McI has a new post up about the “trick”.
You’d think he’d develop some different material — this bleating on about the “trick” is getting pretty old, but I guess if it feeds the audience (and tip jar) well, why do real science? Besides, there is another trick being played on us all right now — the trick of diversion.
This newest post is all about reputations and damages to them, in which McI defends himself from what he terms “false information”. It’s all about splitting hairs over terminology and semantics. It’s not of any real consequence, but I guess it keeps the troops riled up, angry and willing to fill the tip jar. It keeps people focused on the shells instead of the hand that moves them.
Probably the most quoted email arising from the CRU Hack is the “trick” to “hide the decline” email, which I quote below:
From: Phil Jones <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: ray bradley <email@example.com>,firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Subject: Diagram for WMO Statement
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 13:31:15 +0000
Dear Ray, Mike and Malcolm,
Once Tim’s got a diagram here we’ll send that either later today or
first thing tomorrow.
I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps
to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd from
1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline. Mike’s series got the annual
land and marine values while the other two got April-Sept for NH land
N of 20N. The latter two are real for 1999, while the estimate for 1999
for NH combined is +0.44C wrt 61-90. The Global estimate for 1999 with
data through Oct is +0.35C cf. 0.57 for 1998.
Thanks for the comments, Ray.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
As I have said previously, if the email read:
I’ve just completed using Mike’s really neato method from his article in Nature of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd from 1961 for Keith’s to ensure that data from the divergence period is not included.
this whole debate might not be taking place. Heh — who am I kidding — a different one would. :)
Those four words “trick” and “hide the decline” have been used to smear scientists and call into question the science itself. IMO, disingenuinely.
You and I and everyone else familiar with this field know about the divergence phenomenon, and realize that if Jones was to include this data in the WMO table, people not in the know would think it showed the temperature decreasing, which we know it didn’t! I could just see the headlines — “Scientists from WMO show that temperatures decreased after 1960! A New Ice Age Approaches!”
Until rsearchers have completely sorted out the cause of the divergence in proxy records in the last few decades of the 20th C, the data for that period probably should not be included as it will cause more heat than light on this matter. We do know that the proxy records for the period prior to the 1960s accurately tracks the instrumental temperature record, so I suspect that there is something specific to the post-1960 era, and probably, from the literature, the effect of ozone depletion or aerosols, drought, to account for the divergence.
This has to be supported by further evidence, but given that the divergent trees do track the instrumental temperature record well prior to this period, there seems to be something unique about the current period — and ozone depletion sticks out — to account for it.
This is a sticky issue and a tough decision for those tasked with presenting this data for public consumption, but for the sake of clarity, it seems best not to include this data, and this document Jones was preparing was for public consumption.
Look, the fact is this: policy makers — and most of the public — don’t want long drawn out debates about data and methodology — it’s too complicated for them. They just want the key messages and the short answer from the experts so they can make a decision. Problem is that scientists don’t tend to work in sound bites and key messages. They tend to want to qualify everything, to point out uncertainty, and possible sources of bias and error. In fact, they are trained to do so. Yet, a public policy response to urgent issues requires just that — key messages and sound bites. That’s a reality of the policy process and political process. It conflicts with that of the science process. Climate skeptics are — in a disingenuous manner — using this fact to their advantage but they are being deceptive by not acknowledging it.
From my reading of the literature, I feel pretty confident in the instrumental record and so while the divergence issue is a problem that must be solved in the long term when looking at proxy records and reconstructions, it doesn’t negate the fact that the temperature has been increasing in the past half century in lockstep with CO2.
Bad language choice aside, I am not concerned about the “decline” or the “trick” as much as I am concerned about rising CO2 and its impact on global temperature. The paleoclimate recons are interesting but if you look at the width of the error bars as we go further back in time, its clear that we can be less certain about the temperatures, and it is entirely possible for temps to be both lower and higher than the mean.
Look at the graphic below for the NH:
Look at the width of the error bars — the real temp could be just as easily far below as far above the average, from what I understand of statistics, meaning that past temps during the Medieval Warm Period could be close to what they were in the 1960s but also, they could be much below the average for the LIA. It’s suggestive but it is not certain, just as the NAS report found.
What seems certain is that temps today and since the 1970s are much higher relative to the past several hundred years, just at a time when we have been pumping GHGs into the atmosphere in record amounts due to our fossil fuel-fed industrial revolution. The physics of the greenhouse system are unaffected by the question of whether the proxy records diverge in the 1960s and why. This bashing on about the trick and decline is all a big diversion, a sleight of hand to keep people’s eyes focused on the magician’s other hand so he can prestidigitate us into addressing the wrong issue.
That’s what McI and other climate skeptics and deniers are all about.
Diversion. Obfuscation. Disinformation.
Diversion from the real issue of the relationship between CO2 and temperature increase.
Obfuscation of the business aka fossil fuel interests that are funding them.
Disinformation derived from taking emails and single words out of context and twisting them to cast doubt over the science, confusing issues in the public mind so policy makers won’t act.
Thats the real trick of climate change / global warming deniers.