Before I get to Phil Jones and the Kazakh copper smelter, I wish to report that, somewhat to my own amazement, I’ve been able to get a surprisingly close approximation of a few HadCRUT3 gridcells from third-party data. Here is a comparison of the annualized HadCRUT3 gridcell 47N;67E as compared to GHCN v2 for Karsakpay (alternate Karsakpai; Karsakpaj). Now this replicatio raises as many questions as it answers: why does the gridcell end in 1990? is there more up-to-date data? what accounts for the slight difference in end dates? is Karsakpay a “rural” site as stated in Jones et al 1990?
To achieve this replication, I downloaded the v2.mean zip file from GHCN here (there is also an adjusted file which I’ve not examined yet). I’ve started looking at Russian data using the station identifications from Warwick Hughes list. He has proposed identifications for 36 of 38 sites in Jones et al 1990. Of this list, I’ve located digital versions for 14 so far at GHCN v2, one of which is Karsakpay in Kazahstan. I’ll try to discuss more of these gridcells during the next couple of months. I’ve examined all 14 series and each gridcell has some point of interest.
From the GHCN v2 data, I calculated the monthly “normal” for the 1961-1990 period and then normalized the monthly data. In this case, the start and end, general shape and scale of the two series match rather well and so one can safely conclude that the primary weighting in this particular HadCRUT3 gridcell comes from the Karsakpay station data.
Now there are some curiosities about the end date. First, the HadCru version visually goes a little later – and, if you examine the raw data, you see that the HadCRU series goes to 1990, while the GHCN v2 series goes to 1989. So, contrary to the information provided by David Palmer, the CRU Freedom of Information officer to Willis Eschenbach, in this particular case at least, the CRU version is not the same as the GHCN v2 version, although they obviously overlap. There is a version going to 1990 at CDIAC NDP048 – an excellent report with much information on Russian station histories for people interested in the topic.
Does it seem curious to you that the data only goes to 1990? It seems very odd to me – did they stop taking temperatures in Kazakhstan? I did locate online digital data (daily max; min) going 4 more years to 1994, from meteo.ru here . These 223 sites are the same 223 sites as at NDP048. From this information, I calculated first daily averages of the max-min; then monthly averages, then the 1961-1990 normals, then the monthly anomalies, then the annual average anomaly, yielding the graphic shown below. As you see, the HadCRUT3 version does not include the closing temperature downtick from 1990 to 1994, which resulted in 1994 temperatures being below the 1961-1990 average.
While I’ve been able to update this series to 1994, it seems incomprehensible to me that data is not available up to 2006. Isn’t CRU being paid to collate this data? Why haven’t they done it? Why didn’t they pick up the readily available data to 1994 – personally I attribute this to sloppiness, not to intentional editing out the closing downtick.
The Karsakpay Copper Smelter
I’m discussing this partly out of personal interest and because there’s an interesting story here that’s barely known. Browsing Karsakpay, I came across this interesting picture showing the rustic “rural” character of Karsakpay.
Figure. Shunting diesel loco TEM7A-0139 from loco depot of “Kazakhmys” corporation (copper plant). Line from Karsakpay copper mine to Zhezkazgan copper plant. Zhezkazgan city, Karaganda province, Kazakhstan, September 30, 2006.
I worked for Noranda Mines from 1973-1986 (other than 18 months for the Canadian government) which was a large Canadian copper producer and I know quite a bit about copper. It may seem impossible to people now – but in the 1970s, it was really hard to even guess at what Russian and Chinese production was. Anyway I googled Karsakpay copper (with alternate spellings), with one source stating that there was a copper smelter at Karsakpay, which was built in 1929. One source:
Two outstanding examples were a copper electrolytic refinery at Kyshtym and a copper production plant at Karsakpay, working the poor porphyry copper ores of Dzhezhazgan. The giant Soviet plant built many years later at Balkhash was an exact copy of the Karsakpay plant
In 1928 the exploitation of copper ore deposit was started. Then Karsakpai Copper-Smelting Plant was put into operation in 1929. The same year K.I. Satpayev with his family moved from Moscow to Karsakpai and was in charge of the Plant Geological Department. The tireless work to reveal enormous ore reserves resulted in discovery of large reserve that had been estimated earlier. K.I.Satpayev published his first monograph “Zhezkazgan Copper Ore Region and its Mineral Resources” (1932).
I think that there’s a very interesting connection between the Noranda smelter (which I visited on a number of occasions) and the Karsakpay smelter. Like the Karsakpay smelter, the Noranda smelter was built in 1929. Part of the folk lore at Noranda in the 1970s was that there was an identical smelter built somewhere in Russia. I think that the engineering for the Noranda smelter was done by a New York engineering firm and, in the late 1920s, there was a brief pre-Stalin period in which foreign engineering was welcomed into Russia. Of course, the door was shut in the 1930s and by the 1970s, not much was known about Russian copper smelters. My guess is that the Karsakpay copper smelter was a clone of the original Noranda smelter – with big reverbatory furnaces. Noranda converted these old-fashioned furnaces to its own process in the 1970s. But I saw the old furnaces in operation and I’ve got a pretty good idea of such an industrial installation at the town of Karsakpay would have looked like. Would I be inclined to call a temperature station by a big copper smelter “rural”? I wouldn’t. But maybe Borat would.
A caveat here: the caption to the photograph above refers to a smelter at Zhezkazgan (Dzhezkagan) rather than Karsakpay and other modern information shows a smelter there with Outokumpu furnaces. It’s possible that the “Karsakpay copper smelter” is a misnomer for the Zhezkazgan smelter and there is only a mine at Karsakpay and not a smelter. I’m sure that this was thoroughly investigated by Phil Jones when he was determining that Karsakpay was a rural station. Maybe I should ask him.