Global Temperature Records – Above the Law

As a young man doing research, the first thing we learned was to record our raw data in detail. Results must be reproducible from scratch or you are not doing science. Requests by people to see this data are always granted to a reasonable degree because reproducibility is key. The reason that people are so interested in global temperatures is that the large positive adjustments to the records provide most of the signal in the GISS global temperature record. In the case of the case of the more popular, higher slope CRU record, we don’t know what ‘adjustments’ were made to these records.

For years people have been asking CRU to explain their global temperature record with no success. All requests for data and methods by reasoned experts were stonewalled. It got so bad that people started issuing freedom of information act requests for the data. To counter that Phil Jones colluded with government officials to ignore the law. This thread is about temperature record reproduction rather than FOIA so I bolded the important bit and decided to leave the emails up so you can see the DOT GOV’S of the people who were notified of this apparently illegal activity.

From: Phil Jones <>
To:, Tom Wigley <>
Subject: Re: Schles suggestion
Date: Wed Dec 3 13:57:09 2008
Cc: mann <>, Gavin Schmidt <>, Karl Taylor <>, peter gleckler <>

When the FOI requests began here, the FOI person said we had to abide
by the requests. It took a couple of half hour sessions – one at a screen, to convince
them otherwise

showing them what CA was all about. Once they became aware of the types of people we were
dealing with, everyone at UEA (in the registry and in the Environmental Sciences school
– the head of school and a few others) became very supportive. I’ve got to know the FOI
person quite well and the Chief Librarian – who deals with appeals. The VC is also
aware of what is going on – at least for one of the requests, but probably doesn’t know
the number we’re dealing with. We are in double figures.

One issue is that these requests aren’t that widely known within the School. So
I don’t know who else at UEA may be getting them. CRU is moving up the ladder of
requests at UEA though – we’re way behind computing though. We’re away of
requests going to others in the UK – MOHC, Reading, DEFRA and Imperial College.
So spelling out all the detail to the LLNL management should be the first thing
you do. I hope that Dave is being supportive at PCMDI.
The inadvertent email I sent last month has led to a Data Protection Act request sent by
a certain Canadian, saying that the email maligned his scientific credibility with his
If he pays 10 pounds (which he hasn’t yet) I am supposed to go through my emails
and he can get anything I’ve written about him. About 2 months ago I deleted loads of
emails, so have very little – if anything at all.
This legislation is different from the
it is supposed to be used to find put why you might have a poor credit rating !
In response to FOI and EIR requests, we’ve put up some data – mainly paleo data.
Each request generally leads to more – to explain what we’ve put up. Every time, so
far, that hasn’t led to anything being added – instead just statements saying read
what is in the papers and what is on the web site! Tim Osborn sent one such
response (via the FOI person) earlier this week. We’ve never sent programs, any codes
and manuals.
In the UK, the Research Assessment Exercise results will be out in 2 weeks time.
These are expensive to produce and take too much time, so from next year we’ll
be moving onto a metric based system. The metrics will be # and amounts of grants,
papers and citations etc. I did flippantly suggest that the # of FOI requests you get
should be another.
When you look at CA, they only look papers from a handful of
people. They will start on another coming out in The Holocene early next year. Gavin
and Mike are on this with loads of others. I’ve told both exactly what will appear on
CA once they get access to it!


At 04:53 AM 5/9/2008, you wrote:

Mike, Ray, Caspar,

A couple of things – don’t pass on either.

[snip – long discussion of adjusting SST to be warmer. I wonder why it wasn’t to be forwarded.]

2. You can delete this attachment if you want. Keep this quiet also, but
this is the person who is putting in FOI requests for all emails Keith and Tim
have written and received re Ch 6 of AR4. We think we’ve found a way
around this.

Prof. Phil Jones


Phil Jones said the following on 6/19/2007 4:22 AM:

Wei-Chyung and Tom,
The Climate Audit web site has a new thread on the Jones et al. (1990)
paper, with lots of quotes from Keenan. So they may not be going to
submit something to Albany. Well may be?!?
Just agreed to review a paper by Ren et al. for JGR. This refers
to a paper on urbanization effects in China, which may be in press
in J. Climate. I say ‘may be’ as Ren isn’t that clear about this in
the text, references and responses to earlier reviews. Have requested
JGR get a copy a copy of this in order to do the review.
In the meantime attaching this paper by Ren et al. on urbanization
at two sites in China.
Nothing much else to say except:
1. Think I’ve managed to persuade UEA to ignore all further FOIA
requests if the people have anything to do with Climate Audit.
2. Had an email from David Jones of BMRC, Melbourne. He said
they are ignoring anybody who has dealings with CA, as there are
threads on it about Australian sites.
3. CA is in dispute with IPCC (Susan Solomon and Martin Manning)
about the availability of the responses to reviewer’s at the various
stages of the AR4 drafts. They are most interested here re Ch 6 on

So recently the media picked up on the fact that CRU deleted the raw data for this important global temperature set long ago. We’ have known this for some time now. The interesting point is that it also seems each time they come across a new dataset it is simply replaced. So what we have is a process which allows the systematic choosing of ever warmer records over time which is so convoluted nobody can figure out what really happened.

Comment by Prof. Phil Jones
> <;, Director, Climatic
> Research Unit (CRU), and Professor, School of Environmental Sciences,
> University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK:
> No one, it seems, cares to read what we put up
> <; on the CRU web
> page. These people just make up motives for what we might or might
> not have done.
> Almost all the data we have in the CRU archive is exactly the same
> as in the Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN) archive used
> by the NOAA National Climatic Data Center [see here
> <; and
> here <>%5D.
> The original raw data are not “lost.” I could reconstruct what we
> had from U.S. Department of Energy reports we published in the
> mid-1980s. I would start with the GHCN data. I know that the effort
> would be a complete waste of time, though. I may get around to it
> some time. The documentation of what we’ve done is all in the
> literature.
> If we have “lost” any data it is the following:
> 1. Station series for sites that in the 1980s we deemed then to be
> affected by either urban biases or by numerous site moves, that were
> either not correctable or not worth doing as there were other series
> in the region.
> 2. The original data for sites for which we made appropriate
> adjustments in the temperature data in the 1980s.
We still have our
> adjusted data, of course, and these along with all other sites that
> didn’t need adjusting.
> 3. Since the 1980s as colleagues and National Meteorological
> Services <; (NMSs)
> have produced adjusted series for regions and or countries, then we
> replaced the data we had with the better series.
> In the papers, I’ve always said that homogeneity adjustments are
> best produced by NMSs. A good example of this is the work by Lucie
> Vincent in Canada. Here we just replaced what data we had for the
> 200+ sites she sorted out.
> The CRUTEM3 data for land look much like the GHCN and NASA Goddard
> Institute for Space Studies data
> <; for the same domains.
> Apart from a figure in the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4)
> showing this, there is also this paper from Geophysical Research
> Letters in 2005 by Russ Vose et al.
> <;
> Figure 2 is similar to the AR4 plot.
> I think if it hadn’t been this issue, the Competitive Enterprise
> Institute would have dreamt up something else!

So my question is, if they have all the ‘adjusted’ data and all these ‘adjustments’ are above board honest science, why don’t they provide a station and dataset list so that objective observers not paid 22 million dollars over 19 years can’t review it. We shouldn’t forget this reply from Phil Jones to earlier pre – FOIA requests for the data.

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. There is IPR to consider.

It sure sounds different now doesn’t it.

So since Phil Jones is so massively funded, does it make any sense that the ‘raw’ data used to create this temperature series would be discarded each time they have a ‘better’ version. Is this dataset the one scientists should trust so blindly when publishing or should they use the GISS dataset because with all of its known flaws, they were at least forced to put them in the open.

Just to make the point about corrections, here is a plot of how the US temperature record is corrected. These corrected station data are used in Jones CRU temperatures some how. I think the curves speak for themselves but they’ve been hidden in plain sight for years.

This text is WRT the figure above from the Jennifer Marohasy blog.

Figure 2. Form of individual corrections applied by NOAA. The black line is the adjustment for time of observation. The red line is for a change in maximum/minimum thermometers used. The yellow line is for changes in station siting. The pale blue line is for filling in missing data from individual station records. The purple line is for UHI effects (this correction is now removed). [Click on the chart for a better larger view or visit the same website as for Figure 1.]

Maybe we should just shut up, pay our taxes and trust Phil Jones and this Team of perfectly honest individuals.

31 thoughts on “Global Temperature Records – Above the Law

  1. It would be interesting to put up the blink comparator showing the differences between the GISS temperature series that they used in 1990 (I think that was the year) and that used most recently. It illustrates the point beautifully.

    I think that WUWT showed it, and certainly SM did a post on it at CA.

  2. It is interesting if you can get raw data and plot just (Tmax+Tmin)/2. That way you dont have to make any adjustments (or at least you shouldnt). Ive done this for a couple of offical sites now, and they show very different results to the homigenized data. My question to CRU et al is why not just use the (Tmax+Tmin)/2 throughout as the parameter without trying to adjust it to intstrumental daily average. With sufficient data points it is a good a metric as anything. Of course there is the UHI “adjustment” but if you choose a good site then you dont have to do that either. If some one more knowledgeable than me on this subject can explain, that would be good.

  3. Jeff ID:

    A temperature data set without the original data from which progressive adjustments were made is next to worthless for those scientists who use the data for publishing results in their papers. No one can go back and validate those adjustments. I would think under current circumstances that climate papers to be published in the future will use temperature data sets other than CRU. That development would have to be damaging to CRU’s image beside demonstrating that they do sloppy work.

    When Jones/CRU resort to the fact that much of the CRU data comes from GISS it only minimizes the importance of CRU as an independent data set and gives further reason for scientists to use GISS and ignore CRU for their documented sloppiness. Also it has to stymy those who would use the lack of differences between GISS and CRU as some kind of independent confirmation of one and the other.

    While the global temperature differences between CRU and GISS are said to be insignificant from 1900 forward, I think it is time I looked for statistically significant differences for other time periods and for other parts of the globe.

    Also please, note how these scientist and organizations try the sweep under the rug the significance of what they did by casual references to it out in plain sight. It is like when your kid tells you some deed they did in very matter of fact terms and intonation and your first reaction is to pass over it, but on thinking on what they really just told you, you go “Whaaaat did you do”?.

  4. “To counter that Phil Jones colluded with government officials to ignore the law. ….you can see the DOT GOV’S of the people who were notified of this apparently illegal activity.”

    But the DOT GOV people are employees of the American government whereas the FOI law being evaded is UK law. It seems to me that this proves the American government to be responsible for international climate terrorism. It will therefore need to fight a War on Terror against itself. I’ll watch with interest.

  5. In light of the recent exposures, it is reasonable to demand the adjustment algorithms and have an independent scientific/statistical panel review the whole process. As is easily seen in the USHCN series and the more recent NZ example, the claimed warming is almost solely due to adjustments. If your entire evidence for warming is only in your adjustments, don’t you think they would reanalyze the adjustments in an open and transparent way?

    Not that there would be any reason to be suspicious of Jones Karl and Hansen, the owners of the data.

  6. So what I can gather is this:

    1. Actual thermometer readings are no good and need to be adjusted. Temperature records have little to do with actual temperatures, and more to do with “proxies” (or was that “pixies”?)

    2. If the records are old, they must be adjusted downward, due to the obvious global warming that is occurring.

    3. If the records are recent, they must be adjusted upward, due to the obvious global warming that is occurring.

    4. If the adjustments don’t quite look right, add more to the adjustments citing tree rings or other such easily obtained metrics. (But never anything to do with the large yellow glowing object in the sky during day time.)

    Climate Science sounds fun! We should all pitch in. I hear its lucrative, too!

  7. Apparently, some of these adjustments are due to changing WMO measurement standards. Hans Erren replied to a thread I participated in at WUWT that “the 1950 step is a well known WMO artifact” (see Supposedly, WMO changed standards about that time.

    It’s a real mess to try to keep the good adjustments from the bad ones. The worst of all are probably the “UHI adjustments” of GISS, where more than often a big city with a remarkably flat trend suddenly gets an up trend because it’s adjusted to “rural” airports hundreds of kilometers away!

  8. Rod Tidwell: Are you listenin’?
    Jerry Maguire: Yes!
    Rod Tidwell: That’s what I’m gonna do for you: God bless you, Jerry. But this is what you gonna do for me. You listenin’, Jerry?
    Jerry Maguire: Yeah, what, what, what can I do for you, Rod? You just tell me what can I do for you?
    Rod Tidwell: It’s a very personal, a very important thing. Hell, it’s a family motto. Are you ready, Jerry?
    Jerry Maguire: I’m ready.
    Rod Tidwell: I wanna make sure you’re ready, brother. Here it is: Show me the data. Oh-ho-ho! SHOW! ME! THE! DATA! A-ha-ha! Jerry, doesn’t it make you feel good just to say that! Say it with me one time, Jerry.
    Jerry Maguire: Show you the data.
    Rod Tidwell: Oh, no, no. You can do better than that, Jerry! I want you to say it with, with meaning, brother! Hey, I got Bob Sugar on the other line; I bet you he can say it!
    Jerry Maguire: Yeah, yeah, no, no, no. Show you the data.
    Rod Tidwell: No! Not show you! Show me the data!
    Jerry Maguire: Show me the data!
    Rod Tidwell: Yeah! Louder!
    Jerry Maguire: Show me the data!
    Rod Tidwell: Yes, but, brother, you got to yell that shit!
    Jerry Maguire: Show me the data!
    Rod Tidwell: I need to feel you, Jerry!
    Jerry Maguire: Show me the data!
    Rod Tidwell: Jerry, you got to yell!
    Jerry Maguire: [screaming] Show me the data! Show me the data!
    Rod Tidwell: Do you love this black man!
    Jerry Maguire: I love the black man! Show me the data!
    Rod Tidwell: I love black people.
    Jerry Maguire: I love black people!
    Rod Tidwell: Who’s your motherfucker, Jerry?
    Jerry Maguire: You’re my motherfucker!
    Rod Tidwell: Whatcha gonna do, Jerry?
    Jerry Maguire: Show me the data!
    Rod Tidwell: Unh! Congratulations, you’re still my newspaper.

  9. I have been intrigued for some time by Time of Observation (TOBS) adjustments. I have read in a number of places that this is not contentious, but have never been able to find a good simple explanation of the concept. A number of times I have been directed to an article by the late great John Daly on the subject, but I find it incomprehensible.

    Could someone post up a paragraph, or direct me towards a simple explanation.

  10. You may be surprised to find out that the CRU data recently disclosed href=”″>includes a large file of updated global temps created in 2008 or 2009. Apparently Dr Jones lied when he said he lost the data years ago:

  11. Give me a million dollars a year for only 5 years and you’d see proper archiving and storage of all data as well as a much nicer data storage/access system that would allow common citizens to run their own plots in any format they liked. If they liked what I did so much, I’d be glad to take a few eco-trips into the south pacific as well.

  12. Come on AJStrata, the issue is the original data that was progressively adjusted not the adjusted data (or quality controlled data as CRU refers to it). These distinctions are important so we should be careful in keeping the story straight.

  13. The major task of a Climate Research Unit has to be the gathering and disseminating of the climate data. That data sets are the crown jewels of any such effort. CRU has been failing for years to disseminate the data. Now we find out that they have failed to preserve the data. (Given their willingness to break the FOI law, I think its likely they purposely destroyed it.)

    I can think of one appropriate punishment for the billions of dollars of research money lost. In many places much of the data must still exist in the original paper form. Phil Jones should spend the rest of his life chained to a desk and retyping all that data back into the computers.

  14. #12 — On TOBS (Time of Observation Bias):

    For many years, most temperature measuring stations would separately record both the maximum temperature in the observation period, and the minimum in that period. The maximum would be recorded by the same phenomenom as a mercury fever thermometer that will automatically push the mercury up for an increase in temperature, but must be “shaken” to decrease.

    The minimum would be recorded by a device that could “float” down as the mercury contracted in the cold, but could not be pushed up by expanding mercury as it warmed.

    Each observation period (typically daily), the observer would come out and record the maximum and minimum values recorded in the previous period, and then reset both the maximum and minimum recorders, “shaking down” the maximum recorder as you would for a fever thermometer, and raising up the minimum recorder manually.

    The bias problem could come if the time of observation were near the maximum or minimum time. Usually the problem was that it was near the minimum time (i.e. around dawn). If the time of observation were around 6am (and this was common), one cold night would be recorded as the minimum in two consecutive daily periods, because as soon as the minimum recorder was reset at dawn, it would immediately come back to the same low temperature. If the next night were not as cold, this fact would not be recorded at all.

    From this comes the problem of the time-of-observation bias. If the time of day for the observation changed, some sort of correction would be required in order to try to provide a uniform record through the time of the change.

  15. According the climaologist who writes the blog I am posting a link to, the CRU was not an archive original data and was not only well within its normal procedures to delete the data, it is a standard practice because the data is backed up elsewhere:
    Is this correct?
    Was the long sought after data available else where?
    CRU seems to be stating something else that what this link implies. I think it is important to understand this.
    This professor is highly respected, and I have no interest in his getting a lot of snarky e-mails. If he is right, he has clarified something significant. If he is wrong, it should be explained clearly and respectfully why.
    I know he holds himself to professional high standards, even though he and I disagree strongly.

  16. #19, The data used to generate this significant global temperature record is regularly updated. The source data for the series need to be made public such that adjustments and choices can be verified. It appears now that the GHCN network may be the primary source for most of the global networks but in the CRUTEM case we have additional series added.

    We have no method of verifying the source data, adjustments or even which temperature stations have been used in the CRUTEM series because no list of source data has been provided. Each time new data replaced the old, the old should have been archived. Deletion of the Raw data for adjustments that CRUTEM made is an unusual practice in science. I delete nothing myself and have Gb of files dating back to 93 on this machine I’m working on.

    So you ask was the data sought elsewhere. — They won’t say which data to seek. They won’t provide code for how the data is processed. And they went as far as manipulating government regulations illegally and deleting emails to prevent discovery of what they did.

    Nothing is clarified.

  17. Everything is very open with a clear clarification of the issues.

    It was definitely informative. Your website is very helpful.
    Thanks for sharing!

  18. This specific post Global Temperature Records – Above the Law the Air
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  19. Lewandowsky is at it again! Don’t criticize his shoddy work, though, or you will be accused again of ‘conspiracist ideation’ in some future paper….

    Jeff and all, a new ‘paper’ from Lewandowsky et al. (2013) which was submitted to an open access journal in early Nov. (Received: 05 Nov 2012; Accepted: 02 Feb 2013):
    More dreck from Lewandowsky et al.

    “Conspiracist ideation is arguably particularly prominent on climate blogs, such as
    when expressing the belief that temperature records show warming only because of
    systematic adjustments (e.g., Condon, 2009)….”

    Condon, J. (2009, November). Global temperature records above the law. Retrieved from
    \\global-temperature-records-above-the-law/ (Accessed 6 May 2012)

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