Panel Report Released On The Research At The Climatic Research Unit [CRU]

The report with the title

Report of the International Panel set up by the University of East Anglia to examine the research of the Climatic Research Unit

has been released.

 The panel members are

Chair: Prof Ron Oxburgh FRS (Lord Oxburgh of Liverpool)
Prof Huw Davies, ETH Zürich
Prof Kerry Emanuel, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Prof Lisa Graumlich, University of Arizona.
Prof David Hand FBA, Imperial College, London.
Prof Herbert Huppert FRS, University of Cambridge
Prof Michael Kelly FRS, University of Cambridge

The report includes the findings

“The Unit has demonstrated that at a global and hemispheric scale temperature
results are surprisingly insensitive to adjustments made to the data and the
number of series included.”

“We agree with the CRU view that the authority for releasing unpublished raw data to third parties
should stay with those who collected it.”

Quite frankly, this was not an effective examination of the issues in the section “Temperatures from Historical Instrumental Records” that exist with the surface temperature data used by the University of East Anglia.  While several papers authored by the University of East Anglia were reviewed by the Committee, there was apparently no discussion of peer reviewed papers which raise issues on the quantitative accuracy of their surface temperature trend assessment, including unresolved a systematic warm bias in the minimum temperature as well as a range of other biases and uncertainties.

These papers include

Pielke Sr., R.A., C. Davey, D. Niyogi, S. Fall, J. Steinweg-Woods, K. Hubbard, X. Lin, M. Cai, Y.-K. Lim, H. Li, J. Nielsen-Gammon, K. Gallo, R. Hale, R. Mahmood, S. Foster, R.T. McNider, and P. Blanken, 2007: Unresolved issues with the assessment of multi-decadal global land surface temperature trends. J. Geophys. Res., 112, D24S08, doi:10.1029/2006JD008229

Klotzbach, P.J., R.A. Pielke Sr., R.A. Pielke Jr., J.R. Christy, and R.T. McNider, 2009: An alternative explanation for differential temperature trends at the surface and in the lower troposphere. J. Geophys. Res., 114, D21102, doi:10.1029/2009JD011841.

I was invited prior to the meeting of this committee by one of the panel members as to what two questions I would like to ask Phil Jones. I have reproduced my response below.


 The two questions I would ask Phil are not specifically on the urban effect, as, in our view (as implied in the 2007 JGR paper) this is just a relatively small concern relative to the other issues we raised.

 I would ask these two questions:

1. Since the IPCC assumes a linear relationship between the multi-decadal
   surface temperature trends and the global average radiative forcing, do
   you conclude that this linear relationship is appropriate for minimum
   temperatures over land?


The assumption of a linear relationship between the radiative forcings and surface temperature is clearly stated in the 2007 IPCC WG1 report (e.g. see Chapter 2 page 133), where it is written

“Radiative forcing [RF] can be related through a linear relationship to the global mean equilibrium temperature change at the surface (delta Ts): delta Ts = lambda * RF, where lambda is the climate sensitivity parameter (e.g.,Ramaswamy et al., 2001)..”

[I discuss this further in my post]

2.  Since the upper ocean heat content data now has good global coverage
   (from Argo and satellite altimeter data), should we start to routinely
   use this as the primary metric to monitor global climate system heat
   changes (i.e. global warming and cooling) instead of the surface
   temperature trends from now (or 2005 – when there is general
   agreement on the quality of the data) forward?

Background: I discuss this in my paper

Pielke Sr., R.A., 2008: A broader view of the role of humans in the climate system. Physics Today, 61, Vol. 11, 54-55.

This avoids the issue of urban (and other effects) in the quantification of global warming and cooling. Since the ocean data samples a significant fraction of the mass of the climate system (while the surface temperatures do not), we can express heat in its proper units- Joules.

Let me know if you need further feedback. Best wishes on your trip.”

Unfortunately, the report does not provide his answers to these two questions.

Moreover, by supporting the CRU recommendation that

“… the authority for releasing unpublished raw data to third parties should stay with those who collected it”

will result in the inability of independent researchers to use the raw data to assess the impact of the adjustments that are made to the surface temperature data. Since this temperature data has become the “gold standard” for global warming, this recommendation must be rejected. If the data is to be used as part of determining global climate policy, it must be freely available.

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