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Philip D. Jones

Philip D. Jones
Philip D. Jones

The 2002 Hans Oeschger Medal is awarded to Philip D. Jones for his remarkable contribution and sustained effort in reconstructing the climate of the last 250 years at the global and regional scales.

Professor Phil Jones is at the moment one of the directors of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia in Norwich. He was born in Surrey in 1952 and completed a B.A. in Environmental Sciences at the University of Lancaster in 1973 and an M.Sc. (1974) and Ph.D. (1977) at the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

In the late 1970s, Phil Jones first conceived the idea of developing a gridded database of surface temperatures. The global and hemispheric temperature series produced are one of the most widely cited pieces of data, not just in climatology but in many other fields. Over the next twenty years working with many collaborators in Norwich, Britain, Europe and elsewhere, he has extended and improved the analyses and in the last few years begun bringing relevant proxy climatic data together to attempt extensions back for the last thousand years.

Phil Jones has published over 100 papers in the scientific literature and been involved in many others in the fields of climatology, paleoclimatology and hydrology. He has been supported over the years by grants from the European Union and British Government sources, but the most consistent support has come from the US Department of Energy, whose support has been continuous since 1979.

Phil Jones has been active within the World Meteorological Organization, serving on committees that have continually strived to improve the free international exchange of climatic data.

It is a great honour to receive this award, particularly as it is the first in recognition of Hans Oeschger. I met Hans on several occasions – the last of which was a few years ago, when he was receiving an award at a meeting in Switzerland. I have been developing the global temperature record for over 25 years, but it has not just been my efforts. Many people who have worked in the Climatic Research Unit over this time have been involved and I would like to thank them, particularly Tom Wigley, Keith Briffa and Tim Osborn.

It may come as a surprise to many of you to learn that this work has been supported over this time by the US Dept. of Energy. They have not only clearly recognized the importance of the work but also the need for continuity of support, something which still needs to be grasped by some funding agencies in Europe. I am very grateful for this support, which has extended over most of my research career. As we gather here today, however, it is somewhat ironic that the same government has just successfully removed the Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), presumably because they were uncomfortable with the message conveyed the third IPCC assessment.