Sunday, June 17, 2012


cc: Chris Turney <>, simon Tett <>, Keith Briffa <>, Tim Osborn <>, Gabi Hegerl <>, Chris Jones <>, Peter Cox <>, Rob Allan <>, Philip Brohan <>, Catherine Bass <>
date: Fri Aug 21 13:55:23 2009
from: Phil Jones <>
subject: Re: Proposed 2 pager
to: Rob Wilson <>, Sandy Tudhope <>

Chris et al (Rob, Sandy, Simon, Gabi),
Lots of good comments and useful suggestions. To summarise, we have a number
of strands:
- extending the instrumental records
- extending the proxy records, and identifying where extra series are needed
(both of these making use of all our collaborators around the world, as Rob and Sandy
allude to,
and we also have these for instrumental data also)
- and then there are the model integrations and the comparisons between models and obs.
Most important of all though is the justification for the consortium and what the
proposed work seeks to achieve. One thrust could be bringing all the proxy and
early instrumental data together. There are now probably two orders of magnitude more
data than were available at the beginning of the 1990s. This could reassess all these
diverse sources in a consistent way, addressing what each is good for (or not) and
seasonal and maybe timescale limitations. This would eventually lead to new larger-scale
reconstructions, of which a few would be more spatially detailed (in a few regions). This
would be good to work on together (parallel post-docs and or PhDs), but it wouldn't be
main justification.
Thinking in terms of PhDs, we'd have to come up with specific topics for the students.
A parallel thrust could be emphasizing the uncertainties in all the reconstructions. As
says this is quite difficult with the proxy data as each discipline has a specific set of
limitations. I'd also expect the uncertainties to expand, as we brought more things in.
The other thrust is the modelling, but this seems from a number of the emails to be going
happen anyway. Perhaps then, we don't need the models in the consortium bid. Just
putting together all the proxy and instrumental data would be enough. It will be difficult
to sell,
but it would be extremely useful for the whole community. The proxy data center at NCDC
does this but doesn't rate the proxies. They just make the series available.
Not sure where this is taking us. There are a lot of good scientific issues when
considering combining proxies. In reconstructions like MBH, which ones do the work
and which are superfluous. The longer instrumental records that are coming along -
on both land and sea will enable many of these issues to be addressed, enabling the
robustness of large-scale reconstructions to be quantified.
Groups all around the world are trying to do this at local-to-regional scales with some
looking more globally. What is needed is co-ordination of these efforts, bringing together
all the contacts each of us has.
Better quantified reconstructions should eventually lead to reductions in climate
but it will be a long process.
As for timing, I think a July 2010 submission would be better to bring all the parts
together - showing how the consortium is bringing together numerous efforts going
on across the world. We do need to meet at some point to thrash out most of the issues.
One small point. Reanalyses are important but refer to those from ERA-40
and ERA-INTERIM as they are much better than NCEP. I'm involved in a paper
on ERA-INTERIM and efforts through an EU project called EURO4M to improve the
input these get given. We do need efforts in analysing the longer 20th century reanalyses.

At 09:26 21/08/2009, Rob Wilson wrote:

Morning All,
from the proxy point of view, it seems to me that there should be a good rationale for
the consortium if we emphasise the importance of a coordinated 'update' and 'new'
sampling of key proxies and regions. Only through a consortium could we ensure that by,
for example, year 3, we have updated (to present) reconstructions for New Zealand,
Tasmania, South America and key areas in the tropics. Presumably if new model runs may
need to be made, they can be grinding away in the back ground for the first couple of
years and then the full strength of the consortium kicks in during year 3 when we all
start putting it together. Also during the first couple of years, the consortium can
focus on the methodological issues of calibration and uncertainty estimates -
probabilistic or otherwise.
some random comments w.r.t. proxy data
Millennium has NO plans, as far as I know, to produce spatial reconstructions for the
last 500 years for Europe. The focus is on millennium long reconstructions and there
simply is not enough data for a "true" spatial reconstruction. We will have "reasonably"
robust summer temperature reconstructions for the Alpine and Scandinavian regions
however. Of course there is a whole myriad of other local based reconstructions, but for
different seasons and parameters.
At Mike Mann's session at the EGU, there was this interesting talk.
Do you know this group Sandy? This current series used only growth rates. I am not sure
if they have plans to measure isotopes on this record.
C. Saenger, A. L. Cohen, D. W. Oppo, and J. Carilli
A coral-based reconstruction of Atlantic sea surface temperature trends and variability
since 1552
I have spoken with Rosanne and Ed w.r.t. New Zealand and Tasmania. In principle there
should be no problem with updating these areas and maybe sampling more sites. Perhaps
scope for a one or two PhDs.
Sandy Tudhope wrote:

Hi Chris et al,
Many thanks for the draft, and sorry for the slow reply but I was off email for a few
days. I've seen responses from Rob Wilson, Simon and Gabi. I don't know if you
received any more.
I agree with most of the points made by Simon, Gabi and Rob. Some more specific
a) WHY NOW? Even although we don't have much space in two pages, I think we need to
highlight more explicitly the nature of the current opportunity ... why are we going to
be able to make significant progress now in an area that people have been working in for
quite some time? In terms of the climate reconstruction from proxies, we can point to a
number of advances, e.g., for corals:
- the recent demonstration of the potential of using networks of coral sites for
pan-tropical and regional climate reconstruction (e.g., some of Rob Wilson et als
- the fact that some of the necessary long coral cores already exist through our
collaborators, and ongoing efforts from ourselves, and that with a relatively modest
field effort we are now in a position to provide a more complete and hence robust
coverage for tropical SST reconstruction.
b) CONSORTIUM: The justification for a consortium still needs work.
My one experience on the NERC Consortium panel suggested that the justification for a
needed to be closer to "can only be done through a consortium approach" rather than "can
be more effectively approached". I still wonder if we can make some significant
advances in the way we approach estimating and using uncertainties in the proxy data and
their interpretation. As I've said before, the inclusion of isotopes in models is going
to provide some excellent opportunities to better understand what we can and can't say
from some forms of proxy data.
c) TIME FRAME: We can sort out details later, but just so everybody knows,
realistically we should be looking to the corals to provide a reasonable tropical
network back to around 1750-1800AD getting sparser back beyond than and hardly anything
prior to 1600AD (in terms of continuous records from living corals).
d) NERC PROPOSAL: Again, just for information: Gabi and I (with Mat Collins at the
Met Office and a large cast of other collaborators) currently have a proposal submitted
to NERC that is focussed around ENSO variability over the past 5,000 years, using a
combination of analysis of fossil corals in Galapagos, integration to other climate
proxy data (to look at stability of teleconnections), and climate model evaluation and
runs (using the CMIP5 archive plus new isotope enabled HadCM3 model runs). One of our
periods of focus is, naturally, the last millennium. Obviously, we have no idea if this
will be funded, but if it is, it would provide additional proxy data (mostly short
floating chronologies), plus modelling.
e) DECEMBER? I understand Chris' enthusiasm for moving forward, but like Simon feel
we've not yet really pinned down the scope and novelty of our approach as much as we
need to. December 1st would be a rush, so, personally, I'd suggest July but with the
schedule of meetings as currently proposed (although I can't make the September one).
However, if the consensus is to attempt a 1st December submission, I will do what I can
to contribute.
Chris Turney wrote:

Hi guys,
Apologies for the delay in getting back to you. I'm in a very cold and wet Bergen at the
moment and the internet access is not the best.
Many thanks for all your comments and suggestions. This all looks great. I've tried to
incorporate these into the concept note. The more detailed points I've kept in a folder
for us to thrash out the detail for the next round. Can you let me know what you think
of the attached by Wednesday this week? If you're happy for us to proceed, perhaps we
can send in for Friday? As I head north the internet access will probably get worse of
if we can do it before I fall off the edge of the known world that would be great.
Also, I've contacted Eric Wolff to see if he would be interested in being involved and
as soon as I hear back I'll let you know.
All the best,
*Professor Chris Turney FRSA FRGS*
Director of Carbonscape <[1]>, /Fixing carbon the way nature
Author of Ice, Mud and Blood: Lessons from Climates Past
Popular science website: [3] <[4]>
Journal of Quaternary Science <[5]> Asian
and Australasian Regional Editor
School of Geography
The University of Exeter
Home page: [6]
E-mail: <[8]>
Office Tel.: +44 (0)1392 263331
Fax.: +44 (0)1392 263342
*Slartibartfast: * Science has achieved some wonderful things of course, but I'd far
rather be happy than right any day.
*Arthur Dent:* And are you?
*Slartibartfast:* No. Thats where it all falls down of course.
*Arthur Dent:* Pity. It sounded like quite a good lifestyle otherwise.
/The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy/, Douglas Adams

Dr. Rob Wilson
Lecturer in Physical Geography
School of Geography & Geosciences
University of St Andrews
St Andrews. FIFE
KY16 9AL
Scotland. U.K.
Tel: +44 01334 463914
Fax: +44 01334 463949
".....I have wondered about trees.
They are sensitive to light, to moisture, to wind, to pressure.
Sensitivity implies sensation. Might a man feel into the soul of a tree
for these sensations? If a tree were capable of awareness, this faculty
might prove useful. "
"The Miracle Workers" by Jack Vance

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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