In his written and oral evidence at today’s hearing before the House Science Committee, Kerry Emanuel made untrue statements about deletion of data to hide the decline. From Emanuel’s written evidence (oral was similar):
Consider as an example the issues surrounding the email messages stolen from some climate scientists. I know something about this as I served on a panel appointed by the Royal Society of Great Britain, under the direction of Lord Oxburgh, to investigate allegations of scientific misconduct by the scientists working at the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia. Neither we nor several other investigative panels found any evidence of misconduct. To be sure, we confirmed what was by then well known, that a handful of scientists had exercised poor judgment in constructing a figure for a non peer-reviewed publication. Rather than omitting the entire record of a particularly dubious tree-ring-based proxy, the authors of the figure only omitted that part of it that was provably false. If this was a conspiracy to deceive, though, it was exceedingly poorly conceived as anyone with the slightest interest in the subject could (and did) immediately find the whole proxy record in the peer-reviewed literature.
The true scandal here is the enormously successful attempt to elevate this single lapse of judgment on the part of a small number of scientists into a sweeping condemnation of a whole scholarly endeavor
The proxy in question is, of course, the Briffa reconstruction. Emanuel says that the authors “only” deleted the part of the reconstruction that was “provably false”, with the problem limited to a “non peer-reviewed publication”.
The Briffa network was developed from 387 sites anticipated to be temperature proxies because of their latitude or altitude. Emanuel has no basis for describing the Briffa network as “a particularly dubious tree-ring-based proxy”. It is an important large population and there is no evidence that the measurements were taken inaccurately. The NAS panel in 2006 did say that strip bark proxies should be “avoided” in temperature reconstructions. If Emanuel were seriously concerned about the use of “particularly dubious” tree-ring proxies, shouldn’t these be the ones that he should be worried about?
Emanuel’s evidence to the House Committee that the deletion of the decline was limited to a “non peer reviewed article” was also untrue. I presume that he is referring here to Phil Jones “combo trick” in the WMO 1999 report. As CA readers know, Keith’s Science Trick – the omission of part of the data – was systemic in the peer reviewed literature after 1999. Examples include the spaghetti graphs in Briffa and Osborn (Science 1999), Jones et al (Rev Geophys 1999), Briffa et al (JGR 2001) Plate 3, Jones et al 2001 Plate 2A, Briffa et al 2004 Figure 8, Hegerl et al Figure 5b. (CRU conceded most of this in their March 1, 2010 submission to Muir Russell, see page 38). Plus of course the spaghetti graphs in IPCC TAR and IPCC AR4.
Emanuel says that hide-the-decline was a “single lapse of judgement”. More disinformation on his part. The decision to “omit” part of the record was made over and over. It began in 1999, but continued unabated through IPCC AR4.
Worse, the practice was directly challenged by an AR4 reviewer (me). I requested IPCC to show the decline and explain it as best they could. I said that the deletion of the decline in TAR was misleading and asked that they not do so anymore. Briffa refused, merely saying that it would be “inappropriate” to show the decline. This was not a “single lapse of judgement”. It was something that’s gone on for over a decade.
Emanuel says that the “true scandal” is the elevation of hide-the-decline into a “sweeping condemnation of a whole scholarly endeavour”.
In my opinion, Emanuel and other senior members of the climate community bear much of the responsibility for the escalation of the incident beyond the borders of East Anglia and Penn State. If Emanuel and others wanted to stop criticism and suspicion, they should have carried out their inquiries in a systematic way, as inquiries are carried out in other fields.
The Oxburgh inquiry, of which he was a member, should have had written terms of reference, should have interviewed critics as well as CRU, should have had (at least) transcripts of the interviews – among other things.
The Oxburgh “report” was an insult to the public. Emanuel shares the blame for that.
That Emanuel, a member of one of the inquiries, should be unaware that hide-the-decline occurred in peer reviewed literature and IPCC merely proves, if anyone were in doubt, that the inquiries were cavalier and negligent rather than thorough and diligent.