Did Jones et al 1990 “fabricate” its quality control claims?

Did Jones et al 1990 “fabricate” its quality control claims? This hard-hitting question is asked by Doug Keenan here. He cites the following claims from Jones et al 1990 and Wang et al:

The stations were selected on the basis of station history: we chose those with few, if any, changes in instrumentation, location or observation times. [Jones et al.]

They were chosen based on station histories: selected stations have relatively few, if any, changes in instrumentation, location, or observation times…. [Wang et al.]

Keenan observed that those statements are vital for the papers. For many years, no one knew what stations were used in Jones et al 1990. Only after recent FOI actions in the UK publicized here at CA did a list of the stations used in Jones et al 1990 become available in March 2007, after years of obstruction. Since then, Keenan has corresponded recently with both Jones and Wang, seeking a valid explanation of the above claims. His conclusion:

The essential point here is that the quoted statements from Jones et al. and Wang et al. cannot be true and could not be in error by accident. The statements are fabricated.

Keenan refers to earlier discussion of the China sites at climateaudit, noting that questions about these claims were raised here (for example, here here and here . Since then, we’ve also looked at adjustments in the USHCN, GHCN and GISS networks, observing that adjustments for station history are often very substantial, in many cases exceeding the total estimated AGW effect of the last century. So adjustment and homogeneity are not small and irrelevant issues for temperature histories, but are fundamental representations.

In the first of the China posts, I specifically focussed on the QC claim of Jones et al 1990 mentioned by Keenan:

The stations were selected on the basis of station history; we selected those with few, if any changes in instrumentation, location or observation times.

I observed that this claim was inconsistent with contemporary evidence:

In this case, I have been able to track down third-party documentation on stations used in Jones’ China network and it is impossible that Jones et al could have carried out the claimed QC procedures.

I cited the following statement from original documentation(See link)

Few station records included in the PRC data sets can be considered truly homogeneous. Even the best stations were subject to minor relocations or changes in observing times, and many have undoubtedly experienced large increases in urbanization. Fortunately, for 59 of the stations in the 65-station network, station histories (see Table 1) are available to assist in proper interpretation of trends or jumps in the data; however, station histories for the 205-station network are not available. In addition, examination of the data from the 65-station data set has uncovered evidence of several undocumented station moves (Sects. 6 and 10).

Subsequent to that, Jones finally revealed the Chinese stations and Keenan has now analysed the station histories for these 84 stations:

Regarding 49 of those stations, the DOE/CAS report says, “station histories are not currently available” and “details regarding instrumentation, collection methods, changes in station location or observing times … are not known” (p. 21). For those 49 stations, then, the abovequoted statements from the two papers are impossible.

The summary is available at http://www.informath.org/apprise/a5620/b17.htm. As an example from the summary, one station had five different locations during 1954—1983, with the locations as much as 41 km apart. Two other stations each had four different locations. At least half the stations had substantial moves: two examples, of 25 km and 15 km, were given above. Several other stations have histories that are inconsistent, making reliable analysis unattainable.

Keenan sent a draft copy of his hard-hitting comments to Wang, whose reply is published at Keenan’s website. Although the contemporary documentation said that “station histories for the 205-station network are not available”, Wang now says that station histories were available in “paper form”, but cannot be presently located:

Concerning the current status of these hard copies of “station histories”, Ms. Zeng told me when I was in Beijing in April 2007, that she no longer has the access to these information because it has been a long time (since 1990) and also IAP has moved office. …

Ms Zeng is Zeng Zhaomei, one of the coauthors of NDP039, the original report on the Chinese stations. It would be ironic if these “paper” station histories had survived all the turbulence of Maoism, the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, only to disappear during the IPCC regime and then after DOE had made a special effort both to collect the data and meta-data. Given the particular efforts of the DOE program to collect metadata, it seems odd that data then available would not have been transcribed. However, even if there were paper histories in 1990 which Zeng failed to transcribe, it appears unlikely that these possibly unavailable, possibly lost station histories supported the quality control claim of Jones et al:

we chose those with few, if any, changes in instrumentation, location or observation times.

Keenan analysis of station moves for the network for which station histories were available in 1993 shows quite convincingly that the Jones et al claim that there were “few, if any” changes was false. Why was this claim made? It’s one thing to make an incorrect claim, but was there any reasonable basis for making the claim? If not, what word should be used? Is Keenan’s use of the term “fabricated” (which has technical meaning in most Codes of Conduct) justified?

Update: An example of falsification here archive included:

falsely reporting to a data coordinating center that certain clinical trial staff, who were certified to perform the procedures on the subjects, had done so, when they had not;

If Jones et al falsely reported that they had carried out examination of the station histories, when this was not done, it would seem to more apt to say that this was “falsification”, rather than “fabrication”.

111 Comments

  1. Boris
    Posted Jun 18, 2007 at 9:36 PM | Permalink

    Why do you ask if a paper fabricated its own claims? That’s an odd way to put it. Could it be so that you get “Jones” and “fabricated” in the same headline? A little poke at Phil, eh?

    Even the agenda-pushing guy you are quoting makes it clear he thinks Wang is “the fabricator,” not Jones. Quite odd indeed.

    Also, note the “relatively” from the Wang paper, which you leave out of your quote marks in the last paragraph. Relatively for China perhaps?

  2. Mark T.
    Posted Jun 18, 2007 at 10:13 PM | Permalink

    Also, note the “relatively” from the Wang paper, which you leave out of your quote marks in the last paragraph. Relatively for China perhaps?

    If you had actually bothered to pay attention to what Steve M. said you’d know that his last quote was not from the Wang paper, but from Jones et. al. Hence his statement:

    However, even if there were paper histories in 1990, now unfortunately “lost”, it appears unlikely that the now-lost station histories supported the quality control claim of Jones et al:

    “quality control claims of Jones et al:”

    In fact, it is a direct quote from Jones et. al. Jones did not use the word “relatively” at all, and hence he left nothing out of the quote. The full sentence was:

    The stations were selected on the basis of station history: we chose those with few, if any, changes in instrumentation, location or observation times.

    Hypocrisy.

    Mark

  3. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 18, 2007 at 11:10 PM | Permalink

    OK, Boris, do you endorse what appear to be false claims of imaginary quality control procedures?

  4. Pat Frank
    Posted Jun 18, 2007 at 11:45 PM | Permalink

    And so, perhaps, the unraveling begins.

  5. John A
    Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 2:09 AM | Permalink

    I have no idea whether the claims of quality control were fabricated, but I do know that the claims made in Jones et al, 1990 cannot be replicated or audited and so should not be used in support of any public policy or any scientific study.

    This isn’t the first time that supporting statements in a landmark paper (see Mann et al 1998,1999 for example) have turned out to be inconsistent with the known facts. Nor will it be the last.

  6. MarkW
    Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 5:01 AM | Permalink

    Now we know what Jones’ was hiding when he refused to release his data for all those years.

  7. Nicholas
    Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 5:12 AM | Permalink

    This is another good example of why full disclosure is needed when the paper is published. “I’ll get around to it later” isn’t good enough. Invariably the relevant information to back up the claims made gets conveniently lost or corrupted or something. If you can’t check these claims when it’s published, probably nobody will ever be able to independently verify the study, and if that’s the case, how much weight can be placed on its conclusions?

  8. Boris
    Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 6:20 AM | Permalink

    I don’t think you’ve proven these claims are false. Have you looked at the Chinese stations not used? How many have been moved more times than those selected?

    Also, Keenan does not analyze the other criteria, only station moves. Have you considered that a station may have moved a few times, but had consistent times of observation or instrumentation, thereby making it a higher quality station?

    As for the “lost” paper records, you infer this from Wang’s comments. Zeng said she did not have access. How hard have they really tried to locate these station records? How hard would they try for a guy who emails them a report accusing them of fabricating statements?

    Keenan will get exactly nowhere with his accusatory tone.

  9. David
    Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 6:36 AM | Permalink

    I work in a different field of environmental science, ecotoxicology, but I find
    this continued litany of poor quality data archiving extraordinary. As a result
    of the Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) regulations we are required to keep all the
    raw data relating to every experiment that we undertake. This is now accepted as
    good practice. As a result, I can, on demand produce all the data relating to
    studies we carried out in the 1980s. By all I mean all, not only the raw
    (unprocesed) analytical data, but the weighing records involved in preparing the
    analytical standards and the calibration and maintenance records of the balance involved.

    This is just good scientific practice why do climate scientists not follow good practice?

  10. gladys
    Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 6:42 AM | Permalink

    Re #8:

    why do climate scientists not follow good practice?

    Here at the nursing home we are wondering the same thing. Can you help us out on this question Boris?

  11. MarkW
    Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 6:52 AM | Permalink

    Boris,

    Jones et. al. made the claim that all of their stations were good quality. Of the ones that they are now able to document, many are not good quality.

    That’s sufficient to justify the claims that Keegan made.

  12. Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 7:13 AM | Permalink

    Seems pretty close to slander to me.

  13. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 7:13 AM | Permalink

    Zeng says in NDP039 on two occasions that station histories are not currently available:

    (s. 5) Unfortunately, station histories are not currently available for any of the stations in the 205-station network; therefore, details regarding instrumentation, collection methods, changes in station location or observing times, and official data sources are not known.

    (s. 7) Few station records included in the PRC data sets can be considered truly homogeneous. Even the best stations were subject to minor relocations or changes in observing times, and many have undoubtedly experienced large increases in urbanization. Fortunately, for 59 of the stations in the 65-station network, station histories (see Table 1) are available to assist in proper interpretation of trends or jumps in the data; however, station histories for the 205-station network are not available. In addition, examination of the data from the 65-station data set has uncovered evidence of several undocumented station moves (Sects. 6 and 10). Users should therefore exercise caution when using the data.

    The readme for the related TR055 says:

    These data, which in many cases provide relatively long records, would be especially useful if station histories could be documented and made available (which is uncertain at this time).

    There is no evidence and no reason to believe that the authors of Jones et al 1990 had access to station histories that was lacking to Zeng and the other authors of NDP039. I personally don’t see any plausible basis for making their QC claim.

    Had it not taken so many years to even identify the stations – which were then identified only using FOI – Keenan might have taken a milder tone.

  14. Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 7:15 AM | Permalink

    Your claims, and Keenans, seem pretty close to slander to me. Your interpretation all rests on differences of interpretation in the word “relatively”, which is about as context-sensitive a term as you can get.

  15. crmanriq
    Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 7:19 AM | Permalink

    From reading Keenan’s actual paper, it really appears that Wang is the culprit. From Keenan and Jones correspondence, it is evident that Jones relied on Wang’s selection of stations. I would guess that Wang wrote the paragraph for both papers stating the selection criteria. Jones is unfortunately stuck defending himself for not adequately fact checking his co-author.

    It would be interesting to do an independent selection of stations, applying the stated criteria of consistency in equipment, location and measuring times, and then seeing if there was any match up between Wang 1990 and Jones 1990. (Of course the mentioned problems with data due to the cultural revolution and Great Leap Forward might make any real selection impossible.)

  16. MarkW
    Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 7:24 AM | Permalink

    bcl,

    Truth is an absolute defense against the charge of slander.

  17. crmanriq
    Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 7:24 AM | Permalink

    Further to #15

    I wonder if the selection criteria statement is “boilerplate”. Has anyone seen a similar statement in previous Wang or Jones papers, or for that matter in previous papers where Wang was a co-author. I know that some researchers will re-use bits of their papers in later papers and this can sometimes lead to problems. Not that I would ever do such a thing…

    If it were “boilerplate”, then I would be more likely to find some understanding of how it appeared in the paper.

  18. MarkW
    Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 7:26 AM | Permalink

    I guess in some circle relatively good quality is any data that is not totally useless.

  19. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 7:28 AM | Permalink

    First, Jones et al 1990, the article cited by IPCC, did not use the term “relatively”. So nothing rests on interpretation of the word in respect to Jones et al.

    Second, truth is a defence to a slander claim. If they did not have access to station histories (which appears very likely), then it was false for them to say that they chose stations that had “few, if any, changes”. Lacking station histories, they simply had no basis for knowing.

    Finally, as for me, I had previously discussed the matter without using the specific term “fabricated” and, in this case, reported on Keenan’s article and merely asked questions resulting from that article.

  20. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 7:29 AM | Permalink

    #18. Like the “high quality” Marysville station in USHCN.

  21. Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 7:43 AM | Permalink

    In post 12, bcl says: “Seems pretty close to slander to me.”

    Two questions:

    1. To whom are you referring? Your comment is vague.

    2. Perhaps you meant “libel” rather than “slander”?

  22. BradH
    Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 7:45 AM | Permalink

    Boris,

    Here’s the deal (see whether it’s too complex for you to follow):-

    1. Jones wrote a paper, way back in 1990, which included a lot of data and a lot of assertions about the integrity of that data.

    2. Despite numerous requests over the past 17 years, Jones has never provided that data to anyone other than selected parties (who invariably wrote supporting articles, but also didn’t publish the data).

    3. Jones has been caught in a purposefully stated, logical inconsistency (euphemism warning).

    You state that you don’t think Steve (or Keegan) have proven Jones’ claim false.

    You are defending Jones and Wang, but…they are not defending themselves! They’ve lost access to the data! The papers that made their names in climate science, and they can’t even prove what they said.

    In fact, Boris, it’s so sad that they have to rely upon you to defend their reputations. Oh, what a gallant, dedicated fighter for the cause you are!

    Perhaps you might write to Messrs Jones and Wang and suggest that they give you a hand. Because, unless you were involved in writing the papers (or are one of the privileged few who have access to it), how do you know that they can support their claims, when they’re not even defending themselves against claims of gross misconduct?

    [BTW, I've read that bicarb of soda is really good for getting egg stains of shirts, after it's dripped from your face.]

  23. John A
    Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 7:52 AM | Permalink

    Boris:

    I don’t think you’ve proven these claims are false. Have you looked at the Chinese stations not used? How many have been moved more times than those selected?

    Irrelevant. It is for Jones, Wang et al to establish the quality of the stations they used, not for Keenan to establish the quality of the ones they didn’t use.

    Also, Keenan does not analyze the other criteria, only station moves. Have you considered that a station may have moved a few times, but had consistent times of observation or instrumentation, thereby making it a higher quality station?

    Quality meaning “if we move them around a lot, some will by chance be higher quality”? Than what? How would measure the quality of such stations except to stations which had been properly managed?

    As for the “lost” paper records, you infer this from Wang’s comments. Zeng said she did not have access. How hard have they really tried to locate these station records? How hard would they try for a guy who emails them a report accusing them of fabricating statements?

    About as hard as they did before.

    Keenan will get exactly nowhere with his accusatory tone.

    No-one ever established the truth about anything without being accusatory.

    I’d say you were desperate, Boris.

  24. Mark T.
    Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 7:54 AM | Permalink

    bigcitylib said:

    Your interpretation all rests on differences of interpretation in the word “relatively”, which is about as context-sensitive a term as you can get.

    Steve M. followed up with:

    First, Jones et al 1990, the article cited by IPCC, did not use the term “relatively”. So nothing rests on interpretation of the word in respect to Jones et al.

    As both Steve and I have said, Jones did not use the word “relatively.” Perhaps bigcitylib and Boris should actually _read_ the articles in question before throwing stones?

    Mark

  25. Mark T.
    Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 8:06 AM | Permalink

    Irrelevant. It is for Jones, Wang et al to establish the quality of the stations they used, not for Keenan to establish the quality of the ones they didn’t use.

    Do they not teach scientific processes in school anymore? The onus is _always_ on the originator of a hypothesis to vett his statements/methods. Keenan found a problem with some of the methods, and thus the onus is on Jones and Wang to prove either why the problem is insignificant or revise their claims. Simple concept.

    People make the same claims about Steve M.: “why don’t you do a reconstruction to prove them wrong?” It is not his responsibility to do their work for them. He found a problem, it is their responsibility to revisit the work. Simple concept #2. That’s how audit in science works.

    Mark

  26. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 8:26 AM | Permalink

    In response to the identification of problems with USHCN stations in east Colorado by Pielke Sr, Karl’s excuse was: well, you haven’t shown that all the stations are bad. I thought that that was a repugnant response. They are the ones who are responsible for the USHCN network not Pielke Sr. Anthony Watts has initiated what Karl should have done years ago. Or maybe they already knew the answer and the CRN network was “moving on”.

  27. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 8:55 AM | Permalink

    Wow, the usual suspects outed themselves pretty quickly …. they came in here firing from both barrels. Sort of a self inflicted behavioral interview …. observe the suspect and let him or her hang him or herself …. on that note, I once again invoke the image of Lt. Columbo:

    “Ahem, Mr. Jerkley, I am soooo sorry to trouble you again. As I was starting up the car, something crossed my mind, nothing important, just something regarding a place I wanted to know more about. You mentioned you like to go to Joe’s prior to Dodgers games …. is that Joe’s Bar and Grill in Eagle Rock, or it that Joe’s Place, over by MacArthur Park?”

  28. Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 9:08 AM | Permalink

    Your claims, and Keenans, seem pretty close to slander to me. Your interpretation all rests on differences of interpretation in the word “relatively”, which is about as context-sensitive a term as you can get.

    “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘relatively’ is. If the–if he–if ‘relatively’ means is and never has been, that is not–that is one thing. If it means there is none, that was a completely true statement….Now, if someone had asked me on that day, are you having any kind of scientifical relations with Mr. Wang, that is, asked me a question in the present tense, I would have said no. And it would have been completely true.”

  29. steven mosher
    Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 9:10 AM | Permalink

    RE #26.

    BINGO! Long ago and far away I got myself in the middle of one of these things.

    Found a mistake that invalidated 10 years of work. At first they fought. Then when
    they saw the math, They said ” you are not a scientist”. Then, they said it didnt matter.
    Then when I showed how it invalidated past results, they said “what’s done is done” Don’t
    worry we’ll fix the problem. Then they wrote papers.Then they took credit for fixing the problem.

    and moved on…

    Institutional behavior.

  30. Steve Geiger
    Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 9:45 AM | Permalink

    Hello – longtime CA reader here (as well as other climate blogs). Can someone quickly rehash the
    significance of Jones et al (1990) ? If memory serves, that was used to establish the magnitude of the
    UHI effect (?). If so, is this still the primary work relied on in the AR4 (and attendent models) for estimating UHI?

    Thanks,
    Steve G.

  31. Boris
    Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 11:05 AM | Permalink

    Here’s the deal (see whether it’s too complex for you to follow):-

    Yeah, I stopped reading right there Brad. Don’t you have a referee to yell at or something?

    To the rest of you:

    Saying that a scientist fabricated a statement is a seious accusation and it requires serious proof. Keenan does not have that proof.

    You guys can want there to be a conspiracy all night long, but you can’t wish it into existence. Lord knows you will try.

    This is why the real scientists who come here abandon this site. There’s some interesting–even productive–discussion. And then the accusations start a flyin’. You’re not helping your cause by insults and innuendo.

  32. PaulM
    Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 11:16 AM | Permalink

    # 30 Steve G, yes that’s the significance of the Jones etal paper. You can find it and read it if you click the Keenan link at the top. More recent work has been widely criticised on the Parker 2006 thread.

  33. Bill F
    Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 11:29 AM | Permalink

    Boris,

    When a scientist writes in their paper that they selected only sites that had “fe if any” station moves…and then it comes out that for a large chunk of the sites there ARE NO STATION HISTORIES! And then we find out that for another chunk of sites where there are histories, most of the sites have multiple moves of distances up to 40km? What part of the original statement can be true at that point?

    If they reviewed the station histories for all the sites, then show us the histories. That is science 101. If you are going to make a claim, you need to have documentation to back it up. If you fail to produce any documentation of your claim, and somebody else produces documentation that shows your claim cannot be true…then scientific practice demands that the original claim must be false. This is not complicated stuff Boris…Jones and Wang either reviewed the station histories or they didn’t. If they did, they should have a record showing which sites they threw out based on what criteria. In the absence of such a record, and in the face of published histories showing many station moves by stations that were included, the only logical conclusion is that the statement by Wang and Jones is false. But I guess logic very rarely applies when arguing with the AGW high prieasts does it?

    When I first started performing field work as an environmental scientist, I was given some terrific advice by a senior coworker. He told me “if you do something in the field and don’t write it down…or if you see something in the field and don’t take a picture of it…then it didn’t happen and wasn’t there.” In other words…unless you document what you do so that others can see it, it didn’t happen. In this case, Jones and Wang want us to believe they did something, yet they have shown NO DOCUMENTATION that they did it. Meenan has shown documentation that shows that at least for some of the stations, they could not possibly have done what they said they did. So who is lying? The only documentation to support either side is on the side of the guy claiming Wang and Jones made a false claim. When Jones and Wang produce written documentation to support what they published, then you will have a leg to stand on. Until then, you are firing blind into a crowd with nothing to support your accusations against Keenan or Steve M.

  34. Bill F
    Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 11:31 AM | Permalink

    wow…I used to be able to type…make that “few” and “Keenan”.

  35. jae
    Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 11:33 AM | Permalink

    31, Boris says:

    You guys can want there to be a conspiracy all night long, but you can’t wish it into existence. Lord knows you will try.

    This is why the real scientists who come here abandon this site. There’s some interesting’€”even productive’€”discussion. And then the accusations start a flyin’. You’re not helping your cause by insults and innuendo.

    LOL. Lots of “real scientists” come here often, as you well know. Most of the “insults and innuendo” are simply facts about the poor quality of much of climate science. IOW, Most of the “insults and innuendo” on this site are deserved. Also, one sure has to wonder about a conspiracy, when there is so much secrecy, data hiding, and obfuscation by IPCC and many of the “lead authors.”

  36. MarkW
    Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 11:37 AM | Permalink

    Yes Boris,

    Keenan has the proof. Which you would have known had you actually read the article.

  37. jae
    Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 11:39 AM | Permalink

    In fact, Boris, most of the people that “abandon this site” are those without any documentation to back up their “beliefs.”

  38. MarkW
    Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 11:41 AM | Permalink

    jae,

    You must know by now, that to the alarmists, real scientist is a label that can be legally applied only to a scientist that believes and espouses AGW.

  39. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 11:46 AM | Permalink

    I sent the following letter to Phil Jones suggesting that he issue a correction:

    Dear Phil,

    Jones et al 1990 cited a 260-station temperature set jointly collected by the US Deparment of Energy and the PRC Academy of Sciences, stating in respect to the Chinese stations:

    “The stations were selected on the basis of station history: we chose those with few, if any, changes in instrumentation, location or observation times.”

    This data set was later published as NDP-039 http://cdiac.ornl.gov/epubs/ndp/ndp039/ndp039.html , coauthored by Zeng Zhaomei, providing station histories only for their 65-station network, stating that station histories for their 205-station network (which includes many of the sites in Jones et al 1990) were not available:

    “(s. 5) Unfortunately, station histories are not currently available for any of the stations in the 205-station network; therefore, details regarding instrumentation, collection methods, changes in station location or observing times, and official data sources are not known.

    (s. 7) Few station records included in the PRC data sets can be considered truly homogeneous. Even the best stations were subject to minor relocations or changes in observing times, and many have undoubtedly experienced large increases in urbanization. Fortunately, for 59 of the stations in the 65-station network, station histories (see Table 1) are available to assist in proper interpretation of trends or jumps in the data; however, station histories for the 205-station network are not available. In addition, examination of the data from the 65-station data set has uncovered evidence of several undocumented station moves (Sects. 6 and 10). Users should therefore exercise caution when using the data.”

    Accordingly, it appears that the quality control claim made in Jones et al 1990 was incorrect. I presume that you did not verify whether this claim was correct at the time and have been unaware of the incorrectness of this representation. Since the study continues to be relied on, most recently in AR4, I would encourage you to promptly issue an appropriate correction.

    Regards, Steve McIntyre

  40. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 12:13 PM | Permalink

    Real scientists, at least vis a vis so called “Climate Science,” are those who are in the Hansen camp. Whereas, those in the so called “denialist” camp, are either shills for “industry” or radical rightists and therefore, are utterly discredited as scientists and must be silenced and slimed. /s

  41. samoore
    Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 12:23 PM | Permalink

    RE #31:

    “Saying that a scientist fabricated a statement is a seious accusation and it requires serious proof.”

    Well, when anyone makes a claim (unsubstantiated, no less), and later, reasonable, evidence shows the claim to be false, it’s the responsibility of the original claimant to clear the air. Jones has had 17 years to do that.

  42. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 12:30 PM | Permalink

    Saying that a scientist fabricated a statement is a seious accusation and it requires serious proof.

    So if it weren’t “fabricated,” then how did it happen? Was a long series of coincidental typos? Or maybe someone pasted the statement in at a later time behind his back? Or are you asserting that he made an honest mistake because his reading comprehension and logic are that pathetic?

    I’m dying to hear your explanation as to how this was not a “fabrication.”

  43. D. Patterson
    Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 12:39 PM | Permalink

    Steve,

    It has long been the policy and practice for the U.S. Air Force Air Weather Service (AWS), now known as the Air Weather Agency (AWA), to forward synoptic weather and climatological data from the USAF Air Weather Network (AWN) to the computers and data archives of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Likewise, the U.S. Navy and the Weather Bureau or Weather Service have also done so. The WMO was designated as a clearinghouse for such data to be used in international climatological studies. I’m wondering whether or not the WMO received and presently retains any similar synoptic observations received from China? If so, is this data accessible, and may it be useful in making at least some test evaluations of the reporting stations which Jones, Wang, et al are known to have used in their analyses?

  44. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 2:07 PM | Permalink

    Re: #31

    Saying that a scientist fabricated a statement is a seious accusation and it requires serious proof. Keenan does not have that proof.

    You guys can want there to be a conspiracy all night long, but you can’t wish it into existence. Lord knows you will try.

    I would surmise from my experience at this blog that the revelations such as the one divulged by Doug Keenan and Steve M above tend to significantly erode the confidence one might otherwise have in data and results that have been quoted and referenced by such authorative bodies as the IPCC. It shows a slopiness in the original work and by those who uncritically quote from it.

    I would submit that it is that tendency and revelation that could annoy those who might think and want the AGW thing all tied up in a pretty bow so we could move on. While there can be “over reactions” on both sides of these issues, the retort to these revelations is frequently dismissed with the accussation of finding conspriacies. I do not see a conspiracy here but rather much slopiness in the work behind Jones’ publications and works that apparently have been written up in terms and words that indicate otherwise.

  45. Dave B
    Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 2:08 PM | Permalink

    boris said:

    “Saying that a scientist fabricated a statement is a seious accusation and it
    requires serious proof.”

    It has been demonstrated that a scientists has made statements which are objectively untrue. Is it your position that this is not the same as saying the statements are false? If not fabricated, then where did the “untrue” statements come from?

    Granted, BradH gave you an “out” when he gave you a personal dig. That is no excuse to deny objective reality.

  46. Bob Meyer
    Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 2:25 PM | Permalink

    Warning:

    “Real Scientist” ⧠1998 Hockey Team Inc can only be used by Mann and Associates. Unauthorized use of the term may be punished by whining, crying and ad hominem attack.

  47. Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 2:38 PM | Permalink

    Steve M., thank you much and kindly for blogging about this.

    Thanks to everyone for their comments. Please note that my report is still a draft. If anyone has recommendations for improvement (presentation or content; big or tiny!), they would be welcomed and appreciated.

  48. Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 2:46 PM | Permalink

    re 31:

    Boris, it isn’t a conspiracy. It is not science.

  49. pk
    Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 4:08 PM | Permalink

    #44, my guess is that you meant “sloppiness”, but “slopiness” sure fits, or “slopeyness” too.

  50. per
    Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 4:54 PM | Permalink

    hmmm. Obviously steve’s question to Jones is of some interest.

    Back in reality, I might observe that there are distinctions between scientific and legal standards. If a scientist makes a statement, you might expect them to provide evidence to back it up.

    However, in this jurisdiction, if you make a statement that is defamatory, you may be obliged to justify the truth of the statement in court; or face substantial penalties. A word like “fabrication” has a very specific meaning. Just to be clear, you have to be able to prove that other explanations, such as incompetence, mistaken use of a file, misunderstanding, miscommunication, etc., do not apply. You have to be able to prove that it was a deliberate act of deception, on the basis of balance of probablilities.

    While I admire the principles that inspire Douglas, I am personally rather cautious about the prospect of engaging in legal battle; I fear that no matter how strong your case, you are engaging in russian roulette. When cases go to court, there are frequently legal bills well in excess of a million sterling- which is simply unconscionable to so many people.

    per

  51. per
    Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 4:56 PM | Permalink

    oh, and by the by, it’s a gorgeous catch. Doesn’t Jones et al look that little bit shaky now ?
    per

  52. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 5:05 PM | Permalink

    Re: #49

    Pk, thanks for the catch on my ironic misspelling of sloppiness. My only excuse is that I was/am without speelcheck at a remote location and that I can say it takes one (a sloppy one that is) to know one. I was hoping to recover on this one by a noting something connected to a sloped or slanted view, but as Webster would have it neither slopiness nor slopeyness are words and I am stuck with being sloppy.

  53. John Baltutis
    Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 5:21 PM | Permalink

    Wang responds to Keenan:

    Digitization of the hard copies of “station histories” was prepared in 1989-90 by Ms. Zhao-Mei Zeng (IAP/CAS) only for the 60-station network, while the “station histories” of other stations, including those we used in 1990 urban warming study, were available in paper form.

    Wonderful! Better said would have been: We used the paper-form history data, but never thought to retain a copy because our selection process and analysis was impeccable.

  54. Armand MacMurray
    Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 5:35 PM | Permalink

    Re:#52
    Ken, if your remote site supports/allows Firefox V2, it has built-in spell-checking; very handy for sites that don’t allow retro-editing of posts.

  55. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 5:36 PM | Permalink

    Re: #50

    Per, I think you have onus a little backwards in these cases as the proof and benefit of confusion goes the other way. Could you give an example of a scientist recently suing successfully or even attempting to sue for defamation of character and libel of late? Of course, in the litigious US, we are familiar with restricting people by the threat of legal costs.

  56. Mike
    Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 5:43 PM | Permalink

    Gee, come on. Why do you think they hate Steve McK so much and are always trying to make him look like a clueless troublemaker? As much as I’ve seen them ignore what’s going on here with the use of personal attacks, denigration, and attempting to make him look like a spoiled brat for wanting to get their data and their methods of dealing with it? All their excuses are bogus; designed to hide what they’ve done so others can’t come in and show they’re all made up, basically. What a bunch of illogical hypocritical liars, and they’re running the show. It makes me sick.

  57. Nate
    Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 6:13 PM | Permalink

    Teacher: Wei-Chyung, where is your homework that is due today?

    Lil Wang: My doggy ate it.

  58. pk
    Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 6:46 PM | Permalink

    #49, KF, blame it on lack of speck-check or what suits you, but I think you could have just coined a new phrase for the team. “Slopiness.”

  59. Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 6:52 PM | Permalink

    Given the amount of money being talked about and invested in the “AGW” scenario (kyoto etc) I am just astounded at the bad data that would appear to be being used in these studies. I am even more astounded by what appears to be a lack of comment from governments and opposition parties in all countries to the possibility of there being fraudulent behaviour involved here which might just be costing some of these countries billions of dollars. It almost seems as though no one cares wether the results are right or wrong, they are there and thats that, who cares if they are wrong. Absurd. That is a belief system not science.

  60. John F. Pittman
    Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 7:38 PM | Permalink

    All jokes aside, fabrication is a serious charge. However, there is a telling point as indicated in the Draft. When Jones et al stated “we” and did not include Zeng as a co-author a fatal error occurred. Fatal in the sense that Jones et al have two major problems. Not just that the data may be missing, or that the data may be erroneous, but they claimed to do something that was not done. If you publish such an account as fact when you say “we did so and so”, and are in error because you did not do it or someone else not an author, a claim of fabrication will stick. Between these two points there is not a fig leaf to be had. The information from Keenan is the data trail that shows the stated quality claim of sites was not true. The published paper cannot be changed that said “we” while not including Zeng. As Keenan indicates, the claim of criteria, the criteria itself, and the quality was claimed by Jones et al cannot be true. You asked for a suggestion. I have two. I found the dates most interesting being one year apart in year of publication. Could you expound on the availability of the DOE/CAS report and how that the data, information, what communication occurred from Jones, Wang, Zeng, and any of the DOE/CAS if available. I would also suggest a reverse order, where you write it starting with Zeng/DOE/CAS backwards to the Jones et al. Show the compromized data first and logically set the argument and conclusion that it had to be fabricated from either the claim of quality or the claim that the work was done. If you use the word fabricated I suggest you get some legal aid for your country. It should be easy. According to the information you have provided, Jones et al claimed something was done that wasn’t…that is fabrication here in the US.

  61. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 7:51 PM | Permalink

    “Fabrication” and “falsification” are both terms of art in most codes of conduct. An example of falsification here included:

    falsely reporting to a data coordinating center that certain clinical trial staff, who were certified to perform the procedures on the subjects, had done so, when they had not;

    If Jones et al falsely reported that they had carried out examination of the station histories, when this was not done, it would seem to more aptly fit within the definition of “falsification”.

  62. MarkR
    Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 9:05 PM | Permalink

    Fabricate is a tricky word:

    fabⶲiⶣate(fbr-kt)
    tr.v. fabⶲiⶣatⶥd, fabⶲiⶣatⶩng, fabⶲiⶣates
    1. To make; create.
    2. To construct by combining or assembling diverse, typically standardized parts: fabricate small boats.
    3. To concoct in order to deceive: fabricated an excuse.

    [Middle English fabricaten, from Latin fabricr, fabrict-, to make, from fabrica, craft; see fabric.]

    fabriⶣation n.
    fabriⶣator n.

    In the old days, to fabricate something was to make something. In modern parlance it has acquired a further meaning, that of making up something which is untrue.

    Probably some long ago scriptwriter for Perry Mason was looking for a synonym for “make up” as in to make up a story/lie. Out popped fabricate, so the script now said “fabricate a lie”, not many people actually knew what fabricate meant, so in their minds “fabricate” came to include “fabricate a lie”.

  63. Follow the Money
    Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 9:22 PM | Permalink

    #59, Paul

    Given the amount of money being talked about and invested in the “AGW” scenario (kyoto etc) I am just astounded at the bad data that would appear to be being used in these studies.

    IMO you should not be astounded.

    It almost seems as though no one cares wether the results are right or wrong, they are there and thats that, who cares if they are wrong. Absurd. That is a belief system not science.

    It’s a marketing plan. Some people scoff “conspiracy!” I reply, “No, it’s comprehensive modern marketing — global scale!”

  64. Sara Chan
    Posted Jun 19, 2007 at 11:21 PM | Permalink

    Douglas, have you seen this?

    David A. Portman, “Identifying and Correcting Urban Bias in Regional Time Series: Surface Temperature in China’s Northern Plains”, Journal of Climate, 6(12): 2298’€”2308 (1993).

    It’s available here: http://ams.allenpress.com/perlserv/?request=get-abstract&issn=1520-0442&volume=006&issue=12&page=2298

    P.2299 says that there were changes in instrumentation and observation times at all the stations.

  65. Posted Jun 20, 2007 at 2:38 AM | Permalink

    Re #60, John P. Good point about needing to explain the dates of publication. Regarding your second recommendation, would you elaborate?

    Re #60, Steve M. The NSF, and most other U.S.-government funding agencies, use the definitions of “falsification” and “fabrication” given in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 45, Part 689.1(a).

    (1) Fabrication means making up data or results and recording or reporting them.
    (2) Falsification means manipulating research materials, equipment, or processes, or changing or omitting data or results such that the research is not accurately represented in the research record.

    What do you think?

    Re #64, Sara C. Thanks, I’d seen the paper. The changes to instrument height and observation times arguably make only a very small difference to the measurements. I was worried that if my report mentioned the issue, Wang might try to make a big deal of it, and so draw attention away from the really critical station relocations.

    Other aspects of Portman’s work also seem interesting. The statistical method, though, is apparently his own; so I would want to spend time analysing the method, before relying on it for anything.

    I’ve updated the draft of my report to include the explanation recommended by John and a couple other (small) things.

  66. Posted Jun 20, 2007 at 3:16 AM | Permalink

    (The second “Re #60″ in the above should be “Re #61″.)

  67. DaveR
    Posted Jun 20, 2007 at 3:58 AM | Permalink

    Keenan,

    In your draft, your speculations on how conditions in China during the Cultural Revolution impacted the recording of meteorological data are ridiculous. You simply don’t know. Stick to facts. Dropping the shrill accusatory tone might help as well if you want to be taken seriously.

  68. Don Keiller
    Posted Jun 20, 2007 at 4:52 AM | Permalink

    Dear all, rather than argue semantics- which could keep this thread going for ever- we should get back to considering the basics. Namely that science should be both reproduceable and verifiable. If not, it is not science and should not be considered as part of any scientific body of evidence. From what I have read, both here and elsewhere, there are clear grounds for including Mann’s “Hockey Stick”, Jones’s paper quantifyng UHI and global surface temperatures.

    At the most fundemental level none of the claims to support the above can be reproduced, or verified given the data and methodology provided.

    To put this scandal- and it is a scandal- in context I am currently marking 3rd. year undergraduate projects. Even at this level they are required (and will be failed if they do not) to provide an appendix of all raw data and worked examples of any calculations and statistical procedures used. If specialised software has been developed, its source code must be provided.

    I rest my case.

  69. MarkW
    Posted Jun 20, 2007 at 4:59 AM | Permalink

    paul,

    It’s because of all the money and prestige that has been invested in AGW that the govts involved are willing to overlook bad data.

    They have too much invested in this scam to let it fail now.

  70. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Jun 20, 2007 at 5:24 AM | Permalink

    It’s not just China. Here is the last of an email that I wrote to Phil Jones in March 2006 about Australian data.

    “I am going to close this discussion now because I have conveyed my points of concern and I have made some constructive suggestions and there is little more that I can say. There is more that you can say about the reasons for and methods of culling the early Australian data. I think the public is owed an explanation.
    Regards

    Geoff Sherrington”

  71. Bill
    Posted Jun 20, 2007 at 10:40 AM | Permalink

    RE: #33

    If they reviewed the station histories for all the sites, then show us the histories. That is science 101. If you are going to make a claim, you need to have documentation to back it up. If you fail to produce any documentation of your claim, and somebody else produces documentation that shows your claim cannot be true…then scientific practice demands that the original claim must be false.

    I’m not a scientist, and am not, at least to my knowledge, in the pay of ‘Big Oil’ (in any case if I am they are seriously behind in renumeration). I believe logically a statement made without supporting evidence is a gratuitous assertion that may be negated by another equally gratuituos assersion. Without sharing thier data Jones & Wang make a gratuitous assertion.

    Oh, and Bigcitylib, it is libel, not slander. It isn’t either if what Keenan says/writes is true however.

  72. Jeff Norman
    Posted Jun 20, 2007 at 10:45 AM | Permalink

    Re:#71 Bill,

    I’m not a scientist, and am not, at least to my knowledge, in the pay of Big Oil’

    Every time you pull into a gas station your image gets transmitted to Corporate Headquarters where a pattern recognition program compares your face to the faces of known Big Oil supporters and a few cents gets shaved offf the price of your purchase proportional to the value of your support.

    You can test this out next time you fill up by wearing a disguise.

  73. MarkR
    Posted Jun 20, 2007 at 11:12 AM | Permalink

    #67 Why do people who can’t dispute the substance always try to “move on” to the “tone” of them?

  74. John F. Pittman
    Posted Jun 20, 2007 at 4:16 PM | Permalink

    #62 Fabricate it is…to create. They created a good data set by their claims where there was little or no good data. The paper was “fabricated…built” with this basic false, per Keenan, assertion.

    #65 After your intro, you start with “Fabrications”. I suggest you start with the path (14 year delay, FOI, etc.)and for your paper, the proof that the data is compromised. The reason is like good business advice “location, location, location”. A good hypothesis is supported by its data. Likewise your intro was interesting, I couldn’t wait to get to the details of your claim. Instead you start with the conclusion, which is quite “dry” compared to your intro. So my suggestion is to keep that interest going and save the conclusion for last. If you have done a good job, the conclusion will be in a way anticlimatic, but necessary. Also, I have found when you write the steps down in the order that you did them, it is easier to make additions that will make it easier for your audience to understand what and how things were done. Even, if you want to keep the chronological order, by writing it in the order of your investigations, it will make it easier for you to document what you did and focus on the information you want to communicate to your audience. I suggest instead of starting out that “their satements are vital for their paper”, you start with “good data is vital for an acceptable scientific paper” approach.

  75. Mike
    Posted Jun 20, 2007 at 4:26 PM | Permalink

    BLUF: “science should be both reproduceable and verifiable. If not, it is not science and should not be considered as part of any scientific body of evidence. “

  76. Posted Jun 20, 2007 at 4:44 PM | Permalink

    Perhaps we could start with itemising all non-scientific publications that should be removed from the TAR and 4AR reference list?

  77. HarryG
    Posted Jun 20, 2007 at 6:54 PM | Permalink

    Re # 76

    Wouldn’t it be more efficient to list those that should remain?

  78. Don Keiller
    Posted Jun 21, 2007 at 6:41 AM | Permalink

    re #75 “BLUF”???

  79. Sam
    Posted Jun 21, 2007 at 9:39 AM | Permalink

    Don, nice post #68

    Bottom Line Up Front. :) I thought it might be good to just have a single sentence that really boils this down to one point.

    Yes, Hans, HarryG — what stays in the IPCC material, and it would be more efficient to go through that shorter list of what to keep…..

  80. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Jun 21, 2007 at 7:18 PM | Permalink

    Others here have mentioned “belief-driven” science and “pious” influences on data presentation or non-presentation.

    I have had the privilege of mixing with a number of scientist/engineer/management people at the leading edge of thought, R&D or corporate power, world scale.

    Belief-driven science was a concept quite alien to them. To the contrary, they were eager to share their work to the point of being overbearing. They wanted people to find mistakes in their work, so they could investigate the alleged mistakes and either crash the postulate or gain new insights.

    For all the jokes about Big Oil and so on, I have not spoken at depth with a single professonal person in a really senior post whose motives have caused me unease by their evasion or concealment. They got there by being better than the pack and they were seeking continual improvement to stay there. Feedback from provided information was an essential part of continued improvement.

    “Belief-driven falsification” is merely a modern way of expressing fakery in this era of oblique politically correct newspeak.

  81. Bob Weber
    Posted Jun 22, 2007 at 12:38 AM | Permalink

    Do any of the IPCC assessment reports make any statements about the quality of the temperature data sets that they base their analysis and conclusions on?

    I have the same question as to the quality of the sites.

    Bob

  82. DavidE
    Posted Jun 22, 2007 at 10:52 AM | Permalink

    Just a note when speaking of defamation, slander, libel it is worth noting that different jurisdictions have different standards. Defamation is very difficult to prove in the United States, but of course, anyone can sue anyone over anything — winning is another matter. In the US the burden of proof falls on the plaintiff. I believe in Great Britain it is not as straight forward, and I would assume the same is likely true for Canada. In any case the charge is thrown out there to try and chill speech and change the subject to endless defenses of the statement. I believe that was the purpose in this case. This tactic seems to be par for the course and an attempt to avoid what appears to be a real problem with regard to reproducing data that is consistent with previous quality control claims.

  83. John A
    Posted Jun 22, 2007 at 11:48 AM | Permalink

    From Doug Keenan’s citation:

    (1) Fabrication means making up data or results and recording or reporting them.
    (2) Falsification means manipulating research materials, equipment, or processes, or changing or omitting data or results such that the research is not accurately represented in the research record.

    That helps define a lot I’ve been seeing recently.

  84. Bill F
    Posted Jun 22, 2007 at 12:09 PM | Permalink

    #71,

    When somebody makes a general claim about something they believe to be true without anything to back it up, it could be considered a “gratuitous assertion”, but most of us just call them opinions. However, when you publish a claim about something you claim to have done, in a scientific journal and offer no proof to back it up, it is no longer gratuitous if “not doing” what you claim to have done could have a material impact on the theory you present.

    In this case, it appears that Keenan has provided good evidence that in fact what was claimed to have been done, could not have been done, because the information required to do it was not available. At that point it is no longer an “assertion”, it should be considered a lie…until they prove that they did have the information to do it and provide some evidence of what was done.

    In this case, the “assertion” is particularly “non-gratuitous” because the report based on the claim is a critical underpinning to a system of global temperature measurement that is being used to push policies that will affect trillions of dollars in economic activity over the coming decades.

  85. Pat Frank
    Posted Jun 22, 2007 at 2:32 PM | Permalink

    #80 — ““Belief-driven falsification” is merely a modern way of expressing fakery in this era of oblique politically correct newspeak.

    The patterns of human thought are more complex than you allow, Goeff. The best salesmen fall for their own pitch, and the human capacity for self-delusion is large and richly varied. I think most of those folks actually feel justified in what they do. Putting the conclusion ahead of the data is a very common failure of thought. Half the world sacralizes a few square miles of the middle east on the basis of zero data. AGWers are like that: AGW is true. All else follows.

  86. Posted Jun 22, 2007 at 3:40 PM | Permalink

    I think you make a good point Pat. However there will be those who do KNOW they are misusing the data but who also know that to admit that now would be the end of their careers. One lie begets a thousand. The vast majority of the public do not understand the arguments and currently there are far too many who see AGW as a sacred cow, central to their phylisophical argument about how we should treat the planet. Most greens are actually red underneath and AGW is merely a means to an end. It supports their arguments and their thinking that humans are less important than “mother earth”. At the ned of the day it is all about control.

  87. Bill F
    Posted Jun 22, 2007 at 4:50 PM | Permalink

    Pat,

    Michael Crichton had a great passage on that very problem in the book version of Jurassic Park. The park operations system is designed to count the number of dinosaurs on a regular basis. The program tells the machine that there should be 300 or some odd number of dinos. The system then counts until it reaches that number. A successful count right? Except that there are more than 300. When asked to count to 350, it finds 350.

    Any form of research can lead to the same thing…if you start out looking for a paterns or a trend…and look hard enough in any dataset, you can tease out a pattern matching what you expected to see. That is why what Steve and Ross and others are doing with the statistics is so important right now. By highlighting the cherry picking of data and bias introduced by improper statistical evaluation, they are pointing out which trends and patterns are real and which are found because that is what the researcher was trying to find.

    In the case of the AGW high priests, I war back and forth on whether I think what they are doing is deliberate. I think most are probably decent honest guys who are really busy with alot of things and may fall victim to bad practice by grad students and others working under them who do sloppy things. They don’t have time or the will to properly supervise it…and the conclusion matches what they expect to see, so they accept it as real. As with any dispute in the world of academia, it doesn’t take long at all for people to take sides when somebody starts poking their grad student or former students with a stick (regardless of whether said poking is well deserved or not). these are the kinds of people who tend to respond that “oh yes…the methodology may be a bit dodgy in what ____ is doing, but his conclusions are reasonable and match what ____ has found, so the errors in how it was done don’t really matter all that much right?”. They are the ones likely to see Steve and others is just mere annoyances…amateurs chasing shadows, with no real impact on the “real science”.

    There are others who I think are fully invested in the ideology and who have slid so far out onto the limb in pushing the AGW crisis, that they cannot hope to make it back to the trunnk in time to save themselves if the theory collapses, so they focus all their time on firing shots at the guys trying to saw the limb off. I think Jones, Hansen, Mann, etc. fit this mold. They see anybody questioning their work as a threat…but they don’t see it in terms of a scientific threat…they believe their science is unimpeachable…so why would and “amateur” be a threat to them. To them the real danger of somebody like Steve M is to the public perception. They don’t expect the public to understand how brilliant their work is…but having somebody out there who is “a shill for the oil lobby” poking at their work threatens to divert the publics attention from how scared they should be. So they viciously attack the offending “amateur” by questioning their motives, their funding, their ethics, etc. The idea is not to defend the science…it is to create the impression in the public’s mind that whoever they are attacking cannot possibly be trusted. I don’t think they start out wanting to lie or obfuscate things…but they probably get trapped into it because the only alternative would be to pull the string that starts the unravelling of the seams that hold the whole thing together. The individual strings may seem small and insignificant…but giving ground even on the small and obvious ones risks allowing an avalanche that would take them all down with it…so the little white lies start…and grow…and eventually become one big lie.

  88. Joe Ellebracht
    Posted Jun 22, 2007 at 10:30 PM | Permalink

    Regarding Nature letters:

    There is no particular legal requirement for truthfulness in Nature letters. These are just magazine articles at best, and when published in the Letters section, may be considered personal opinion. Constitutionally protected, even for foreigners. When producing copy for an advertising supported publication vehicle, then including a few factlike statements in an opinion letter will often bamboozle the unsophisticated editor and reader. In Nature, perhaps a whole edifice of factlike statements would be helpful.

    When such factlike statements are questioned,there is no requirement to respond, and certainly if the appearance of a responselike action is helpful, there is no requirement to be truthful or timely in any response. Once sufficient time has passed, the editors of Nature will likely have moved on, and will ignore any attack on the (now old) opinion piece.

  89. Posted Jun 23, 2007 at 1:03 AM | Permalink

    per,

    The odds of a legal battle are slim.

    First you have to go into discovery….

  90. Posted Jun 23, 2007 at 1:29 AM | Permalink

    Re: #54,

    Netscape 9.0 beta (which I’m currently using and am tolerably fond of) has a good spell checker too).

    Normally I don’t do beta, but this one is OK.

  91. Posted Jun 23, 2007 at 3:51 AM | Permalink

    Re #74, John P. Thanks—you’re right that the organization might cause some readers interest to lessen. I will try to rearrange things to make that better.

    Re #88, Joe E. Nature “Letters” are actually peer-reviewed papers. The confusing terminology exists for historical reasons. Conventional “Letters to the Editor” are called “Correspondence”. I do not know what bearing that might have on legal issues, but the journal is published in England.

  92. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Jun 24, 2007 at 4:59 AM | Permalink

    Re Belief-driven science.

    The explanations people are giving for dishonest behaviour are quite alien to me. Perhaps they apply in the academic world, but the top commercial scientists I referenced above have not shown this type of dishonesty, which is why I mentioned it. Commonly they are party-poopers because they just want to talk about their latest findings.

    We have a couple of Nobel Laureates here who discovered that ulcers were most likely caused by bacteria, not stress or diet. One of them, a self-employed GP, even drank a concoction to show it and got quite sick. I am talking of people with this honesty, prepared to put their data where their mouth is.

    You find this self-searching also in top people who produce hi tech goods like new aircraft (managing engineer types). How confident would you feel to fly in an aircraft designed by people like the accused above? Would you fly in a hi-tech jet designed by University staff?

    I don’t say that senior business people with non-science backgrounds in law, commerce, economics, bean counting etc have the same moral drive. Some do, some don’t.

    Have we uncovered the makings of a subversive effect in academia, where you have to fabricate to progress? Not “publish or perish”, but “the bigger the lie”? I have certainly met this in Aboriginal anthropology and among its cousins in the Green movements, many of them academics, many poor scientists.

  93. BarryW
    Posted Jun 24, 2007 at 10:03 AM | Permalink

    Read the mismeasure of man by Stephen Gould to see how even good scientists can have their judgement warped by preconceptions.

  94. Joe Ellebracht
    Posted Jun 24, 2007 at 11:25 AM | Permalink

    Re 91:
    Thank you Douglas.
    Truthfulness still optional.

  95. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Jun 24, 2007 at 6:44 PM | Permalink

    Re # 93

    This is again alien to me. A good scientist is one who does not let his science be altered by preconceptions. That is almost an axiom. Has science been prostituted in the last few decades by loss of rigour and ethics? You can’t wite a book about good scientists who fiddled data, that’s an oxymoron.

  96. Jeff Norman
    Posted Jun 25, 2007 at 9:51 AM | Permalink

    Re: #93 BarryW,

    As in Hoyle’s aversion to the Big Bang Theory of cosmology and his attraction to the Steady State Theory.

  97. david cobb
    Posted Jun 25, 2007 at 12:05 PM | Permalink

    A man driven by the need to prove his convictions.
    Some say he will not stray because he is a scientist.
    I say he will because he is human.

  98. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Jun 26, 2007 at 5:17 AM | Permalink

    Re # 97

    Plausibly penned by a human, not a scientist.

    Why to people have to make excuses for poor science all the time?

    Some of the worst science it has been my chore to read has come from the green movement. How many scientists have stood up and said “No, one does not have to manage radioactive waste for 250,000 years?” I have, few others thought it worth the trouble. Now it is beng taught in schools by teachers who believe it to be gospel.

    The speed with with AGW, with its glaring flaws, was adopted by the public, reminds me of a Lemming cartoon. As they head for the cliff and the sea of oblivion, a group splits off. One excited lemming says to the next, “Let’s follow Robert. He’s found a faster way”.

  99. Posted Jun 26, 2007 at 8:09 AM | Permalink

    There has always been bogus science. Things have gotten much worse in the past generation, though, due to the rise of the journal system. It used to be that a scientist was judged on his/her scientific advances. That posed a problem for administrators (and others): how to evaluate the significance of those advances.

    The problem was solved by journals. Nowadays, journals are ranked according to their impact factor. To evaluate a scientist, an administrator (or anyone else) can just look at the number of papers a scientist has published and the impact factors of the journals in which those papers appeared. Having such an objective measure of performance brings clear advantages.

    It also brings disadvantages. In particular, there is a natural tendency for scientists to try game the system: getting their papers published in high-impact journals, regardless of the papers’ merits. This is exacerbated by poor standards for transparency and a near-total lack of accountability (for misconduct).

    In commercial science, the issue is greatly weakened, because commerce does not rely on impact factors much. Instead, commercial science uses a different mechanism for evaluation: the contributions to profitability, capitalization, market share, etc.

    In academic science, the system has existed long enough for some scientists to have seemingly internalized the system’s values; i.e. they themselves believe that if they publish something in a prestigious journal, then they have done good science—even if they fabricated or falsified the work.

  100. Posted Aug 19, 2007 at 3:55 PM | Permalink

    I have now formally filed the allegation with Wang’s university. The university will be conducting a misconduct investigation. Some notes on this are available here:
    http://www.informath.org/apprise/a5620.htm

    There is mention of the story in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and, to a lesser extent, the Sydney Morning Herald.

  101. steven mosher
    Posted Aug 19, 2007 at 8:45 PM | Permalink

    RE 100.

    Keep at him mate

  102. PaddikJ
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 1:54 AM | Permalink

    Several quickies:

    Completely agree w/ Dave R, No. 67. If it’s not too late (your last post said you’d filed your j’accuse), resist the urge to speculate, and keep the tone flat and factual. Your facts are powerful, plentiful, & incontrovertable; and all you need.

    Re: Boris – while it was an entertaining ride, I think I would have preferred to get to this point of posting sooner (I have what I’m sure is an unhealthy sense of duty to read all entries before adding my Loonie). There seem to be a few AGW Faithful on every skeptical blog and the one characteristic they all share is an unwillingness to understand. You can explain something 10 different ways and it makes no difference because they simply don’t want to understand, and will make the most unbelievable gyrations and contortions to protect their faith. For the sake of efficiency, if not entertainment value, I suggest ignoring them.

    My older brother switched career tracks about mid-way through his PhD. in Public Health, so disgusted was he by the politics at Enormous State University where he attended. He abandoned plans for a career as a research scientist and instead found a small, student-oriented college where he has happily spent most of his career. I mention this because even though I’ve always held Science & scientists in very high regard, I never thought I was naive. Until the last year, that is. The near-constant revelations lately are getting really sickening, aren’t they? When I want a truly skeptical take, I think I’ll turn to the Engineering journals from now on. The standards seem much higher.

  103. Mike P
    Posted Aug 20, 2007 at 10:52 AM | Permalink

    Sorry if this has already been mentioned (I did not see it), but Mr. Wang did pretty well for himself and Albany earlier this year be securing a 1.3M 3 year grant from DOE.

    http://www.albany.edu/campusnews/releases_245.htm

    Sadly, I don’t see how one can not, at least in passing, wonder about the influence of cash on the work of scientists. That is a LOT of money.

  104. Posted Nov 6, 2007 at 1:17 PM | Permalink

    I have a peer-reviewed article on this, entitled “The fraud allegation against some climatic research of Wei-Chyung Wang”, which has just been published in Energy & Environment.

    There was additionally a news story discussing this, by George Szpiro, in Neue Zürcher Zeitung. (The story also discusses some bogus research on grape harvest dates; more details about that are here.)

  105. richardT
    Posted Nov 6, 2007 at 1:39 PM | Permalink

    #104
    No matter how many times you repeat your canard about Chuine’s paper, it does not make it true.

  106. Posted Nov 7, 2007 at 6:13 AM | Permalink

    A few times now, I have come across statements by people who are lying about things that they have said in email. Of course, it is easy to prove that those people are lying; just display the email. I find it fascinating that some people have dishonesty so deeply in themselves that they cannot adapt to the Internet age.

    Comment #105 (by richardT) reminds me of this. Just by clicking on the link in #104 for harvest details, it is easy to check that richardT’s comment is misrepresentative and dishonorable.

  107. Posted Nov 7, 2007 at 10:37 AM | Permalink

    Steve McIntyre, in the original post above, stated

    Keenan sent a draft copy of his hard-hitting comments to Wang, whose reply is published at Keenan’s website.

    and provided a link to http://www.informath.org/apprise/a5620.htm. However, I don’t see a reply by Wang there. Am I overlooking it, or has it been removed, or was Steve mistaken?

  108. Posted Nov 7, 2007 at 12:28 PM | Permalink

    Hu McCulloch (#107), yes, I changed the web page. Sorry for the confusion. Everything that was on the page is in the E&E article. So I thought it was better to have the page just refer to the article, plus updates.

  109. MikeN
    Posted Nov 24, 2009 at 9:30 PM | Permalink

    CRU e-mails leaked in Nov 2009 show that they considered this to be a ridiculous statement by Doug Keenan and Steve McIntyre, and no e-mails from anyone thinking that a forgery had been discovered. They actually liked the complaint, as it would destroy ClimateAudit and Steve McIntyre’s reputation once and for all. Michael Mann strongly encouraged Wang to file lawsuits against both Steve and Doug for making these accusations.
    Much later, there was one e-mail asking how confident they are in the allegations, as they thought Wang was a bit sloppy in his work.

    • Posted Dec 22, 2009 at 5:41 PM | Permalink

      MikeN (Nov 24), you might consider e-mail #1188557698, from Tom Wigley, who is one of the most highly-cited climatologists, a former head of CRU, and an extreme warming advocate. The e-mail discusses my paper and states the following.

      Seems to me that Keenan has a valid point. The statements in the papers
      that he quotes seem to be incorrect statements, and that someone (WCW
      at the very least) must have known at the time that they were incorrect.

      This refutes your main claim.

      Additionally, e-mail #1241415427, which I assume you are referring to, says that Wang is “a rather sloppy scientist”, and then goes much further: e.g. “My guess is that it [the data] does not exist — if it did then why was it not in the DOE report?”
      So your second claim is misrepresentation.

      • MikeN
        Posted Feb 22, 2014 at 5:05 PM | Permalink

        Douglas, I was being sarcastic.

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