FOI Request to Phil Jones

Some feedback on my request for the sites used in Jones et al 1990 (no data):

On Feb. 22, 2007, I sent the following request to Phil Jones:

Dear Phil, a couple of years ago, I requested the identities and data for the Russian, Chinese and Australian networks studied in Jones et al Nature 1990 on urbanization. At the time, you said that it would be unduly burdensome to locate the information among your diskettes as the study was then somewhat stale. However, I notice that Jones et al 1990 has been cited in IPCC AR4 (in the section where you were a Coordinating Lead Author) and continues to be cited in the literature (e.g. Peterson 2003).

Accordingly, I re-iterate my request for the identification of the stations and the data used for the following three Jones et al 1990 networks:

1. the west Russian network
2. the Chinese network
3. the Australian network

For each network, if a subset of the data of the data was used, e.g. 80 stations selected from a larger dataset, I would appreciate all the data in the network, including the data that was not selected.

In each case, please also provide the identification and data for the stations used in the gridded network which was used as a comparandum in this study.

Thank you for your attention.

Steve McIntyre

On March 9, 2007, CRU sent me the following refusal letter under FOI, transferring jurisdiction to the Environmental Information Regulation (which was separately responded to):


Your request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 received by us on 22 February 2007 has been considered and I am not obliged to supply the information you have requested under this Act.

The exemption applied is s. 39, exempting information that is ˜environmental information’ within the meaning of the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

This exemption applies because environmental information’ must be disclosed under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR). In short, we will consider your request and provide information under EIR, not FOIA.

Your request is being considered under EIR and you will receive the information requested within the statutory timescale of 20 working days as defined by the EIR 2004, subject to the information not being exempt.

If appropriate, the information may be provided in paper copy, normal font size. If you require alternative formats, e.g. language, audio, large print, etc. then please let me know.

For your information, the EIR defines a number of exemptions which may prevent release of the information you have requested. There will be an assessment and if any of the exemption categories apply then the information will not be released. You will be informed if this is the case, including your rights of appeal.

If the information you request contains reference to a third party then they may be consulted prior to a decision being taken on whether or not to release the information to you. You will be informed if this is the case.

There may a fee payable for this information. This will be considered and you will be informed if a fee is payable. In this event the fee must be paid before the information is processed and released. The 20 working day time limit for responses is suspended until receipt of the payment.

If you have any queries or concerns then please contact me at:
University of East Anglia
Telephone: 01603 593 523
E-mail: foi AT

You also have a right of appeal to the Information Commissioner at: Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Telephone: 01625 545 700

OK, section 39 of the FOI Act 2000 says:
Environmental information.

39. – (1) Information is exempt information if the public authority holding it-
(a) is obliged by regulations under section 74 to make the information available to the public in accordance with the regulations, or
(b) would be so obliged but for any exemption contained in the regulations.

(2) The duty to confirm or deny does not arise in relation to information which is (or if it were held by the public authority would be) exempt information by virtue of subsection (1).

(3) Subsection (1)(a) does not limit the generality of section 21(1).

Section 74 says:

Power to make provision relating to environmental information.
74. – (1) In this section “the Aarhus Convention” means the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters signed at Aarhus on 25th June 1998.

(2) For the purposes of this section “the information provisions” of the Aarhus Convention are Article 4, together with Articles 3 and 9 so far as relating to that Article.

(3) The Secretary of State may by regulations make such provision as he considers appropriate-
(a) for the purpose of implementing the information provisions of the Aarhus Convention or any amendment of those provisions made in accordance with Article 14 of the Convention, and
(b) for the purpose of dealing with matters arising out of or related to the implementation of those provisions or of any such amendment.

(4) Regulations under subsection (3) may in particular-
(a) enable charges to be made for making information available in accordance with the regulations,
(b) provide that any obligation imposed by the regulations in relation to the disclosure of information is to have effect notwithstanding any enactment or rule of law,
(c) make provision for the issue by the Secretary of State of a code of practice,
(d) provide for sections 47 and 48 to apply in relation to such a code with such modifications as may be specified,
(e) provide for any of the provisions of Parts IV and V to apply, with such modifications as may be specified in the regulations, in relation to compliance with any requirement of the regulations, and
(f) contain such transitional or consequential provision (including provision modifying any enactment) as the Secretary of State considers appropriate.

(5) This section has effect subject to section 80.

The Environmental Information Regulations is online here. The Aarhus Convention is here. “Environmental information” is defined under the Environmental Information Regulations as follows:

environmental information” has the same meaning as in Article 2(1) of the Directive[ Council Directive 2003/4/EC[4] on public access to environmental information], namely any information in written, visual, aural, electronic or any other material form on –

(a) the state of the elements of the environment, such as air and atmosphere, water, soil, land, landscape and natural sites including wetlands, coastal and marine areas, biological diversity and its components, including genetically modified organisms, and the interaction among these elements;

(b) factors, such as substances, energy, noise, radiation or waste, including radioactive waste, emissions, discharges and other releases into the environment, affecting or likely to affect the elements of the environment referred to in (a);

(c) measures (including administrative measures), such as policies, legislation, plans, programmes, environmental agreements, and activities affecting or likely to affect the elements and factors referred to in (a) and (b) as well as measures or activities designed to protect those elements;

(d) reports on the implementation of environmental legislation;

(e) cost-benefit and other economic analyses and assumptions used within the framework of the measures and activities referred to in (c); and

(f) the state of human health and safety, including the contamination of the food chain, where relevant, conditions of human life, cultural sites and built structures inasmuch as they are or may be affected by the state of the elements of the environment referred to in (a) or, through those elements, by any of the matters referred to in (b) and (c);

Exceptions under the Environmental Information Regulations are stated to be:

Exceptions to the duty to disclose environmental information
12. – (1) Subject to paragraphs (2), (3) and (9), a public authority may refuse to disclose environmental information requested if –
(a) an exception to disclosure applies under paragraphs (4) or (5); and
(b) in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exception outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

(2) A public authority shall apply a presumption in favour of disclosure.

(3) To the extent that the information requested includes personal data of which the applicant is not the data subject, the personal data shall not be disclosed otherwise than in accordance with regulation 13.

(4) For the purposes of paragraph (1)(a), a public authority may refuse to disclose information to the extent that –
(a) it does not hold that information when an applicant’s request is received;
(b) the request for information is manifestly unreasonable;
(c) the request for information is formulated in too general a manner and the public authority has complied with regulation 9;
(d) the request relates to material which is still in the course of completion, to unfinished documents or to incomplete data; or
(e) the request involves the disclosure of internal communications.

(5) For the purposes of paragraph (1)(a), a public authority may refuse to disclose information to the extent that its disclosure would adversely affect –
(a) international relations, defence, national security or public safety;
(b) the course of justice, the ability of a person to receive a fair trial or the ability of a public authority to conduct an inquiry of a criminal or disciplinary nature;
(c) intellectual property rights;
(d) the confidentiality of the proceedings of that or any other public authority where such confidentiality is provided by law;
(e) the confidentiality of commercial or industrial information where such confidentiality is provided by law to protect a legitimate economic interest;
(f) the interests of the person who provided the information where that person –
(i) was not under, and could not have been put under, any legal obligation to supply it to that or any other public authority;
(ii) did not supply it in circumstances such that that or any other public authority is entitled apart from these Regulations to disclose it; and
(iii) has not consented to its disclosure; or
(g) the protection of the environment to which the information relates.

(6) For the purposes of paragraph (1), a public authority may respond to a request by neither confirming nor denying whether such information exists and is held by the public authority, whether or not it holds such information, if that confirmation or denial would involve the disclosure of information which would adversely affect any of the interests referred to in paragraph (5)(a) and would not be in the public interest under paragraph (1)(b).

(7) For the purposes of a response under paragraph (6), whether information exists and is held by the public authority is itself the disclosure of information.

(8) For the purposes of paragraph (4)(e), internal communications includes communications between government departments.

(9) To the extent that the environmental information to be disclosed relates to information on emissions, a public authority shall not be entitled to refuse to disclose that information under an exception referred to in paragraphs (5)(d) to (g).

(10) For the purposes of paragraphs (5)(b), (d) and (f), references to a public authority shall include references to a Scottish public authority.

(11) Nothing in these Regulations shall authorise a refusal to make available any environmental information contained in or otherwise held with other information which is withheld by virtue of these Regulations unless it is not reasonably capable of being separated from the other information for the purpose of making available that information.

It’s such a pleasure doing business with the Team.


  1. L Nettles
    Posted Mar 9, 2007 at 12:15 PM | Permalink

    There seems to be a presumption that if the information is in electronic form it is to be produced that way. Perhaps you should respond that you prefer the information in digital format.

  2. pj
    Posted Mar 9, 2007 at 12:30 PM | Permalink


    Be forwarned that these clowns have a whole lot of tricks up their sleeve to avoid releasing info. First, they can just deny the request outright, forcing you to sue them for the information. Since your an individual that most likely cannot afford to sue them they’re in the clear. They can also charge you a large fee for the info, which also will be out of your reach. Of course, you can request a waiver of the fee — which incidentally is always granted to enviro groups who can well afford the fee — but don’t hold your breath on that one, especially since your a foreigner. This is just the tip of the abstruction iceberg.

  3. Reid
    Posted Mar 9, 2007 at 12:42 PM | Permalink

    Since the science is settled, you may be rejected under section 12 – 4 “(b) the request for information is manifestly unreasonable;”

  4. fFreddy
    Posted Mar 9, 2007 at 1:36 PM | Permalink

    Of course, if you do have to sue, it might be rather fun to take along Martin Durkin and his little camera.

  5. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Mar 9, 2007 at 1:47 PM | Permalink

    Notwithstanding what other above have said, an honest reading of the Environmental Information Regulations make it quite clear that the information should be released. The only fig-leaf which would fit is 5fiii, but that depends on “disclosure would adversely affect” in 5 being rather loosely interpreted. The actual purpose of 5fiii is to assure that individuals wouldn’t have private information or commercial secrets compromised without agreeing to it. For Jones to make such a claim, it’d mean that he thinks releasing his method of defining the global temperature harms his ability to earn a living. And why would that be the case? If he thinks that others might start to compete with him then it’s more than past time that competetion in the area not just be allowed but be mandated.

  6. Jim Edwards
    Posted Mar 9, 2007 at 2:49 PM | Permalink

    I believe the section 39 exception from FOI is not applicable, because you are only requesting the identification of data collection locations, not the “state” of “elements of the environment.”

    If you had asked for CO2 concentrations or treeline locations, that would seem to be covered by the description “state.”

    If you read the Aarhus treaty, Article 4, Section 3, it is clear that “information” was meant to be distinct from “site” identification.

    Quote: “A request for environmental information may be refused if:

    (h) The environment to which the information relates, such as the
    breeding sites of rare species.”

    Subsection (h), which would have been a suitable basis to deny your request, was not adopted into the section 74 Enviromental Information Regs, and therefore should not be a bar to disclosure under UK law.

    Failure to adopt subsection (h) into regulations can either be interpreted to mean that the UK Secretary intended that the site environs should normally be disclosed, or that the Secretary did not intend to take mere data collection location out of normal FOI Act jurisdiction.

    Either way, you should win.

    Prior UK case law, if any, would, of course, be determinative.

  7. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Mar 9, 2007 at 3:14 PM | Permalink

    Your reading makes sense to me. However, I’m sure that they will be as ingenious as any other bureaucracy. You’d think that somewhere along the line, they’d start to wonder why Jones won’t simply provide the information. After all, I asked Jones for the information and he could simply have provided the information voluntarily or under his obligation as a Nature author. But hey, they’re the Team.

  8. Tim Ball
    Posted Mar 9, 2007 at 3:59 PM | Permalink

    Jones has already said how this would damage his ability to make a living. “We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it.” (Jones’ reply to Warwick Hughes, 21. February 2005; P. Jones later confirmed this.) If faults, malfeasance or just plain incompetence are found his ability to make a living is, or should be, seriously impaired.

  9. John A
    Posted Mar 9, 2007 at 4:20 PM | Permalink

    Re #8:

    Sorry Tim, but when has “faults, malfeasance or just plain incompetence” ever been a hindrance to making a living in academia, especially climate science? I thought they were prerequisites.

  10. Jim Edwards
    Posted Mar 9, 2007 at 4:31 PM | Permalink

    Maybe, if they want to be real obstructionists, the agency will argue that anything that could potentially undermine public confidence in the ‘consensus’ or the IPCC should not be released to the public. [sarcasm]

    See the Regs on Enviro Info:
    (5) For the purposes of paragraph (1)(a), a public authority may refuse to disclose information to the extent that its disclosure would adversely affect –
    (a) international relations, defence, national security or public safety;

    (g) the protection of the environment to which the information relates.

  11. Jim Edwards
    Posted Mar 9, 2007 at 5:00 PM | Permalink

    The Regs on Enviro Info don’t have an exception for Dr. Jones’ desires, if any part of the UK government had a right to the information in question. The use of semicolons with the connector and implies that (f) is a three-part test – all three conditions must be true in order to deny access to Dr. Jones precious site data. If he was obligated to disclose it to the gov’t, the gov’t must disclose it to Steve [see (f)(i), below]. This legal obligation could be a generally applicable law, or the contractual terms of a grant or employment contract. Use your imagination.

    relevant reg:
    (5) For the purposes of paragraph (1)(a), a public authority may refuse to disclose information to the extent that its disclosure would adversely affect –

    c) intellectual property rights; [presumably, these would be defined in the traditional way – not likely relevant, here – JE]
    (e) the confidentiality of commercial or industrial information where such confidentiality is provided by law to protect a legitimate economic interest;[Academic generally does not = commercial or industrial – JE]
    (f) the interests of the person who provided the information where that person –

    (i) was not under, and could not have been put under, any legal obligation to supply it to that or any other public authority;

    (ii) did not supply it in circumstances such that that or any other public authority is entitled apart from these Regulations to disclose it [i.e. – it’s not grossly unfair to the originator]; and

    (iii) has not consented to its disclosure; or

  12. Roger Bell
    Posted Mar 9, 2007 at 5:00 PM | Permalink

    Two or three years ago, I read that the University of East Anglia, Phil Jones’ University, didn’t have a single incoming student who wanted to study Physics. I wonder if that is true for other disciplines.

  13. per
    Posted Mar 9, 2007 at 5:18 PM | Permalink

    (4) For the purposes of paragraph (1)(a), a public authority may refuse to disclose information to the extent that –
    (a) it does not hold that information when an applicant’s request is received;
    (b) the request for information is manifestly unreasonable;

    It is my understanding that (B) can be interpreted in cost terms to be unreasonable. So you can come to a grossly inflated amount of working days to do the work, charge time at ⡵00 per day, and before you know it, you are at a bill of > ⡵k. Then you refuse on cost grounds.

    just saying.

  14. Kevin
    Posted Mar 9, 2007 at 6:53 PM | Permalink

    Hey, you ought to tip off the Washington Post! Just joking.

  15. John Norris
    Posted Mar 9, 2007 at 6:58 PM | Permalink

    I guess that whole Commonwealth thing may have some lasting benefit for Canadians. I doubt that a UK freedom of information act request from a US citizen would get a response.

  16. Pat Frank
    Posted Mar 9, 2007 at 7:28 PM | Permalink

    It seems as though it would be a much easier prospect to put together a just-as-large, just-as-widespread set of sites as Jones had, and do an independent temperature analysis. After all, you know the general regions where Jones took his data, computational technology is vastly approved over 1990, and between Steve M. and Nicholas, an R-based data download and digitizing should be possible in record time.

    Off-hand, with a little distributed effort — Steve M., Warwick Hughes, Nicholas, Willis, Bender, and David Stockwell — it should be possible to produce a new provisional estimate of global temperature trends with an honest, rigorous, and public accounting of methods, data homogeneity, and confidence limits. Especially confidence limts. Especially honest confidence limits. (Are you listening, Prof. Jones?) You guys would make a great team, and it wouldn’t take you all more than a month to produce your first publishable result.

    Why, after all, go through the agony of bureaucratic obstructionism? All you’re likely to end up with is a feeling of righteous frustration. Or, alternatively, with a partial data set after a huge administrative effort. It’s time wasted, and much more could be accomplished in less time if an independent temperature estimate were produced.

    And look: If you did come up with a defensible and transparent global temperature trend, the pressure on Jones to release his data and methods would become well-nigh irresistible. After all, if your methods and data were open and entirely validated, and your trend differed materially from his, then everyone would want to know why Jones got a different result. They’d all already know how you got yours, and your way would be entirely reasonable. Why, then, should his be different? Are his methods unreasonable? Curious people would want to know. And the Team would have no political grounds to refuse. Jones’d be entirely unable to stand on sanctimonious obscurantism, as he does now.

    As a result, you’d get access to all his data and methods anyway. It would come in less time and with less effort, less frustration, much more fun, and the truly constructive result of a new, independent global temperature trend. Plus this added joy: The trans-Atlantic symphonic musicality of East-Anglian teeth grinding. Sometimes shadenfreude occupies the moral high-ground. Geez, think of it — not only a triumph of climate science but a ground-breaking discovery in moral philosophy as well. With all those payoffs, how can you possibly not do it?

    There is nothing like taking the battle to your opponent. In military terms, it’s called getting inside their decision cycle. Force them to respond to your actions for a change. You did it with MM03, Steve. It’s time to do it again.

  17. Joel McDade
    Posted Mar 9, 2007 at 7:47 PM | Permalink

    re #16

    I agree, but won’t hold my breath.

    Anybody know the status of the Bender, Judith, Ellis, et al, article on time series analysis of hurricanes? Jeepers, I still want to see that.

    Best regards.

  18. bruce
    Posted Mar 9, 2007 at 8:06 PM | Permalink

    Re #16: Bravo Pat. Bring it on!

    Even if it were to prove challenging in terms of time, resources etc for the team you have nominated, wouldn’t it be a good project for an enlightened professor at a good university to set his students (post grad or under grad) with perhaps a guiding mentor panel comprised of credible and trustworthy folk such as you suggest.

    I thoroughly agree that it would be the most effective step to take.

    Hey, it may even be possible to access some of those billions of grant moneys available through the good graces of the climate alarmists represented so capably by RC and the Hockey Team.

    And in fact, they should strongly support such an initiative. They continually maintain that their conclusions are supported by sound and robust science. This move would put that beyond doubt in a very quick time.

  19. dover_beach
    Posted Mar 10, 2007 at 1:01 AM | Permalink

    Incredible. Don’t these guys know how bad this looks? Wagons circling.

  20. Andrey Levin
    Posted Mar 10, 2007 at 1:09 AM | Permalink


    Well said, Pat Frank.

    I hope you will be asked to write “Summary for Policymaking” for this independent temperature analysis. It definitively will be fun to read.

  21. Posted Mar 10, 2007 at 2:22 AM | Permalink

    Re: 16

    I think the “deniers” have always been on the back foot which gives the AGW team the advantage in always being able to stay one step ahead. It is always good to be unpredictable as it is always good to be able to think outside the box sometimes. The very thought of this would give Jones etc the shivers if they know there are faults to be found. Can they afford to wait and be found out? If nothing else it makes them think and makes them feel less secure of their ground. I don’t think it should be about tactics but hey they started it and at the moment they are making all the rules. Time for a change. Time for them to be on the back foot.

  22. fFreddy
    Posted Mar 10, 2007 at 3:01 AM | Permalink

    Re #16, Pat Frank

    Why, after all, go through the agony of bureaucratic obstructionism? All you’re likely to end up with is a feeling of righteous frustration.

    With respect, you will also end up with a paper trail of how one of the most fundamental pieces of work in the alarmist canon has violated every rule of public science. Used correctly, I suspect this could be a public relations disaster for the warmers.
    I would strongly encourage Steve to keep pursuing this.

  23. James Lane
    Posted Mar 10, 2007 at 3:30 AM | Permalink

    I would counsel caution. While some of us might be suspicious of Jones’ methods, until the details of those methods, as well as the sites and the data are available, it’s impossible to draw conclusions. I thinkSteve M is approaching the right way – get the data and methods and audit the work. If it comes up short, that’s the time to think about doing it differently.

    I must admit, I was relatively sanguine about the instrumental record until recently, on the basis that both Jones and Hansen, on aggregate, are pretty similar. To find that they’re rather different at a higher resolution is disturbing, as are the nature of post-hoc adjustments to the instrumental data.

  24. John A
    Posted Mar 10, 2007 at 6:44 AM | Permalink

    Re #23

    James, you are correct. Phil Jones may have done a stand-up job in calculating the changes in surface temperatures.

    But we don’t know that for sure.

    It certainly doesn’t lower suspicions when Jones behaves in such a bureaucratic and obstructive manner.

  25. John Lang
    Posted Mar 10, 2007 at 9:15 AM | Permalink

    To understand why it is so important we find out what Dr. Jones actually did with the record, here is a little historical temperature chart from a 1975 National Academy of Sciences report titled “Understanding Climate Change: A Program for Action”. I understand this report was the trigger for the 1975 Newsweek article about the coming ice age that we have noted before.

    Here is the source I linked the picture from. I searched for the NAS report on the net and haven’t found it.

  26. tom
    Posted Mar 10, 2007 at 10:39 AM | Permalink

    Boy, and I always thought the scientific method involved rigorous cross checking of data in the open. What are Jones et al
    afraid of? This is disgusting especially in light of all the political implications on the subject of AGW. I love this weblog!
    Keep up the good work Steve et al.

    I am a 20 yr meteorologist working for a private company here in Minneapolis and just did a talk on the dreaded subject of
    global warming. I think I turned a few heads. It was a well balanced talk, but in the end after I discussed the station data
    drawbacks, solar/cosmic ray influence, ocean circulation issues, co2’s lag in response to temperature changes in the ice core
    data, lack of hurricane/tropical storm AGW signal, fact that sea level rise has been nearly constant for 4000yrs, UHI issues
    etc…well, put it this way the ‘believers’ were shaking their heads and the others had smiles on their faces. “No Al, the science is
    not settled.”

  27. Jim Edwards
    Posted Mar 10, 2007 at 11:07 AM | Permalink


    It’s probably in the Library of Congress, if nowhere else. Did you try MELVYL ? [The University of California library database]

  28. Mark T.
    Posted Mar 10, 2007 at 11:21 AM | Permalink

    I would counsel caution. While some of us might be suspicious of Jones’ methods, until the details of those methods, as well as the sites and the data are available, it’s impossible to draw conclusions. I thinkSteve M is approaching the right way – get the data and methods and audit the work. If it comes up short, that’s the time to think about doing it differently.

    That’s the problem. Steve has been trying to get the data for a loooong time. The FOI is a last resort. If Jones’ methods were sound, and he was a stand up guy, he’d hand the information over _willingly_.


  29. Jean S
    Posted Mar 10, 2007 at 11:58 AM | Permalink

    re #25 (John Lang): That chart is essentially the old Russian NH temperature. The latest version, before Jones and Hansen started co-operating with them, is described in
    Robock, Alan, 1982: The Russian surface temperature data set. J. Appl. Meteorol., 21, 1781-1785.

    Click to access RobockRussianTJAM1982.pdf

    IMHO, the most interesting thing is that they produced a digitalized, gridded (5×10) version of the temperature set, and it was available for the US researchers (see the article for the references). The correponding magnetic tape should also contain some uncorrected data. If someone could dig that up from the archieves, that would be interesting…

  30. Pat Frank
    Posted Mar 10, 2007 at 4:24 PM | Permalink

    #30 — Footnote 3 of Robock 1982 says that, “Copies of the tape are available from Roy Jenne at NCAR, P.O. Box 3000, Boulder, Colorado 80307. According to an October 2002 UCAR web-site here, Jenne, “[moved] 28 years worth of publications and historical documents in preparation for office relocation … from Tower A to Tower B in the NCAR Mesa Lab…”

    The linked story has this extremely interesting further link to NCAR data holdings:

    If you go there, item RJ0194 is “US-Russia Data Exchange Documents, 1986 – 1991.” This document several times mentions 1 tape of 5×10 degree gridded NH temperature data from Russia that cover the dates 1881 to 1975. On page 38 of RJ0194, it appears the Russian NH data tape is item 2.1.6 in the “WDC-B catalog (1988 version).” which is the “Catalogue of Hydrometeorological Data on Magnetic Tapes; World Data Center B; Obninsk, USSR.” It says that copies are at “NCAR and NCDC, Asheville.”

    So, one should now be able to get Robock’s orignal Russian NH temp data set by requesting that specific item from the NCAR archives.

    If those data are still on the original magnetic tapes they’ll be tough to read, and the tape may even be physically degraded by now. On the other hand, a good archivist should have converted old data tapes into more modern media. Anyway, maybe that’s the one, Jean. Given Robock’s mention of Phil Jones’ deep involvement, I’d guess that particular data tape contains the lion’s share of PJ’s NH data through 1975.

    #25, fFreddy, I sympathize with your point but it assumes that Phil Jones releases a full accounting. One shouldn’t hold one’s breath. If some group publishes a new transparently determined NH temperature profile, PJ will almost be forced to release his methods, especially if the new trend differs from his, or else face complete discredit. Calculation of an independent NH temperature profile seems to me to be a far more constructive path to take.

  31. DeWitt Payne
    Posted Mar 10, 2007 at 4:41 PM | Permalink

    Re: #16

    You’re assuming that there is such a thing as a ‘better’ instrumental temperature record compilation. I doubt it. I believe, as apparently does Roger Pielke, Sr. that the information, as opposed to data, simply doesn’t exist. The instrumental record is not, and will not be, fit for the purpose of accurately determining long term temperature changes with any precision without a massive redesign and refit of the system. No amount of processing of historic data can change this. About all we can really say is that it’s warmer now than it was 100 years ago. I don’t believe that it’s even possible to say with any confidence for the whole earth, or even the northern hemisphere, that it’s warmer or colder now than it was in the 1930’s.

  32. Pat Frank
    Posted Mar 10, 2007 at 6:18 PM | Permalink

    #32 — I tend to agree with you that there likely is no good way at all to produce a useful ‘global average temperature.’ Chris Essex and Ross McKitrick make that point in their book, “Taken By Storm.” Possible to do, however, is to treat the available data using valid statistical methods. I.e., those that apply to multiple noisy autocorrelated time series. Steve M., Warwick, & co., could readily do that, and very publicly open their entire methodology to arbitrarily intense scrutiny. The embarassing contrast for Phil Jones could not be made more obvious. I doubt that Jones and the HT could maintain their otherwise adamantine obstructionism in the face of that challenge.

    After getting people’s attention that way, it might even be possible to make your point visible to the public at large, namely that such a global average is almost meaningless. Right now, though, the attention to global temperature is so feverishly irrational that no amount reasoned argument will change most AGW-ized minds. Breaking an emotionally frenzied state often takes a slap. That’s what a new transparent methodologically valid temperature calculation might apply — a shock to the system.

  33. DeWitt Payne
    Posted Mar 10, 2007 at 6:41 PM | Permalink

    #33 I agree that transparency should be required, if only to see how bad the data really is, which, IMO, is the real reason Jones, won’t cooperate. The thermometric record should be subject to the same scrutiny as the satellite MSU data and shouldn’t be considered valid until it is.

  34. Alan H Dale
    Posted Mar 11, 2007 at 4:49 AM | Permalink

    (Sorry, but I don’t understand the ‘tags’ jargon!)

    Re: Mr Jones not wanting to be confused with facts.

    As a former Ministry Approved Advanced Driving Instructor, having been campaigning for universal Police-quality driving and riding for forty years — with Police Roadcraft skills being proven for seventy years — I would be only too happy to hear from anyone decently qualified to bring any deficiencies about same to my notice. In the early 1970s I had to deal with Colonel Blimps who thought the L-test was sufficient. From the 1990s I have been trying to make Transport 2000 & Co understand safer driving via the IAM, but more recently one-time Tory Transport Minister Steve Norris has totally confused me by his prominent membership of both the IAM and Transport 2000. Help!!!!

  35. bernie
    Posted Mar 11, 2007 at 2:20 PM | Permalink

    I suspect that coming up with a new estimate of Global Temperature is going to be somewhat more difficult than seems to be suggested above.
    It seems to me that the care with which Steve, Warwick and others are examining the raw data they can get their hands on, suggests that the data preparation requirements may be very time consuming and expensive. For example if the UHI effect is indeed significant how do you actually partial UHI out of the data series without having some proxy for it attached to the data set? It seems to me that getting the Russian data as Pat suggested may be more more expeditious. Better still why not track others who have used the data and ask them for their data set – it may even be in digitized form. Of course, I am making the optimistic assumption that paranoia is not a pandemic amongst climate researchers.

    Speaking of UHI effects, I am now fixated on the temperature gauge in my car as I travel the 26 miles south from my decidely rural home location to downtown Boston. It has been very cold here. My good faith – but decidely non scientific measurements – suggest that before dawn and after sundown (I have kind of long workdays) when the temperature is in the teens F, there is an 8degree relatively steady gradient (apparently identical in coming and going) that fluctuates with elevation and cold spots – but the end points are essentially comparable in terms of elevation (both less than 100′) and proximity to the water – both approximately within a mile. For those of you who know the area it is Route 1 all the way. If this variability bears anything like the what might happen as weather stations become surrounded by buildings, concrete, asphalt and vegetation then considerable care needs to be taken in constructing a sample.

  36. tom
    Posted Mar 11, 2007 at 2:39 PM | Permalink


    Say again?

  37. bernie
    Posted Mar 11, 2007 at 3:35 PM | Permalink

    I didn’t want to ask? Must be one of the funniest (as in strangest) posts on this site.

  38. tom
    Posted Mar 11, 2007 at 8:36 PM | Permalink

    RE #36

    Bernie, I am the same with my car thermometer. I watch temperatures for a living
    as I am an operational meteorologist and that’s just part of what I do. It is
    amazing how much a temperature can fluctuate from point to point, rural to city,
    hill to valley, forest to grassland etc…micro climates are fascinating to
    me and that is all the meteorological station data represents…a few thousand
    micro-climates construed and statistically forced to represent a GMT. They really

    What meteorological station data is is a measurement of a micro-climate immediately
    surrounding the sensor site. Nothing more. Steve M et al do tremendous work, don’t
    get me wrong and I hope they continue in robust fashion,
    but statistically analyzing and assessing non homogenous data
    sets (let’s be frank, it’s nearly impossible to have a homogenous data set with
    all of the changes that may, and do occur at each individual station over time)
    and churning out a temperature series shows you the station data series, not a
    global mean temperature series as it is claimed to represent. think most here will
    agree with that statement, it’s just that it has been said so often now that
    this station data represents a GMT and that this GMT has changed by roughly .6C (+/-.2C) in 150yrs that is
    accepted, but it should be questioned. And the data and methodology should be
    out in the open and shared is sinister.

  39. Louis Hissink
    Posted Mar 12, 2007 at 12:44 AM | Permalink



    You are quite right about the temperature record – I’ve been logging temperature at 1 minute intervals, (Warwick gets the data once I download it from the logger), and quite frankly trying to make sense of the data is a veritable nightmare. There are so many variables affecting the microclimate around the sensor that I douobt aggregating a number of them would make any sense.

    The only sensible global temperature estimate I heard was from a geochemist who said that one uses a satellite and takes an IR image of the earth at one point in time, and repeat it 1 year later.

    The more data I record, the less confident I become of actually knowiong how to estimate a GMT.

    AS for the Bureacratic waffle John published above, gee, not too different to the hurdles we now face in Western Australia trying to get EPA approval for mineral exploration – glaciers flow faster.

  40. DW
    Posted Mar 12, 2007 at 1:51 AM | Permalink

    If it came to it, I wonder if the Sunday Telegraph might not do the numbers on this one: i.e they could make an FOI request and then report the series of events which take place. It would certainly make UEA sit up and take note when the bad publicity comes in. When I outline what is going on to my own (science) students they are aghast that the very nature of science is being corrupted by this attitude.

    On the other hand, the more that they discover the more they are sceptical of the findings. The refusal to release information is creating sceptics….

  41. bruce
    Posted Mar 12, 2007 at 3:20 AM | Permalink

    Re #41: DW, I absolutely agree with you. But it would be great to develop some real evidence for your proposition. Can I suggest that you organise a poll of your students so as to determine their attitudes towards the debate.

  42. bernie
    Posted Mar 12, 2007 at 6:17 AM | Permalink

    As to a single measure of GMT I am not even sure that single point in time and single aspect satellite measure will suffice. There is no reason to assume that local conditions would not also effect satellite measures. I think it does require essentially the painstaking work that Warwick and Steve and others are engaged in, including a more careful and standardized definition of the conditions of the measurement stations. As to paleoclimatology, I think it boils down to a false precision error and they simply can’t do what they claim to do.
    I have just been reading Aaron Wildavsky’s great book for empiricists and skeptics: “But is it true?” , where he looks at a string of supposedly supposedly science based crises and demonstrates how the facts were distorted to “sell” a crisis. The work being done by folks driving this site is essential to moving our understanding of climate forward by insisting on an accurate detailing of how conclusions were generated. In reality, the real power of what they are doing is to demand that climate scientists put their data on record so that others can verify their conclusions. It is that simple. If Steve and Warwick find AGW I am pretty confident we will all know because they are putting their data into the public
    All this reminds me of that great scene in Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto where the high priests, having slaughtered a bunch of people not like them, use an eclipse to reinforce their hold on the masses. Steve et al are guys in the crowd pointing out exactly what the high priests are doing by asking the “cui bono” question and/or by using the same data used by the high priests. When the skeptics come to town things can become a bit scary for the high priests, don’t you know.

  43. Posted Mar 12, 2007 at 1:58 PM | Permalink

    Can I make a few observations here.
    Starting with 16 of Pat Frank.
    I think you are too optimistic Pat thinking “ wouldn’t take you all more than a month to produce your first publishable result.” We simply can not get the data, unless we wanted to end our study period in the mid 1990’s.
    If I can lay my hands on all the updated Russian data from their Met people I would work on down that road, that’s where the lions share of GW is.

    #23 James Lane said, “..until the details of those methods, as well as the sites and the data are available, it’s impossible to draw conclusions.”
    What we do know about Jones et al methods we have to glean from his most well documented work in 1986. A “phone book sized” compilation of comments on thousands of stations together with statements on their methods was printed by CDIAC to add to the rather short papers put out in the climate journal.
    See my pages,
    As I have said before, the best way to grasp what Jones et al did is to read the 1988 critique by Wood and the Wigley & Jones reply, all scanned at;
    W & J claimed Wood was in error on 9 points and I comment on these in a Table.
    I have never seen a better source to understand what Jones et al have done than this 1988 exchange.

    Thanks to Jean S and Pat #30 and 31 for the history.

    #32 DeWitt Payne says: “You’re assuming that there is such a thing as a better’ instrumental temperature record compilation. I doubt it. I believe, as apparently does Roger Pielke, Sr. that the information, as opposed to data, simply doesn’t exist. etc”.
    I am not sure what exactly Roger Pielke, Sr has said but it is true that the really rural data, where the truth about regional T trends is to be found, have more serious quality issues than metro data. A diagram illustrating this perfectly is linked off my post, Feb 2006, “San Juan Puerto Rico, EXACTLY how UHI warming can get into global gridded T trends.”
    Here is the link to Fig 4 from Duchon 1986;

    which illustrates EXACTLY what Jones et al so often did wrong. They included the UHI affected trend from San Juan with its conveniently more complete data and under-represented the other less perfect data, which probably holds trends that more accurately reflect regional trends.
    So, reality is the IPCC trend can be seen with clarity and against GW propaganda it is difficult to sell the notion that the the truth lies in glimpsing the trend in those other data fragments.

    In 1994 I put in months of work compiling rural data from Eastern Australia;
    and came up with a trend well under (~0.05 deg per decade) that approved by the Jones et al 1990 Letter to Nature for Eastern Australia, see the Plummer series in this Figure.

    For now.

  44. BradH
    Posted Mar 13, 2007 at 4:56 AM | Permalink

    My prediction: Jones will say, “It’s been a long time and I can’t locate it. I looked – believe me, I looked – but it’s nowhere to be found.”

  45. Posted Mar 13, 2007 at 5:23 AM | Permalink

    Here is my analysis for Paris relative to Uccle, correction for UHI and inhomogeneities

    reduces the Jones trend from 0.98 K/century to 0.76 K/century

  46. John M
    Posted Apr 18, 2007 at 6:01 PM | Permalink

    Tried to post this on a different thread a few minutes ago and got bounced by the spam filter. I’ll try again here since this looks more on topic anyway.

    With regard to disclosure of data, the most recent issue of Nature has an editorial aimed at drug research. (“Addicted to secrecy,” Nature 446, 832 (19 April 2007), available here if you have a subscription or want to give your credit card a workout.) Although it was prompted by some legal decisions, where as part of the agreement, plaintiffs and drug companies agreed to have relevant documents sealed, the subject seems topical with regard to climate research as well.

    This is a quote highlighted in the article:

    Scientific bodies have an interest in ensuring that as many public-health data as possible are released into the public domain.

    It would seem to me that with all the claims being made about the adverse effect of climate change, publications such as Nature and Science ought to demand as much transparency from climate researchers as they demand for the medical-related studies they report on and publish.

    The article closes with this paragraph:

    The industry’s reputation, as well as the public good, will benefit in the long run from arrangements that get pertinent information about drug safety into the public domain as quickly as possible. Global registers of clinical-trial results are probably the most pressing requirement here. But less court-imposed secrecy around public health would also be a positive step, in part by helping to ensure that companies are fully complying with such registers.

    John M (with a space), not to be confused with JohnM (no space)

  47. Posted Nov 28, 2009 at 7:12 AM | Permalink

    This blog is awesome!

  48. Headshake
    Posted Nov 28, 2009 at 2:11 PM | Permalink

    Well, gee, this makes everything okay:

    CRU shows us where to get “the data.”

3 Trackbacks

  1. By The FOI Myth #2 « Climate Audit on Dec 29, 2009 at 8:36 PM

    […] et al 1990 On Feb 22, 2007, I submitted an FOI request to CRU for station lists and data for three networks (Russia, China, Australia) used in Jones et al […]

  2. By East Anglia Refusal Letter « Climate Audit on Dec 4, 2010 at 1:13 PM

    […] week, I reported on my progress (or rather lack of progress) in identifying the stations used in Jones et al 1990 on […]

  3. […] reported on these exchanges last year, commencing with my initial request to Phil Jones on Feb 22, 2007, their first refusal and my concurrent request for re-consideration on the grounds […]

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