientific basis, a
regulation can. If there are no data, there’s no
science. U.S. taxpayers deserve to know the
answer to the question posed above. (Patrick J.
Michaels is a senior fellow in environmental
studies at the Cato Institute and author of
Climate of Extremes: Global Warming Science They Don’t Want You to Know.) ”
To view the terms under which this email
is distributed, please go to

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

To view the terms under which this email is distributed, please go to
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

6 thoughts on “Climategate 3.0: Phil Jones slams hockey stick debunkers — ‘have never developed a tree-ring chronology in their lives’”

  1. On the Hockey Stick, when I first saw this over 10 years ago, I said to myself, you would have to be an F’n idiot to believe this. Any history or anthropology text will tell you that it was warm up till about 400 years ago. But the nonsense continues. That fact that Penn State is sheltering this dope (Mann), kind of reflects on the culture over their. They still can’t get it through their minds that Paterno, for what ever reason, sheltered Sandusky. Mann is in good company

  2. The problem with peer review and climate science, is that most climate scientists only have a job if there’s a looming crisis. If the “consensus” ever decided that there is no AWG, the grant money would dry up like a mud puddle in July, and 100’s of climate scientists would be SOL. Without climaggedon, there wouldn’t be more than a handful of climate scientists, period.
    It’s not like a physicist won’t have a job just because the Higgs boson didn’t behave as predicted. So a peer can safely critique his colleague without putting his entire field in jeopardy. But an honest climatologist might just review himself, and his peers, out of a career. And don’t think that they’re not all keenly aware of this.

  3. And as mystics often lament, “those who criticize us have never tried to divine the future from sheep entrails.”

  4. Jones: “The peer-review system is the safeguard science has developed to stop bad science being published.”

    It seems to be the very opposite. The peer review system is where bad science hides from criticism.

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