Phil Jones: “No global warming since 1995”

Professor Phil Jones

From the Mail Online today comes an incredible turnaround from a scientist at the centre of research into global warming for the past 20 years. Following the Climategate release of emails, he now says there’s been no global warming since 1995 and there is doubt that the Medieval Warm Period was cooler than today. But until recently these points were part of the “unequivocal evidence” for anthropogenic global warming (AGW) and were never denied. These admissions are fatal to the theory of AGW. It cannot survive.

The academic at the centre of the ‘Climategate’ affair, whose raw data is crucial to the theory of climate change, has admitted that he has trouble ‘keeping track’ of the information.

Colleagues say that the reason Professor Phil Jones has refused Freedom of Information requests is that he may have actually lost the relevant papers.

Professor Jones told the BBC yesterday there was truth in the observations of colleagues that he lacked organisational skills, that his office was swamped with piles of paper and that his record keeping is ‘not as good as it should be’.

The data is crucial to the famous ‘hockey stick graph’ used by climate change advocates to support the theory.

Professor Jones also conceded the possibility that the world was warmer in medieval times than now – suggesting global warming may not be a man-made phenomenon.

And he said that for the past 15 years there has been no ‘statistically significant’ warming.

The admissions will be seized on by sceptics as fresh evidence that there are serious flaws at the heart of the science of climate change and the orthodoxy that recent rises in temperature are largely man-made.

  • Data for ‘hockey stick’ graph has gone missing
  • There has been no global warming since 1995
  • Warming periods have happened before – but NOT due to man-made changes

Professor Jones has been in the spotlight since he stepped down as director of the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit after the leaking of emails that sceptics claim show scientists were manipulating data.

Accused of scientific fraud

The raw data, collected from hundreds of weather stations around the world and analysed by his unit, has been used for years to bolster efforts by the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to press governments to cut carbon dioxide emissions.

Following the leak of the emails, Professor Jones has been accused of ‘scientific fraud’ for allegedly deliberately suppressing information and refusing to share vital data with critics.

Discussing the interview, the BBC’s environmental analyst Roger Harrabin said he had spoken to colleagues of Professor Jones who had told him that his strengths included integrity and doggedness but not record-keeping and office tidying.

Mr Harrabin, who conducted the interview for the BBC’s website, said the professor had been collating tens of thousands of pieces of data from around the world to produce a coherent record of temperature change.

That material has been used to produce the ‘hockey stick graph’ which is relatively flat for centuries before rising steeply in recent decades.

Regrets refusal to share data

According to Mr Harrabin, colleagues of Professor Jones said ‘his office is piled high with paper, fragments from over the years, tens of thousands of pieces of paper, and they suspect what happened was he took in the raw data to a central database and then let the pieces of paper go because he never realised that 20 years later he would be held to account over them’.

Asked by Mr Harrabin about these issues, Professor Jones admitted the lack of organisation in the system had contributed to his reluctance to share data with critics, which he regretted.

Hockey Stick graph

But he denied he had cheated over the data or unfairly influenced the scientific process, and said he still believed recent temperature rises were predominantly man-made.

Asked about whether he lost track of data, Professor Jones said: ‘There is some truth in that. We do have a trail of where the weather stations have come from but it’s probably not as good as it should be.

Some 20th Century warming “natural”

‘There’s a continual updating of the dataset. Keeping track of everything is difficult. Some countries will do lots of checking on their data then issue improved data, so it can be very difficult. We have improved but we have to improve more.’

He also agreed that there had been two periods which experienced similar warming, from 1910 to 1940 and from 1975 to 1998, but said these could be explained by natural phenomena whereas more recent warming could not.

Bombshell – no warming for 15 years

He further admitted that in the last 15 years there had been no ‘statistically significant’ warming, although he argued this was a blip rather than the long-term trend.

And he said that the debate over whether the world could have been even warmer than now during the medieval period, when there is evidence of high temperatures in northern countries, was far from settled.

Sceptics believe there is strong evidence that the world was warmer between about 800 and 1300 AD than now because of evidence of high temperatures in northern countries.

Admits to debate over MWP

But climate change advocates have dismissed this as false or only applying to the northern part of the world.

Professor Jones departed from this consensus when he said: ‘There is much debate over whether the Medieval Warm Period was global in extent or not. The MWP is most clearly expressed in parts of North America, the North Atlantic and Europe and parts of Asia.

‘For it to be global in extent, the MWP would need to be seen clearly in more records from the tropical regions and the Southern hemisphere. There are very few palaeoclimatic records for these latter two regions.

‘Of course, if the MWP was shown to be global in extent and as warm or warmer than today, then obviously the late 20th Century warmth would not be unprecedented. On the other hand, if the MWP was global, but was less warm than today, then the current warmth would be unprecedented.’

Sceptics said this was the first time a senior scientist working with the IPCC had admitted to the possibility that the Medieval Warming Period could have been global, and therefore the world could have been hotter then than now.

Jones’s excuses ring hollow

Professor Jones criticised those who complained he had not shared his data with them, saying they could always collate their own from publicly available material in the US. And he said the climate had not cooled ‘until recently – and then barely at all. The trend is a warming trend’.

Mr Harrabin told Radio 4’s Today programme that, despite the controversies, there still appeared to be no fundamental flaws in the majority scientific view that climate change was largely man-made.

But Dr Benny Pieser, director of the sceptical Global Warming Policy Foundation, said Professor Jones’s ‘excuses’ for his failure to share data were hollow as he had shared it with colleagues and ‘mates’.

He said that until all the data was released, sceptics could not test it to see if it supported the conclusions claimed by climate change advocates.

He added that the professor’s concessions over medieval warming were ‘significant’ because they were his first public admission that the science was not settled.

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19 Thoughts on “Phil Jones: “No global warming since 1995”

  1. JC on 15/02/2010 at 9:23 pm said:

    Jones is doing the same thing as Niwa.. challenging his critics to recreate their own data from supposed publicly available information “elsewhere”.

    This misses a big point.. neither he nor Niwa are actually taking direct ownership of methods and data that they have used to come up with their scare stories. This is the old “plausible denial” that the politician uses to keep himself one step removed from some embarrassing thing he has been associated with.

    In Niwa’s case, it must be forced to take ownership of it’s employee’s (Salinger) data, adjustments and conclusions so that there’s no wriggle room.


    • I think they’ve made a good start on accepting that responsibility. They replied to the OIA request, promised to reconstruct the adjustments and delivered Hokitika’s. In the process they’ve treated our scientists with deep disrespect and they fail to acknowledge thirty years of obstruction, but we have to start somewhere.

      Of course, the important, the oh so important point, is that the national temperature record, that contributes to the global record, is getting a proper examination for the very first time.

  2. Richard “treated our scientists with deep disrespect”.

    I would suggest that you forcing your scientists to remain anonymous is treating thyem with disrespect. i am surprised they put up with it.

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  4. OK – they treat themselves with disrespect.

    However, Doug Edmeades is an old mate of mine. We worked together for years. We have both experienced the sort of unethical attack on our research that you have directed against honest NIWA scientists.

    I don’t believe Doug would go along with this rubbish, and agree to anonymity, if he had a choice. (We have both had anonymity and silence forced on us before).

    I believe that Doug and any other scientists involved are being forced to toe the party line – unless you can prove otherwise. It is just not the sort of bizarre behaviour scientists exhibit voluntarily.

    Usually they are proud of their work and you just can’t shut them up.

    A nbit like the way you treat NIWA.

    Mind you with more reason – from experience I have no reasons to trust your words.

    Mind you I can understand why they would want to wash their hands of your silly report.

    Why don’t you give them permission to do so honestly?

    • You’re lowering the tone again, Ken. Stop it and contribute to the conversation or your comments will be binned.

  5. Richard – [deleted]

    Your report described itself as paper coming out of a research project [deleted]

    Then you claimed that the report didn’t involve scientists and that it did not need scientific checking, although your organisations included several well known scientists, some of whom had read the report!

    I inquired directly of Vincent Gray and found that in fact he and several other scientists had been given the report specifically for checking and approval, not to work on. (Later Gray admitted to having missed the mistake regarding site effects – so much for his checking!).

    Subsequently you said “If Dr Gray says the report was circulated in the manner he describes, then it’s true. I cannot tell you who reviewed the study.” [deleted]

    Finally you said “I collated the study. The scientific team wish to remain anonymous.”

    So we go from no scientific involvement (perhaps some scientists read it) to a “scientific team.” [deleted]

    I have yet to meet a scientist unprepared to discuss their work. Especially when it has been criticised as fundamentally flawed, as this report has.

    I don’t believe your claims.

    Perhaps no scientifically qualified people were involved.The report itself is shonky – I wouldn’t want my name associated with such fundamental errors.

    But at least if I had committed those errors I would apologise and withdraw them.

    No ethically motivated scientist would produce this report and then remain anonymous – unless they were obliged to by the organisation.

    However, if there were scientists involved and they feel they need to defend or explain their involvement they are welcome to contact me confidentially. I would love to hear their side of this sorry saga.

    • Ken,

      You sent me a reasonable-sounding private email asking for an update. I started to write a reply. Now you send this abusive public message. Do you want two replies from me – one private and moderate, the other public and inflammatory?

      I’m not going to do that, Ken. I shall reply here and your private messages will henceforth be discarded. The idea, Ken, is always to converse in reasonable terms and on logical grounds. Any of your statements not complying with those simple standards will be deleted.

      Your apparent desire to stimulate blog traffic through the deliberate use of controversy and invective is not shared by me. I have tolerated it for the sake of continuing a relationship with you but now I will not.

      The constant whine of the slurs and personal invective is toxic to everyone who hears it. It will stop. I have deleted offensive passages from this last message from you but I will not continue deleting passages for ever. At some point I will ban you from this Climate Conversation.

  6. Ken,

    In your email dated 10 Feb 2010, you said:

    I am currently sifting through data from the NIWA site that you presumably used in your report “Are we [feeling] warmer yet?”

    One of the things I wish to do is replicate your figure 2.

    I have been able to recreate NIWA’s figure from their description. However there is no explanation of the technique you used to create your figure.

    Could you please send me a description of the technique? Particularly:

    What data you used to establish a 1970-2000 average?
    How do you handle the fact that there is no data for all that period from some of the stations?
    Did you just use the 1970-200 averages calculated by NIWA?
    Did you calculate the 1970-2000 Data after combining all the sites?
    How did you combine data for all the sites? Did you just take a simple average of available data or did you reconstruct data for times they were not available?
    If you used the reconstruction method, could you describe how this was done?
    If you used the averaging method how did you compensate for missing sites at earlier times?

    Actually, a copy of your spreadsheet would probably clarify your procedures for me.

    As you can guess, I love playing with data. However, I do want to make sure I have we are on the same track with this.

    We said we were interested in what you had done to recreate NIWA’s figure. One comment I heard was “He should send it to NIWA, too, so they learn how to do it.” Anyway, we asked for your spreadsheet.

    But when we looked at it you hadn’t done anything.

    You claimed you tried to reproduce our unadjusted graph and couldn’t, hence the need for our methods. But we see no evidence that you’ve taken the trouble to download anything from CliFlo to generate your own unadjusted graph.

    Hence you lied to us – all you did was download NIWA’s published summary of the adjusted data and give it to us. Of course you couldn’t recreate our unadjusted graph with those adjusted data. We were going to help you generate your own unadjusted graph, assuming you were prepared to look at it objectively. But you have shown you aren’t a serious researcher in this, and due to your almost constant stream of invective and personal insults, we owe you nothing.

    If you reply to this, keep to the topic or suffer the consequences. But from now on our discussions are in the open and good-humoured, even as we disagree.

    Ken, if you just leave all the rubbish out of it, we’d be pleased to have a conversation. That’s why I run this blog.


  7. Calm down Richard. Everything is straightforward.

    Of course you don’t see any evidence of my downloading the unadjusted data – you are not looking over my shoulder. You are just trying to create confusion by purposely mixing up the spreadsheet I sent you using adjusted data (where I checked out claims made by NO MINISTER), with the one I am currently using to investigate your graph. (Using the unadjusted data). Quite different spreadsheets.

    I assure you I have the adjusted data, have had a preliminary attempt at combining data but recognise that because the data is unadjusted using a baseline of 1971-2001 will introduce errors unless I accommodate the site differences somehow.

    You have produced a graph of anomalies – with no description of methodology. Hence my questions.

    Now the simplest thing to do is either provide me the detail in my questions or provide me the spreadsheet you promised. I can then determine from this the methodology used.

    Why go around and around? It just starts to look suspicious? Have you something to hide?

    What is your current stance? Will you provide me with the spreadsheet or methodology description?

    I don’t want a conversation (you deny me the right to talk to anyone in your “science team” and you clearly don’t understand the details). I want the methodology.

    Or are you reneging on your commitments?

  8. Well, Richard. Are you?

  9. Ken,

    No, not really, because we thought we were getting from you a spreadsheet showing what you had done. We got nothing of the sort, so we’re not giving you ours.

    Anyway, what’s hard about what we’ve done? The first graph is NIWA’s adjusted data from their web site, only it doesn’t tell you the data has been adjusted, nor what the adjustments are, nor why they were made. So it has no scientific value or standing whatsoever.

    The second graph is our combination of the seven temperature stations. It’s all right as far as it goes, but it’s less interesting than and not as important as the individual station graphs, showing the specific adjustments and when they were made. They are readily reproducible from the data NIWA make available.

    And boy are they interesting! You can see for yourself what NIWA (or Dr Salinger, to be precise) has done at each site, though not why he did it.

    It is remarkable that every single change he made (except one, at Dunedin) had the effect of either introducing a warming trend when the data actually showed cooling, or increasing the existing warming trend.

    Amazing! We’d like to know the reasons for that, and that’s the end of it.

    NIWA are beginning to respond.

    Please move on and stop repeating yourself.


  10. Richard, could you please confirm your respose clearly to my simple request
    in an email.

    I will move on when we have clarity. Do I get the promised information ( explanation of your methodology) or not?

    • Ken,

      Don’t be silly. When I say “so you’re not getting ours” there is nothing clearer. Our methodology is beside the point.

      Now do something useful and address those pesky station graphs.

  11. I wiill send you an email tomorrow.

    I want a proper statement – not something you will deny later.

  12. Boston Mark on 19/07/2010 at 3:29 am said:

    “There has been no global warming since 1995”
    “Warming periods have happened before – but NOT due to man-made changes”

    No global warming? No kidding?
    But Al Gore says there is! You mean to tell me that Al Gore is just another slime-bag politician, who “cooked the books” to suit a phony globalist agenda, and line his pockets with billions of dollars? Say it isn’t so!

    Global warming is about one thing, and one thing only; MONEY!

    “Former Vice President Al Gore has built a Green money-making machine capable of eventually generating billions of dollars for investors, including himself, but he set it up so that the average Joe can’t afford to play on Gore’s terms. And the US portion is headed up by a former Gore staffer and fund raiser who previously ran afoul of both the FEC and the DOJ, before Janet Reno jumped in and shut down an investigation during the Clinton years.”

    “Gore is chairman of the firm Generation Investment Management. He presumably, draws an income or will make money as its investments prosper. In other words, he “buys” his “carbon offsets” from himself, through a transaction designed to boost his own investments and return a profit to himself. To be blunt, Gore doesn’t buy “carbon offsets” through Generation Investment Management – he buys stocks.”

    “Fascinating. So, as Dr. Global Warming travels the world in his private jet while spending 20 times the average American on energy for his home, all the time telling us its okay because he’s buying carbon offsets, he’s actually purchasing these investments from himself.”

    Read more:

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