How did Jones et al 1986 and Jones 1994 select Atlanta ?

This is the first “city” study I put online in 2000. There is nothing isolated about Jones using a city with such obvious UHI contamination as Atlanta, they used hundreds of cities.


In the face of this methodology, the AMS journal in 1986 published not ONE comment and I am not aware anybody tried to comment. I look forward to hearing some justifications from IPCC supporters for the use of Atlanta and similar data to contribute to an accurate measure of global temperature trends.

40 thoughts on “How did Jones et al 1986 and Jones 1994 select Atlanta ?”

  1. Warwick, an excellent graphic to prove your point. I assume that this is some kind of satellite data?

    A further question. The Jones data is “variance adjusted”. Do you know the procedure and justification for this adjustment?

    I ask because of the large temperature variation between adjacent cells shown in the graphic above. Are these variations “adjusted” out of the temperature record, and if so, on what basis.

  2. The image is of Thermal Signatures from the GOES-8 satellite, all explained at;
    I show a few examples at;
    NASA has broader UHI information at;
    Also at there is a link to “Nine Years of GOES-8”, takes you to;
    Scroll down to Land Surface and there are several examples of thermal signatures of UHI’s.
    NASA has another UHI page mentioning Hotlanta;

    So much for all that satellite imagery establishing by another technique the existence of the UHI and if you examine images closely you can see signatures in small towns.
    However, Jones et al 1986 (and later as far as I know) make no use of these data, I am not sure if GOES data or similar was available pre 1985.
    My case against the Jones et al 1986 and Jones 1994 selection of station data including hundreds of UHI affected cities rests partly on urban rural comparisons which you can see on my “City reviews” pages (and in hundreds of published papers), partly on their weak methodology such as comparing stations often in excess of 500 kms apart and partly on the cosmic mistake they made in the early 1980’s by not making the UHI the prime non-climatic factor to be eliminated from trends.

    As for “variance adjusted”, it has nothing to do with the image above. We have heard for years how the major climate groups, CRU, GHCN, GISS claim their statistical testing means their data is somehow validated, yet glaring inhomogeneities remain.

  3. Warwick, thanks for the details on the source of the image. You mention that Jones et. al. use Atlanta as part of their HadCRUT2v global temperature average. What kinds of corrections (population, industrial intensity, light as seen from satellites) have Jones used to “remove” or at least mitigate the UHI effects of including such obviously anomalous sites as Atlanta (which is locally called “Hotlanta”, by the way)?

    Also, to return to my earlier question, is there information available on the nature of their “variance adjustment”?


  4. I am not sure what your point here is. No-one is denying that Urban Heat Islands exist just that the signature does not contaminate the surface temperature record. The IPCC report states this:

    “These results confirm the conclusions of Jones et al. (1990) and Easterling et al. (1997) that urban effects on 20th century globally and hemispherically averaged land air temperature time-series do not exceed about 0.05°C over the period 1900 to 1990 (assumed here to represent one standard error in the assessed non-urban trends). However, greater urbanisation influences in future cannot be discounted. Note that changes in borehole temperatures (Section 2.3.2), the recession of the glaciers (Section, and changes in marine temperature (Section, which are not subject to urbanisation, agree well with the instrumental estimates of surface warming over the last century. Reviews of the homogeneity and construction of current surface air temperature databases appear in Peterson et al. (1998b) and Jones et al. (1999a). The latter shows that global temperature anomalies can be converted into absolute temperature values with only a small extra uncertainty.”

    The IPCC is allowing for the fact that UHI might be a factor in the future and will have to be watched for. If you can supply compelling evidence and submit it to the scientific community then I am sure that it will be looked at. Also you would have to show why the marine and borehole temperatures etc agree with the surface temperatures. A recent study by Oerlemans shows much the same warming as other studies and does not rely on any previous proxies.

    Your data would have to be pretty rigorous and compelling to contradict this body of work.

  5. It seems to me that one can argue that UHI do have a significant effect on temperature trends. The population of the Earth increased from about 1 billion in 1900 to 6 billion in 2000. This corresponds to a population increase of 1.8% per year. Studies by Torok et al. (2001) and Oke (1973) indicate the UHI increases roughly as the log of the temperature and can be expressed as a formula of 1.5 log (Pop/Pop0) where Pop is the population of the town and Pop0 is a base population. If the UHI increases as the log of the population, then on average a town would have its temperature increase by 1.5 log (1.018) = 0.0116 C/year or 0.116 C/decade which is getting close to recent temperature increases of 0.18 C/decade.

    Of course, part of the population increase involves settlement of new areas and new towns so earlier in the century the population density around an average location would not have increased by 1.8% per year. Only later in the century would population density be increasing more rapidly and hence one could expect to see an increasing upward trend in temperature.

    I think land use changes in temperature and UHI’s in particular are underestimated in temperature trend attributions.

  6. Typo in the last mesage:
    The text:
    “Studies by Torok et al. (2001) and Oke (1973) indicate the UHI increases roughly as the log of the temperature”

    Should read as follows:
    “Studies by Torok et al. (2001) and Oke (1973) indicate the UHI increases roughly as the log of the population”

    It would be useful if someone would provide the average population density around stations for each year from 1900 to 2000. A first cut would be the population within a one kilometer radius of the sites. I suspect this data and other relevant data are not available so we really don’t know how the microclimates around the stations are changing.

  7. Some quick comments.
    Willis, Jones et al 1986 applied no corrections to Atlanta station data.
    Later I will post some pages from the DoE documentation.
    I am not aware of the exact nature of any “variance adjustment” ( you could ask Jones et al ) but take a look at the great variance between GHCN and CRU grid box data and between grid box neighbours in the same data, illustrated on the Fig 5 maps in the recent;
    An intercomparison of trends in surface air temperature analyses at the global, hemispheric, and grid-box scale Russell S. Vose, David Wuertz, and Thomas C. Peterson Climate Analysis Branch, National Climatic Data Center, Asheville, North Carolina, USA P. D. Jones Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK Received 13 May 2005; revised 6 July 2005; accepted 25 August 2005; published 29 September 2005.
    Let me know if you want the pdf.
    Another example of disparity between adjacent grid boxes which does not shout to me that Jones et al have done very effective “variance adjusting” is in Coolwire 5, where you see Jones trends for the Sydney grid box warming alongside the Murray Darling Basin grid box cooling.
    Later I will post some replies for Ender including a rebuttal of the 1990 Jones et al letter to Nature, quoted by the IPCC as a justification for their minimalist view on UHI influence in Jones et al.

  8. Enders, thanks for your contribution. However, you should quote from scientists.

    Unfortunately, your citations for your references are the IPCC and Dr. Jones. Dr. Jones is notorious for refusing to show his data and calculations, so no reputable scientist would claim him as an authority, as his calculations cannot be replicated. I say again, his work cannot be replicated, and thus from a scientific viewpoint it is totally useless.

    The IPCC, in addition to perpetrating such notorious frauds as the “hockey stick” and being a political organization, depends on Dr. Jones work for its quotation, so that is not science either.

    Studies by Torok, and by Oke, quoted above by Doug Hoyt, show that UHI does have a very large effect, so simply stating as you do that UHI doesn’t make any difference … well … it that statement doesn’t make any difference.

    Finally, we are talking about very small temperature increases, on the order of 0.06°C/decade over the last century. These are well within the size of possible UHI influences. The world population has doubled since 1960, implying a UHI rise of about 0.12°C per decade during that time. Even the IPCC agrees that the sun’s variation has caused a part of the temperature rise, which doesn’t leave much for a theoretical CO2 effect.

    All the best,


  9. Willis – Yes the warming is that small however just because it is small can not be ignored. Also by saying it this way glosses over the fact that most of it has occured in the last 20 years and the total is 0.6 degrees. This figure would have been higher if not for the increase in aerosols that are lowering the amount of solar radiation reaching the earth.

    I will not be drawn into another hockey stick debate however your statments are false and misleading about Prof Jones and bordering on libelous.

    Jones et al studies have been replicated – end of story. If you have any facts to add please feel free to state them rather that attacking the person that does the studies.

    If you have no facts to add please just do not post.

  10. Ender states: “This figure would have been higher if not for the increase in aerosols that are lowering the amount of solar radiation reaching the earth.”

    Actually the amount of solar radiation at the surface has been increasing in recent years and it has been increasing at a rate 10 times faster than any increase in GHG radiation. The increase is probably due mostly to a decrease in cloud cover although part of it is probably caused by a decrease in the amount of aerosols, not an increase like Ender claims. The increase in solar radiation is probably the cause of any recent ocean warming or any acceleration in glacial melt. UHIs will add to the reported warming over the continents. It is not greenhouse gases causing warming.

    A summary can be found at from
    from which we quote:

    Enhanced greenhouse effect during industrial era: 2.4 W/m2. According to page 66 of the 2001 compendium of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change (IPCC), about a quarter of this amount, or 0.6 W/m2, has occurred since the mid-1980s.

    Change in solar radiation absorbed by the earth from 2000 to 2004, estimated from low-orbiting satellite data, reported by Wielicki et al.: 2.06 W/m2.

    Change from 1983 to 2001 in solar radiation absorbed by the earth, estimated at the surface by satellites, reported by Pinker et al.: 2.7 W/m2.

    Change from 1985 to 2000 solar radiation absorbed at the surface, as measured at the surface, reported by Wild et al.: 4.4 W/m2.

    If we average the results of Pinker et al. and Wild et al., we get 3.55 W/m2 for the period 1985 to 2000. To this we add 2.06 W/m2 from 2000 to 2004 and get 5.61 W/m2. If we divide this by 0.6 W/m2 (the total change in greenhouse forcing from 1985 to 2004, we get 9.35. The added forcing from increased solar radiation reaching the earth’s surface has contributed nearly 10 times as much energy as greenhouse changes! When compared to the overall greenhouse forcing since pre-industrial times, it’s four times larger.

    End quote.

  11. According to measurements reported by the IPCC, sulphate concentrations in Greenland ice have been falling since c.1975 and are now back to the levels of the 1950s. Sulphate levels are still well above pre-industrial readings, but these data imply a positive (warming) forcing from reduced sulphates over the last 30 years. See IPCC TAR WG1 TS page 36 here:

    — All this assumes, of course, that sulphates have a cooling effect after all. This is not particularly well established, and certainly not closely quantified. The IPCC reports on the next page (37) of its Technical Summary that the “level of scientific understanding” of sulphate aerosol forcing is “low”. There is brief discussion of the uncertainties at pp. 44-5.

  12. Doug, you should perhaps have indicated that your source (noted skeptic Pat Michaels) went on to say that that the solar stuff you cut and pasted is probably wrong in some fundamental way.

    Re David’s comment, just to note that sulphate aerosols are far from the whole picture. There is also black carbon (basically soot), which is a little tricky since it has a cooling effect while airborne but then has a warming effect when deposited on snow or ice. Anyway, the overall aerosol picture remains murky. 🙂

  13. It is not just the papers quoted by Michaels that supports the view that changes in solar radiation driven by cloud cover variations are the biggest factor in changing the Earth’s radiation budget. It is also support by Palle et al. who use earthshine on the moon to monitor the Earth’s albedo changes. They find:

    “The annual average albedo declined very gradually from 1985 to 1995, and then declined sharply in 1995 and 1996. These observed declines are broadly consistent with previously known satellite measures of cloud amount.”

    “The low albedo during 1997-2001 increased solar heating of the globe at a rate more than twice that expected from a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide. This “dimming” of Earth, as it would be seen from space, is perhaps connected with the recent accelerated increase in mean global surface temperatures.”

    The dimming seen from space is equivalent to brightening when looking up from the surface. Less radiation is reflected to space due to fewer clouds and hence more radiation reaches the surface, warming it. There are three different measurement techniques that all give very similar results, so I think Michaels is incorrect when he says it is wrong.

    Black carbon nearly always heats the atmosphere while airborne. About the only exception would be when it is over a very dark surface such as pavement. You don’t seem to understand any of the physics of climate change.

  14. Excuse me, I should have been clear that I meant at the surface, which is what your sources emphasized. It’s a little amusing to find someone who claims to understand the physics of climate change but then says “it is not greenhouse gases causing warming.” Whatever. And yes, I was already familiar with the Palle stuff. It awaits confirmation, as the phrase goes.

  15. Douglas – This is some of the information that I found – seems to contradict yours.
    “Analysis of long-term series of sunshine hour measurements indicate that reductions in direct irradiance have occurred at both measurement sites. © 1998 Royal Meteorological Society”,4,6;journal,49,113;linkingpublicationresults,1:400247,1
    ” Changes in global radiation measured with thermoelectric pyranometers at stations of the World Radiation Network in 1958, 1965, 1975 and 1985 were found to be large and statistically significant in many cases. Comparison of the data from the 46 unmoved stations and from the spline-fitted latitudinal distributions of the more than one hundred measurements available for each year yielded the same mean reduction. This was 5.3% (9 W m-2) for the difference in annual irradiation between 1958 and 1985 weighted for the land surfaces of the Earth”
    “Spatial and temporal variability in global, diffuse, and horizontal direct irradiance and sunshine duration has been evaluated at eight stations in South Africa and two stations in Namibia where the time series range between 21 and 41 years. Global and direct irradiance and sunshine duration decrease from northwest to southeast; diffuse irradiance increases toward the east. Annually averaged global irradiance Ga decreased between 1.3% (2.8 W m-2) and 1.7% (4.4 W m-2) per decade at Bloemfontein, Cape Town, Durban, Pretoria, and Upington. Annually averaged diffuse irradiance Da decreased 5.2% (3.0 W m-2) per decade at Grootfontein and 4.2% (3.1 W m-2) per decade at Port Elizabeth. Annual direct irradiance Ba decreased 2.1% (3.5 W m-2) per decade at Cape Town and 2.8% (5.7 W m-2) per decade at Alexander Bay.”

  16. Ender,
    Until 1985 there was “global dimming” at most locations followed by global brightening since then. Your second reference concerns the global dimming period. The other references aren’t dated. In all cases, the changes in radiation forcing are much larger than the greenhouse gas forcings.

  17. “It awaits confirmation, as the phrase goes.”

    Three different measurement techniques have shown large variations in radiation flux. These variations are not predicted by the climate models and not included in the climate models. In short, the measurements have falsified the climate models.

    I suppose the modelers response will be to re-analyze and revise the measurements until they agree with the models or else dismiss them as unconfirmed.

    The fact is that this is another incidence where the models fail. The models still await confirmation, as the phrase goes.

    Another study by Hatzidimitriou et al. (2004) for the tropics using NCEP data finds: “the most important contribution to the observed trend comes from a decrease in high-level cloud cover over the period 1984-2000, followed by an apparent drying of the upper troposphere and a decrease in low-level cloudiness. Opposite but small trends are introduced by a decrease in low-level cloud top pressure, an apparent cooling of the lower stratosphere (at the 50mbar level) and a small decadal increase in mid-level cloud cover.” In short, there are at least four studies consistenet with decreased cloud cover for 1984-2000. It is also interesting that Hatzidimitriou finds drying of the upper troposphere just as Lindzen hypothesized years ago.

  18. Douglas – here is a recent review of aerosols

    In it is referenced a study done by J Hansen
    This clearly demonstrates that aerosols and cload cover etc are taken into account in computer models. Also in it is this:
    “The largest forcing is due to well-mixed greenhouse gases,
    CO2, CH4, N2O, CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) and other trace
    gases, totaling 2.75 W/m2 in 2003 relative to 1880 (Table 1).
    Ozone (O3) and stratospheric H2O from oxidation of
    increasing CH4 make the total greenhouse gas (GHG) forcing
    3.05 W/m2 (9). Estimated uncertainty in the total GHG
    forcing is ~15% (10, 11).
    Atmospheric aerosols cause climate forcings by reflecting
    and absorbing radiation, as well as via indirect effects on
    cloud cover and cloud albedo (10). The aerosol scenario in
    our model uses estimated anthropogenic emissions from fuel
    use statistics and includes temporal changes in fossil fuel use
    technologies (12). Our parameterization of aerosol indirect
    effects (13, 9) is constrained by empirical evidence that the
    aerosol indirect forcing is ~ -1 W/m2 (9). The effective
    aerosol forcing in 2003 relative to 1880, including positive
    forcing by absorbing black carbon (BC) aerosols, is –1.39
    W/m2, with subjective estimated uncertainty ~ 50%.”

    It is obvious from this that radiative forcings are not larger that GHG forcings at least not according to the scientific literature.

  19. Ender,

    All the numbers fro radiative forcing that I quoted come from observations. These observations do not agree with the theoretical numbers that you quote. At least four papers indicate that there are large variations in cloud cover and cloud cover systematically increased from about 1950 to 1985 and then cloud cover systematically decreased from 1985 to 2000. The climate models do not predict these cloud cover changes. They also do not include the large radiative flux changes that result from these cloud cover changes. In short, the models are fundamentally wrong so your quoting climate model theoretical numbers does not solve the problem, but rather just points out the problem exists.

    The fact that cloud cover can increase or decrease as greenhouse gases increase shows that these cloud cover variations are not driven by changes in greenhouse gases.

    Another implication of the observations is that climate is far less sensitive to radiative forcing than is commonly thought. It means that a doubling of carbon dioxide will have little effect on climate.

  20. Ender — I think you may be missing the point somewhat.

    1. When you say “It is obvious from this that radiative forcings are not larger that GHG forcings at least not according to the scientific literature”, you are setting up a false dichotomy. GHG forcings ARE radiative forcings. They just act on longwave radiation from the surface, instead of shortwave radiation from the sun.

    2. When you say “Douglas – you did not quote any numbers as far as I can see,” actually Doug did quote numbers, just not in his last post. The numbers he is referring to are in his post of 19 December, 9.34 am.

    3. What Doug is saying is that four papers by different research groups all present results that suggest decreasing solar radiation at the surface up to 1985, and increasing solar radiation at the surface from 1985 to the present. He claims that the total increase in solar radiative forcing at the surface since 1985 is much larger than the radiative forcing from increasing greenhouse gases. If his figures are right, the solar forcing is even much larger than the total GHG forcing since the 18th century.

    The papers you quote seem at first sight to suggest the opposite – falling recent solar radiation. But Doug questions what the dates are for the alleged falls. Looking just at the abstracts of the papers you reference, they don’t seem strong enough to me to invalidate Doug’s view. They relate to only a small number of stations, and trends are not uniform. The papers Doug references are attempts to estimate global average trends, which is what is in question. To knock down his argument you need to find plausible papers that estimate global falls in solar radiation at the surface since 1985.

    4. When you say “This clearly demonstrates that aerosols and cloud cover etc are taken into account in computer models”, you are right, but the question is whether they are correctly taken into account. The mechanisms by which aerosols exert radiative effects are complex and poorly understood, as the IPCC states. Don’t be misled by the apparent accuracy of Hansen’s model estimate of minus 1.39 watts since 1880: he gives a 50 per cent uncertainty around this, and the IPCC’s uncertainty range is much higher still. If all aerosols are taken into account, it is not at all clear whether the sign of aerosol forcing is even positive or negative over recent centuries. See the diagram on page 8 of the IPCC WG1 Summary for Policymakers here:

    Cloud cover is related to aerosols, but is also an issue in its own right. Cloud cover may respond to many causes which are still the subject of investigation and dispute. None of the models seem to have it right at present, and this is not a controversial statement even among model enthusiasts.

  21. Re David’s point 3: The “McGuffin” (tip o’ the hat to A. Hitchcock) with this reasoning is that it assumes that thousands of climate scientists (including people like Pat Michaels) are aware of this allegedly definitive information and have chosen to ignore it. The alternative to this International Climatological Conspiracy (they’re probably all collectivists, too) is that Doug has cherry-picked his citations and maybe even over-interpreted them a teensy bit. Now which is more likely? Doug should have a look at Soden et al (2005) and get back to us. Also, a GS search of the Hatzidimitriou paper turns up a subsequent paper by some other Greek scientists (published very quickly after H.’s and in the same place; some interesting politics behind this one, perhaps) that cancels out the effect proposed by H. et al. But Doug had already seen all of this and just chose not to tell us about it, right?

  22. Minschwaner and Dessler (2004) found that in the tropics the relative humidity in the upper troposphere was decreasing, and that the GCMs were overestimating the moistening. Chen et al. (2002) also found drying in the tropics as well. For 1985-2000, Chen says “Equatorial convective regions have intensified in upward motion and moistened, while both the equatorial and subtropical subsidence regions have become drier and less cloudy.”

    I guess it depends on when and where you look whether you get agreement with the models or not. And on which study you choose to believe.

    Are you the Steve Bloom who wrote “Democracy and Socialism – A SOLIDARITY Viewpoint” at where it concludes: “By taking these and similar measures a revolution that overturns capitalism can bring us back to a mass understanding that genuine socialism will mean a new flowering of democracy unlike anything the world has ever seen before” As a member of the Sierra Club in San Franscisco and a member of the Alameda County Green Party, it would seem likely.

  23. Ooh, a Google user. Just one more step to Google Scholar, Doug. Sorry to disappoint, but the quote is some other Steve Bloom, I’m afraid. I’m not surprised that you assume the overlap between the organized environmental movement and the organized left (such as they both are) to be so much larger than they really are. And no, I’m not going to bother Googling you.

    But back on the question of studies, the point is to actually try to understand all of the papers out there and try to figure where the science is headed. It’s perfectly fair to cite outliers, but I think it doesn’t help your persuasiveness when you fail to identify them as such. To state the even more obvious, anything in the climate field older than a couple of years is at serious risk of being dated, and it just plain requires some time spent on GS to avoid sticking one’s foot on one’s mouth on a regular basis. If, on the other hand, you dislike where the science is headed and just want to cite papers out of context to prove a point you’ve already decided on, by all means ignore my suggestions.

  24. Steve and Doug,

    Re my earlier point 3 and Steve’s reply, Pat Michaels has not ignored evidence of increased recent solar forcing, see here:

    However, Steve, you will be pleased to hear that Pat shares your doubts about these data: “But the solar changes are almost certainly wild overestimates.”

    One of the unfortunate consequences of the polarisation of this issue is that people get typecast. Michaels is actually a greenhouse warmer. No, seriously: he has always accepted the mechanism, and even made original contributions towards its empirical verification (e.g. several articles and papers claiming that the unusually high reported warming in Siberia is genuine and a product of the greenhouse mechanism). But Michaels is almost always put in the “sceptics” camp. This is may be partly because he says the scale of greenhouse warming will be modest and the benefits are likely to outweigh the costs, at least for many decades. But I think the real reasons for his incorrect “image” as a sceptic are his policy engagement against energy rationing, his general Right-wing political views, and his acceptance of funding from Western Fuels.

    Now Michaels may be mad and bad, I have no idea. But I am pretty sure that one will not advance one’s understanding of this issue very quickly if one characterises and judges scientific arguments on the basis of personal and political criteria. I don’t mean that personally, I think we are all guilty of it from time to time.

    Doug may be tired of this thread, but if he has got the energy I for one would still appreciate hearing his views on the specifics of the Soden paper, the general reliability of global estimates of solar radiation at the surface, and whether he is aware of any papers that provide better evidence than those cited by Ender of recent FALLS in global solar radiation at the surface.

  25. I won’t comment directly on Soden’s paper, but will make a few remarks on the water vapor feedback as I see it. I think a little on the history of the water vapor feedback is appropriate. In the 1970s, people were struggling with how water vapor would change as the Earth’s temperature changed. There are three possibilities:

    1. As temperature changes, the relative humidity remains constant (allowing the use of the Clausius-Clapyeron equation).
    2. As temperature changes, the absolute humidity remains constant.
    3. As the temperature changes, both the relative and absolute humidity change.

    Manabe examined this problem and concluded it was a choice between options 1 and 2. Option 3 seems not to have been considered. He chose option 1 and admitted in an interview that it was a “guess” to use his word based upon some very limited data. Choosing option 1 results in a big water vapor feedback (about 25 ppm/C in the upper troposphere; i.e., increase in water vapor concentration per degree C of warming) and has the advantage of the other two options of being easy to program. Option 2 would give a small feedback.

    It is curious that Manabe’s guess was quickly and unquestionally accepted as fact by the climate modelers. It is not difficult to do the better calculations and that will give a result of the order of 1.7 to 2.4 ppm/C, or less than 10% of the Manabe approach. The recent paper by Minschwaner and Dessler finds experimentally that the increase in water vapor for each 1 C change in temperature is 1.8 to 4.2 ppm/C which overlaps what I find.

    The other curious factor is why the CC equation should be used. It is designed for laboratory conditions where everything is static and in equilibrium. If one has winds, vertical convection, temperature gradients, pressure gradients, or a gravitational field, it is not the appropriate equation to use.

    In short, all the climate models do not handle the water vapor feedback correctly and all of them overestimate its strength and hence the amount of added warming.

    I discuss the topic further at

    Another problem with the GCMs arises because they are matching the relative humidity values given by sensors that systematically underestimate the amount of water vapor in the upper troposphere. It indicates the models are doing poorly, not “quite well”. The present day models are heavily parameterized to “calculate” model values which match the erroneous measured values. Finally, if the humidity is already high in the upper troposphere, a positive water vapor feedback loop becomes more or less non-existent since the water vapor radiative bands are already saturated. A negative water vapor factor due to drying becomes more likely. The climate sensitivity would be much reduced in the GCMs if Wang’s results were incorporated. Reference: Wang, J., et al., 2003. A reference radiosonde system for improving water vapor measurement in IHOP_2002, 83rd American Meteorological Association Annual Meeting, J-3.5.

    Finally it is the so-called “outlier” papers that provide the most interesting information. In normal science, one is always looking to destroy a theory or discredit an experiment. If one cannot do it, then the theory or observation becomes stronger. In climate science, these “outlier” papers are quickly dismissed as if dismissing them made them wrong. In climate science, papers that support the preconceived result are highlighted and the data is constantly revised so as to match models. This approach is exactly the opposite of the way normal science should behave. There is a very strong herd instinct in climate science that does not welcome new ideas.

  26. Warwick, thanks for your letter to Dr. Jones. In it he says:

    “The Atlanta station you refer to is one of 22 sites within
    the grid box (30-35N, 80-85W) where Atlanta is located. So
    even if the data have become more urban affected through
    time, the effect on the grid-box average would be minor.”

    This is not true. For the period 1960 – present, the grid box where Atlanta is located is reported by Dr. Jones as having warmed by 0.5°C. Atlanta, on the other hand, is reported by GISS as having warmed by 1.8°. If we remove the Atlanta record because it is known to be contaminated by UHI, the grid box average drops to 0.4°, which is by no measure a “minor” error.

    In addition, this only removes Atlanta, not the rest of the metropoli in the grid box. Claiming that the UHI error is “minor” is simply not supported by the facts.


  27. Willis, you’re saying Jones reports .5 and the corrected average is .4? Why is this significant? Are you saying that the 1.8 from GISS is the corrected figure (i.e., with the Atlanta station already removed due to UHI contamination)?

    Doug, I’ll have a look at the other discussion you linked, but Soden cannot be ignored as it is the mainstream state of the art on water vapor. I can send you the pdf if you don’t have a Science sub. Regarding outliers, my point was not that they don’t sometimes prove to be correct, but that it’s not helpful to quote them out of context. Did you check GS for subsequent papers citing Wang? There should be some by now.

  28. It has puzzled me for many years Willis how Jones et al are so cavalier about the inclusion of big city data when there is chapter and verse evidence of UHI warming in hundreds of papers. We do not know all of Jones 22 stations but assume that Macon and Thomasville are still there. A 2003 paper on the UHI at the village of Barrow AK is available online and must throw more doubt on IPCC assertions that UHI influence is circa 0.05 degrees over a century.

  29. The paper makes it very clear that Barrow (a place with extreme winter temperatures) can be expected to have a similarly extreme winter UHI. The world-wide average UHI would obviously be lower. In any case, the GISS methodology for UHI (which is the one I’m familiar with) doesn’t seem especially senstive to the size of the UHI. Also regarding Barrow, note that the high UHI figures were in the center of town. The actual weather station (the author of the paper set up his own monitors) is located a fair distance from there, perhaps not far enough to eliminate UHI but far enough to reduce it considerably. It’s a truism that UHI can be expected in even small town centers at least in winter, and that to be valid the temp statistics must have an adjustment. If you think there’s reason to suspect the adjustment (from GISS or whoever), that’s another matter, but just pointing out that there is high winter UHI in an Arctic urban location doesn’t seem to be much of a debating point.

    Also, as Willis hasn’t answered, can you answer the question I had about the point he made? To add slightly to the discussion, my understanding is that GISS at least will throw out any other urban readings in the Atlanta grid box if they diverge from adjacent rural readings. Is there some reason to believe that Jones didn’t do something similar?

  30. Steve, thanks for your comments. The GISS figure of 1.8° increase during 1960-present was for Atlanta itself, not for the Atlanta grid cell. I do not have the Jones data, so I can’t find out what Dr. Jones has or has not done to the grid containing Atlanta (other than to include Atlanta). This is the problem. Dr. Jones has been taking lessons from Michael Mann, and he refuses to reveal his data. You say that Jones’ work has been "replicated". I don’t see how it could have been, given that he won’t reveal his data. A citation would be appropriate. w.

  31. Gidday Steve, Some replies to specific points you have raised going back over a month, my replies in [xx] if it is not obvious the text is mine. First your points on Jan 3 here. I am very impressed Steve that you accept the existence of the UHI in Barrow. In view that Barrow is not the only high latitude centre preventing human death by using fuels, it is perfectly obvious that all high latitude data will be similarly affected unless sensors are outside the UHI. Sceptics like Vincent Gray and myself have been saying for years that Siberian data is suspect. To add slightly to the discussion, my understanding is that GISS at least will throw out any other urban readings in the Atlanta grid box if they diverge from adjacent rural readings. [This seems at a divergence from what Dr Jim Hansen states in his 2001 email to me. see Blog post today, "How NASA GISS inserts warming into USA rural T data"] Is there some reason to believe that Jones didn’t do something similar? [We have Jones email to me of last month saying; The Atlanta station you refer to is one of 22 sites within the grid box (30-35N, 80-85W) where Atlanta is located. So even if the data have become more urban affected through time, the effect on the grid-box average would be minor. For the 1985/1986 papers/reports you refer to all the stations were assessed for homogeneity problems. See Steve, not "thrown out" Clearly Jones et al are happy to knowingly leave UHI affected city data in their gridded series. Read my 20 Anniversary Review Steve, including the 1988 Fred Wood Comment and the Wigley & Jones reply. That is how to gain understanding into what Jones et al have done Stations were thrown out on the basis of homogeneity testing and then after that process it seems a v small percentage of city data were rejected for UHI trends. However hundreds of cities remained in the gridded data in 1986. There must be over a thousand now.] Your 6 Dec comment at RealClimate Steve. Re #102 (WH): Well, I admit "pure fabrication" was a little unfair. "Adulterated fabrication" is probably more like it. A few examples: conflates two data assets using different sea ice metrics and neglects to inform the readers that this has been done. includes, among other things, a discussion of average temperature in Alaska that neglects to correct for the geographic location of the weather stations (i.e., as a casual glance at the map shows, heavily biased toward southern areas that have not experienced sharp recent warming). There is also a long discussion that ascribes all of the temperature increase in Fairbanks to the urban heat island effect (UHI), but even taking this analusis of a single location at face value it has the problem of not accounting for the substantial observed permafrost melt that has been thoroughly documented in rural areas. See for a good overview with references. There is also the problem of the Alaska-wide observed melting of glaciers (with the exception of a few that are growing due to increased precipitation). These were both written by guest author Willis Eschenbach, so perhaps you should be a bit more careful with the editing process. Your own climate stuff seems to be pretty much focused on the UHI. The references to this are so extensive I’m unlikely to read through them all carefully enough to do a serious critique (nor am I really qualified to do so), but offhand it appears you spend an awful lot of time criticising work by Jones from the ’80s and ’90s when what you ought to be concerned with are the current data sets. Oddly, you fail to mention the 2001 Jones update discussed by the TAR at, which leads me to conclude that your analysis is likely an incomplete update of a prior critique of the SAR and so not very useful, especially as the TAR itself is nearly history. [The 1986 Jones et al hemispheric compilations are the ONLY examples of that groups work where station documentation was produced. Those are the TR017 and TR022 reports printed by the DoE’s CDIAC. Phil Jones station data is now SECRET Steve, imagine that !! Global policy backed up by studies that nobody outside the tiny cabal can replicate. Late last year CDIAC told me that despite the DoE funding Jones et al for near 25 years they have no provision for disclosure. Alice would feel at home in this IPCC wonderland. Jones et al 1986 hemispheric compilations made many hundreds of errors by including UHI affected city records. The major 1994 update has no station documentation but we have a digital station data file. There are no station data available after 1994 germane to verifying what Jones, Jones et al have done but we know that more stations are included. Jones himself in 2004 declared his station data unavailable so it is a ridiculous suggestion of yours Steve that I examine post 1994 iterations of Jones global data. There are other reasons to focus on the 1986 papers and one is the 1988 Wood Comment and Wigley & Jones reply, the only time Jones et al have participated in a public process where their group work was being questioned. A study of these two papers reveals much about Jones et al methodology and suggests to me that their 1986 papers should never have passed peer review. See my 20th Anniversary Review at; and working through the nine points where Wigley & Jones 1988 claimed Wood 1988 was in error. ] you do include some updated information in the form of this mischaracterization of the Parker (Nature 2004) paper, again at but toward the bottom: ‘In this he claimed that his analysis showing the similarity of warming trends on windy nights compared with calm nights means that urban warming is not significantly present in global temperature data. ‘This conclusion is becoming much quoted by those believing in the integrity of IPCC Global Warming datsets. I emailed DEP and asked him for his station list. It turned out to be the GCOS data which is vastly more rural than the Jones et al data used to compile IPCC Global Warming trends. ‘So I believe it is fallacious of Parker to draw his conclusion that, "This analysis demonstrates that urban warming has not introduced significant biases into estimates of recent global warming."’ You then list the Australian stations used by Parker, from which I count 5 urban, 4 suburban and 8 rural. Given Parker’s limited purpose, there was no reason for him to use all stations, but rather just a reasonable sampling. If the list you provided is any indication, that’s exactly what he did. [ In addition to my point about Parker using a more rural series [totally devoid of big cities] than Jones et al 1986 and Jones 1994, Parker has not to my understanding released his data. His conclusions say more about inadequacies of global datasets and the obvious confounding factors when considering the huge energy moved around in winds compared to the relatively small energy involved in the small UHI’s in his data. ] Also regarding the UHI, I see no reference in any of your discussion to Peterson (JClim 2003), , which provides considerable support for Parker’s conclusions. Why not? [ In 2005 I emailed Peterson asking for the data his paper was based on. All I will say is that TCP is not giving me the time series data behind his claims. Once again, secret data. AGW is all about time series, not little snapshot comparisons of how stations compare in 1990. ] If you’re going to keep material like this UHI stuff on your site, either keep it up to date or clearly label it as in need of updating. Post by me at RC fllowing Steves above. Gidday Steve and RealClimate moderators, Re your 101 and 103, I do not think "Adulterated fabrication" is any improvement on "pure fabrication". I fail to understand why you can not address the science issues on my site without making sweeping derogatory comments that might constitute libel. Thanks for your specific instances Steve which I will reply to on my own Blog where I hope we keep to matters bearing on science not personalities. Warwick Hughes

  32. Doug you were looking for census data: here is a worldwide reliable source:

    POPULATION STATISTICS Growth of the population per country in a historical perspective, including their administrative divisions and principal towns Here you will find a historical, demographical and statistical overview of the population of all the countries in the world, their administrative divisions and their important cities. The construction and lay-out of this site was set up in April 1999; in January 2002 the compiler completed the first input of all files. Now a continuing project starts: filling certain gaps in the tables. And this will take much more time than the construction itself; so maybe the work on this site will "never end" … © 1999/2005 "Populstat" website: Jan Lahmeyer

    see eg UK data:

  33. RE: “Sorry to disappoint, but the quote is some other Steve Bloom, I’m afraid. ”

    No it wasn”t – it was you.

  34. In his ground breaking book, Spetsnaz, Suvarov had an interesting comment about the nascent “Green” parties and how the GRU considered them to be of great interest as potential 5th Columnists. He described them as “watermelons, green on the outside and red on the inside”

    To wit:

    “PL-463a/33.11. U.S. v. Oakland; Nuclear Free Oakland, Steve Bloom (ND CA #C-89-3305 JPV); 958 F2d 300 (9th Cir 1992)

    11/8/88: Def-City voters passed Nuclear Free Zone Act (PL-463/34.4). 9/89: U.S. sued in DC challenging Act. 11/89: Hyundai Merchant Marine notified Def-City of planned 1/90 shipment from DoE to S Korea of 21 tons of uranium hexafluoride through City. 12/89: Def-City Council held public h’g, approved res: seeking more information from U.S. regulatory agencies, declining to approve transportation route due to ongoing earthquake-related local emergency, instituting local safeguards against transportation during rush hour. 12/89: Nuclear Free Oakland (initiative sponsor), Steve Bloom (author) moved to intervene in DC.

    • 8/24/90: Vukasin, DJ: denied intervention; granted U.S. summary judgment; declared unconstitutional portions of Act that: prohibit nuclear weapons work; regulate use, transportation of nuclear weapons, materials; prohibit contracting w/, investing in nuclear weapons makers; require annual reports by persons engaged in activities covered by Act in violation of war powers clause or preempted by Atomic Energy Act, other fed’l law; failed to rule on motion for summary judgment. Oakland City Council voted not to appeal decision. 2/14/91: Bloom/Nuclear Free Oakland filed appeal on merits of provision restricting investment in/purchasing from nuclear weapons makers, failure to allow intervention. 3/9/92: 9th Cir, Schroeder, CJ: dism’d for lack of jurisdiction.

    John Burroughs, Western States Legal Foundation, 1440 Broadway Ste 420; Brad Seligman, 1300 Clay St, 11th Fl; both Oakland, CA 94612; amicus: CCR, 666 Broadway, 7th Fl, NY, NY 10012-9985

    See PL-463/34.4; PL-904/58.2”

  35. “Activists, radicals, peace campaigners, green party members: as far as the leaders of the GRU are concerned, these are like ripe watermelons, green on the outside, but red on the inside — and mouth-watering.” – Viktor Suvorov, “Spetsnaz”

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