Tricking the Committee

In my submission to the Parliamentary Committee, I observed that the “trick” wasn’t “clever” – it was the deletion of inconvenient data.

The IPCC “trick” was not a “clever” mathematical method – it was merely the deletion of inconvenient data after 1960. Post-1960 values were even deleted in the reconstruction archived version at NOAA.

I provided an explanation with a graphic – which wasn’t quoted or cited. They cited a less precise submission by Peter Taylor on this point.

They noted that “UEA interpreted the use of the word “trick” differently” citing the following portion of the UEA submission [discussing the trick email describing the WMO 1999 graphic, not the TAR graphic – June 13, 2010]:

as for the (now notorious) word ‘trick’, so deeply appealing to the media, this has been richly misinterpreted and quoted out of context. It was used in an informal email, discussing the difficulties of statistical presentation. It does not mean a ‘ruse’ or method of deception. In context it is obvious that it is used in the informal sense of ‘the best way of doing something’. In this case it was ‘the trick or knack’ of constructing a statistical illustration which would combine the most reliable proxy and instrumental evidence of temperature trends.

Contrary to UEA’s claims, there is no valid statistical procedure supporting the substitution of tree ring proxy data going the wrong with instrumental temperature data to create a false rhetorical impression of the coherence of the proxy data. Indeed, as I observed in my submission, Mann himself had condemned the merging of instrumental and proxy data as follows:

No researchers in this field have ever, to our knowledge, “grafted the thermometer record onto” any reconstruction. It is somewhat disappointing to find this specious claim (which we usually
find originating from industry-funded climate disinformation websites) appearing in this forum [realclimate].

Unfortunately, NIgel Lawson – who, to my knowledge, does not have in-depth knowledge of Climate Audit issues – was invited by the Committee to testify on Climate Audit issues and made incorrect and exceedingly ill-judged comments on the topic, comments that were seized upon by the Committee as follows:

These [ UEA]interpretations of the colloquial meaning of “trick” have been accepted by even the staunchest of critics:

Lord Lawson of Blaby: The sinister thing is not the word ‘trick’. In their [UEA’s] own evidence they say that what they mean by ‘trick’ is the best way of doing something.
Chairman: You accept that?
Lord Lawson of Blaby: I accept that.

From these ill-judged comments, the Committee concluded:

[The trick] appears to be a colloquialism for a “neat” method of handling data.

This is absurd. The trick was not a “neat” way of handling data, nor a recognized form of statistical analysis. The trick was a clever way of tricking the readers of the IPCC 2001 graphic into receiving a false rhetorical impression of the coherency of proxies – a point understood at the beginning by Jon Stewart of the Daily Show, but now misunderstood due to continued disinformation.

The Committee went on to consider Lawson’s testimony on “hide the decline” as follows:

61. Lord Lawson did, however, describe CRU’s treatment of the data as “reprehensible”, because, in his view, Professor Jones deliberately hid data that demonstrated a decline in temperatures.

62. The data that he believed to be “hidden” are a set of tree ring data that disagree with other data sources regarding temperature trends. Lord Lawson said: “when the proxy series […] departed from the measured temperature series, a normal person will say maybe that means the proxy series is not all that reliable”. In that context he made two specific claims:
• that the tree ring data were flawed because “for a long period before 1421 they relied on one single pine tree”; and
• that the divergence problem was not just for data after the 1960s, “it is not a good fit in the latter half of the nineteenth century either”.

Again, these comments by Lawson were ill-considered. I have no idea what he had in mind in his comment about the lone pine tree nor what his 19th century comment was about. Jones was able to rebut each of Lawson’s comments and the Committee accepted Jones’ rebuttal of Lawson’s comments.

On these points, the Committee did not consider or rebut any of my written points, preferring to deal with easier targets.

The Committee cited the UEA denial that they had ever sought to “hide the decline”:

CRU never sought to disguise this specific type of tree-ring “decline or divergence”. On the contrary, CRU has published a number of pioneering articles that illustrate, suggest reasons for, and discuss the implications of this interesting phenomenon.

Again, as so often, you have to watch the pea under the thimble. It is true that the decline was reported in publications by CRU authors – but this does not mean that CRU never sought to disguise the “decline or divergence”. As I pointed out in my submission (and others also), CRU authors – in their capacity as IPCC contributors – sought to disguise the decline in the influential IPCC spaghetti graph (and elsewhere, through such measures as not archiving post-1960 reconstruction values.)

Given that the IPCC report is the most influential representation of the data, this is hardly a minor incident.

The Committee reached the following conclusion on this matter:

66. Critics of CRU have suggested that Professor Jones’s use of the words “hide the decline” is evidence that he was part of a conspiracy to hide evidence that did not fit his view that recent global warming is predominantly caused by human activity. That he has published papers—including a paper in Nature—dealing with this aspect of the science clearly refutes this allegation. In our view, it was shorthand for the practice of discarding data known to be erroneous. We expect that this is a matter the Scientific Appraisal Panel will address.

Here the Committee either failed to watch the pea under the thimble or is itself moving the pea. Once again, the fact that the decline is discussed in a Nature paper does not justify the deletion of the inconvenient data in the IPCC spaghetti graph in order to provide the false rhetorical consistency that IPCC was seeking. The issues are entirely separate and the Committee should have been able to discern this.

In addition, their suggestion that Jones and others were doing nothing more than “discarding data known to be erroneous” is simply absurd. There was no testimony to the Committee (nor has it ever been suggested) that the tree ring data was measured incorrectly or that the data was “erroneous” – the data is what it is. The tree ring data goes down instead of up – but that doesn’t make it “erroneous”. It only means that the data is a bad proxy – something that was concealed from IPCC readers.

It is discouraging to read such bilge.

181 Comments

  1. stacey
    Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 2:27 AM | Permalink

    Setting aside the technical aspects of the report, the findings of the commitee have no merit, simply because one day of hearings on such a complex matter was inadequate. Also that the principal persons who was the subject of the chicanery was not called to give evidence is outrageous. Mr McIntyre in a few paragraphs, I am sad to say, that you have destroyed this mendacious and error ridden findings of this commitee.
    The brightness of truth will always shine through the blackness of the dark arts.

    • The Truth
      Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 3:56 PM | Permalink

      Isn’t it terrible when the findings of a committee disagree with your preconceived determination of the truth? Had this committee found in favor of your version of “the truth,” you would be praising them to the heavens by now. And there’s certainly no political motive to your version of “the truth”…. no, of course not.

      • Richard
        Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 4:17 PM | Permalink

        Instead of disparaging people why don’t you speak to the facts.

        • The Truth
          Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 4:43 PM | Permalink

          Okay, I’ll speak to the facts. The fact is, a group of people driven by an agenda, will stop at nothing to prove established scientific data wrong. The facts show that Mr. McIntyre and almost every comment poster on this site wants so badly for the research to be proven false that they will deny any reasonable line of inquiry. Those are the facts, and any reasonable person who reviews this blog will agree. Those who don’t are, well, unreasonable.

        • Dave Dardinger
          Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 4:58 PM | Permalink

          Re: The Truth (Mar 31 16:43),

          You have a peculiar definition of “facts”. More like mind reading as I see it. But I’ll play along. Give us an example of a reasonable “line of inquiry” which almost everyone here will deny. (note: To deny someone elses conclusion about a reasonable line of inquiry is different than denying that a line of inquiry is reasonable to explore. You might want to expand on exactly what you’re claiming so we can engage in an actual discussion.)

        • Greensand
          Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 5:16 PM | Permalink

          Re: The Truth (Mar 31 16:43),

          On the point of facts, there are three that I don’t think are in contention. (I have no doubt I will be corrected if I am wrong):-

          1. CRU were asked for the original raw data

          2. CRU were asked what they did to the original raw data to produce their “temperature product”

          3. CRU have not completely answered 1 & 2

          I think there is a distinct possibility that had 1 & 2 been answered then the issues surrounding AGW (on both sides of the divide) would be at an entirely different stage of resolution than the present highly unsatisfactory situation.

          One point that the Select Committee enquiry stressed, that all parties including UEA & CRU agreed upon, was that more transparency is required. It can never be too late.

        • johnh
          Posted Apr 1, 2010 at 5:30 AM | Permalink

          I am hoping this is an April Fool joke but sadly I know I am wrong.

        • johnh
          Posted Apr 1, 2010 at 9:13 AM | Permalink

          The post I replied to has been deleted (correctly I might add) so this comment needs deleting as it makes no sense on its own.

        • Brendon
          Posted Apr 1, 2010 at 8:44 AM | Permalink

          I’m new here and yeah I agree.

          Seems like McIntyre would prefer they included the downward pointing data, even if it was so obviously wrong when compared against the very accurate thermometer readings.

          I wonder what the reaction would be if they had included obviously wrong tree-ring data that pointed upwards?

        • Gord Richens
          Posted Apr 1, 2010 at 8:58 AM | Permalink

          So you would have them include the proxy data that refutes the Medieval Warming Period and discard all proxy data from that very same source that is contradicted by the modern thermometer record. Why?

        • TAG
          Posted Apr 1, 2010 at 9:40 AM | Permalink

          The answer to your quation is the Brendon does not understand the issue.

        • TAG
          Posted Apr 1, 2010 at 9:41 AM | Permalink

          Brendon – the issue is the veracity of tree rings as temperature proxies. If tree rings and thermometer readings diverge in the 20th century, how do we know that they did not diverge in otehr time periods?

          By deleting the 20th century data, the veractity of tree rings as a temperature proxy was misstated. This is a very serious issue. It calls in to question all reconstructions based on these proxies and into tthe entire field of paleoclimate.

        • David S
          Posted Apr 1, 2010 at 10:15 AM | Permalink

          Perhaps we need to help Brendon and Gord a little more. With data for recent years, where we have accurate thermometer records, we can test whether the tree rings are an accurate reflection of temperature, and hence whether they can be used to estimate temperature before accurate records were kept. By hiding the decline (in temperature as projected from the tree rings, not in actual temperature as the BBC still thinks), the Team concealed the fact that the tree rings did not produce an accurate match to modern temperature records, and so could not be used with any degree of accuracy to reflect the past. Simply discarding the “wrong” (i.e.inconvenient) tree ring data does not fix the problem, if anything it makes it worse, as the data that “refutes” the MWP has been improperly selected from an overall population that does not have predictive power. Otherwie you could find one tree that perfectly matches GISS or Hadcrut data and hail it as the universal temperature tree for all time!

        • TAG
          Posted Apr 1, 2010 at 12:53 PM | Permalink

          Brendon should slso realize that mismatch between the thermometer readings and the tree ring proxies in the 20th century will also negatively affect the verification statistics (R2, RE) of the proposed reconstruction.

        • Brooks Hurd
          Posted Apr 2, 2010 at 10:46 AM | Permalink

          Brendon,

          If the tree ring data which Jones and other discarded was “wrong,” then why was the tree ring data which the kept from the same series “right?” The same tree ring series can not be both “right” and “wrong” because parts of it support the researcher’s hypothesis and parts do not.

          Ask yourself this: Would you willing to fly on a jet airliner when you knew that the airframe designer had rejected a portion of the test data because it did not support his assumptions?

        • thefordprefect
          Posted Apr 2, 2010 at 12:00 PM | Permalink

          Brooks Hurd
          Posted Apr 2, 2010 at 10:46 AM
          Ask yourself this: Would you willing to fly on a jet airliner when you knew that the airframe designer had rejected a portion of the test data because it did not support his assumptions?

          An aircraft has a set of engine temperature sensors known to be affected by other factors installed during aircraft construction.

          35 years into the aircraft’s life a better set of temperature monitors are installed.

          for 9 years both sets of sensors agree. For another 4 years the new sensors show an increase in engine temperature and the old a decrease.

          The new sensors confirm with other parameters of the engine that the temperature is rising and dangerous engine temperature may be reached.

          There is no way of verifying the temperatures recorded for the first 35 years by the inaccurate sensors but they obviously behaved ok for 9 years. So we cannot be certain if the current higher engine temperature is just cyclical or indication of something disastrous about to occur. The overlap gives an amount of confidence that the old sensors were functional for 44years

          Would you want to ignore the new sensors output and carry on flying?
          Or would it be better to take corrective action before a failure occurs?

          Mike

        • TAG
          Posted Apr 2, 2010 at 12:37 PM | Permalink

          This little story has no probative value for the issue at hand. Maybe a scientific study of the issue is better than the arm waving evidenced here and in the climate science literature. Afterall it is the world environment and econonomy with which we are dealing.

        • bender
          Posted Apr 2, 2010 at 10:37 PM | Permalink

          read the blog, dimwit.

        • mpaul
          Posted Apr 6, 2010 at 2:54 PM | Permalink

          Hey Bender, where have you been? Nice to see you back.

      • Stacey
        Posted Apr 1, 2010 at 8:13 AM | Permalink

        Your comment has no merit because you draw conclusion from misconceived ideas in your head and place a false view on my comment.

        In the UK we have a simple legal test, what would the man on the Clapham Common Omnibus think? (The man on the Clapham omnibus is a reasonably educated and intelligent but non-specialist person)

        Now I would suggest that if he were to read the emails, he would disagree with his servants who sat on the Committee. It is my right to disagree with the findings of a parliamentary committee. In fact more often than not I would be a damn fool if I didn’t agree.

        Also you place motives on my comment which are unjustified and if the findings had gone the other way and someone said there was not sufficient time and the procedure was wrong I would be a fool to disagree with their view.

  2. P Gosselin
    Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 3:03 AM | Permalink

    Did anyone really believe that the Committee was ever interested in getting to the bottom of the story?
    Discouraging it is, but not unexpected in today’s scientific environment.

    http://joannenova.com.au/2010/03/the-truth-shall-make-you-free/

  3. johnh
    Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 3:05 AM | Permalink

    Rushed, superficial and taken in by the spin doctors masgerading as scientists, only Graham Stringer comes out with any credit.

  4. Dave McK
    Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 3:55 AM | Permalink

    Well, they had 1,700 sign a loyalty oath affirming this outcome way back when they first announced it.
    No consequences, again. Must protect the narrative.

  5. Jim Turner
    Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 4:02 AM | Permalink

    Just heard the head of the Committee being interviewed on BBC Radio 4 this morning. His explanation of the ‘trick’ was that “this poor guy” (Jones) was being pilloried for replacing bad data with good (said with a laughing tone) – it’s not just Lord Lawson who is no scientist. His conclusions were that climate science is “beyond reproach” and that the reputation of the CRU is intact. I wouldn’t be too hard on Lord Lawson, he was in an unwinnable position. This was an establishment investigation into an establishment organisation that supports a political cause very close to the heart of the establishment. Its purpose was only ever to mend the breach in the wall.
    Just found a link to the interview on the BBC web site:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_8596000/8596130.stm

    No time too look now, Lawson’s response may also be on there somewhere.

  6. Peter Pond
    Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 4:21 AM | Permalink

    Disappointing? Yes.

    Surprising? No.

    The time taken for the enquiry was a fair indication that it would not be able to adequately cover the real issues here.

    The reputation of UK science is far more important than minor matters like getting a handle on what is happening with global climate.

  7. Greensand
    Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 4:49 AM | Permalink

    For once we have a UK politician who has stuck by his promise: –

    On the announcement of the inquiry Phil Willis MP, Committee Chair, stated: –

    “There are a significant number of climate change deniers who are basically using the UEA emails to support the case this is poor science that has been changed or at worst manipulated. We do not believe this is healthy and therefore we want to call in the UEA so the public can see what they are saying”

    Quite an achievement for an independent Committee Chair, announces an inquiry, correctly predicts the outcome and delivers in time for the election. What a mechanic!

    Proud to be British? Makes me sick to my back teeth

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 3:28 PM | Permalink

      snip – please don’t discuss individual political parties. It’s a tough line not to cross, I realize.

  8. justbeau
    Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 4:50 AM | Permalink

    Steve, I am encouraged by your apt use of the word, bilge.
    It is regrettable societal leaders, in a Parliament, would so obscure the underlying facts. This is pernicious. It is disappointing the political classs is content to cover-up nonsense, spewing more bilge for preservation of its false narratives.

    Yet this is also edifying, for those who favor more honesty and realism.
    It is heartening Mr. Stringer shows some inpendence of mind. In times past, unrelated to this, he has called for Mr. Brown to resign. If it is tedious to read the bilge of the inquiry, then imagine how dis-spiriting it has to be for Mr. Stringer to associated with such white-washing knuckleheads and charlatans.

  9. John Whitman
    Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 5:12 AM | Permalink

    In retrospect (always handy that : ) ) my initial impressions of the hearings, made right after them from the videos, was that the committee was performing some kind of political ritual. It was cursory (short) and had very few drama moments (only the one MP), but on the whole the committee appeared sympathetic to CRU/UEA.

    Here is a lighter side parody.

    Summary of Committee Report:
    With the report I now realize that a kind of political exorcism was being performed to deal with some scientist who was unfortunately possessed by some demons (of the common data hiding variety). The committee decided the political exorcism was sufficient. Then the committee decided to keep the undemonized scientist and to try to convert him to a higher scientific enlightenment by requesting that, in the future, he be more open with non-CRU creatures lest the demons repossess him. : )

    Commentary:
    Were the demons invited into the scientist by himself or was the scientist ‘tricked’ by the demons? No trick said the committee. Therefore, said scientist invited the demons into himself, so us non-CRU creatures need to keep a sharp eye on that scientist since he appears to be susceptible to being demonized.

    Like CAGW the above parody is purely fictional and no resemblance to reality is intended, even by mistake.

    John

  10. Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 5:49 AM | Permalink

    Not condemning the trick has created a moral hazard, whereby all sorts of results inconsistent with AGW might be erased.

    • Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 6:25 AM | Permalink

      But advocating total openness of data and code in all areas of climate science will make such erasure far more difficult. What’s said about HtD and the science generally is a fig leaf for policy makers but not much of one. We need to press hard now on the Open Climate front, right across the world. That’s what has changed at this point in the official narrative. That’s where we should push. In my humble view.

      • Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 6:41 AM | Permalink

        Absolutely, Steve’s position on transparency has been affirmed. HtD is a bit like the reporting the patients that died as survivors, but it was only one report, and says as much about the promotional nature of the IPCC as the authors.

        • Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 6:45 AM | Permalink

          Yes, it’s a crucial point that the IPCC should take the rap far more even than Jones. And it will.

  11. Lawrie
    Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 6:06 AM | Permalink

    Wether or not the committee exonerated Jones and UEA it seems that actual data since the time of the “trick” has conspired to show the hypothesis of AGW to be flawed. The reality of global temps stabilising, of Artic ice returning to normal and alarmist predictions failing to materialise must surely be more damaging to the concept of AGW than the parliamentry whitewash is supportive of it.

    Even with the continuing support for AGW in the MSM and by many politicians and academics the general populace is having serious doubts and they are the ones holding the aces. The countries who are currently supportive of AGW and trading schemes have increasingly powerful opposition parties who don’t support AGW and are gaining electoral support.

    As stated many times it’s not science it’s politics. The science pendulum is swinging in our favour but more importantly so are the politics. The UK goes to the polls shortly and the vote will be a strong indicator for the future of AGW and it’s adherents.

  12. Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 6:08 AM | Permalink

    It is discouraging to read such bilge.

    I think you’re too generous Steve. ‘Hide the decline’ was the area where the most light had been shed, of all the vast number of dodgy issues covered in the emails. It was plain deception. If I remember correctly Phil Jones even held up the WMO report with his graph on the front at one point at the hearings. All it needed was for one MP to have mastered the details and to point out that this graph was in itself a lie, a lie not just to policymakers but to the general public, to the population of the world, who at that time were inclined to believe such effusions from IPCC-approved climate science.

    That last point has changed and I do not see that this trick to put the clock back and ‘hide the decline’ in the opinion polls is going to have much effect. But it does the provide the fig leaf for all kinds of ‘official’ evil. It’s shameful.

    But, as others have said, you did great, right through. And you have breached the defences. It’s going to be extraordinarily messy from here on in but the course of history has been changed. We are in your debt, more than ever.

  13. Stephan
    Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 6:18 AM | Permalink

    This result will only prolong the issue in favour of those skeptical of the science. The fact is roughly 50% of people worldwide don’t go for it anymore. The “climate” ain’t helping either. see DMI ice LOL

  14. Jim Turner
    Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 6:33 AM | Permalink

    Found the other link mentioned in my last post:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_8596000/8596477.stm

    It contains interviews with Sir Edward Acton (UEA VC) and Lord Lawson. Lawson doesn’t seem at all despirited, he makes the point that this was a cursory review undertaken quickly to complete before the election, and that there are two more reviews pending that are much more significant. He also squeezes in a comment that the FOA ‘stonewalling’ was a criminal act. I think the BBC coverage so far has emphasized the exoneration of Jones and climate science in general, and minimized the criticism of data concealment.

  15. curious
    Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 6:45 AM | Permalink

    ….”it was merely the deletion of inconvenient data”….

    What a wonderfully powerful technique! Just think of the new horizons this opens up for scientific progress :)

  16. Mervyn Sullivan
    Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 6:48 AM | Permalink

    Now… why would the UK Parliamentary inquiry decide that ‘climategate’ was much ado about nothing!!!!!

    Could it be that so much was at stake… the reputation of a world famous university and climate institution… the reputation and integrity of the British people themselves. Whatever it took, the verdict had to salvage the honour and reputation of Britain.

    I know I’m right. I’ve watched “Yes Minister” numerous times… particularly the episode in which Sir Humphrey advises Minister James Hacker that one does not call for a Parliamentary inquiry unless one knows exactly what the outcome of the inquiry will be.

    And that is exactly what has happened here.

  17. ThinkingScientist
    Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 7:30 AM | Permalink

    Whatever the outcome of this and the subsequent enquiries, the release of the emails into the public domain has changed the game completely. I don’t know how others feel but I think the debate has now opened right up on the internet and to some extent in the MSM. Certainly I think there are more and serious scientists who feel able to comment more freely and this is noticeable on many blogs.

    The enquiry does strongly criticise the attitude of CRU/UEA to FOIA requests and also does not support the idea that they were “flooded” with requests. Its a small victory, but it makes it much harder for CRU (or any other group) to withstand the ongoing pressure to release data. The critical question still remains: are they going to release raw and adjusted data or just adjusted? In addition the question is still unanswered as to whether the raw data is even available. I have a suspicion that it may not be because the question keeps getting ducked – they say it would not be helpful to release anything other than the adjusted data.

    As regards “Hide the Decline” it just needs stating over and over again in simple pictures. A correlation where the end of the graph goes the wrong way results in an invalid prediction. The general public aren’t stupid. If my 13 year old son can understand the issue, then so will the general population. If its presented clearly in lots of places they will pick up on it. It needs to go viral on the internet, like ClimateGate did.

  18. Dave Shepherd
    Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 7:32 AM | Permalink

    “In our view, it was shorthand for the practice of discarding data known to be erroneous.”

    This sentence alone is enough to sink the credibility of the report. No-one, as far as I’m aware, has ever claimed that the data in question was ‘erroneous’, so on what basis does the Parliamentary Committee make this statement? Or perhaps in the eyes of the committee members (or most of them, at least) ‘erroneous’ now means ‘incompatible with the desired outcome’.

    • Posted Apr 1, 2010 at 2:17 AM | Permalink

      Isn’t this just confusing data with data? They are not claiming that the actual measurements are “erroneous”, just that the resulting data, ie temperature calculations based on the measurements are erroneous since they differ from the more accurate instrumental record.

      So, if the instrumental record acutually confirms that the divergent temperatures are erroneous, then obviously they have to be discarded as such.

      Without any further context this would, however, also cast doubt on the use of these proxies for temperature before the divergence problem, but that is a separate question.

      • Gord Richens
        Posted Apr 1, 2010 at 9:40 AM | Permalink

        “then obviously they have to be discarded as such.”
        But even Michael Mann said that would be a foolish thing to do.

        “but that is a separate question.”
        Actually, it is the primary question that the discarded data underscores.

  19. Craig Loehle
    Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 7:46 AM | Permalink

    In the days before the internet and when transcripts of hearings and the final reports were hidden away in government archives (too long for newspapers to report) it was possible to talk nonsense and avoid facts, but today it is not. These guys do not understand this. Too bad for them.

    • snowmaneasy
      Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 8:39 AM | Permalink

      Exactly…

    • Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 10:13 AM | Permalink

      You’re right that they don’t fully understand this. But because they understand it at least in part they have advocated open data and code for all climate science. Times they are a’changin. It’s never clear which bit of the dam will crack first. But once the crack appears, it’ll take the rest with it. That’s my view of what’s happened. We’re on.

  20. TAG
    Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 8:23 AM | Permalink

    The noted biologist J B S Haldane published this concept of the stages of acceptance of an idea.

    Four stages of acceptance:

    i) this is worthless nonsense;
    ii) this is an interesting, but perverse, point of view;
    iii) this is true, but quite unimportant;
    iv) I always said so.

    [John Haldane, Journal of Genetics, vol. 58 (1963)

    It appears to me that the Climate Audit set of idea is treated at the initial stage by RealClimate. However from the comments of AGW supporters bith in this blog and elsewhere, I see that it has moved beyond the nonsense stage and is somewhere between the perverse and unimportant stages now. The report described in this blog entry seems to be at that stage. However I am also seeing comments that indicate that at least for some aspects it has reached stage iv.

    There is another stage beyond stage iv that Haldane did not take note of. it is

    v) Want to hear my new idea?

    We shoulod begin to see Climate Auditbeing moved into this stage in the near future

  21. ClimateFence
    Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 8:28 AM | Permalink

    Chairman of the committee: Liberal Democrat MP

    Brilliant, would never have guessed the result of this charade.

    In other news:

    ‘Security at Henhouse Just Fine As Is!’ Exclaims Coalition for Wolf Rights

    As for Lord Lawson, he’s a decent bloke but for God’s sake send Monckton in there next time.

    Steve: Monckton does not represent a Climate Audit point of view.

    • Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 10:25 AM | Permalink

      And Monckton didn’t submit, at least to this inquiry, so he was never going to be asked. Instead, the BBC World Service (replayable here soon hopefully) just now went for Andrew Montford (Bishop Hill). One of the first things Andrew said was wrong, bless him, was that the inquiry didn’t call Steve McIntyre to testify. We’ve all said so. It was much the poorer as a result. But the world moves on, with very little sympathy. And there is a big change in the offing, that Steve has advocated for as long and as cogently as anyone: open data and open code. The full audit trail, the thing that will allow due diligence by anyone. I think that’s unstoppable now.

      • Henry
        Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 6:04 PM | Permalink

        Re: Richard Drake (Mar 31 10:25), listening to the BBC World Service, Canada was the only country named (by two different people) as an example of blocking the release of data. It’s ironic that Steve is Canadian.

        Reminds me of a weak joke: Canada is like the United States, except that it has a Conservative government and publicly-funded health care.

      • Patrick M.
        Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 7:14 PM | Permalink

        I think Steve would have been at a great disadvantage had he testified for two reasons:

        1. They would have controlled the questioning.
        2. Steve’s honest.

        • DaveG
          Posted Apr 1, 2010 at 5:08 AM | Permalink

          I doubt Steve would have done well. These things work best with short, punchy, factual submissions – and in all honesty Steve just can’t do that.

  22. bobdenton
    Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 8:42 AM | Permalink

    A relatively satisfactory outcome.

    Overall, this report sustains momentum toward properly transparent climate science and prods scientific institutions in the UK in that direction. It’ll be difficult for Muir to resile from this position. Expect a common refrain of “look to the good things in the future not the bad things in the past”.

    These MPs appeared to be unable to grasp the “hide the decline” issue, but if you ask an MP to chose between “the data falsifies the hypothesis” and “the hypothesis falsifies the data”, they would simply ask what your desired outcome is. That’s just how politics works. There’ve been several drive-bys on this blog with a scientific background who appear to believe, in good faith, that you can delete data because it is obviously wrong, so it would be optimistic to expect too much of MPs.

    They could have been expected to have had a clearer understanding of the role of the ICO and FOIA. Neither Muir nor IOC have jurisdiction to determine whether a breach has occurred, that is the prerogative of the Magistrates Court. The ICO has opined that there is strong prima facie evidence of a breach and the Committee has determined that there is prima facie evidence of a breach. Muir is unlikely to resile from this, but he has no jurisdiction to make findings of breach of the law and he may be advised that it would be improper of him to do so, though he may find that FOIA was not properly complied with.

    Unless there are any extant continuing offences under S77 which would enable the matter to be adjudicated, the only way forward would be for UAE to invite an ICO enquiry under S47(3), but it has, undoubtedly, received legal advice not to do that. Muir is likely to be more sympathetic, and cannot take matters much further.

    The best way forward would be for Muir to relinquish FOIA issues and UAE to invite ICO to assess under S47(3), Muir could then deal with “hide the decline” and “peer review” issues, in relation to which there is no other competent authority to make a decision.

  23. Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 8:48 AM | Permalink

    Richard, when I was living in British Columbia in the early 1990s, the province had been governed by either the Social Credit party or the New Democratic Party for many decades. There were a few fringe parties but none had any prospects. It was one of those dismal stalemates where the parties were monotonous in their sameness, undistinguishable in their vileness and hopelessly constipated with corrupt, conniving career nitwits and rent-seekers.

    Then an election was called in 1991. An unlikely 3rd party roared to fame when their leader did unexpectedly well in the TV debate. Suddenly people realized they had another option and they swung to the Liberals, wiping out the SoCreds. Out of nowhere the Libs became the official opposition. They nearly won the next election and in 2001 took power, which they have held ever since.

    Don’t count the UKIP out based on their current status. From what I saw of UK politics this fall, there is a tangible desire to be rid of Labour, but zero enthusiasm–verging on pre-emptive despair–about Cameron. In that situation, surprises can happen during the election campaign.

    • Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 10:09 AM | Permalink

      The comment that prompted this has been snipped (no offence) but I’ll repeat the link to the BBC report that 74% of the UK population is now sceptical, one of the most dramatic shifts in polling over a three month period in living memory. That gives real traction to the sort of possibilities you describe Ross. Thank you.

  24. Pointman
    Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 9:34 AM | Permalink

    Steve,

    I can understand your anger but these guy’s were always going to bury it. On the plus side, in the UK getting cleared by a parlimentary enquiry is the kiss of death. People have reacted angrily. JD’s blog has an influx of people converted from lurkers to posters at a stroke …

    Pointman

  25. Stu
    Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 9:46 AM | Permalink

    Steve, I’m sure you must feel a little disappointed with these conclusions by the committee, after your sustained efforts to highlight for the public what the ‘trick’ was all about. Anyone who really wants to know about this stuff can spend a day or so at your site and find out everything they want to know about the ‘trick’, so there is that atleast, for now.

    Mike Mann’s comment about grafting the thermometer record onto reconstructions should be pressed hard as a point of focus on this issue, imo. It is a comment in direct contradiction to the idea of legitimacy of the trick as a valid statistical procedure. Anyone can plainly see that Mann’s comment and the UEA’s explanation of the trick are entirely at odds with each other. Mann should be pressed hard to explain whether he thinks the trick is ok or not in light of this previous comment.

    The public is really beginning to understand how these guys have been basically writing their own rules. We have enough sense to know that this is not what science is about- you can’t put Mann’s comment and the EAU claim side by side and expect the picture to make sense. It doesn’t make sense.


    (not sure how to embed video)

  26. Nils Rømcke
    Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 9:47 AM | Permalink

    Among all the strange comments and conclusions in the report I noted also:
    “…….. Whilst we are concerned that the disclosed e-mails suggest ablunt refusal to share scientific data and methodologies with others, we can sympathise with Professor Jones, who must have found it frustrating to handle requests for data that he knew—or perceived—were motivated by a desire simply to undermine his work.”

    I liked especially the expression “a desire simply to undermine his work”.

  27. Alan D McIntire
    Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 10:14 AM | Permalink

    In his book, “Beat The Dealer”, Edward O. Thorpe described a “trick” used by cheating dealers. They “peek” at the next card. If it helps them, they deal it honestly. If it hurts, they dishonestly deal a “second”. I immediatly thought of this “trick” when I first read the word “trick”.

  28. ZT
    Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 10:18 AM | Permalink

    The effort was to maintain the reputation of British Science – but the effect will be absolutely the opposite.

    Any scientist who checks the details here will see that this is absurd spin control. (And assume the worst of all British science).

    Stringer should protest – more volubly!

  29. sam mccomb
    Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 10:22 AM | Permalink

    Steve,
    May I suggest that you and others, particularly those who have a direct interest in the matter consider using the UAE procedures to raise one or more complaints about the actions of Jones and perhaps Briffa. The relevant procedures are the disciplinary and grievance procedures of the University and I am sure you can access copies of them. There is likely to be, explicitly or implicitly, a rule or contractual obligation that employees must not by their actions bring the University into disrepute. This “catch all” rule should encompass such behaviour as “hiding the decline”, breaching the FOIA and so on.
    One possible advantage of using the procedures is that a successful complaint, such as a complaint about a failure to provide research data and code, would set a precedent.
    It might be necessary to attend a hearing at the University and give evidence and face questions. Also, there would probably be an opportunity to settle a complaint informally whhich could be useful.

    • bobdenton
      Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 10:38 AM | Permalink

      It’s likely that the outcome would be much the same as at Penn State. The whole point of the ad-hoc Muir enquiry is that the enquiry should be independent. Any disciplinary proceedings would be postponed to await the outcome of the Muir Enquiry whose findings would probably determine the outcome of the disciplinary proceedings.

      It is a little odd that academic staff haven’t been given immunity from disciplinary proceedings in return for giving candid evidence to Muir.

      • sam mccomb
        Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 2:52 PM | Permalink

        Bob,

        Given the finding of the Parliamentary Committee that there has been no data manipulation by Jones I do not think it is certain that either of the two hearings to come will consider the “hiding” of the decline. For that reason I think it might be useful to make use of the formal grievance/disciplinary procedures. I agree that any disciplinary hearing would wait on the findings of the Inquiry “Team”. Their conclusions need not necessarily dictate the outcome of a disciplinary hearing or whether there is such a hearing. Given the wide publicity attached to the events occurring at CRU/UEA i think that anyone with an interest could make a formal complaint. It need not be Steve but as he has shown many times he is on the ball with the relevant facts. i do think the formal procedures should be a parrt of the armoury of those wishing to clean up climate science and make it less dishonest.

        Sam

  30. HankHenry
    Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 10:30 AM | Permalink

    It would have been nice if this committee had spelled out and been quite particular about how the context of the the word “trick” amounts to the innocent meaning they ascribe. I note they keep their discussion on a general level and gloss over what the actual context was. It shouldn’t be left a mystery because the sentence is available for all to examine; the context which clarifies the meaning of the “trick” is in the phrase “to hide a decline.” In short and simple terms it was a trick to hide a decline. So the question becomes, who were they trying to hide the decline from? Readers who they hoped would support conclusions unwarranted by their data. Conclusions that all should now reconsider.

    For heavens sake songs have been written and gone viral about this trick to hide the decline. This committee should quit the sophistry, quit the lawyering, quit the verbal acrobatics, join the chorus and stop being quibbling fools.

  31. James
    Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 10:45 AM | Permalink

    And Mann will be totally cleared of data manipulation by the hand-picked committee of academics at Penn State. The mantra is simple, “we must protect the message…by any means necessary.”

    Who would have believed that 1984 would arrive 25 years late.

    • Jan Perlwitz
      Posted Apr 4, 2010 at 9:43 AM | Permalink

      Of course. If the results from science aren’t liked, they are forged and manipulated. If the outcome of an investigation after accusations against a scientist aren’t to one’s liking the investigators are part of the conspiracy.

  32. Arijigoku
    Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 10:56 AM | Permalink

    STEVE: This is a typo i think:

    ‘Contrary to UEA’s claims, there is no valid statistical procedure supporting the substitution of tree ring proxy data going the wrong with instrumental temperature data to create a false rhetorical impression of the coherence of the proxy data. ‘

  33. tom hope
    Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 11:58 AM | Permalink

    Twice in the BBC World News radio segment Canada was cited as the reason temperature data could not be released by CRU. Is it true that our temperature data, acquired at taxpayers expense, is secret? If so why?

  34. Maximus
    Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 12:41 PM | Permalink

    I suggest you global warming deniers head up to the arctic or to some mountain glaciers and watch their rapid melting. I don’t know much about the scientific data, but I have seen that glaciers and ice caps the world over are rapidly melting away. Polar bears are going extinct because the north polar ice cover is melting more and more each year, making their swims to land too far for their cubs to make. Kilamanjaroo in teh middle of last century had permanent ice features on its peak. They are no more. They have melted away. Get a passport and go visit these sites yourself and see what is happening for yourself.

    • SkipSmith
      Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 12:43 PM | Permalink

      This post is so stupid I assume it’s a joke.

      • Dave Dardinger
        Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 1:02 PM | Permalink

        Re: SkipSmith (Mar 31 12:43),

        No, lots of people who don’t know much about the scientific data have been so brainwashed by the DAGWers that they think they can come here and just make unsupported claims and this will prove something. They don’t know that Polar bear populations have been rising, arctic ice cover has increased each of the last 3 years, and “Kilamanjaroo” has shrinking ice because of decreased rainfall and land use changes, not AGW.

        • a dood
          Posted Apr 2, 2010 at 3:35 PM | Permalink

          Wait, I thought the Kilamanjaroos were in Australia.

    • John Baltutis
      Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 7:35 PM | Permalink

      Amply contradicted at Skeptical Science

  35. Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 1:02 PM | Permalink

    Need I remind dear Steve of the hazard of “wrestling with pigs”.

    You get dirty, the pig gets dirty.

    The pig likes it.

    Finis

  36. Larry Smith
    Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 1:17 PM | Permalink

    This blog goes to show one can write anything they want on a self-published forum, but to get something in print, you need to back up your statements to a peer-reviewed committee, like the British Parliament or other scientists (for journal publication).
    The self-serving baseless attacks on Climate Audit are just that.

    • Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 9:28 PM | Permalink

      I agree. People should backup claims they use to attack Climate Audit.

  37. mpaul
    Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 1:41 PM | Permalink

    I came to this subject a few years back when I was at an open source software company. This was back in the very early days of the open source movement and someone asked me what I thought about climate data not being available and did I see parallels to the issues we faced in the open source movement (which I did).

    All along, my primary objective has been to see the data and code made available so that other scientists could replicate the results. I’ve seen the AGW proponents argue that people like me wouldn’t know what to do with the data and code if they released it, so therefore, what’s the point. They are correct that I’m not qualified to make a judgment based on my review of the data, methods or code.

    But that’s not the point.

    If the data and code were available for replication, I could observe whether the science could withstand independent scrutiny. If it could, then I would be persuaded. But if a result couldn’t be replicated, then I would consider it suspect. I think everyone, including politicians should use this evaluation criteria. Its the only one that works. The environmental journalists have been hoodwinked into believing that Peer Review is what gives scientific theory legitimacy. That’s absurd. The only thing that can establish (or in the case of climate science, restore) credibility is replication. I am qualified to observe whether results have been subjected to adequate due diligence and scrutiny.

    Steve, I know you are discouraged by this report. But I actually think this is the moment that you have created your legacy. You have succeeded in getting Parliament to acknowledge that the data and code should be made public. And we can now expect that Russell will dutifully conclude the same. The data will finally be made available and we’ll see whether these results can stand up to real scientific scrutiny. That’s what I’ve wanted, and I suspect that’s what you’ve wanted all along. It was the primary objective.

    Everything else is just drama and political theater.

    I do have to admit, that as this battle raged, I got sucked into the tribalism of ‘our side’. I’ve said snarky things about the ‘other side’. I’ve gotten caught up in the corruption of these ridiculous ‘independent panels’. But I really don’t wish Phil Jones and ill. I really, really don’t like the arrogance of Micheal Mann, but I don’t wish him any ill. I just want the Team to stop the antics, stop the bunker behavior, stop the tricks — just publish the data and code and let the chips fall where they may.

    Everything else will take care of itself.

    Take heart my friends, today we have succeeded.

    • dougie
      Posted Apr 1, 2010 at 4:34 PM | Permalink

      agreed.
      this is the beginning for open data (hopefully).
      Steve is instrumental in getting this far.

    • Jan Perlwitz
      Posted Apr 1, 2010 at 6:48 PM | Permalink

      “All along, my primary objective has been to see the data and code made available so that other scientists could replicate the results…If the data and code were available for replication, I could observe whether the science could withstand independent scrutiny. If it could, then I would be persuaded.”

      http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/data-sources/

      Please keep the science community informed about the progress of your analyses and the results.

      • mpaul
        Posted Apr 5, 2010 at 10:44 AM | Permalink

        Jan, you are obviously poorly informed on this subject. CRU, in its *official* responses to FOI requests, has stated that the data is confidential and therefore unavailable to others.

        • Jan Perlwitz
          Posted Apr 6, 2010 at 11:38 AM | Permalink

          You have made the assertion that climate data and code weren’t available, claiming it wasn’t possible to put the results from climate science under independent scrutiny. This is just not true in this generality. There are plenty of data available, raw data, processed data. There are also programs open to the public, which are used in the analyses. And climate models as well. The scientific papers should provide all the information about assumptions and applied methods needed to replicate the results. I don’t say everything is perfect, but there is enough out there to independently test the results from climate science, whether regarding the observed climate change signal or regarding the projections about future climate change obtained with the models. You just have to want to do it. It’s much easier to permanently make unsubstantiated claims, though.

          Some here also seem to have a strange understanding about what it means to replicate the results from scientific research. It doesn’t mean that one has to apply the exactly same computer programs to get the results. Otherwise, it would be like a chemistry lab needs to use the exactly same equipment of another chemistry lab to replicate the results, which were obtained by latter, and the former chemistry lab requests that latter ships all the equipment to them. Instead, replication means that the results are being tested applying the same method of analysis on the data.

          In 10 years from now, when there are even more data and code available “climate skeptics” will probably still make the same claims about allegedly being prevented from replicating the results regarding AGW by some conspiracy with sinister motives.

        • PhilJourdan
          Posted Apr 6, 2010 at 1:10 PM | Permalink

          You are new to this, right? So you do not believe skeptics, will you believe Phil Jones?

          10 years from now, if the antics of East Anglia and crew remain unchanged, yes, there will still be demands to release it – as any scientist would do.

          I have 2 tens and a 6. Is that the data you were referring to? I hope you find it useful. It will not be in the study of climate, but go for it! As you said, there is lots of data available.

        • mpaul
          Posted Apr 6, 2010 at 3:17 PM | Permalink

          The example I have given before is that its not enough for a chemist to say ‘all of the elements used to form my compound can be found in the periodic table; therefore you have what you need to reproduce my results’.

          We need to know what stations were used, what exact versions of the datasets were used and what exact source code was used. This information is not available.

          The Hopuse of Commons report found:
          (1) It is not standard practice in climate science to publish the raw data and the computer code in academic papers. However, climate science is a matter of great importance and the quality of the science should be irreproachable. We therefore consider that climate scientists should take steps to make available all the data that support their work (including raw data) and full methodological workings (including the computer codes). Had both been available, many of the problems at UEA could have been avoided.
          (2) The disclosed e-mails appear to show a culture of non-disclosure at CRU and instances where information may have been deleted, to avoid disclosure. We found prima facie evidence to suggest that the UEA found ways to support the culture at CRU of resisting disclosure of information to climate change sceptics. The failure of UEA to grasp fully the potential damage to CRU and UEA by the non-disclosure of FOIA requests was regrettable.
          (3) The CRU dataset, which forms the land surface component of the HadCRUT global temperature record, was compiled with the aim of comprehensiveness. The majority of the data in it are derived from the same freely-available raw data sets used by NOAA and NASA. However, it also includes data derived from station data that were obtained directly from countries, institutions and scientists on the understanding that they would not be passed on.37

        • PhilJourdan
          Posted Apr 7, 2010 at 9:46 AM | Permalink

          ‘all of the elements used to form my compound can be found in the periodic table; therefore you have what you need to reproduce my results’.

          Excellent example. Thank you as I had not seen you mention it before, but will not forget it now.

  38. James
    Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 1:46 PM | Permalink

    A final though occurs to me.

    The Parliamentary Committee seems to have mimicked the IPCC in it’s review of the inquiry into Dr. Jones and the workings of the ECU-CRU:

    1. Predetermine the outcome you seek.
    2. Appoint biased experts to validate your predetermined outcome.
    3. Ignore evidence that disputes your experts and the predetermined outcome.
    4. Announce your outcome with great brevity and artificial gravitas.
    5. Collect your Nobel Prize.

  39. don
    Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 2:29 PM | Permalink

    It seems like there is an issue over the meaning of “trick” among politicians. There is trick in the sense of sophisticated statistical “skill,” which I admit escapes me. Then there is trick in the sense of to fool someone. May I also suggest there is trick in the sense of “trick or treat, ” which is not to be confused with the services provided by a street walker, commonly called a “trick” for the enjoyment of a “john.” Being a member of government is optional but helpful when qualifying for a trick.

  40. UK John
    Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 3:09 PM | Permalink

    If I was Phil Jones I would now be very worried!

    Some MP’s think I am OK! such praise invariably means complete disaster will shortly follow.

  41. Robert
    Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 3:17 PM | Permalink

    Bilge is correct. My question is why is there such deafening silence from academia? You would think that the issues that Steve has so clearly laid out would provoke some academics to speak out. Yet all we hear is silence…

    • DeepFried
      Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 3:58 PM | Permalink

      Please read the document linked by Eureferendum:-

      “How Government Corrupts Science”

      http://tinyurl.com/yj9uyud

      Read and weep!

    • David
      Posted Apr 1, 2010 at 8:56 PM | Permalink

      I recommend you try to get someone from the sciences in an Ivy league school to read this blog. Most do not and will not. If their research is in an unrelated field, they simply trust what they have been told is the “consensous” and some blogger is not of interest to them. If you convince them that this blogger (Climate Audit) is published in the field they will simply say words to the effect of; “Yes, I have heard they found some minor statistical errors, common to many studies”

      This is the nature of group-think, and it effects all groups (not just the “eleit”) to various dcegrees. It is particularly bad in climate science due, in my view, to the corruption of political agenda and extreme government funding.

  42. Dave L.
    Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 4:01 PM | Permalink

    After the dust has settled and this whitewash has dried, scientists will eventually begin to see matters in proper perspective.

    The AGW scientists in academics and those that editorialize at Real Climate know the real story about “the trick” and “hide the decline”. Steve’s correct — and they know it, but to acknowledge the latter would be a public relations disaster — therefore the cover-up. So beneath the surface, the knowledgeable AGW scientists know the facts and the truth. What the latter don’t know is whether or not the politicians have been completely fooled by this word-gamesmanship. Suppose the politicians fully understand that the AGW scientists have been dishonest, first with the data and then with the cover-up, but now the politicians have to comply with the cover-up and use whitewash to salvage their schemes, hoping that this storm with blow over.

    Methinks that the seeds of distrust have been sown, and now it is a question of time before they sprout. Do you think AGW scientists are going to feel comfortable about what the politicians are doing and have done? In other words, what will be the long term fallout of this political whitewash? If the politicians really know what the score is, do you think they will remain comfortable doling out research monies to AGW scientists who may be subject to future expositions of scientific irregularities? Certainly it would be much safer to impose cap and trade just from the positions of limited resources and reliance upon imported oil. Who needs “proof” of climate change when the latter are no brainers and don’t require periodic whitewash or research grants or computer prediction models?

    Lets see what grows from these seeds. Did they fall on fertile soil or onto rocks?

  43. P Solar
    Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 4:16 PM | Permalink

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmsctech/uc387-i/uc38702.htm

    Subliminal message no one seems to have spotted. Look at the HTML of the official release of the transcript (probably what’s shown in browser’s title bar):

    “Uncorrected Evidence”.

    Very succinct.

    • P Solar
      Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 4:17 PM | Permalink

      should have read “html title”. Blog cropped it.

  44. Dun
    Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 4:32 PM | Permalink

    Frank Furedi on SpikedOnline today asks “What’s the point?” concerning the Parliamentary investigation and the report.

    http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php/site/article/8368/

  45. jaymam
    Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 5:04 PM | Permalink

    Larry Smith, your source of income depends on continued climate alarmism. I gather you were responsible for these articles and many similar:
    New Scientist “Climate warning as Siberia melts” (Aug. 11, 2005)
    Guardian Unlimited “Warming hits ‘tipping point'” (Aug.19,2005)

    I have never been paid in any way for being a climate sceptic.

  46. Pat Frank
    Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 5:21 PM | Permalink

    Steve M., “Mann himself had condemned the merging of instrumental and proxy data as follows:”

    Quoting Michael Mann on RC: “No researchers in this field have ever, to our knowledge, “grafted the thermometer record onto” any reconstruction. It is somewhat disappointing to find this specious claim (which we usually find originating from industry-funded climate disinformation websites) appearing in this forum [realclimate].”

    We can notice that Phil Jones was using “Mike’s Nature trick,” in grafting the thermometer record onto his proxy temperature graph. Therefore, “Mike” was credited with developing the “trick” and with himself using it at a prior time in a paper published in Nature.

    One must compare the date of “Mike’s” paper with the date of the RC disclaimer to know whether Mike Mann was posturing righteously but in knowing dissemblance in making his disclaimer on RealClimate.

  47. Walter Manny
    Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 6:36 PM | Permalink

    Forgive me if somebody has already made the point, but I would think there is a fairly simple test for whether (as I suspect) the “trick” and the “hid[ing of] the decline” are exactly what they appear to be or whether they are, as the Committee and others claim, mere colloquialisms describing legitimate scientific work.

    If someone were to search the entire stream of e-mails (and perhaps other e-mails) and find a high incidence of the use of “trick” and/or “hide the decline” then we would at least have some evidence that scientists may indeed use the terms often and legitimately. If these are the only two places the terms are used, in such a large body of text, then the committee is evidently parsing in the wind and white-washing some pretty poor behavior.

    • John Baltutis
      Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 7:51 PM | Permalink

      Read the book: The Hockey Stick Illusion: Climategate and the Corruption of Science

    • Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 8:45 PM | Permalink

      Walter,

      Many of the regulars from CA aren’t often posting. However, if you look into the archives here, you will find that this topic was covered even before climategate happened.

      They measure trees which they assume to be temperature because of their characteristics. They prove their case because some trees look like temperature mathematically. In this case they measured trees which matched by characteristics but did not match temperature – at all. In fact, where temps went up, trees went down. — the decline.

      These treemometers are therefore suspect, however they were not known to be different from other trees also collected as temperature. Instead of discussing the surprising inaccuracy of trees as thermometers, they chopped the suspect part and blended actual temps with the inconvenient trees, hiding the decline.

      It’s not a matter of a simple test, it’s moronic on the surface. It’s the same as if you took Enron stock performance over time and clipped the performance at the end of its life replacing it with WallMart stock.

      So since that is the case, why do they try to pass it off as good science?

  48. Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 8:17 PM | Permalink

    This is the most direct post CA has ever made I think. Thanks Steve for saying it like it is this time, it’s nice to have some victory from the dissenter, however the point is that it’s disingenuous rubbish from a political group.

    What does it say about climate science when the pro’s don’t stand up in unison against this crap.

  49. Steve Sykes
    Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 8:55 PM | Permalink

    I agree with what I see at least one other commenter has alluded to. The focus on the work “trick” was all shenanigans, easily deflected. The key word to focus on was not “trick”, but “hide”.

    I don’t know of any verbal jujitsu that would have gotten them out of that one. What colloquial definition did they really mean. To conceal? To obstruct?

    Yes, they can up with a neat way of concealing something.

    • Charles DrPH
      Posted Apr 1, 2010 at 2:34 AM | Permalink

      I concur with others about the importance of the term “hide” vs. “trick.” Clearly, the intent was to deceive about the data presentation. Bilge is not a strong enough word.

  50. philh
    Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 9:29 PM | Permalink

    In a strange sort of way, I feel sorry for Jones. As a scientist, he knows that what this committee has done is simply a trivial exercise born out of policital motives and that it is in no way a scientifically true justification for conduct he knows full well to have been wrong and deceitful. If he has a conscience at all he can’t be sleeping well.

    • Mark T
      Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 9:43 PM | Permalink

      No, he doesn’t. If he knew, he’d feel guilt, and if he was capabile of feeling guilt over his actions, that would imply he also knew his original actions were wrong and this would never have happened in the first place. He most certainly thinks he is in the right and the findings cleared his name.

      Mark

      • dougie
        Posted Apr 1, 2010 at 5:24 PM | Permalink

        I think he was an intelligent innocent in the early days (they all thought they were climate gods, don’t question us) , but then they (the UAE side) began to have doubts.
        but then Mann galvanised them into the team & convinced them all that it was acceptable to bend the truth for the greater cause.

  51. JRR Canada
    Posted Mar 31, 2010 at 11:30 PM | Permalink

    Steve You have won.It may not look that way but the ship of climate alarm is sunk, all thats left is the flotsum and an oil slick. Apart from damning themselves with faint praise, the MP’s are calling for all data and methods to be released.This will be fought by team CRU and eventually happen.From reading the CRU tape emails they will be sunk as soon as the data ect is accessable to scrutiny.Probably right after UK elections.Courageous job on your part and you better start shaking the tip jar,so you can afford the lost time to testify at an honest inquiry,probably arround christmas 2010. Thanks for your work to date, unfortunately more drudgery to come as you explain to politicians things they do not understand or want to know. JRR

  52. Jan Perlwitz
    Posted Apr 1, 2010 at 1:57 AM | Permalink

    Perhaps, Mr. McIntyre or one of his followers here could explain why it is scientifically correct to present data that had before been discussed as erroneous in the published, peer reviewed literature as if the data weren’t erroneous. When the decline in the data doesn’t show any real temperature decline, what would be the purpose of presenting them to an audience as if the data showed anything real, unless one is interested in misleading the audience? And what information is being hidden by not showing erroneous data?

    • Posted Apr 1, 2010 at 2:56 AM | Permalink

      Re: Jan Perlwitz (Apr 1 01:57),
      Data is/are not ‘erroneous’. The data is the data. What is erroneous is the assumption by climate scientists that tree ring data represents temperature. The ‘decline’ showed this clearly, which is why they wanted to hide it.

      • Nathan
        Posted Apr 1, 2010 at 3:01 AM | Permalink

        PaulM

        So… there’s an obvious answer here PaulM. Publish your response that the need to ‘hide the decline’ means that these proxies are useless. Why do you all attempt to refute science through political means. Why are you incapable of doing science to refute science?

        • Posted Apr 1, 2010 at 3:59 AM | Permalink

          Re: Nathan (Apr 1 03:01), There’s an equally obvious answer to this, obvious to anybody who has read the climategate emails.

        • Posted Apr 1, 2010 at 4:15 AM | Permalink

          Re: Nathan (Apr 1 03:01), see here

        • Nathan
          Posted Apr 2, 2010 at 7:09 PM | Permalink

          PaulM if that’s the best you can do, then there’s not much hope is there.
          How are these apparently deluded dendrochronologists going to find that? Are they expected to trawl the internet to find one unpublished pdf by an economist?

        • Gord Richens
          Posted Apr 1, 2010 at 10:00 AM | Permalink

          You’re new around these parts, aren’t you?

        • Nathan
          Posted Apr 2, 2010 at 7:11 PM | Permalink

          Gord

          So dendro’s are expected to just find some unpublished pdf… somewhere… on the internet… by an economist… and say “OH gee all my studies were wrong”.

          If you think the dendro’s are wrong you need to publish where dendro’s can find it and discuss it, no?

        • John M
          Posted Apr 2, 2010 at 7:16 PM | Permalink

          Nathan,

          Didn’t Lucia slap you around about those rhetorical questions?

      • HankHenry
        Posted Apr 1, 2010 at 8:37 AM | Permalink

        Datum is, data are…. and my apologies for being a nudge.

      • Jan Perlwitz
        Posted Apr 1, 2010 at 5:21 PM | Permalink

        “Data is/are not ‘erroneous’. The data is the data.”

        What do you mean here? That one should take any data at face value?

        “What is erroneous is the assumption by climate scientists that tree ring data represents temperature. The ‘decline’ showed this clearly, which is why they wanted to hide it.”

        And, I suppose, discussing the break down of the correlation between the tree ring data and the temperature in previously published papers was a particular clever way of trying to hide this then and also to hide their sinister motives, wasn’t it?

    • ianl8888
      Posted Apr 1, 2010 at 4:45 AM | Permalink

      The “data” is not erroneous – ie. tree ring widths assessed from cross-sections are accurate. This is not the issue

      The divergence that was hidden by truncating accurate tree ring data is the issue. This means that post 1960 the tree ring widths did not accurately reflect temperature levels as observed from instruments (like thermometers). In fact, tree ring widths as temperature proxies forced temperature estimates down,not up. This divergence is indeed well known to dendrochronologists and as yet unexplained

      This raises the question: “Since these proxies are demonstrated to diverge post 1960 from instrumental observations, how can we trust temperature estimates from them in the more distant past, say back to 1000 years ?”

      There has never been a convincing answer to that question. So, the decline was HID from the public in order to keep the fiction of unprecedented current warming alive

      • Jan Perlwitz
        Posted Apr 1, 2010 at 5:58 PM | Permalink

        “The “data” is not erroneous – ie. tree ring widths assessed from cross-sections are accurate. This is not the issue”

        The data are “erroneous” with respect to being a valid proxy for the temperature after the 1960’s. So, assuming they are a valid proxy for the time before that, why would it be scientifically correct to present the data for the time after the 1960’s as if they were a valid proxy?

        “This raises the question: ‘Since these proxies are demonstrated to diverge post 1960 from instrumental observations, how can we trust temperature estimates from them in the more distant past, say back to 1000 years ?’

        There has never been a convincing answer to that question…”

        Is there even a chance that there was an answer that would convince you?

        “So, the decline was HID from the public in order to keep the fiction of unprecedented current warming alive”

        Obviously, Mann, Briffa, Jones don’t agree with you regarding the validity of the tree ring data as proxy of the temperature for past centuries and that there weren’t any convincing evidence and arguments for their view. From their point of view, the conclusion is logical that one doesn’t show data for the time period during which they aren’t a valid proxy as if they were a valid proxy. By not showing them nothing “inconvenient” is hidden within this line of reasoning.

        However, what you do is you project your own views, that the data weren’t a valid proxy, no matter what time period, onto Jones, Mann etc. From this presumption you conclude there can have been only sinister motives behind not showing the data for the time after 1960’s in the presentation for the audience, for which the graph was prepared. The accusations against Jones regarding this issue are based on a logically fallacious reasoning, then.

        • ianl8888
          Posted Apr 1, 2010 at 7:40 PM | Permalink

          @Jan Perlwitz

          1) “The data are “erroneous” with respect to being a valid proxy for the temperature after the 1960’s.”

          That’s your straw man, not mine. Data are not erroneous, but their validity of proxies for temperature is demonstrated to be inaccurate post 1960’s for reasons unknown. FACT

          2) “So, assuming they are a valid proxy for the time before that, … ”

          Why would you assume that when you know they are invalid for what is shorthandedly called current
          warming ?

          3) “Is there even a chance that there was an answer that would convince you?”

          Again, your straw man, not mine

          Just supply an answer to the question

          4) “Obviously, Mann, Briffa, Jones don’t agree with you regarding the validity of the tree ring data as proxy of the temperature for past centuries and that there weren’t any convincing evidence and arguments for their view …”

          Afraid not

          Briffa has said exactly that – eg. 1164120712.txt, 1163715685.txt. You should actually read the CRU emails – all of them

          Jones stated in his appearance at the just-completed UK Parliamentary Inquiry that the MWP was likely warmer than present. This contradicts the standardised dendrochronological line of “current warming being unprecedented”. You should read the UK Parliamentary transcript before stating such inaccuracies

          I agree Mann is holding to the line

          5) Again, you have deliberately evaded the issue. If the proxy data is considered useless post 1960 (the well-known decline) for as yet unknown reasons, why do you assume it is valid for past times, back to 1000 years ago ?

          No amount of straw men or implied ad homs are valid answers to this question … but I’m sure you’ll try anyway

        • TAG
          Posted Apr 2, 2010 at 7:11 AM | Permalink

          Why would you assume that when you know they are invalid for what is shorthandedly called current warming ?”

          I assume this here because Mann, Briffa, Jones etc. apparently consider them a valid proxy for the temperature for past centuries.

          Well that settles that.

        • TAG
          Posted Apr 2, 2010 at 7:48 AM | Permalink

          I can imagine what an auditor’s report would look like it they followed this practice. It would be something like: “Well, we asked the CFO about the books and he said everything was fine.”

          Seriously the point of this website is to examine the reported findings of climate scientists critically and not to just accept what they say on trust. The need for this has been amply demonstrated by their errors in basic statistics published in prestigious journals and used as a basis for signficant public policy.

        • Jan Perlwitz
          Posted Apr 2, 2010 at 10:33 AM | Permalink

          “I can imagine what an auditor’s report would look like it they followed this practice. It would be something like: “Well, we asked the CFO about the books and he said everything was fine.””

          This is not what I said. Please don’t take my statement out of context of the argument and reinterpret its meaning at your convenience.

          “Seriously the point of this website is to examine the reported findings of climate scientists critically”

          I doubt that.

        • RomanM
          Posted Apr 2, 2010 at 7:45 AM | Permalink

          Re: Jan Perlwitz (Apr 1 22:34),

          “5) Again, you have deliberately evaded the issue. If the proxy data is considered useless post 1960 (the well-known decline) for as yet unknown reasons, why do you assume it is valid for past times, back to 1000 years ago ?”

          I, personally, don’t assume anything particular regarding this question. For my argument it is sufficient that Mann, Briffa, Jones etc. think (or thought back in 1999) that those tree ring data were a valid proxy for past temperatures.

          You don’t “assume anything” because you don’t understand the most basic things about paleo reconstructions. Such an understanding is neccessary in order to appreciate the situation fully.

          The point being made to you is the most basic assumption of dendrochronology known the a Principle of Uniformitarianism

          This principle states that physical and biological processes that link current environmental processes with current patterns of tree growth must have been in operation in the past.

          To translate that for you: For the tree rings to be interpretable as “temperatures” in the past, we need to have them behave like temperatures in the present. Otherwise, any reconstruction will be complete nonsense. Mann, Briffa et al. were well aware of this principle. In order to justify the use the earlier part, the onus was on them to explicitly demonstrate the mechanisms that they claimed caused the relationship between the tree rings and the temperatures to supposedly have changed. Speculation is NOT science. To say that, in this context, the authors honestly considered the remaining part of the series to be a “valid proxy” is to say that they were incompetent as scientists. To this date, no scientific evidence has been presented for the cause of the “change” in the relationship.

          It is in this context, that they felt the need to “hide the decline“. Any person who understood the minimal amount of paleoclimatology would immediately notice the incongruity and would justifiably question the entire result because of the basic uniformitarianism principle. Do you consider this as scientifically honest?

          Their mathematical “trick” was to cut off the offending portion and replace it with an unrelated (to the tree rings) temperature series. Do you really think that this was a mathematically complicated procedure deserving of the description “trick”? If so, you (like the committee) are mathematically naive. There was only one trick and that was to convince the viewer of something that was not the case. Do you consider this ethical?

        • TAG
          Posted Apr 2, 2010 at 7:50 AM | Permalink

          In order to justify the use the earlier part, the onus was on them to explicitly demonstrate the mechanisms that they claimed caused the relationship between the tree rings and the temperatures to supposedly have changed

          And to apply these principles in the generation of the reconstruction so that the effect could be seen.

        • Dave Dardinger
          Posted Apr 2, 2010 at 12:44 PM | Permalink

          Re: Jan Perlwitz (Apr 2 12:04),

          Please tell me where this mathematical procedure was applied and presented. What paper? What publication? Or where?

          I’d suggest you start by reading this thread: http://climateaudit.org/2009/11/20/mike%E2%80%99s-nature-trick/

          To go farther here I’d suggest you try putting “hide the decline” in the search box on the upper right of the page. This will return a number of threads, including the one above which will explain, in all their glorious detail, what was done.

        • Jan Perlwitz
          Posted Apr 4, 2010 at 7:47 AM | Permalink

          So you seem to believe what Mr. McIntyre is telling you. Or have you tested it yourself?

        • Dave Dardinger
          Posted Apr 4, 2010 at 8:49 AM | Permalink

          Re: Jan Perlwitz (Apr 4 07:47),

          Well, if you may have noticed, the thread I sent you to wasn’t by Steve McIntyre in the first place. There are several staticians on this site and they occasionally find minor errors by Steve (and vice versa), which rather reduces my need to do the testing myself. Of course, if you want, you can claim it’s all a skeptic conspiracy, but in that case there’s no reason one of the climate science statistical experts (if there is such a person)couldn’t come here and point out the errors. [There are a couple of quasi-trolls who have claimed as much, but they’re self-admittedly not trained in statistics.] Steve does owe one of them a response, but he’s been rather busy of late.

          As for me, I’ve loaded R onto my computer and tried out a few of the programs to make sure things work as claimed, but haven’t found anything I really feel I need to test myself. If you’ve looked into the other affiliated sites you’ll see that there’s a lot of work going on. For instance, a couple of people have checked out one of the surface temperature data sets and were able to show that it has been done correctly given the data, and the global average temperature for it is therefore reliable to that extent. OTOH, there have also been work done which shows that UHI is indeed a problem which needs to be looked at. I.e. it’s not going to be just a few thousandths of a degree a decade.

          Now several people in the “skeptic” community have pointed out that they’ve been blocked from publishing in the standard journals. One or two, we might assume it’s just grousing about a bad paper being justly rejected, but it’s more than that and the Climategate e-mails pretty much prove that it was a policy of the Team to block skeptic papers.

        • Jan Perlwitz
          Posted Apr 4, 2010 at 10:10 AM | Permalink

          As for me, I’ve loaded R onto my computer and tried out a few of the programs to make sure things work as claimed, but haven’t found anything I really feel I need to test myself.

          What about you are testing the R-code provided by Wahl and Ammann in relation to their 2007-paper where the reproduced and tested the robustness of the Mann et al. 2007-results? If temperature data were “crafted” into the proxy data (despite the “crafting” due to calibration) to get the results from the multiproxy analysis, it shall be easy to find the lines in the code where this was done, supposedly.

          Now several people in the “skeptic” community have pointed out that they’ve been blocked from publishing in the standard journals. One or two, we might assume it’s just grousing about a bad paper being justly rejected, but it’s more than that and the Climategate e-mails pretty much prove that it was a policy of the Team to block skeptic papers.

          It happens that papers get rejected by journals. Not just papers by “climate skeptics”, also papers by scientists you probably label as “alarmists” (e.g. Jim Hansen). However, if you assert studies by “climate skeptics”, which weren’t flawed, were blocked by such an alleged conspiracy, then perhaps you can tell me some examples for such studies that got blocked.

          Steve: Wahl and Ammann reproduced many of our results. I reconciled their code to ours in about 1 day back in 2005. In effect, they confirmed our emulation of MBH. It was very misleading for them to pretend that their emulation had done something that we hadn’t already done.

          Given the similarity of codes, in December 2005, I met with Ammann and proposed that we declare an armistice for 2 months and try to develop a joint paper summarizing what we agreed on, what we disagreed on and how to proceed. Ammann said that this would be “bad for his career”. Wahl and Ammann – as Wegman observed – replicated our results – for example, they confirmed the failed verification r2, the non-robustness to bristlecones, the RE benchmarks. But this confirmation is buried in their fine print. Ammann originally refused to even report the failed verification r2 results – these were reported only after an academic misconduct complaint.

          In 2006, Wegman said that the Wahl and Ammann article had “no statistical integrity”.

        • RomanM
          Posted Apr 2, 2010 at 1:20 PM | Permalink

          You are assuming.

          No, I am deducing this from your previous comments. I have seen you spout sophistry and misdirection, but nothing of substance regarding the issues.

          The burden of proof that they didn’t is on your side, if you accuse them of having committed scientific fraud. To not agree with the arguments of a scientist or to find the method applied by a scientist scientifically flawed is not sufficient as proof.

          Suppressing inconvenient data without offering sufficient reason is good scientific practice? You believe this? Are there any conditions under which you would deem that either removing or “hiding” data would be dishonest? Judge the result in light of what proper procedures are for the situation at hand. Would anyone accept this type of action from a student working on a thesis? Would you trust the results of a “scientist” who indulged in such a practice?

          Are you judging the adequate choice of words in a private email?

          Don’t be childish! This “trick” has been used more than once and its use denied saying that they would never do a such a thing.

          You really don’t seem to get it.

        • Jan Perlwitz
          Posted Apr 4, 2010 at 8:09 AM | Permalink

          “No, I am deducing this from your previous comments.”

          OK. Then you jump to conclusions.

          “I have seen you spout sophistry and misdirection, but nothing of substance regarding the issues.”

          I get this often, when I make an effort to bring a logical precise argument that it is dismissed in this way, because people don’t understand it or don’t know how to refute it.

          “Suppressing inconvenient data without offering sufficient reason is good scientific practice?”

          No one has suppressed inconvenient data regarding the divergence problem. The data and the decline have been discussed in more than one of the papers by Briffa and Jones. This is a very strange way of keeping it secret. You allegation is baseless. Also, you again presume what you would have to prove first. The question you ask me is loaded.

        • Dave Dardinger
          Posted Apr 4, 2010 at 8:58 AM | Permalink

          Re: Jan Perlwitz (Apr 4 08:09),

          The data and the decline have been discussed in more than one of the papers by Briffa and Jones.

          It’s been “discussed” but it hasn’t been shown to be explained. What’s been done has been speculation on possible causes and then claims that since nothing else has been found (by them), it must be caused by some modern human action. Now there’s nothing wrong with postulating causes, but then assuming them and using these assumptions as justification for ignoring and even “hiding” the decline without explicitly pointing it out in every such paper is wrong. And then going from there to using the graphs with hidden declines as justification for policy decisions costing trillions, is [self-snip].

        • RomanM
          Posted Apr 4, 2010 at 10:27 AM | Permalink

          Your definition of “suppressing” and “sufficient reason” must be different from mine.

          Speculation is not sufficient evidence of anything. Did you count how many times the word “may” appears in the IPCC paragraph you quoted in another comment? How much of that is genuine evidence? Since a proxy needs to be properly validated, the onus is on the researcher to show that this is the case by providing such evidence – unless, you are implying that climate science need not be bound by such a requirement. To date, there has been no further evidence provided in this direction by the authors.

          As far as suppression goes, a graph is a stand-alone object – any information which is not in the graph or not overtly discussed in the immediate description has been implicitly suppressed. Statisticians understand the psychological impact of viewing a graph and can provide many examples of viewer manipulation through the way a graph is constructed.

          In particular, context is important here. The suppression is not implicit. By their own admission, portions of the data are intentionally removed (as had been done earlier by the same group) for the purpose of suppressing an inconvenient fact that the viewer should not see. You think the expression of “hiding the decline” is merely a poor choice of words. I see it as shameful manipulation in the process of creating yet one more piece of hockey-stick style propaganda.

          The “trick” is mathematical wizardry? Let me simplify the algorithm for you:

          Step 1: Take proxy data.

          Step2: Delete inconvenient value.

          Step 3: Concatenate with unrelated temperatures.

          Step 4: Plot.

          Not too tough. The “trick” is in the end result and the effect it will have on the unsuspecting viewer.

          This is not the genuine science that I have seen practiced in over 40 years of consulting on data presentation and analysis in a very diverse collection of fields in an academic environment. However, you seem to think that this good procedure. That’s unfortunate for climate science and its real scientists…

        • Posted Apr 2, 2010 at 1:56 PM | Permalink

          Please tell me where this mathematical procedure was applied and presented. What paper? What publication? Or where?

          Jan, if you really are that far behind what happened you cannot make a determination of any CA reader’s motives. It’s in the IPCC report, that’s what the emails were discussing.

          Jeez

          That’s the reason it’s a big deal. It was meant to hide the bad data quality from political entities. It also is a big deal because only a few insiders were privy to the practice. Of course the practice has more recently been discussed on Climate Audit and the Air Vent since at least Mann08 came out in August 2008.

          A little sanity is in order.

        • Jan Perlwitz
          Posted Apr 4, 2010 at 8:57 AM | Permalink

          Jan, if you really are that far behind what happened you cannot make a determination of any CA reader’s motives. It’s in the IPCC report, that’s what the emails were discussing.

          Is it? I suppose you refer to IPCC report 2001. Which calculation that was presented there? The graphic reproduced from the Mann et al paper? Those results have been reproduced by Wahl and Ammann (2007). Mann et al.’s and Wahl and Ammann’s programs applied to do the multiproxy calculations are both available to the public.

          Here is some quote from the IPCC-Report 2001 where proxy data are discussed:

          Several important caveats must be borne in mind when using tree-ring data for palaeoclimate reconstructions. Not least is the intrinsic sampling bias. Tree-ring information is available only in terrestrial regions, so is not available over substantial regions of the globe, and the climate signals contained in tree-ring density or width data reflect a complex biological response to climate forcing. Non-climatic growth trends must be removed from the tree-ring chronology, making it difficult to resolve time-scales longer than the lengths of the constituent chronologies (Briffa, 2000). Furthermore, the biological response to climate forcing may change over time. There is evidence, for example, that high latitude tree-ring density variations have changed in their response to temperature in recent decades, associated with possible nonclimatic factors (Briffa et al., 1998a). By contrast, Vaganov et al. (1999) have presented evidence that such changes may actually be climatic and result from the effects of increasing winter precipitation on the starting date of the growing season (see Section 2.7.2.2). Carbon dioxide fertilization may also have an influence, particularly on high-elevation drought-sensitive tree species, although attempts have been made to correct for this effect where appropriate (Mann et al., 1999). Thus climate reconstructions based entirely on tree-ring data are susceptible to several sources of contamination or non-stationarity of response. For these reasons, investigators have increasingly found tree-ring data mostuseful when supplemented by other types of proxy information in “multi-proxy” estimates of past temperature change (Overpeck et al., 1997; Jones et al., 1998; Mann et al., 1998; 1999; 2000a; 2000b; Crowley and Lowery, 2000).

          Sounds about OK to me regarding the representation of the state of knowledge at this time.

        • Dave Dardinger
          Posted Apr 4, 2010 at 9:15 AM | Permalink

          Re: Jan Perlwitz (Apr 4 08:57),

          Those results have been reproduced by Wahl and Ammann (2007).

          Since Steve doesn’t have a link to his Wahl and Ammann threads in the left sidebar “Categories” dropdown, here’s an entry to them:

          http://climateaudit.org/2008/08/10/reconciling-to-wahl-and-ammann/

          Interestingly there’s some byplay between Steve and John A in trying to get his code to work for John.

          As you’ll see, this was a post by Steve pointing out that Wahl and Ammann were actually implementing Steve’s reconstruction of Mann’s multiproxy reconstruction. But to find out why this is important since they’re all three coming up with essentially the same graph, you need to read the earlier threads linked to.

          steve: There is such a category: http://climateaudit.org/category/mbh98/wahl-and-ammann/

        • Posted Apr 4, 2010 at 10:46 AM | Permalink

          Jan,

          In blogland it’s easy to get piled onto. I don’t want this to be that kind of experience really. If you like I can answer point by point, give you quotes from emials and such, but it’s silly because the position you have taken is completely untenable.

          Briffa actually discussed the clipping of the same data in 1998 in a paper, for almost a year before climategate broke. The Air Vent discussed the clipping and trashing of exactly this inconvenient data many times before climategate. None of that is new. What is new is scientists pretending that elimination of inconvenient data is somehow acceptable. What is not acceptable is the pretending that this was a widely known fact in paleo recons, few people inside the field were aware of it.

          http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2009/12/01/bodge/

          BTW, the sophistry in the quote you gave is nauseating.

          Roman has done the job of replying to this more eloquently in his reply. http://climateaudit.org/2010/03/31/tricking-the-committee/#comment-227001

          As I said, if you want a full reply, I’ll give it. Otherwise, I’m thinking you’ve taken enough on.

        • Dave Dardinger
          Posted Apr 4, 2010 at 1:56 PM | Permalink

          Re: Jan Perlwitz (Apr 4 08:57),

          Steve: I must have skipped right over it with my eyes. I guess I figured it’d be in the multi-proxy studies section.

          BTW, sorry this isn’t directly connected to where you corrected me. Apparently the system bottoms out at 9 or 10 levels and the Reply button doesn’t appear. No big deal, however. After a while it’s more trouble than it’s worth to follow the levels anyway.

        • Gord Richens
          Posted Apr 2, 2010 at 9:00 AM | Permalink

          “For my argument it is sufficient that Mann, Briffa, Jones etc. think (or thought back in 1999) that those tree ring data were a valid proxy for past temperatures.”

          Well, the out-of-sample data (Temperature/Tree Ring post 1960) is the strongest evidence as to whether of not they were wrong.

        • Posted Apr 2, 2010 at 8:36 AM | Permalink

          Roman answered this just fine, but I thought you were a scienctist. This is a very simple principle of paleo reconstructions. There has been NO verification that trees respond to temp as stated. There is a biological explanation followed by correlation. The correlation is the SINGLE verification that we’re looking at temp in any way.

          There is nothing else to state that trees are temp.

          So when they discovered trees that didn’t correlate, way back in the formative years of dendroclimatology, this could have made a huge mess for the field. They needed to explain it away somehow – or hide it.

          So you get hide the decline. There is considerable discussion between the group on this exact problem in the East Anglia emails. They understood the problem it created in the same light as I’m describing and they found the famous solution..

          If there is no correlation, it’s extremely difficult to say any of the data is temperature data.

        • bobdenton
          Posted Apr 2, 2010 at 10:11 AM | Permalink

          Absolutely.

          Using the verification paradigm chosen in the proxy studies the transfer function derived from the “calibration” period should have predictive power both in hindcast and forecast. The verification period chosen was in hindcast, and shows weak predictive power, barely sufficient to stand up the assumption of uniformitarianism. In forecast it has no predictive power at all, indeed it reverses correlation, proving convincingly that the assumption of uniformitarianism is false.

          This is an inescapable consequence of their chosen paradigm and it’s inexplicably perverse that they refuse to acknowledge it.

        • Gord Richens
          Posted Apr 2, 2010 at 5:46 PM | Permalink

          “So, assuming they are a valid proxy for the time before that, why would it be scientifically correct to present the data for the time after the 1960’s as if they were a valid proxy?”

          LOL

  53. Nathan
    Posted Apr 1, 2010 at 2:33 AM | Permalink

    Come on guys,

    If you can’t even get Lord Lawson to ask the right questions how can you expect anyone to take you arguments seriously. It’s not like he’s an AGW fan. The truth here is that the hide the decline issue is a non-event, even anti-AGW guys like Lawson can see that.

    Don’t whine whine things turn out bad for you. Figure out why you argument is so poor that even guys on your own side are unconvinced.

    • Craig Loehle
      Posted Apr 1, 2010 at 7:24 AM | Permalink

      The argument is unfortunately somewhat TECHNICAL and the lazy or mathematically illiterate (of which the political world has a surplus) won’t immediately see it. Disentangling the spagetti graphs and the multiple ways of “hiding” going on (cover with a thick black or red line, change the baseline, merge with instrumental data, chop it off) was not so simple and took multiple posts at CA. It is like asking people to explain to you what is a credit default swap and why did they cause so much trouble. If you want to spend the effort, it is all laid out here, but some effort IS required.

      • Posted Apr 2, 2010 at 8:54 PM | Permalink

        As I like to point out, I am mathematically illiterate, and I get it. All it takes is enough interest to get it.

      • Posted Apr 3, 2010 at 1:49 PM | Permalink

        Re: Craig Loehle (Apr 1 07:24),

        It is like asking people to explain to you what is a credit default swap and why did they cause so much trouble.

        Craig, I agree with everything you say except the choice of credit default swap as analogy. The instrument that did by far the most damage was not the CDS but the CDO, the collateralised debt obligation, which chopped up and resold subprime mortgages in the most inept way but was frequently given AAA ratings by those who should certainly have known better:

        The complexity that is often talked about – of some kinds of derivatives – was not in fact the heart of the matter, which was much more basic. And I think that is an extremely good parallel with AGW, where the IPCC is the irresponsible ratings agency and WG1 Chapter 9 and its reliance on GCMs to ‘prove’ attribution to CO2 and positive feedbacks is as bogus as the dodgiest of subprime mortgages and any instrument build from them. At the heart of AGW is a simple lie – but wrapped around it there are many layers of reasonably complex deceptions, including the hockey stick illusion, where what you say about the limitations of politicians is bang on the mark.

        As far as the kind of person needed to expose AGW as a whole, I’ve felt for a while we need our Steve Eisman, the one Wall Street insider who prophesied disaster from subprime and CDOs years in advance – and of course made a vast amount of money when everyone else was losing their shirt. I warn you though, he wasn’t ever a very polite person, as this brilliant account by Michael Lewis shows.

        Apologies to the moderators for being a bit controversial on something OT – my excuse being that told this way I believe the credit crunch makes an even better analogy for what we’re up against. (Indeed this plays into some of what Tom Fuller says below – but I won’t go there now.)

    • Gord Richens
      Posted Apr 1, 2010 at 12:06 PM | Permalink

      Educate me Nathan.
      1. Why is it OK to continue using tree ring data to extrapolate a hypothetical temperature record back as much as a 1000 years into the past, when that same data has been falsified by contemporaneous real-world thermometer measurements over the last 1/2 century?
      2. Before “Climategate”, were you personally aware of the discrepancy between the data from recent tree-ring samples and the corresponding thermometer record since the 1960’s?

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted Apr 1, 2010 at 2:57 PM | Permalink

      You are being disingenuous here. You have no idea if Lawson fully understands the issue of ‘hide the decline’.

      As Gord Richens says if some of the trees we can currently measure are NOT showing increased growth that relates to temperature, how can you use tree rings to extrapolate temperature back a thousand years. Have tree suddenly started to grow in a different way?

      • Nathan
        Posted Apr 2, 2010 at 7:07 PM | Permalink

        No Dave, I have no idea if Lawson understands anything.

        Craig Loehle, so write a paper that shows why! Why is it so hard to demonstrate your arguments in the literature?

        Gord
        Go and study dendrochonology. Seems they’re pretty comfortable with it.

        All this whining that no one will listen to why you think they’re wrong is pitiful. Get off your butts and demonstrate it.

  54. Posted Apr 1, 2010 at 3:38 AM | Permalink

    I agree with mpaul and JRR Canada – this is a complete win for the skeptics.

    * The problems of getting data and methods (including code) are now well known and not just “skeptic whining”
    * The FIO law will probably be changed
    * The rules about what must be released without a formal FOI request will probably be changed
    * The next FOI request will probably be filled in a reasonable amount of time
    * Hidden data will be shown in the next IPCC report

    They want Jones et al to save face and continue working, but they also want the data and methods to be open. The fact that they chose to assume that “trick” and “hide the decline” were misunderstood does not bother me because they will never be able to do that again.

    BTW, everyone complaining about “trick” and “hide the decline” seems to have forgotten briffa_sep98_e.pro which has a section that “APPLIES A VERY ARTIFICIAL CORRECTION FOR DECLINE”.

  55. LearDog
    Posted Apr 1, 2010 at 6:19 AM | Permalink

    Really – the answer is almost too elegant from a political – AGW point of view. The call to release data and code will take years to sort out – yet they provided enough cover (couldn’t even quote Jones!) to keep this fantasy alive. Perhaps just long enough to get taxes in place?

    It all just goes to show that its damned difficult to use logic, fact and data to argue with people who simply ‘believe’ (Maximus (#37)).

    But – the ‘crickets’ from proper scientists – is the most disturbing part of this whole thing to me, Judith Curry not withstanding. They are tacitly defending this behavior – and mainstays on this blog and WUWT are doing better science than they. Its shameful. Where is the outrage? Remember the Univ of Utah Cold Fusion debacle? Pales in comparison to this travesty.

    Penn State – we’re watching …

  56. thefordprefect
    Posted Apr 1, 2010 at 7:43 AM | Permalink

    Am I wrong in assuming that temperatures in the world are increasing, and increasing more rapidly since the 70s?

    All world averaged data shows this. Most country, most station data shows the increase since 70s.

    Satellite data shows the same result.

    Is this a good indication that since the 70s temperatures have increased? I think this increase is known to be correct

    Trees are not thermometers. However many factors make trees growth change – they will be interactive.

    At -40C trees do not grow at +100C trees do not grow. At 20C trees grow. So here we have 3 points for the treemometer. There will be an optimum temperature for growth dependiing on many factors –
    tree type
    nutrient availability
    Water availability
    Quantity of light at certain wavelength
    CO2 availability. etc.
    There is an optimum temperature this implies that either side of the optimum growth speed is less (zero at -40 and 100C are obvious limits).
    If one had a perfect treemometer it would grow linearly with temperature but becuase it is still a living organism it will have an optimum. The temperature of the optimum is not known, but lets assume our perfect treemometer has a triangular pattern growth linear slope to the optimum and negative slope after the optimum.

    If the optimum is at temperatures reached in, lets say, the 1960s it will indicate temperature before this date. But above the optimum temp in the 1970s the temperature and growth are no longer proportional.

    It is a perfectly good treemometer in the 200 years from 1700s to 1960s and agrees well with measured temperatures. But in the 40 years from 1970s onwards it deviates seriously from the measured temperatures. However we know what the temperature has been for the last 300 years we therfore know where it no longer acts as a treemometer.
    It is, I think a fair assumption that it will act as a tree thermometer for all periods before 1700s providing the temperature does not exceed the temperature of optimum growth.

    Can we ignore this data which we know is wrong? As a scientist this data should be investigated and not discarded but “the public” would only be confused by its inclusion.

  57. Posted Apr 1, 2010 at 12:06 PM | Permalink

    Huge write-up in the International Der Spiegel online.

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,686697,00.html

    Enter Steve McIntyre in Part III.

    • alex verlinden
      Posted Apr 2, 2010 at 12:55 PM | Permalink

      pgosselin …

      thanks for that link …

      Der Spiegel has more readers than the House of Commons report …

      therefore: more important !
      :-)

  58. MattN
    Posted Apr 1, 2010 at 12:50 PM | Permalink

    This whole thing is discouraging. I know I’m preaching to the choir, but the practice of ignoring perfectly valid data that you don’t like and replacing it with data you do like is unbelievably disturbing from a scientists perspective. How many of us would be fired, immediately, if we did a similar thing?

    What is even more discouraging is this type of behavior is not only accepted, but encouraged and rewarded.

    How did science get to this point? How did we let that happen?

    • Jan Perlwitz
      Posted Apr 1, 2010 at 6:18 PM | Permalink

      “This whole thing is discouraging. I know I’m preaching to the choir, but the practice of ignoring perfectly valid data that you don’t like and replacing it with data you do like is unbelievably disturbing from a scientists perspective.”

      Can’t you even agree among the members of the choir to which you are preaching whether these tree ring data are a valid proxy for the temperature? Or are the accusations just totally arbitrary, no matter what, even if they contradict each other, as long as one can make them stick?

      • Dave Dardinger
        Posted Apr 1, 2010 at 6:33 PM | Permalink

        Re: Jan Perlwitz (Apr 1 18:18),

        How about trying an active listening experiment. Try writing exactly what you think we’re saying that is wrong. I’ve read several messages by you here and they all seem to be along the line that you see no problem with a proxy being a valid proxy for temperature up to a certain point and then becoming an invalid proxy which it’s correct to stop using the data from.

        If that’s a wrong interpretation of what you’re saying then trying stating it more clearly. If it is what you’re saying, then any number of people here will be more than happy to try explaining to you why you’re wrong.

        • Jan Perlwitz
          Posted Apr 1, 2010 at 7:45 PM | Permalink

          It is not relevant what I think about the validity of using the tree ring data as proxy. What Mann, Jones etc. think about it is relevant in the context of your accusations against them. They have published their arguments in their papers, why they think they can use the data for past centuries, but not after the 1960’s. You obviously aren’t convinced by their arguments, if you have read their papers. And you don’t have to be. Just declaring to not being convinced is not sufficient to refute those arguments, though. They could be refuted only by disproving them scientifically.

          So my problem with you is: Because you think the data aren’t a valid proxy for past centuries either, you assume Mann, Jones, etc. must think the same about it, but that they use them anyway despite this. You project your own view about the validity of the data onto them. From this you conclude they wanted to “hide” something “inconvenient” that shows “the truth”. You base your accusations on this logically fallacious reasoning. From their point of you they only hid something misleading about the fact, though.

          As for my specific reply to the comment by MattN. Didn’t you notice that his accusation totally contradicts the point of view according to which these tree ring data weren’t a valid proxy for the temperature at all, no matter what time period?

          Steve: I try to avoid projecting my own views on others and to interpret their actions and writings in their own terms. In the case of the trick, the Climategate letters provide context – see
          http://climateaudit.org/2009/12/10/ipcc-and-the-trick/ for example.

        • ianl8888
          Posted Apr 1, 2010 at 8:29 PM | Permalink

          @Jan Perlwitz

          Again, you’ve evaded the issue

          “you assume Mann, Jones, etc. must think the same about it, but that they use them anyway despite this … ”

          Both Briffa and Jones are unconvinced that the tree ring data are good proxies for past temperature regimes. Do read the CRU emails and the transcript of the UK Parliamentary Inquiry

          There is an exchange of emails in the CRU dump wherein Briffa declares his doubts and Mann quite aggressively takes him to task for it

          There is an absolute plethora of peer-reviewed papers detailing the “decline” and the lack of understanding as to the reasons for it.

          SMc in this forum has detailed the many reasons for regarding tree ring data as unreliable interpreters of past temperature regimes. Doubtless you will reply that such “blogging” is not peer-reviewed, but the weakness of that is exposed in the Briffa emails and Jones’ recent UK Parliamentary responses

          Why did Jones refer to this as “hiding the decline”? Just answer the question without straw men or specious circularity, please

          And please don’t make the mistake of imagining I am trying to convince you – I’m not

        • bobdenton
          Posted Apr 1, 2010 at 9:38 PM | Permalink

          You may find it helpful to read CRU’s submission to Muir. This doesn’t cover what Mann thinks, but it does cover what the staff at CRU think.

          They think that the decline invalidates the proxy record only if it cannot be explained. They cannot explain it, but they believe the decline will be removed if a statistical algorithm can be produced which changes the down tick into an up tick.They believe that with sufficient funding and manpower this can be done. At present 2 graduate students have been tasked to produce this dendrological viagra and they submit that the contested papers should be conditionally admitted to the corpus of climate science in anticipation of their success.

          This is unconventional science, but it’s climate science.

        • Dave Dardinger
          Posted Apr 1, 2010 at 11:05 PM | Permalink

          Re: Jan Perlwitz (Apr 1 19:45),

          What Mann, Jones etc. think about it is relevant in the context of your accusations against them.

          When Mann or Jones come here to discuss the subject, then what they think is relevant. But you’re the one here and therefore I need to limit my remarks to what they wrote or what you think.

          They could be refuted only by disproving them scientifically.

          And I can only do that if you present something that they said which can be examined here. I have to admit I don’t remember if I’ve read their papers or not. I’ve certainly read a lot of papers, and I know there have been discussions of what they said here, but in any case, you need to present a specific claim from a paper or papers which would allow us to engage in reasoned debate. BTW, I did do a quick Google search for you and so know you do or did work for GISS, so I’m sure it’s easier for you to access papers and produce specific pieces of papers for discussion.

          So my problem with you is: Because you think the data aren’t a valid proxy for past centuries either….

          Oh come on! I said no such thing and don’t think it either. The problem is that those who try fitting proxies to temperature do so by searching for proxies where there is a high correlation between the proxy values and the instrumental temperatures. When this high correlation is limited to only part of the overlap period, then the statistical validity of the correlation is reduced or eliminated and the entire reason for suspecting that past proxy values correspond to past temperatures are eliminated. Yes, if there’s a declared and tested reason for suspecting the more recent values not to validate the proxy-temperature then fine. So far you haven’t presented it, which should simply be a matter of your copying the requisite statements in the papers in question.

      • Posted Apr 1, 2010 at 9:11 PM | Permalink

        I think you have a reading comprehension problem. The tree-ring data is valid. It is what it is. What doesn’t appear to be valid is using it as a temperature proxy. Such a thing does not invalidate the raw data, nor the collection thereof, just its misuse.

    • nono
      Posted Apr 2, 2010 at 11:43 AM | Permalink

      Already wrote it below but I think it is relevent to this particular discussion:

      Let me summarize the problem:
      1) Before 1950, tree ring data are inter-consistent (they all show the same trend), and they are in agreement with measured temperatures between 1880-1950
      2) After 1950, tree ring data are not inter-consistent (they do not show the same trend), and a fortiori, they are not in agreement with measured temperatures.

      Optimistic conclusion: let us trust tree ring data if (and only if) they are inter-consistent

      Pessimistic conclusion: let us throw away all tree ring data

      Scientific approach: let us verify whether reconstructions are robust, i.e. if they give similar result WITH OR WITHOUT tree ring data (after all, there are many other proxies, not affected by this divergence problem).
      Well ok, they are robust.
      Case closed.

  59. mikef2
    Posted Apr 1, 2010 at 5:32 PM | Permalink

    Steve – you are right, its bilge, but they had to say what they said to save face. And its through gritted teeth. Do not despair.
    Everyone with half a brain understands that the dendro proxy is now rendered useless as a method of hindcasting temperature, which basically means Manns hockey stick is bust, no matter how much he protests.
    Personally I think most MPs do not belelieve in AGW, but see it as a useful tool in the toolbox to tax without making cuts too close to home. Its far easier to raise extra taxes than cut the jobs in your own department!!
    The MWP and LIA are pretty much re-instated, and it does not take a Vulcan to then realise that the present temperature is not, as some would have liked us to believe, unprecedented.
    So now the arguement moves on…the debate now is one of trends, are we trending up from the cooler period due to natural or manmade warming and can we quantify it. We have to accept we have been at these temps before (because of the broken hockey stick = MWP & LIA)so the question now is not ‘oh my god we are all going to die’ to a more nuanced ‘we have been here before/is it a problem/is it going to get worse/what part of it is down to us’
    So Steve – you and the guys deserve a pat on the back, you may not be acknowledged for it by the powers that be, but everyone knows the score.
    Scientists who have not hung their hats and careers on AGW will slowly back away, and the Lindzen type view will prevail…might take a few years but its happening (you can see this in Judith Currys spin).
    The nouveau riche will start to realise that they are being thought of as rather silly for believing in AGW and thats when the crunch will come (semi bright people hate to think they are dumb, and are jumping ship to the “well I always knew it was a scam” position at thier dinner parties.
    Political types will follow the votes eventually…

  60. PhilJourdan
    Posted Apr 1, 2010 at 7:42 PM | Permalink

    There seems to be some difference on whether this is a white wash or not. Apparently one of 4 seemed to think that there was some fire with all the smoke, but the majority went along with exhoneration.

    I can understand them saying that Phil Jones is an honest guy who just got confused, but most of the report seems to be crafted out of a fairy tale. I do not expect much to come of any of the investigations based on the results of the first 2 (PSU and this one).

    Only Gaia will show them to be fools, but she works at her own pace, not man’s.

  61. Another Layman Lurker
    Posted Apr 2, 2010 at 4:04 AM | Permalink

    Again Steve’s moderate posting on such a disappointing outcome is remarkable.

    On reading Steve’s ‘bilge’ comment I visualised him wrapped in a sousaphone as it were and blowing a huge raspberry!

  62. Dr. Ross Taylor
    Posted Apr 2, 2010 at 10:50 AM | Permalink

    No need to be discouraged by the bilge, Steve. For anyone with any integrity and understanding of the issues “the trick” was clearly a deception. Of course, for those who do not share this idea of integrity “the trick” is merely a cool thing to do to advance the presentation of your convictions- who cares if people are mislead. As I have said before, this is not science as I understand it (or wish it).

    I am quite happy having thought about and investigated this issue thoroughly to rely on my own judgment- I don’t need MP’s with little knowledge of the subject to either confirm or refute my opinion, and neither do you.

    However, as Hamlet said “Let be”.
    And as someone else said- the fat lady isn’t singing yet ;)

  63. Theo Goodwin
    Posted Apr 2, 2010 at 11:18 AM | Permalink

    Your analysis of “hide the decline” is right on the money. Lawson’s testimony shows astounding ignorance of the issue that he addresses. So, the Parliamentary committee adds to the obfuscation. How sad.

  64. nono
    Posted Apr 2, 2010 at 11:35 AM | Permalink

    Let me summarize the problem:
    1) Before 1950, tree ring data are inter-consistent (they all show the same trend), and they are in agreement with measured temperatures between 1880-1950
    2) After 1950, tree ring data are not inter-consistent (they do not show the same trend), and a fortiori, they are not in agreement with measured temperatures.

    Optimistic conclusion: let us trust tree ring data if (and only if) they are inter-consistent

    Pessimistic conclusion: let us throw away all tree ring data

    Scientific approach: let us verify whether reconstructions are robust, i.e. if they give similar result WITH OR WITHOUT tree ring data (after all, there are any other proxies, not affected by this divergence problem).
    Well ok, they are robust.
    Case closed.

    steve: if the “proxies” were consistent, that would be one thing. The trouble is that the “proxies” are inconsistent – a point that Ross and I made in our PNAS comment on Mann et al 2008 and I’ve made elsewhere on many occasions.

    • nono
      Posted Apr 2, 2010 at 11:36 AM | Permalink

      many, not any

    • Posted Apr 2, 2010 at 12:05 PM | Permalink

      nono,

      I have two concepts for you to examine: 1. Confounding factor(s), and 2. Spurious correlation.

  65. Posted Apr 2, 2010 at 4:17 PM | Permalink

    Not a nice Easter present for Steve. It is beyond me why people cannot see what he is on about. The proxy temperature record demonstrably underestimates recent temperatures (the ‘decline’). Therefore, it may underestimate past temperatures – including any MWP. That problem would undermine the conclusion that the recent 20th century warming was unprecedented in the last millennium, and that this was proof of strong AGW. The Climategate emails show the usual suspects trying to forestall this objection by methods that can most politely be called advocacy science.

  66. ian robinson
    Posted Apr 3, 2010 at 12:39 PM | Permalink

    This is all very interesting but what has it to do with global warming Global warming is dependent on observations made by scientists in the field not by statisticions and mathematicians. The glaciers are melting faster than ever.There is more open ice in the polar regions than has ever been recorded. Hundreds of plants and animals are showing patterns of migration towards the polar regions which are consitent with global warming. Permafrost is melting in Canada, Russia and Sweden.How else can this be explained than by global warming. 160 years ago it was discovered that carbon dioxide promoted warming when a laboratory simulated atmosphere was exposed to sunlight . why should it be otherwise in real atmosphere when the CO2 content is increased by 25% ?.
    Robbie

    • gimply
      Posted Apr 3, 2010 at 1:06 PM | Permalink

      Ian Robinson:
      Ah, but said warming is NOT unprecedented (despite attempts to manipulate data to hide the decline and the MWP), and the predictive “models” don’t do so in any manner without some very non-scientific tinkering. Warming – maybe. My fault – probably not. I suggest some diligent reading,especially in the context of the climategate emails. This blog is a good place to start.

      • Posted Apr 4, 2010 at 12:07 AM | Permalink

        Warming – maybe. My fault – probably not.

        I would add, warming=bad, definitely not.

    • Manfred
      Posted Apr 3, 2010 at 5:03 PM | Permalink

      another starting point

  67. xyzlatin
    Posted Apr 3, 2010 at 8:18 PM | Permalink

    The big picture is that the win to the skeptics and taxpayers occurred when the politicians realised that they needed to have an enquiry to whitewash climate science. This gave legitimacy to all skeptical thought and was a tacit admission that the science was not settled.
    This would never have occurred prior to the release of the emails and the harry_read_me file.
    The result is not as important as the process of examination.
    Mr Jones reputation has been destroyed along with the CRU. The Met office acknowledges this with its “review” of its temperature records. A popular spoof parody song poking fun of Mr Mann has been seen by millions of people.
    The money is drying up as smart investors pull out of the carbon market.
    Are the politicians still going to try to push this large tyre bladder along? Yes. But there is a slow leak of public opinion which is going to eventually deflate it.
    I salute Mr McIntyre and others who have tenaciously held their ground in disputing the science.
    As more and more people hear about this farce, laughter and ridicule will destroy the AGW movement.

    • Posted Apr 4, 2010 at 12:05 AM | Permalink

      Steve hasn’t really disputed the science. He’s stated as much. He is wrongly called a “denier”. He has simply shown that not all the ducks are in a row, and that some of them aren’t even ducks.

  68. Norbert
    Posted Apr 4, 2010 at 5:41 AM | Permalink

    After a long time, I just stopped by to see how things here have developed. You may remember that I argued here that the graph’s purpose was to show temperature with the best respective data available for each period, and not a critical examination of tree proxies, and that this is an acceptable form of presentation. I find this view more or less confirmed by what I read now about the findings of the committee.

    I remember that at that time, it was argued that this was unprofessional to the point that some said they would get fired if they did something similar. I’m not surprised that you uphold your accusations in spite of the committee, but I think the findings of such an official investigation confirm my impression that the “trick” was defensible, and that it is not obviously unprofessional in any scandalous way, to put it cautiously.

  69. R.S.Brown
    Posted Apr 7, 2010 at 2:09 AM | Permalink

    On 31 March 2010, BBC environmental commentator Richard Black posted a contrite piece
    discussing the published British Parlimentary Report:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/03/the_first_of_the_numerous.html

    As of 6 April 2010, more than 300 reader comments have been posted in response.

    A few of the readers/responders view the report as a vindication of the “science” as it
    has been practiced at CRU/Met Office. The remainder… well, not so much.

29 Trackbacks

  1. […] Tricking the Committee […]

  2. By TraVotez on Mar 31, 2010 at 7:53 AM

    […] (83)  Engañar a la comisión […]

  3. […] CRU Cleared of Wrong doing? Not so fast… […]

  4. […] The stupidity of bureaucrats recorded in the annals of history […]

  5. […] Update: Climate Audit’s Steve McIntyre says the report didn’t adequately consider the evidence of deception. […]

  6. By Climategate, what is going on? - EcoWho on Mar 31, 2010 at 5:22 PM

    […] Tricking the Committee how the parliamentary committee was mislead in the use of the word 'trick'.Is CO2 the cause – presentations by Prof Bob Carter Well worth watching, covers the whole area. […]

  7. By Top Posts — WordPress.com on Mar 31, 2010 at 7:35 PM

    […] Tricking the Committee In my submission to the Parliamentary Committee, I observed that the “trick” wasn’t […] […]

  8. […] by the UK parliament. In fact, it has got to be the strongest worded post I’ve seen from CA. Take a look here. The post is titled “Tricking the Committee”  but of course we all know that nobody was […]

  9. […] […]

  10. […] de tranen in je ogen bij zoveel vergoelijking. McIntyre, doorgaans toch heel keurig, heeft ook moeite om zich in te houden. McIntyre stuurde van tevoren een document op, maar de issues die hij aankaartte werden totaal […]

  11. […] at Climateaudit, the mighty Steve McIntyre is furious. Among those he holds responsible is Nigel Lawson, for having given away territory he certainly had […]

  12. By BlackListed News | The Ruthless Truth blog on Apr 1, 2010 at 4:56 PM

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  13. By Traduire RSS on Apr 2, 2010 at 1:48 AM

    […] (142)  Incitant le comité […]

  14. By The Climate of Science | Jay Currie on Apr 2, 2010 at 3:19 AM

    […] It is considerably more penetrating than the British Parliament’s hasty whitewash which Steve McIntyre dissects here. April 2nd, 2010 | Tags: "Global Warming", Steve McIntyre | Category: "Global Warming" | Leave a […]

  15. […] his blog, Climate Audit, McIntyre rebuts the Parliamentary Committee’s conclusion, […]

  16. […] his blog, Climate Audit, McIntyre rebuts the Parliamentary Committee’s conclusion, […]

  17. […] In addition, McIntyre wrote the following in March of 2010 in another post at Climate Audit: Once again, the fact that the decline is discussed in a Nature paper does not justify the deletion of the inconvenient data in the IPCC spaghetti graph [of temperature proxies, including tree rings] in order to provide the false rhetorical consistency that IPCC was seeking. (source) […]

  18. […] to focus on the first post as it has been extensively critiqued elsewhere, instead focusing on a related post where McIntyre made a number of claims that are not supported by the published […]

  19. […] a March 31 CA commentary on the report of the Commons Science and Technology Committee, I provided the above quote from the […]

  20. […] second such allegation arose from comments in a CA post on the Commons Select Committeee here. Towards the end of the post, I was commenting on the following finding (para 66) of the Commons […]

  21. By Arthur Smith’s Trick « Climate Audit on Jun 23, 2010 at 12:17 PM

    […] bother to link to the ClimateAudit discussion, but, from the context, it appears to me my same-day commentary of March 31, 2010 on the Parliamentary Committee […]

  22. […] pour cacher le déclin. Voici une retranscription de la question/réponse, trouvée sur le site de Steve McIntyre (celui qui aurait dû être […]

  23. […] his blog, Climate Audit, McIntyre […]

  24. […] his blog, Climate Audit, McIntyre […]

  25. […] his blog, Climate Audit, McIntyre […]

  26. […] dass diese Erklärung ungenügend ist und vorne wie hinten nicht passt. Auf seinem Blog „Climate Audit“ widerlegt McIntyre die Schlussfolgerung des parlamentarischen Ausschusses und merkt […]

  27. […] In addition, McIntyre wrote the following in March of 2010 in another post at Climate Audit: Once again, the fact that the decline is discussed in a Nature paper does not justify the deletion of the inconvenient data in the IPCC spaghetti graph [of temperature proxies, including tree rings] in order to provide the false rhetorical consistency that IPCC was seeking. (source) […]

  28. […] to focus on the first post as it has been extensively critiqued elsewhere, instead focusing on a related post where McIntyre made a number of claims that are not supported by the published […]

  29. […] seinem Blog „Climate Audit“ widerlegt McIntyre die Schlussfolgerung des parlamentarischen Komitees und merkt […]

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