Siberian temperatures are an interesting case study in CRU gatekeeping. As reported a few days ago here, in an email of Mar 31, 2004, Jones advised Climategate correspondent Michael Mann that he had “gone to town” in his rejection reviews of submissions criticizing CRU’s handling of Siberian temperatures.
Today, in a Climate Audit exclusive, we provide you with the rejected paper (by Lars Kamél), one which seems like it would have been a useful contribution to the peerreviewedlitchurchur.
Jones’ Climategate statement was:
Recently rejected two papers (one for JGR and for GRL) from people saying CRU has it wrong over Siberia. Went to town in both reviews, hopefully successfully. If either appears I will be very surprised, but you never know with GRL.
In the subsequent comments, Lars Kamél reported that his 2004 submission to GRL on Siberian temperatures was almost certainly one of the two articles on Siberia where Jones’ adverse reviews had prevented publication.
Kamél sent me a copy of the 2004 submission which I’ve placed online here.
Kamél applied the homogenization technique of Vincent (1998) – used for Canadian station data – to a network of stations in southern Siberia around Lake Baikal (90−130 E; 40−75 N). Kamél reported that in the innermost portion of this region (100−120 E, 50−65 N):
the number of stations increased from 8 in 1901 to 23 in 1951 and then decreased to 12 from 1989 to present. Only four stations, those at Irkutsk, Bratsk, Chita and Kirensk, cover the entire 20th century.
He speculated that the reason for the difference was that CRU contained “too little correction for urban warming”:
The reason for the differences, compared to the CRU calculation, is not known, but probably it is because the CRU compilation contains too little correction for urban warming. It is unlikely that the small modifications made to Vincent’s method could have created any non−climate cooling trend. There is at least one further reason to believe that the mean region had a very small warming in this period. There is one “rural” location (< 10,000 inhabitants), Kirensk, that have a record which covers the entire period. This record shows no significant temperature change at all.
From this spot check, Kamél recommended that the surface record be checked “in more regions and even globally”:
The result presented here does, however, suggest that the surface record should be checked in more regions and even globally.
Kamél said in his email that he no longer had the reviews, but still had his response to review comments here).
On Dec 15 2009, after noting the availability of new data from the UK Hadley Center in the wake of Climategate, IEA in Russia reported that CRU’s selection of Siberian stations “exaggerated” warming and recommended recalculation of CRU results:
IEA analysts say climatologists use the data of stations located in large populated centers that are influenced by the urban-warming effect more frequently than the correct data of remote stations… The scale of global warming was exaggerated due to temperature distortions for Russia accounting for 12.5% of the world’s land mass. The IEA said it was necessary to recalculate all global-temperature data in order to assess the scale of such exaggeration.
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.
As I’ve noted on other occasions, it seems evident to me that temperatures have warmed since the 19th century. Personally I’m more interested in the comparison to the 11th century. However, as a matter of craftsmanship, it seems to me that one can reasonably inquire into the allocation of 20th century warming between the period leading up to the 1930s and the modern period.
CRU’s policies of obstructing critical articles in the peer-reviewed literature and withholding data from critics have unfortunately placed issues into play that might otherwise have been settled long ago.
In this case, as with interference torts, it’s hard to assess the precise damage of the interference. In the case of another paper (Aufhammer et al ), obstruction has delayed publication of the paper by six years but the authors are still endeavouring to get the paper into print. This was not the case with the Kamél paper; Kamél himself had abandoned the field.
Perhaps publication of Kamél’s paper would have inspired others to critically examine the CRU temperature data. And perhaps no problems would have been encountered.
However, as long as obstruction and withholding incidents mar the research record, it’s premature to claim, as Allen and von Storch did recently in a prominent trade journal that there are “no grounds” to question the validity of the CRU temperature history.