What a night..
Feb 13, 2010
Bishop Hill in BBC, Climate: CRU, Climate: Jones

Well that was exciting wasn't it? I rolled in from the local hostelry at 11pm to find a message waiting for me from BBC News and the most extraordinary pair of articles about Phil Jones on the BBC website.

The BBC were pushing this story, which seems to have been some colleagues telling tales about the state of Jones' office, the spin being that Jones' untidiness is the reason he can't lay his hand on his data. This doesn't really ring true to me. In the emails, Jones was telling his Hockey Team colleagues that he was going to refuse to release the data, not that he couldn't lay his hands on it. If he really couldn't lay his hands on it, you would have expected him to start trying to collate the data anew, wouldn't you? And anyway, what was it that he sent to Peter Webster at Georgia Tech? I'm profoundly uncomfortable about this story.

Far more interesting is this Q&A between Harrabin and Jones, in which Jones announces that the existence of the Medieval Warm Period is still a matter for debate, a step that for most people would be enough to win them the "denier" label. He says only that "there's evidence that most of the warming since the 1950s is due to human activity". Most of us thought that the science was "settled".

The whole thing is a must-read, but it's also worth standing back and marvelling at Professor Jones' ability to express uncertainty in a manner that will be readily comprehensible to the layman. This is something that we have been told many times is very difficult to do. Perhaps we are getting somewhere now.


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