Dangerous Deception?

By Dr. Tim Ball 
Monday, August 10, 2009

“Half the work done in the world is
to make things appear what they are not.”

E.R. Beadle


It is difficult and dangerous to impute motive. How and why a person acts in a certain way is usually difficult to determine. A particular course of action may be taken with the best of intentions yet cause considerable problems. However, certain actions although not definitive may expose the motive.

Critical Evidence

Two pieces of evidence dominated recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Reports. They were instrumental in convincing the world global warming due to humans was a scientifically indisputable fact.  One was the graph known as the “hockey stick” because it purported to show little temperature change for approximately 1000 years then a sudden rise in the 20th century.  The second was a global temperature increase of 0.6°C (1°F) in over 100 years, a rate claimed to be beyond any 'natural' increase.

The first is now fully discredited thanks primarily to the work of Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick. They carried out the standard scientific test of trying to reproduce the results obtained in the original work. They showed the almost flat line temperature of the hockey stick handle was artificially contrived.  The Medieval Warm Period (MWP) did exist but was eliminated by the tree ring samples and the statistical analytical technique chosen.

It appears this was done to eliminate the troublesome MWP that contradicted that current global temperatures were the highest ever. It achieved what a climate scientist told Professor David Deming in an email was necessary as Deming explains: “With the publication of the article in Science [in 1995], I gained significant credibility in the community of scientists working on climate change. They thought I was one of them, someone who would pervert science in the service of social and political causes. So one of them let his guard down. A major person working in the area of cli-mate change and global warming sent me an astonishing email that said, “We have to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period.”

The second piece of evidence, the claim of temperature increase, continues to dominate and is presented in many places as the truth.

The person primarily responsible for the number is P.D. Jones. He is currently Director of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, England. In order to verify the number Warwick Hughes, an Australian climate resear-cher asked Jones how it was derived. He received the following reply on 21, February 2005. “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.” Since then Jones has stonewalled every effort to obtain the information. But why is it so important? Surely, the raw data is available and all you have to do is use it to recreate the number.

Global Temperature

The first problem is the original temperature increase was actually given as 0.6°C ± 0.2°C or a 66 percent error factor. It is a virtually meaningless number but still used to argue for warming. The raw data is retained by the originating country, which then submits modified data to central agencies such as the Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN).

Each year different groups calculate an annual global average including NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS). There are also the data sets maintained jointly between the Hadley Centre of the UK Met Office and the Climatic Research Unit called HadCRUT3 and CRUTEM3.

When an annual average temperature is created each agency chooses different stations and modify the data for a variety of factors. The result is each produce different graphs as in Figure 1. In this case results from two satellite studies are included.


So what we need to know is which stations Jones used and how he adjusted the data to achieve his result. We need to be able to carry out the standard reproducible results test applied to the hockey stick data. He continues to refuse to provide the information.

Withholding Information

In recent attempts to obtain the information the United Kingdom Meteorological Office (UKMO) has become involved. As Steve McIntyre writes a bureaucrat was required to write the following in denying the information; Some of the information was provided to Professor Jones on the strict understanding by the data providers that this station data must not be publicly released and it cannot be determined which countries or stations data were given in confidence as records were not kept.

They are talking about data obtained by weather stations funded by the public. How that can be limited in its availa-bility to anyone is impossible to understand. It is weather data so what possible strategic or national security risk can possibly be compromised? The data providers are other nations who provide it under the auspices of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) that require open access.

Is there some proprietary right to how Jones has adjusted the data? Possibly, but surely that is offset by the fact that scientific work must be available to testing and confirmation by other scientists. It is the promoters of human induced global warming who have championed the need for peer review. I have spoken often about the two responsibilities with climate research. First is the scientific responsibility and Jones fails that by not revealing how the results were achieved.

Then there is the social responsibility when you take your scientific findings public and they become the basis of policy. Jones fails that because his claimed temperature increase remains pivotal in the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) argument.

Now there is more disturbing evidence that Jones' original data doesn't bear examination.  One of the major adjust-ments that vary considerably from station to station is for the urban heat island effect (UHIE). The IPCC refers to Jones et al. (1990) for its claim that the non-climatic bias due to urbanization is less than one-tenth of the global trend.

In other words they have rejected what everyone has known for a long time. More important, if urban stations domi-nate those used the false warming signal is enhanced. Now Jones is acknowledging the UHIE is greater than he allowed at least in China. As Warwick Hughes notes, “Urban-related warming over China is shown to be about 0.1 degree per decade, hey that equates to a degree per century. Huge.”

The Damage is Done

If the UHIE is even half of this value for the rest of the world stations chosen by Jones then his claim of a 0.6°C increase virtually disappears. And so does the claim that human produced CO2 is causing warming because there is virtually no warming over the post-industrial period. We can speculate on Jones' motive without resolution, however, we know to which half of the world's work it belongs. It is more important to question how and why Jones has been able to deny access to information for so long. Who is to hold him to account? A world threatened with draconian and unnecessary energy and economic policies because of his silence should ask questions. We should also reject his claims and the IPCC reports based on his findings because we are unable to verify his results with standard scientific measures.

“Dr. Tim Ball is a renowned environmental consultant and former climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg.  Dr. Ball employs his extensive background in climatology and other fields as an advisor to the International Climate Science Coalition, Friends of Science and the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.”

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