Category Archive 'Wei-Chyung Wang'

02 Feb 2010

Climategate Rooted in Chinese Weather Station Temperature Data

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Phil Jones

Phil Jones, the former director of the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) who resigned in the wake of the leaked Climategate emails, along with a Chinese-American colleague, Wei-Chyung Wang, of the University at Albany in New York, is the target of a major investigation by the Guardian.

Jones et.al. published a paper in Nature in 1990, addressing concerns that temperature data might be being inflated by the location of sensors in urban locations which dismissed those concerns, assuring readers that he and his colleagues had examined the data and analysed the impact of urban settings, concluding that “The results show that the urbanization influence in two of the most widely used hemispheric data sets is, at most, an order of magnitude less than the warming seen on a century timescale.”

The 1990 Nature paper became a key reference source incorporated in the conclusions of succeeding reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change –- including a chapter in the 2007 report of which Phil Jones was a co-author.

Climate skeptics, not surprisingly, found the paper’s conclusion counter-intuitive. Brick, asphalt, and cement absorb and retain heat, and centers of human population and economic activity generate considerable heat as byproducts of the warming and cooling of interior spaces and as the result of transportation and industrial production.

Jones responded to requests for information on the locations of 84 Chinese weather stations used in the study negatively, claiming that supplying that information to critics would be “unduly burdensome.”

Finally, in 2007, Jones responded to continuing pressure by releasing the data he had available, which proved to be startlingly incomplete. 49 of 84 Chinese weather stations had no location histories or other details, including all but 2 of 42 stations listed as “rural.” 18 other stations had been moved, possibly compromising the validity of thie data, including one which had been moved 5 times over a distance of 41 kilometers.

Douglas Keenan, a retired British banker and independent climate analyst, published a paper in the peer-reviewed journal Energy & Environment openly lodging an accusation that fraud had occurred. Keenan’s paper is much discussed in the Climategate emails.

The Guardian has allocated major coverage. 1, 2

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Fort Morgan, Colorado US Historical Climate Network Station. It is easy to see how urbanization can impact recorded temperature data.


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