Crichton testifies on scientific verification


Michael Crichton, Committee on Environment and Public Works, 28 September 2005

Thank you Mr. Chairman, and members of the Committee. I appreciate the opportunity to discuss the important subject of politicization of research. In that regard, what I would like to emphasize to the committee today is the importance of independent verification to science.

Dr. Crichton’s full speech is at the above link or NZ Climate Truth 79

On the 5th October Dr. Crichton made the following brief comment on the ClimateAudit web site.

My testimony was intended to be an argument for transparency.

More broadly, I wanted to suggest that the US government needs stricter standards for many kinds of information it uses to set policy. The Vioxx story is one non-climate example.

In response to the Vioxx controversy, last month a dozen major medical journals published a joint editorial in which they called for a publicly-accessible database for trial results similar to the NIH, and they said they would not publish results of trials that had not been registered on the database.

It will be interesting to see if other fields of science follow this straightforward example.

After all, who opposes transparency?

(I won’t be commenting further. Thanks to all those who have taken the trouble to read my testimony carefully, and to spell my name correctly. )

WA Govt. wastes 75 GL of rainwater in 2005

Perth uses approximately 300GL of water PA.

The Govt. is constructing a ~$400Mill seawater desalination plant to produce 45GL PA.

In 2005 May to October (the runoff season) Perth dam catchments which total 3500 squ. kms had circa 958mm of rain. This equates to about 3353GL water falling free into catchments of which approx. 115GL flowed into dams, meaning that catchment efficiency (yield) was 3.4%.

My graphic at the Perth Water Users web site shows that up until the mid 1990’s catchment efficiency was 5.5 to 6%. Let’s just assume for a minute that our Governments had been sensible and maintained catchment management work, keeping yields this year at say 5.7%. An increase of 2.3% (5.7-3.4) in this years yield would have put an extra 75+ GL (2.3% of 3353 GL) into our dams, which is 160% of the projected production from the Kwinana Desalination Plant (KDP), where costs have already blown out to over $387Million.

USSR spurious high warming regions

Station temperature records are examined in nine five-by-five degree grid cells in the former USSR claimed by Karl 1998 to have warmed by circa 2 degrees over the period 1901-1996. Karl’s results, derived from updated Jones 1994 grid point data, are compared with temperature records from the Jones 1994 global update, the V2 GHCN and the NASA GISS website. In no grid cells are rural station records found to justify the warming claimed in Karl 1998. In three grid cells, stations with warming trends close to the Karl 1998 anomaly magnitudes are found, but in all three cases cities are the source of the apparent warming, which is not apparent at nearby small town or rural stations. The other six grid boxes contain either stations not warming at the rate suggested in Karl 1998, or very incomplete data for the 1901-1996 period. Station-by-station comparisons in all grid boxes show significant trend differences between Jones 1994 and GHCN/GISS data. In recent years it has become apparent that a sizeable share of century-long "global warming" is in the region of the former USSR. This paper examines at the level of individual weather station records the evidence for the claim in Karl 1998 of circa 2 degrees warming during 1901-1996 in nine grid boxes in Siberia and eastern Kazahkstan. Karl’s 1998 paper contributed to the IPCC publication "The Regional Impacts of Climate Change". Similar global maps of grid box anomalies are seen in the IPCC 2001 Third Assessment Report (TAR) Figure 2.9

Jones et al: South Africa

Jones et al trends in South Africa are even more dominated by cities than their Australian data.

In 1991 I started hunting down temperature data that was not used by Jones et al 1986 and this lead to me contacting the South African ‘Weeburo” late in 1991 by mail. Despite considerable turmoil in that country I had the luck to encounter a helpful official who mailed me back a couple of diskettes with rural and small town data from 1960-1990.

This lead to the 1996 paper with Professor Robert C. Balling Jr., of Arizona State University which was posted online years ago by the late John Daly.

Warwick S. Hughes and Robert C. Balling, Jr. “Urban Influences on South African Temperature Trends.” International Journal of Climatology, Vol. 16, No. 8, pp. 935-940.

[Online at John Daly’s site]

The paper demonstrates large differences between rural trends and the Jones et al trends dominated by cities.
Of course hugely ignored in IPCC circles. After 1991 I tried to obtain longer term S.A. data but co-operation stopped after they were contacted by BoM people. We know how it works.

Australian reviews of UHI errors (Part 2)

In 1991 the writer (WSH) reviewed the Jones et al temperature data for Australia along with a wider selection of Australian data while associated with the Tasman Institute in Melbourne. The Executive Summary of that unpublished report which was circulated to interested parties, has survived in digital form and is presented here for the first time.

[Note, the Tasman Institute was a free market think tank in Melbourne for about a decade, closing in the late 1990’s.]

Continue reading Australian reviews of UHI errors (Part 2)

Australian reviews of UHI errors (Part 1)

In Australia, two unpublished reports were generated about 15 years ago which went to the issue of the validity of using urban stations to compile large area temperature trends.

[1] The 1990 BoM draft Paper, M.J. Coughlan, R. Tapp and W.R. Kininmonth; 1990, “Trends in Australian Temperature Records” by three senior BoM staff, defined urban heat island (UHI) magnitudes by various comparisons between central city sites in all the Australian state capitals and their respective airports, more than one satellite site in the case of the larger cities.

The BoM found substantial urban warming greater than the scale of global warming. Extracts from Coughlan et all 1990 are below.

[View first page of Coughlan et al 1990. Download 300KB zip file of 18 gif images of Coughlan et al ]

Conclusion from Coughlan, et al 1990 re Urbanization Trends

3.3 Mean temperatures

Estimates of the trends in the annual average daily mean temperature also indicated warming at most of the non-urban sites except Brisbane Airport. The strongest warming over the periods examined was 0.26 C decade-1 Mean temperatures at Brisbane Airport cooled by approximately 0.03 C/ decade. Trends in urban-rural differences were all positive.

These estimates are greater than those of the trends this century, reported by Jones et al. (1989), in annual mean Southern Hemisphere air temperature, over both land and sea, and sea surface temperature, which have all shown rises of approximately 0.06 C /decade.

Continue reading Australian reviews of UHI errors (Part 1)

Past reviews of Jones et al (Part 1)

The only published review of Jones et al (1986) the writers are aware of , was published in 1988 by Fred B Wood in the Elsevier journal, “Climatic Change”. [Note; Dr Fred B Wood was from the Office of Technology Assessment, United States Congress.]

Wood, F.B. 1988, “Comment: On the need for Validation of the Jones et al. Temperature Trends with respect to Urban Warming”, Climatic Change 12, 297-312.

Dr’s Jones and Wigley replied in the same issue;

Wigley, T.M.L. and Jones, P.D. 1988; “Do large-area-average temperature series have an urban warming bias ?”, Climatic Change 12, 314-318.

(In the weeks and months ahead we will work through the points Wood raised, matching them with Wigley & Jones replies and comment ourselves .WSH 26Sep05)

One can only wonder why Wood’s critique of Jones et al was not published by A.M.S., where it belonged.

20th Anniversary Review of Jones et al

Next year will mark 20 years since the publication of the two landmark Jones et al papers that launched the dataset that underpins IPCC Global Warming as we now know it. For over 200 years Earth has been recovering from the Little Ice Age (LIA) and the associated solar minimums so of course warming has taken place. Our position in continuing to draw attention to the appalling deficiencies in the Jones et al methodologies can be expressed simply by in effect saying the following to the IPCC and their cohorts.

If you are proposing huge changes to the world economic system, surely the onus is on you to measure global temperature trends using data that does not include many hundreds of temperature records contaminated by local urban heat islands. That is what this review is about, a stepping stone to generating global temperature trends from land station data much less contaminated by urbanization than the Jones et al IPCC trends.

A great and pervasive mythology has grown up over two decades that the Jones et al papers somehow “adjusted for urbanization”. If anyone can demonstrate this we are open to being told. Certainly Jones et al make many “corrections” for the multitude of, steps, jumps and inhomogeneities that bedevil temperature data due to site moves and various station changes. To confuse this with their data being “adjusted for urbanization” is indeed a gross misapprehension. [Page listing all Southern Hemisphere stations.]

Readers can judge for themselves the veracity of the Jones et al statement on p1216 of Jones et al 1986b, where they state that “… very few stations in our final data set come from large cities.” This glib and lulling statement is detached from the reality that 40% of their ~300 SH stations are cities with population over 50K.

First the two 1986 papers by Jones et al:

Northern Hemisphere Surface Air Temperature Variations: 1851-1984
P.D. Jones, S.C.B. Raper, P.M. Kelly, and T.M.L. Wigley, R.S. Bradley and H.F. Diaz;
Journal of Applied Meteorology: Vol. 25, No. 2, pp. 161-179.


Southern Hemisphere Surface Air Temperature Variations: 1851–1984
P.D. Jones, S.C.B. Raper, and T.M.L. Wigley;
Journal of Applied Meteorology: Vol. 25, No. 9, pp. 1213–1230.

[Supporting documentation (~350 page book) published by Office of Energy Research , Carbon Dioxide Research Division, US Department of Energy]

For the first time on the www 23 scanned pages of “Station History and Homogeneity Assessment Details” from the Scandinavian and USSR pages of the lengthy Appendix A have been posted. Interested readers should ask for copies of TR022 and TR027 from here

Jones PD , Raper SCB, Cherry BSG, Goodess CM, Wigley TML, Santer B, Kelly PM, Bradley RS, Diaz HF, (1985) TR022 A Grid Point Surface Air Temperature Data Set for the Northern Hemisphere. Office of Energy Research , Carbon Dioxide Research Division, US Department of Energy. Under Contract No. DE-ACO2-79EV10098


Jones PD , Raper SCB, Cherry BSG, Goodess CM, Wigley TML, (1986c) TR027 A Grid Point Surface Air Temperature Data Set for the Southern Hemisphere. Office of Energy Research , Carbon Dioxide Research Division, US Department of Energy. Under Contract No. DE-ACO2-79EV10098

Despite the fact that these were long and complex papers in their own right, backed up by ~350 pages of station documentation for over 4,000 stations and at least a reel of magnetic tape, these papers sailed serenely through the review process each in about three months, without a single “Comment” being published in the Journal of Climate and Applied Meteorology, a publication of the august American Meteorological Society (AMS).

[Abstracts for all issues can be read online]

The N Hem. paper in in the February issue and S Hem. in September. Spend a few minutes checking other papers and you will see that many papers reporting results from vastly simpler and less voluminous research projects than Jones et al were delayed in review often up to a year.

Primarily exposing faulty methodologies behind global temperature trend compilations