Hide the decline – new Jones station data file from 1999

While discussing Darwin data I was pointed to this file master.dat.com in the FOIA(leaked ClimateGate file) documents folders. I was amazed to find the 14MB file is in fact the Jones et al 1999 station data – another gem from FOIA.

So this is a considerable step forward in our uncovering of Jones et al station data – the previous most recent Jones station data I had was the much expanded Jones 1994 data. (note the 1996 update has few stations).

I was amazed to find that the 1999 station list (2664) has fewer stations than the 1994 update (2961 quoted in the paper but 3555 in the digital download from CRU). If I had been asked my opinion I would have bet that Jones steadily increased his stations list with each new version.
Jones total stations varying over 20 years
Notes re graphic added 2 Jan 2010. 1986, total from journal papers, 1994 ditto, 1995 total from digital file of monthly T data ex CRU website, 1999 total from digital file of monthly T data ex FOIA file ClimateGate, 2003 total from Jones & Moberg journal paper, 2006 total from Brohan et al journal paper, 2007 station list released by CRU on their website, UKMO09 – partial release of station monthly T data – presumably they have another ~2000+ to release. My use of “hide the decline” refs to the drop in station numbers from 2961 in 1994 to 2664 in 1999. Note this issue is NOTHING to do with the number of stations open and recording at any time. A good guide to that % can be arrived at by the Jones 1996 update file which listed only stations currently recording and that had 1226 stations. So at that time less than half of all stations used by Jones were still recording.
Now we only need to discover the Jones & Moberg 2003 monthly station T data – then if the UKMO station data keeps emerging, we are in sight of a sequence of how Jones et al stations changed over over 20 years.

The 1999 station data file relates to this paper.
Jones, P.D., M. New, D.E. Parker, S. Martin, and I.G. Rigor. 1999. Surface air temperature and its changes over the past 150 years. Reviews of Geophysics 37:173-199. (Free pdf available)

My use of the well known phrase from ClimateGate emails, “hide the decline” is to highlight the decrease in station numbers from the 1994 list to 1999. IMHO this is somewhat at odds with the following dscription from Jones et al 1999.

In section 2.1. Land Component on page 174

“Here we use the land station data set developed by Jones [1994]. All 2000+ station time series used have been assessed for homogeneity by subjective interstation comparisons performed on a local basis. Many stations were adjusted and some omitted because of anomalous warming trends and/or numerous nonclimatic jumps (complete details are given by Jones et al. [1985, 1986c]).”

My comments on the above Jones et al 1999 paragraph.

[1] I take the first sentence to mean that no new stations were examined or used – only those in Jones 1994.
[2] Surely all 1994 stations passed the Jones homogeneity checks as described in his 1985 & 1986c references, the DoE TR022 and TR027 books.
[3] Yet Jones et al 1999 above speaks of, “Many stations were adjusted and some omitted because of anomalous warming trends and/or numerous nonclimatic jumps..”
[4] The obvious question arises, why were stations omitted when all stations were from Jones 1994 which had already gone through the homogenization process ?
[5] Also why were many stations further adjusted when all stations were from Jones 1994 which had already gone through the homogenization process ?
[6] Why did not reviewers ask for some better precision than the use of 2000+ and some clear explanation of what was involved in the statement, “Many stations were adjusted and some omitted because of anomalous warming trends and/or numerous nonclimatic jumps..” ?

Post ClimateGate we know that Jones et al operated in a cozy bubble of permissive peer review populated by friendly allies.

13 thoughts on “Hide the decline – new Jones station data file from 1999”

  1. Hi Warwick

    Thanks for all the work you are doing in exposing the many contradictions of CRU data. Coming from the UK I am particularly interested in the contrast between Irish (except Dublin) and UK temperature data. Even with Dublin included Irish temperature data does not show the hockey stick signature that the Met Office’s CET does.

    As Britain and Ireland share the same climate the data for both countries should follow a similar pattern. They do not. I suspect UHI is the cause.

    Have you already discussed this in your work?

    Below is a link to a story from the UK’s Daily Mail concerning rubbish in the Pacific. A bit more rubbish than that comes from the tubes of Foster that are thrown in the sea off Bondi.


    Can you confirm the story’s veracity? There are so many “plants” in the press it’s hard to tell truth from fiction


    Martin Judge

    ( Reader from a distinctly cold UK )

  2. Greetings from a dry Spokane (Eastern Washington State, US)

    Last year we set an all time snow record thanks to the 6′ of the stuff at the end of the year.

    Anyway… Given that the CRU records are a mess, acknowledged by most parties, and that bazillions of grant dollars being spent on warm subjects, it seems to me that it would be easy to hire a few (dozen) grad students to clean the station data up to a strict set of standards. Even if that data has already been highly processed (since no other data is available.)

    Keep the process open and clearly document all work. Perhaps some interns could do the docs. Given the huge sums of money that are apparently available for warming causes (and other Gov crap) I don’t think we should believe any “we can’t afford to do that” nonsense.

    As for stations, any time that a station is moved, modified, otherwise changed, or deleted there should be a clearly understandable record.

    Since Dr. Jones and Co are renowned for their sloppy work it seems to me that this would go a long way towards reinforcing any credibility they might still retain.

  3. Martin and Greg; thanks for dropping in. I did something on the UHI in UK data years ago. Let me know what you think.
    Have not done much since – I see 3 reasons why the UK is not a happy hunting ground to demonstrate the UHI in global datasets as is say New World places like the US mid west and inland Australia.
    [1] Any trends in temperature data are swamped by variations in T of Gulf-Stream air that so controls your climate – then you can get the Saharan air mass over you for the odd heat wave.
    [2] Being old world with a long history, many urban areas may not have shown the growth over the 20C that new world regions have.
    [3] England must be pervasively urbanised, how many really rural records are there. Surely not many in the CET from what I can read.
    Martin; you have heard of the Sargasso Sea – where seaweed plus flotsam & jetsam has always accumulated. I assume these Pacific examples in the Daily Mail article are much hyped examples. No doubt the % of plastic has increased over the decades.
    Greg, those are fair points. One huge disincentive for the generation of competing global trends by people sceptical of Jones et al has been/is;
    [A] Any such project would be near impossible to fund in the pre-climategate atmosphere of pro-IPCC thinking dominating tertiary instos.
    [B] And would also be a “kiss of death” to most academic careers. Why would scientists in tenure risk all when they can advance their careers in peace on other subjects.
    [C] We now know that if any such project got to the publishing stage it would likely have come under heavy attack in the review process, secretly aided and abetted by the editor. I know.

    We are yet to find out as 2010 unfolds if much has really changed.
    Anyway, I thought I would take this opportunity to publish this “Open Letter” dated 2 April 2009, after I posted on the Jones et al very significant Chinese paper.
    Sent to: p.jones@uea.ac.uk, philip.brohan@metoffice.com, chris.folland@metoffice.gov.uk, cru@uea.ac.uk
    Subject: Important conclusions from Jones et al 2008 China paper
    Open Letter
    Dear Dr Jones,
    Thank you for the important conclusion in your 2008 paper, “Urbanization effects
    in large-scale temperature records, with an emphasis on China”. You now accept
    0.1 degrees per decade urban warming over eastern China, a conclusion which fires
    a belated torpedo into your own Jones et al 1990 Letter to Nature, for too long a
    prop of the IPCC position that any influence of urban warming in global gridded
    data was less than 0.05 degrees per century.
    Bearing in mind the extent to which your methodology is uniform across different
    regions, I wonder now if you and the UKMO will accept the inevitable corollary of
    your 2008 China paper and lay CRUTem3 to rest. The successor to CRUTem3 should
    arise out of a process that first excludes all city data, perhaps different
    versions could be built progressively including urban data where rural data can
    not span back to the 19C. CRUTem4 should be generated openly with freely
    available station data, all corrections – adjustments – methodologies openly set
    out and available online during construction. All over the world there are
    expert climate and meteorology people who would be glad to examine your
    contributing station data for their regions.
    Best wishes,
    Warwick Hughes

    Greg, lets hope that in 2010 we make progress towards developing global T datasets in a more open way that is checkable. I should have added – no reply of course.

  4. Hi, and thanks for the nice remarks. :)

    Yeah, I think you’re right about the funding. Cleaning up the records would probably not be in their best interests, as far as the AGW argument goes. I guess they’ll have to settle for their shrinking crowd of believers. If I was in charge of research involving billions of dollars, and the research pretty much required me to say the right things, then I’d be pretty tempted. That said, I think at least some of these guys are true believers and some…. aren’t.

    Isn’t the UHI based on overall energy usage as much as anything else? If modern London (for example) is covered with warm electronic devices (is it?) and things that radiate heat, such as… cars, wouldn’t that add something to differentiate a modern signal from one many years back? And if it can’t grow out, has it grown up?

    And those darn wind and water systems, like the Gulf Stream and the AO (which WUWT says has turned strongly negative,) mucking up the thermometer data. But you know, since the hockey stick graphs imply that the GS (and other wind/current systems) is always uniform then maybe it can be factored out? I’m sure the CRU guys have figured out how to incorporate inconvenient GS data.

    Just so you know, I’m beyond being a skeptic. I’m a heretic. I believe that a couple degrees of global warming would be, on average, a very good thing for the world AND (yes, it gets worse) that doubling CO2 would be clearly beneficial to the entire ecosystem.

    Ok, now that my heresy has been established… About your paper – I like it. It’s simple enough for me to read and understand and it clearly establishes your heresy, er… point. ;)

    “This review is another nail in the coffin of this ridiculous notion that moving a temperature recording site to an airport…”

    To the airport? Heh. No heat being generated there, nope, no way. :) Naturally data since the move (and the resulting sharper warming trend) is considered more reliable than data before the move.

    I first learned about the UHI from Chrichton’s book, State of Fear. (Believers say he’s “just” a science fiction writer, they should read his bio.) It makes perfect sense to me that the UHI exists, especially seeing all those stations at SurfaceStations.org.

    I also love your scorecard on the climate models and the tallying of UHI papers.

    I intend to use it whenever a believer says, “…but the models DO reflect what we see in the real world!”

    On the open letter – it won’t make a diff to believes, but I’d love to see these guys come out and say, “I was wrong about the (whatever.) The new data has caused me to change my conclusions to (whatever.)”

    I wonder how many emails a day Dr. Jones & Co are receiving.

    Keep up the good work. :)

  5. Hi Warwick

    Thanks for the speedy reply and comments. I looked at your work on UK data and thought using Valentia as a comparative was good as it arguably the station least effected by urban contamination in Europe. Should you use 1930 instead of 1890 as the base year, Irish temperature records show no significant trend increase. I’ve looked briefly at Danish data and Danish records follow a similar pattern. Which makes me suspect about the reliability of the CET record especially after your comment that UK station records have not been adjusted for urbanisation.

    Forgive me for being naive but is this really the case? If so, how do they get away with it?

    I tend to agree with Greg above and believe that the whole mess should be cleared up. Like yourself though, I agree it is almost an impossible task. Perhaps a solution is to set up a chain of independent recording stations. I know….who’s going to pay for it!

    Did Jones come back to you about your letter of 29 April? I suspect he didn’t!

    Thinking about what you have said about UHI, I now see your point about New World areas being more suitable areas to test UHI effect. I shall now start looking at Aussie data in more detail.

    The recent UK cold snap has made the public here genuinely sceptical about the competence of official climate organisations and their views about global warming. It’s not being printed in the press or heard on the BBC but the typical Pom, shivering on the iced up, British street, is asking:

    “If this is global warming-it’s bloody cold! What’s going on?”

    The public mood may be changing. On that positive note may I wish you and your readers a happy New Year.

  6. I bet I’m not the only one who does not understand what the hell you are saying. Would you mind “fleshing out” this post?

  7. Sorry Jae if I have not made clear what I am saying – admit I am no Shakespeare. Have another read and ask me something specific that you are not clear on. If you want to read any of the Jones papers – most are downloadable as pdf files here. Along with versions of Jones station data now up to 1999.

  8. I’m still chewing through the data, too.
    There are lots of data files in:

    The mbh98.tar file appears to be the tar-ball that is equivalent to the rest of the files and sub-directories in this section of the FOIA material.

    Newt Love (my real name) newtlove.com
    Aerospace Technical Fellow of Modeling, Simulation and Analysis

  9. It’s just coming apart now isn’t it?

    Thanks for the analysis, it’s getting better by the day.

    We’ll have to redo it all…

  10. Greg:
    It is not heretical, but established that CO2 at 1000+ PPM enables plants to withstand drought, speeds growth, and will just about eradicate famine, especially in arid areas.
    I think tripling of CO2 would be best. My tomato plants would be two weeks earlier!

  11. Warwick, as reported at CA last summer, a CRU mole left the Jones and Moberg 2003 station data version on the CRU website from Feb 2003 until July 30, 2009. When you inquired for station data, it actually was online at the time. It has 4168 stations or so – most of the increase, as I recall, was from US stations with the incorporation of USHCN to gross up the station population/hide the decline.

    Did you notice the cameo reference to the famous letter to you – the letter of Feb 21, 2005? Check out the Climategate Letter of Feb 21, 2005 – see the PS.

  12. “Many stations were adjusted and some omitted because of anomalous warming trends and/or numerous nonclimatic jumps..”

    Surely an “anomalous warming trend” means one with a minus sign in front of it.

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