Judy Curry on Hide the Decline

Huge comment traffic at Judy Curry’s discussion of Hide the Decline here and here


  1. Posted Feb 23, 2011 at 4:36 PM | Permalink

    Yes, the Climategate dam is breaking.

    Thanks, Steve, for all that you have done to get us to this point.

  2. jim w
    Posted Feb 23, 2011 at 4:49 PM | Permalink

    I too would like to thank Steve (and his small band of early collaborators) for putting in such an extended effort and sticking to their guns for so many years. Without that unrelenting effort, the sound basis for considered scepticism it provided, and the rallying point that Climate Audit provided (even for generally non-contributory lurkers such as myself), it seems unlikely that we would have arrived at this moment, which certainly has the feel of an El Alamein or Midway about it.

  3. Tregonsee
    Posted Feb 23, 2011 at 5:14 PM | Permalink

    It sometimes take a while for people to realize that a very popular idea with great emotional support has in fact been discredited. People clung to N-Rays for some time after Wood demolished the research. Even today, despite the Bellesiles scandal being exposed, the book “Arming American” is still sometimes quoted as a source by those for whom gun control is an issue of passion.

  4. Posted Feb 23, 2011 at 5:43 PM | Permalink

    One has to respect Gavin’s ability to hold the party line, despite the withering punishment, and entirely inclement facts.

    I hope a few more scientists like Judith will venture to suggest that plotting A and then B on one curve, and pretending you are just plotting A is simply dishonest.

    • Gerald Browning
      Posted Feb 24, 2011 at 8:54 PM | Permalink

      Don’t forget that Judith Curry was one of the “scientists” claiming a connection between increased hurricane activity and
      global warming with less than adequate data (see discussions on this blog).


  5. bernie
    Posted Feb 23, 2011 at 5:58 PM | Permalink

    Judy’s initial statement is well worth reading since it is an unequivocal criticism of not only creation of a misleading graph but the inappropriate efforts to defend the behavior by other climate scientists. The thousand comments add little to what is not already known and unsderstood by CA regulars. What is surprising is Gavin’s weak effort to somehow counter Judy’s condemnation and the painfully lame efforts to dismiss the significance of the HS, diminish Judy’s status as a scientist or excuse the original bad behavior on the part of Mann, Jones et al.

  6. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Feb 23, 2011 at 6:01 PM | Permalink

    Gavin Schmidt in a reply at Judy Curry’s blog notes that the Cat45 % of hurricanes paper which Curry coauthored was cutoff at 1970.

    He has a point, but certainly not in defense of “hide the decline”. Schmidt’s response is every bit in the vain of doing tricks. I’ll listen to what Schmidt and friends have to say, but I will be very wary of “tricks”.

    • Ryan Maue
      Posted Feb 23, 2011 at 6:54 PM | Permalink

      Bogus argument by Gavin. Back in 2005, it was conventional wisdom that “satellite era” tropical cyclone best track data was clearly best after 1970. Prior to that, all basins have significantly higher uncertainty in terms of intensity of TCs. Now, in 2011, it is probably appropriate to use 1980 as the cut-off, to ensure maximum satellite era coverage and comparisons can be made to polar orbiters more readily.

      You can argue with the conclusions of Webster 05, but in retrospect, they were pretty tame. The authors didn’t per se blame global warming and actually highlighted a lot of the uncertainties. That paper clearly needs to be updated, but it has stood the test of time okay.

      • Faustino
        Posted Feb 24, 2011 at 2:39 AM | Permalink

        Gavin was suggesting that Judith had a 1970 cut-off because earlier data did not support her story, and that this could be regarded as a “trick” to hide inconvenient data. Of course, her paper was based entirely on satellite data which is available only from 1970. Judith pointed out that this was something which Gavin, with his NASA background, surely knew. Pathetic.

        • glacierman
          Posted Feb 24, 2011 at 9:45 AM | Permalink

          Yea, and no one spliced another data set onto the satellite record that showed something that fit the desired narrative, so his analogy is also pathetic.

      • Kenneth Fritsch
        Posted Feb 24, 2011 at 9:14 AM | Permalink

        My point, not Schmidt’s, would be that you do not have to come forward very many years from the 70s to see that the Cat45% trend becomes insigificant. I would continue to criticize some of the tropical storm papers for not noting the cyclical nature in the data and the dangers of going from a valley to peak in the cycles or just as bad, peak to a valley. That warning is/was needed regardless of the good rationale (quality of data usually)the authors might have had for their starting dates.

        Interesting that the cat45% issue was in Schmidt’s mind to snatch when he thought he needed it.

        Just to be clear, while I have had and have disagreements with Judith Curry, I’d go to war with her. She does not sit in a bunker with a team throwing out comments.

        • Gerald Browning
          Posted Feb 25, 2011 at 12:27 AM | Permalink

          Judith Curry is not the angel you portray. I posted the following comment on her blog.


          I am not a fan of Gavin, but the logic in your defense of your manuscript
          based on the letter of agreement between hurricane scientists (?) is flawed.
          The letter only states that living on the gulf coast is dangerous (trivial conclusion) and nothing about the accuracy of the conclusions in your manuscript.


  7. Speed
    Posted Feb 23, 2011 at 6:16 PM | Permalink

    Judith has discovered the joy of moderating popular posts.

  8. Posted Feb 23, 2011 at 6:40 PM | Permalink

    A professor of quantum physics at Oxford just said this about ‘hide the decline’


    quote: “If you’re wondering who I am, then you can find me at the Physics Department at Oxford University.”

    Jonathon James:

    “People have asked why mainstream scientists are keeping silent on these issues. As a scientist who has largely kept silent, at least in public, I have more sympathy for silence than most people here. It’s not for the obvious reason, that speaking out leads to immediate attacks, not just from Gavin and friends, but also from some of the more excitable commentators here. Far more importantly most scientists are reluctant to speak out on topics which are not their field. We tend to trust our colleagues, perhaps unreasonably so, and are also well aware that most scientific questions are considerably more complex than outsiders think, and that it is entirely possible that we have missed some subtle but critical point.

    However, “hide the decline” is an entirely different matter. This is not a complicated technical matter on which reasonable people can disagree: it is a straightforward and blatant breach of the fundamental principles of honesty and self-criticism that lie at the heart of all true science. The significance of the divergence problem is immediately obvious, and seeking to hide it is quite simply wrong. The recent public statements by supposed leaders of UK science, declaring that hiding the decline is standard scientific practice are on a par with declarations that black is white and up is down. I don’t know who they think they are speaking for, but they certainly aren’t speaking for me.

    I have watched Judy Curry with considerable interest since she first went public on her doubts about some aspects of climate science, an area where she is far more qualified than I am to have an opinion. Her latest post has clearly kicked up a remarkable furore, but she was right to make it. The decision to hide the decline, and the dogged refusal to admit that this was an error, has endangered the credibility of the whole of climate science. If the rot is not stopped then the credibility of the whole of science will eventually come into question.

    Judy’s decision to try to call a halt to this mess before it’s too late is brave and good. So please cut her some slack; she has more than enough problems to deal with at the moment.

    If you’re wondering who I am, then you can find me at the Physics Department at Oxford University.

    sounds true

    • Posted Feb 24, 2011 at 11:55 AM | Permalink

      Judith has said that Professor Jonathon James has contacted her to confirm it was him at Bishop Hill

    • bernie
      Posted Feb 24, 2011 at 11:56 AM | Permalink

      Excellent find – one that should make Oxford alums proud – of course there will always be exceptions!

    • Posted Feb 25, 2011 at 4:10 AM | Permalink

      Re: Barry Woods (Feb 23 18:40),

      The decision to hide the decline, and the dogged refusal to admit that this was an error, has endangered the credibility of the whole of climate science. If the rot is not stopped then the credibility of the whole of science will eventually come into question

      Thank you Prof James. Not to forget Pastor Martin Niemoller

      First they came for the communists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

      Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

      Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

      Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.

  9. AusieDan
    Posted Feb 23, 2011 at 8:47 PM | Permalink

    Steve – this is a momental day.
    This is the breaking of the dam.
    I have not contributed anything useful to this debate.
    But I have followed it very closely and have done my own analysis of bits and pieces of the data.

    I salute you.
    Judith Curry also deserves much praise, but it is your perserverence that is leading us all back into the light of the truth..
    Best regards AusieDAn

  10. DGH
    Posted Feb 23, 2011 at 9:46 PM | Permalink

    Huge traffic?! At 3am EST the comments were popping up faster than my browser could adjust the scroll bar. Insomniabloggitis…

    Even Pielke Jr. would find the signal of AGW from the storm related to this post.

  11. dp
    Posted Feb 23, 2011 at 10:21 PM | Permalink

    I fear for her paycheck. Hers is a very unpopular position within her realm and one that has been smoldering for years. Tossing gasoline on it in back to back threads which include the principle attack dog from the “Team” is pure gutsy. The lady has a pair. You go, girl!

  12. Ed Waage
    Posted Feb 23, 2011 at 10:32 PM | Permalink

    If there were a Steve McIntyre award for transparency in climate science, I would nominate Judy Curry as a candidate to receive such an award.

  13. Stacey
    Posted Feb 24, 2011 at 9:07 AM | Permalink

    Posted at Judith Currie’s

    The first wheel off the wagon is that of tree rings as proxies for temperature.

    The second wheel is the manipulation of the temperature record.

    The third wheel is that the climate is not following the models.

    The last remaining wheel is a belief in something which is patently absurd.

    The Cherokees are after me and I’m still rolling along.

    Ps to Our Gav. You shouldn’t get so upset considering the hatchet job Real Climate did on Freeman Dyson a giant amongst pygmies.

    (I should have added Steve McIntyre and Ross McItrick, Anthony Watts et al)

  14. Frank K.
    Posted Feb 24, 2011 at 9:18 AM | Permalink

    I posted over at WUWT that what we’re observing with Gavin’s hyper-senstive reaction to Judith Curry’s post is not unexpected behavior for him (he IS a publicity hound after all), and is likely a result of having to defend Steig and his mess, and now this unpleasant reminder of “hide the decline”.

    One wonders if he is getting any work done at all at GISS, not that it matters…

    • Mark C
      Posted Feb 24, 2011 at 11:17 AM | Permalink

      If Gavin were task-saturated with blogging, I think that would be a net benefit. Given we’re obviously going to have to pay him anyway, where might he do the least harm?

      • Eric Anderson
        Posted Feb 24, 2011 at 12:54 PM | Permalink

        I think you may be on to something here! LOL!

  15. MikeN
    Posted Feb 25, 2011 at 12:59 PM | Permalink

    I had a question about hide the decline.
    When Phil Jones says ‘to hide the decline’ what is that phrase modifying? Is it only for cutting Briffa’s chart at 1960, or for using Mike’s Nature Trick?

  16. MikeN
    Posted Feb 25, 2011 at 1:02 PM | Permalink

    Those posts make ClimateAudit threads look easy to read.

  17. Yancey Ward
    Posted Feb 25, 2011 at 3:06 PM | Permalink

    Curry’s is a brave stance.

    On the tree-ring data, I still believe something can be salvaged from such data, but this requires the science to actively study cause and effect in a contemporaneous fashion with high precision scientific measurements. This blind adherence to warmth=greater growth, etc., except when it doesn’t tell the right story, is simply indefensible.

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