Saturday, June 2, 2012


date: Thu May 8 12:56:46 2008
from: Phil Jones <>
subject: Re: UEA Environmental Sciences Website

Dear Tony,
Lawson is just trying to sell his book! There may be something of relevance in it
wrt the economics of trying to do anything on climate change, but as far as the
science behind climate change he is just wrong.
It is hard for the general public to follow these issues. The blog sites don't help
that much. Real Climate is the best - it is run by real climatologists. They don't have
as much there as some of the others, but the people running it have to do day jobs.
Legates and Baliunas don't know anything about proxy data. I think you should have
said Soon and Baliunas. They don't have any background in paleoclimatology, so you
can forget them. The latest info is in the IPCC Report, but I know it is almost 1000pp.
You only get sound science in the proper climate science journals. These are the
ones peer-reviewed by climate scientists. Journals have what is called an Impact Factor
based partly on citation counts. If they don't mention this they aren't worth reading.
The IPCC report has a section on the MWP. Even though this was likely more regional
than many believe (e.g. there is growing evidence it was cooler in the Equatorial Pacific
during this time, with more La Nina events) we have been warmer than then since the 1980s.
Glaciers are retreating across the world (except in a few regions such as southern
where they respond to winter precip). In the Alps man-made items are being found under
the retreat. Most come from 6000 years ago, with some from Roman times. None is
Attached is a paper on the last few millennia.
At 11:32 08/05/2008, you wrote:

Dear Phil,

Thank you for your reply to my "Lord Lawson" query. That is very clear and seems to
confirm my concern about Lawson's attempt to spin the interpretation of your data.

I notice that, in his book, he has also grabbed on to the Legates and Baliunis attack on
the "Hockey Stick " model which I know you have a direct interest in. They seem to have
good scientific pedigrees so presumably their arguments should be taken seriously. How
is that model holding up to this scepticism? Is the issue about the "medieval Warm
period" resolved?

For the majority of the general non-scientific public (which includes many of my
friends) these are pretty esoteric debates and they views can be easily swayed either
way by a plausible book or documentary. I feel it is important that people like myself,
scientifically trained but not as climate scientists, should have a good up-to-date
understanding of the issues so as to be able to explain and support sound scientific
argument on such an important matter.

I have read Sir John Houghton's book and found it very helpful.


Tony Buley

PS My apologies for twice misspelling "Hadley" in my email. A phenomenon known among us
over 60s as the "Senior Moment effect".

In a message dated 06/05/2008 10:46:38 GMT Standard Time, writes:

Dear Tony,
Have also just read the full page spread in Saturday's Guardian, and
a couple of response letters in today's issue.
Lawson doesn't understand climate change (the science). He may be right
that we won't be able to do much about slowing the rate of change. He thinks
like a politician and not a scientist.
What he doesn't understand is that increasing greenhouse gases are only
one factor affecting climate change. They dominate on timescales beyond decadal,
but on the interannual, natural variability dominates. We are relatively cool
now because of the La Nina event, which is waning. The next warmest year will
be the year of or the year after the next El Nino event.
This has all been explained countless times before.
In finding this link, I notice that the Met Office have put up another release
on April 29.
There is no after the event in all this. Climatologists have known for years
that much of the variability of global T (and NH and SH) is due to El Nino and
La Nina. The attached is from our in-house magazine (Climate Monitor) from 1990.
It is all a matter of timescales. The 1990s were warmer than the 1980s, and the
(so far) are clearly warmer than the 1990s.
There are a lot of silly op-ed pieces on climate change and recent temperatures.
are just not worth responding to. The latest has been about the drop in
between Jan07 and Jan08. This is as a result of La Nina.
You might like to look at the recent temperatures on our site for March08.
March08 has been the warmest March on record for the NH land. This is just
because the snow cover over Eurasia disappeared quickly during Feb. See these
time series and maps.
Look at Eurasia snow cover extent for Dec, Jan, Feb, Mar08. March is only
one month.
At 12:17 05/05/2008, you wrote:

Dear Professor Jones,

I was away on holiday when Karen Crockett sent me this mail, hence the delay.

In a sense the moment has passed now but I became marginally involved in a dispute
between Lord Lawson (he of the new book about "so-called global warming" -his
phrase, not mine) and Dr E Robert Watson in the letter columns of the Financial
Times where Lawson had repeated his claim, made in his book, that average global
temperatures have not risen this century - a statement subsequently strongly
disputed by Watson.

I wrote a slightly whimsical letter to the Editor of the FT , which was published,
saying that I was inclined to believe "the trained chemist rather than the former
financial journalist" and it was then that Lawson replied quoting joint research by
CRU and the Hadler Institute as supporting his statement.

Having examined the websites of Hadler and CRU it appears that while apparently
literally correct (as temperatures seem to have temporarily stabilised around a
point slightly lower than that reached in 1998), Lawson has ignored the fact that
seven of the ten warmest years ever recorded have occurred since 2000 and that, by
attempting to pooh pooh a highly plausible explanation for this (La Nina) by
describing it as "after the event", he has put own spin on the figures to support
his own extreme scepticism. In the process he is attempting to "distort the
underlying scientific truth of these data" (my phrase). As a one-time scientist
myself (now retired) I am particularly incensed by non-scientists who try to place
simplistic interpretations on complex data.

As I say, the argument moved on while I was on holiday where I did not have access
to the FT but, if you have time to reply, I would be interested to know your views
on Lawson's interpretation of your own research data. If he has a point he should
be given due credit.

I think it is important because Lawson is still an influential figure.

With kind regards

Tony Buley

Dr A L Buley
Oxford OX2 6XP

In a message dated 23/04/2008 11:45:08 GMT Standard Time,

Dear Tony,

Following your call on Monday regarding information on our website, I have had
some email correspondence from Professor Phil Jones. He is currently away and
so unable to talk by phone, but if you can email your query to him via
[5] he shall try and help you from there.


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Karen Crockett
Local Support Secretary and CSERGE Secretary
School of Environmental Sciences (2.36)
University of East Anglia

Tel: +44 (0)1603 593176
Fax: +44 (0)1603 591327

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Prof. Phil Jones
Climatic Research Unit Telephone +44 (0) 1603 592090
School of Environmental Sciences Fax +44 (0) 1603 507784
University of East Anglia
Norwich Email

Prof. Phil Jones
Climatic Research Unit Telephone +44 (0) 1603 592090
School of Environmental Sciences Fax +44 (0) 1603 507784
University of East Anglia
Norwich Email

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