Phil Jones and Sitka, Alaska

I wa reading through Rob Wilson’s article on Gulf of Alaska ring widths and the following sentence caught my eye:

Mean temperature data for Sitka (1832—1887), that are not included in the GHCN archive, were also obtained (Phil Jones personal communication).

You may recall CRU’s refusal letter to Willis Eschenbach, one of a number of recent formal refusals by CRU to even identify their sites, much less provide their data. In that letter, CRU said:

We have sent all our data to GHCN, so they do, in fact, possess all our data.

Did Phil Jones send all his data to GHCN or not? If he did, why isn’t it included in the GHCN archive? There is 19th century data for Sitka in the GHCN archive: so what’s the difference between this data and Rob’s data? If it’s different, what’s the reason for the difference? If it’s the same, what did Jones mean when he told Rob Wilson that he had provided him with data that was “not included in the GHCN archive”? Rob criticizes me for being confused. Sometimes it’s hard not to be.

I’ll add that Rob Wilson has nothing to do with CRU refusing to disclose what stations they used, and, I’m sure that, if it were up to him, CRU would disclose this information even to people who aren’t “friends”.


  1. Jim Edwards
    Posted Mar 22, 2007 at 1:26 PM | Permalink

    Perhaps you should send a letter to Mr. Palmer at UEA notifying him of this while he is still addressing your ‘appeal.’

  2. Louis Hissink
    Posted Mar 23, 2007 at 5:23 AM | Permalink


    I sometimes wonder whether human frailty is behind some of the issues with data archiving.

    Equally ignorance of the issues is another factor – many academics are where they are because they are too smart to be employed in the commecercial world, mainly because we can’t afford them.

    And then simple stupidity comes to mind –

  3. Posted Mar 24, 2007 at 2:25 PM | Permalink

    The meanadj file from GHCNV2 that I have has usable SITKA data only from 1851, there are lines for 1829 and 1839 but these have mostly missing months.
    Jones et al 1986 had usable data from 1833 but the GHCN data looks very different.

    GISS only show data from 1881. See graphic.
    It would be interesting to see Rob Wilson’s Sitka data plotted too.
    I have had a quick look on various AK and western sites but can not find data through to end 2006 but its probably out there.

  4. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Mar 24, 2007 at 4:16 PM | Permalink

    It seems to be impossible to turn over any stone in this field without finding some kind of problem. It’s amazing, isn’t it. I can understand the problems with the data, that’s fair enough. But how anyone can look at this sort of graph and say that they know things to within a tenth of degree?

  5. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Mar 24, 2007 at 4:24 PM | Permalink

    Warwick, here is Rob Wilson’s Sitka excerpt. It looks somewhat like the Jones 1986 cersion – I wonder why that isn’t in GHCN.

  6. JerryB
    Posted Mar 25, 2007 at 6:15 AM | Permalink

    The GHCN raw mean file includes two sets of Sitka data
    which include most months of the 1830s and 1840s, but there
    are differences between the corresponding numbers of the
    two sets.

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