Supplementary Memorandum Submitted by Douglas J Keenan (UEA Reviews
Pursuant to the reviews of the Climatic
Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, oral evidence
was heard from Lord Oxburgh, on 8 September 2010, and from
Sir Muir Russell, Vice Chancellor Edward Acton, and Pro Vice
Chancellor Trevor Davies, on 27 October 2010. Each hearing
considered the fraud allegation against CRU Professor Phil Jones.
The allegation was made by me. The following describes some issues
that pertain to the allegation, and proposes a means of resolution.
THE 1990 STUDY
In 1990, the following study was published in
the leading scientific journal Nature (note that Jones
is the first author).
Jones P D, Groisman P Y, Coughlan M, Plummer
N, Wang W-C, Karl T R, "Assessment of urbanization effects
in time series of surface air temperature over land", Nature,
347: 169-172 (1990).
This study concerns an issue with measurements
of global temperature. As a simple example of the issue, consider
a thermometer in the middle of a large field. Suppose that there
was a city nearby, and over time, the city expanded to replace
the field with asphalt and buildings. Then the temperatures recorded
by the thermometer would tend to be higher, because asphalt, buildings,
cars, etc give off extra heat.
Many thermometers used by weather stations are
in areas that have undergone urbanization. Thus, such thermometers
might show temperatures going up, even if the global climate was
unchanging. It is widely accepted that some of the increase in
measured temperatures during the past century is due to many weather
stations being located in areas where urbanization has occurred.
A critical issue is this: how much of perceived global warming
is due to such urbanization effects?
The latest (2007) assessment report by the Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change considers this issue The IPCC does not
do original research itself; rather, it assesses research previously
published in scientific journals. The IPCC assessment of the urbanization
effects concluded that such effects are insignificant overall.
One of the main studies cited by the IPCC to justify that conclusion
is the 1990 study of Jones et al. The study of Jones et
al looked at urbanization effects in eastern China (as well
as eastern Australia and western Russia). It found that urbanization
effects there were insignificant. Eastern China has had much urbanization;
so if the temperature measurements from there were essentially
unaffected by urbanization, then that would suggest the temperatures
records from other countries around the world were also little
affected, in general. Hence urbanization effects are probably
The study of Jones et al is not the sole
study relied upon by the IPCC report for its conclusion about
the global insignificance of the urbanization effects. Hence even
if the study were wholly invalidated, that would not imply that
the conclusion was unsupported. On the other hand, arguments made
in some of the other main studies have been strongly criticized
(both in the peer-reviewed literature and on scholarly blogs).
The Russell report rightly states that the study of Jones et
al "is important".
A problem with analyzing temperature measurements
from weather stations is that the stations sometimes move, and
that can affect the measurements. For example, one of the stations
used in the 1990 study was originally located upwind of a city
and later moved, 25 km, to be downwind of the city; such
a move would be expected to increase the measured temperatures,
because a city generates heat. It is obvious that when a station
moves, the temperature measurements from before the move are not,
in general, directly comparable with the measurements from after
The 1990 study of Jones et al claims
that the weather stations that were studied "were selected
on the basis of station history: we chose those with few, if any,
changes in instrumentation, location or observation times".
That claim is essential for the study.
Jones et al asserted that they obtained
the Chinese data from a report that was jointly published by the
U.S. Department of Energy and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
The DOE/CAS report states that its purpose is to present "the
most comprehensive, long-term instrumental Chinese climate data
presently available". The report also states, though, that
for a majority of the stations studied by Jones et al,
"station histories are not currently available" and
"details regarding instrumentation, collection methods, changes
in station location or observing times ... are not known".
For a minority of the stations, histories are available: over
half of those had substantial moves. Thus, there is strong evidence
that the claim of Jones et al to have selected stations
on the basis of their histories is fraudulent.
Potential problems with the claim of Jones et
al were first raised on the Climate Audit blog of Steve McIntyre.
I subsequently investigated. It became clear that fraud had occurred,
but that Phil Jones was innocent: the evidence strongly indicates
that, for the Chinese data, Jones trusted and relied upon one
of his co-authors, Wei-Chyung Wang.
Wang is a professor at the State University
of New York at Albany. In 2007, I filed a formal allegation of
research fraud with the University. Details are given in a peer-reviewed
article that I published in the journal Energy & Environment
(2007), entitled "The fraud allegation against some climatic
research of Wei-Chyung Wang". The University conducted an
investigation, which concluded that Wang was not guilty. There
were, however, serious procedural irregularities during the investigation.
For example, I was not contacted during the investigation: a breach
of the University's own policies, U.S. federal regulations, and
obvious natural justice. Moreover, when asked to produce the station
histories, Wang claimed, in effect, that he had plagiarized the
work and that the person from whom he had plagiarized had since
lost the information; yet the university ignored the admission
of plagiarism. Details are on my web site, at www.informath.org/apprise/a5620.htm.
The U.S. Congress' Committee on Oversight and
Government Reform has contacted me about the irregularities in
the investigation. In November 2010, the Committee informed me
that it is considering whether to investigate the matter. Final
status of the allegation against Wang thus remains to be decided.
Although Jones was innocent in 1990, he was
no longer so by 2001, when the following research paper was published
(note that Jones is one of the authors).
Yan Z, Yang C, Jones P, "Influence of inhomogeneity
on the estimation of mean and extreme temperature trends in Beijing
and Shanghai", Advances in Atmospheric Sciences, 18:
The paper of Yan et al studied two weather
stations, one in Beijing and one in Shanghai. The Beijing station
had five locations spread over 41 km. The Shanghai station
had only a single move, but that move caused a doubling of
the long-term warming trend there (according to Yan et al).
The station movements imply that the temperature measurements
from the stations cannot be directly used in analysis, as discussed
above. Yet the measurements had been used in the analysis of Jones
et al (1990). And given that this problem arose for both
the stations that were studied by Yan et al, then it must
be suspected for at least some of the other stations used in 1990.
Thus, by 2001, Jones must have known that the
1990 study should not be relied upon. As the lead author of the
1990 study, Jones should have then tried to have had the study
retracted: it is clear that that is the ethical thing to do. Indeed,
the UK Research Integrity Office now has guidelines stating that
a retraction may be necessary "when there is clear evidence
that the reported findings are unreliable, either as a result
of misconduct, such as fabrication of data, or honest error, for
example, miscalculation or experimental error". Jones, however,
did not try to have the 1990 study retracted.
In 2007, the IPCC published its most-recent
assessment report on climate change. The IPCC reports are widely
considered to be the most authoritative assessment of the science
of global warming. For the 2007 report, there were two scientists
with final responsibility for the chapter in the report on "surface
and atmospheric climate change" (here "surface"
refers to the surface of the Earth, ie where people live). Those
two were Phil Jones and an American colleague, Kevin Trenberth.
The chapter of Jones & Trenberth cites the
1990 study for its assessment of the issue of urbanization effects.
Thus, in 2007, Jones was responsible for having the IPCC cite
the 1990 study even though he knew that the study should not be
relied upon. This constitutes fraudfraud in the writing
of the most important reference that there is on global-warming
On 19 June 2007, I e-mailed Jones about
this, citing Yan et al and saying "this proves that
you knew there were serious problems with Wang's claims back in
2001; yet some of your work since then has continued to rely on
those claims, most notably in the latest report from the IPCC".
I politely requested an explanation. I did not receive a reply.
In August 2007, I submitted a draft of my article
on these allegations to the journal Energy & Environment.
The journal editor then sent the draft to Jones. Jones replied
with many comments, but he did not attempt to rebut the allegation
On 2 February 2010, in the wake of Climategate,
The Guardian published a front-page story that reported
on my allegations. The Guardian is a major advocate for
global warming; yet the report was highly positive. The story
was re-reported around the world. Later that day, the University
of East Anglia issued a press release to clarify some issues.
Yet the press release did not attempt to rebut the allegation.
Jones has never publicly attempted to deny the
fraud allegation against him.
Note that the allegation against Jones is separate
from the allegation against Wang. The allegation against Wang
relies on the DOE/CAS report. The allegation against Jones is
independent of that and relies on the paper of Yan et al.
THE 2008 STUDY
In 2008, Jones and two colleagues (neither of
which was Wang) published a study that claimed to verify the conclusion
of the 1990 study. Jones, and others, have since cited the 2008
study to argue that issues with the 1990 study are therefore immaterial.
The 2008 study, however, relies upon the
same station histories as the 1990 study. The histories that
are not extant. Indeed, Jones discussed my fraud allegation in
an interview with Nature (published on 15 February 2010),
and in the interview Jones acknowledged that the histories had
been lost long ago. In the same interview, however, Jones reasserted
that the 2008 study verified the conclusions of the 1990 studywhich
is obviously impossible.
Moreover, in 2008, Wang made a submission to
the University at Albany during the university's investigation
of my allegation against him. His submission (which was leaked
as part of Climategate) included a letter from a colleague in
China who co-authored the DOE/CAS report. The letter stated that
the relevant histories had been lost long ago. Indeed, it is manifest
that if the histories were available in 2008, Wang would have
produced them to defend himself.
Jones' story about the 2008 study is plainly
false. Jones changed that story in a second interview with Nature
(published on 15 November 2010). In the second interview,
Jones claimed that the histories had not been lost, but "the
authorities [in China] have not released the full station-history
data". Jones' change of story seems highly suspicious. Moreover,
the changed story has a problem: what reason do the authorities
have for not releasing the histories? The histories are not state
secrets; their release, if they were extant, would benefit science;
and CAS undertook a project with DOE to publish them.
The Oxburgh panel had, as its remit, to assess
the integrity of work done at CRU. The allegation that I made
against Jones is the sole explicit allegation of fraud that has
been made against anyone at CRU. Yet the report of the Oxburgh
panel does not consider the allegation. Indeed, Lord Oxburgh stated,
when giving oral evidence to the Committee on 8 September
2010, that he did not recall looking at the allegation.
The Russell panel did consider the allegation:
Section 6.6 of their report is devoted to this. Neither that section
nor any other section of their report, however, cites Yan et
al. In other words, the Russell panel did not consider the
evidence for the allegation.
The Russell panel claimed, though, that the
2008 study by Jones et al "verified the original conclusions
for the Chinese data". As discussed above, this claim is
extremely dubious. Additionally, my allegation is that Jones committed
fraud. The allegation does not concern the validity, or otherwise,
of the 1990 conclusions. If those conclusions were invalid, that
might potentially have consequences for global-warming science,
but it is of little consequence for the central issue: the integrity
of Jones' research.
The panel further claimed that Wang being found
not guilty by the University at Albany implied that Jones was
not guilty. As discussed above, the allegation against Wang is
independent of the allegation against Jones.
It is also notable that the Russell panel had,
in its remit, the investigation of e-mails that were released
in Climategate and that three of those e-mails included copies
of my e-mail to Jones on 19 June 2007, which cited Yan et
al and requested for an explanation for his actions (the e-mails
were #1182342470, #1182346299, #1182361058). If every member of
the Russell panel read all the Climategate e-mails, as Sir Muir
asserted in his oral evidence to the Committee on 27 October
2010, then surely they would have seen the reference to Yan et
al. That is particularly so given the publicity that my e-mail
to Jones received. For example, the Associated Press had a report
on the Climategate e-mails in December 2009. That report highlighted
my e-mail to Jones as one of the most significant (though regarding
Wang rather than Jones). The report was apparently published in
over 1000 newspapers around the world, often of the front page.
A Climategate e-mail given that much publicity would be expected
to have gotten the attention of a panel investigating the Climategate
From this summary account, two main conclusions
emerge. First, there is good evidence to support the allegation
that Jones committed fraud in some of his researchincluding
research which influenced a chapter of the principal report upon
which governments rely for a scientific assessment of global warming.
Second, the evidence for the allegation was not considered by
either the Oxburgh panel or the Russell panel; indeed, it has
not been properly investigated by any competent and authorized
It would be much in the public interest if the
Committee were to commission an investigation.
If there is to be an investigation, I believe
that this should not be undertaken by a scientist or other academic:
because scientists generally seem to be reluctant to find one
of their own guilty. As evidence, consider that there are tens
of thousands of non-medical scientists in the UK; yet in the past
quarter century, there do not seem to have been any convictions
for fraud. Such a record is not credible: even among much smaller
groups of highly respected peoplepolice detectives, Catholic
priests, members of parliamentfrauds do occur. The evidence
against Jones can be understood without scientific training. If
there is to be an investigation, then, I suggest that it be undertaken
by someone skilled in the rules of evidence, such as a senior
judge or barrister.
Douglas J Keenan
1 December 2010