Fred Singer on the BEST project

Note: I spent the day with the BEST team yesterday at Lawrence Livermore Berkeley Laboratories and I’ll have a report on it soon, but here in the meantime is what Fred Singer has to say about it, via Climate Realists. – Anthony

By Dr. Fred Singer

The e-mails leaked from the University of East Anglia in November 2009 produced what is popularly called “Climategate.” They exposed the thoroughly unethical behavior of a group of climate scientists, mainly in the UK and US, involved in producing the global surface temperature record used and relied on by governments.

Not only did these climate scientists hide their raw data and their methodology of selection and adjustment of temperature data, but they fought hard against all attempts by independent outside scientists to replicate their results. They also undermined the peer-review system and tried to make it impossible for skeptical scientists to publish their work in scientific journals. There is voluminous evidence in the e-mails to this effect. In the process, they damaged not only the science enterprise — full publication of data and methods, replication of results, open debate, etc — but they also undermined the public credibility of all scientists.

However, the most serious revelation from the e-mails is that they tried to “hide the decline” in temperatures, using various “tricks” in order to keep alive a myth of rising temperatures in support of the dogma of anthropogenic global warming. There have now been a number of investigations of the activities of this group, mainly in the UK. These have all turned out to be complete whitewashes, aimed to exonerate the scientists involved. None of these investigations has even attempted to learn how and in what way the data might have been manipulated.

Much of this is described in the “Hockey Stick Illusion: Climategate and the corruption of science” by A. W. Montford. Meteorologist Joseph D’Aleo and others have made a commendable effort to show how data might have been altered. But an independent effort to reconstruct the global temperature results of the past century really demands a dedicated project with proper resources.

The Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) Project aims to do what needs to be done: That is, to develop an independent analysis of the data from land stations, which would include many more stations than had been considered by the Global Historic Climatology Network. The Project is in the hands of a group of recognized scientists, who are not at all “climate skeptics” — which should enhance their credibility. The Project is mainly directed by physicists, chaired by Professor Richard Muller (UC Berkeley), with a steering group that includes Professor Judith Curry (Georgia Tech) and Arthur Rosenfeld (UC Santa Barbara and Georgia Tech).

I applaud and support what is being done by the Project — a very difficult but important undertaking. I personally have little faith in the quality of the surface data, having been exposed to the revealing work by Anthony Watts and others. However, I have an open mind on the issue and look forward to seeing the results of the Project in their forthcoming publications.

As far as I know, no government or industry funds are involved — at least at this stage. According to the Project’s website www.berkeleyearth.org, support comes mostly from a group of charitable foundations.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Atmospheric physicist S. Fred Singer is Professor Emeritus of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia and former director of the US weather satellite service. He is a Senior Fellow of the Independent Institute and the Heartland Institute. He is the author or co-author of Unstoppable Global Warming [2007], Nature not Human Activity Rules the Climate [2008], and Climate Change Reconsidered [2009].

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205 thoughts on “Fred Singer on the BEST project

  1. This is absolutely what must be done immediately in climate science if it is to regain any credibility whatsoever. However, I do wish that a larger body of scientists, including sceptics, had been involved in setting out the details. The project should not be limited to land surface measurements and, most important of all, the project should introduce entirely new systems of measurement based on the best technologies but especially to include continuous recording through fail-safe computer networks. This project is worthy of serious funding.

  2. “However, the most serious revelation from the e-mails is that they tried to “hide the decline” in temperatures, using various “tricks” in order to keep alive a myth of rising temperatures in support of the dogma of anthropogenic global warming.”

    I’m pretty sure that anyone even remotely familiar with the climategate emails, even people who think everyone involved should be stuffed into a cannon and fired into the sun, knows this claim is simply not correct.

  3. What worries me about this project is that it’s being done at UC Berkeley. That town is practically Moscow west.

    I hope this project finds out and reports on how the temp adjustments are done and what the warming trend has been using strictly unadjusted rural data.

  4. Until they properly address the actual required method for averaging temperatures, I hold little hope this will produce anything worthwhile. By giving them credence now, we will ultimately be forced to accept their version which is likely to be as broken as other versions.

    Mark

  5. sharper00 says:
    February 19, 2011 at 12:00 pm (Edit)
    “However, the most serious revelation from the e-mails is that they tried to “hide the decline” in temperatures, using various “tricks” in order to keep alive a myth of rising temperatures in support of the dogma of anthropogenic global warming.”

    I’m pretty sure that anyone even remotely familiar with the climategate emails, even people who think everyone involved should be stuffed into a cannon and fired into the sun, knows this claim is simply not correct.

    So you think Mann’s treemometer proxy reconstruction was more flawed than the surface data presumably?

  6. I’m still concerned by the primary support of the Project by the Novim Group.

    Again, from their website (www.novim.org), the Novim Overview pdf:

    Introduction
    Coordinated global action is needed to address major interrelated issues such as climate change, renewable energy, and fresh water.
    While the intellectual resources and the will to generate and implement action plans exist, most efforts have been impeded by political conflict, slow bureaucratic processes, media inaccuracies and a lack of effective public education on complex scientific issues.

    Further reading of their website shows that they seem to be in support of the AGW by CO2 concept.

    Can we get a truly unbiased view of the temps from such an overtly pro-”Climate Change by CO2″ organization?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

  7. Mod -

    Perhaps I wasn’t clear. My bad.

    The embedded link in this paragraph at the end of the OP: “As far as I know, no government or industry funds are involved — at least at this stage. According to the Project’s website http://www.berkeleyearth.org, support comes mostly from a group of charitable foundations.”

    is for a WUWT link that is a “dead end”.

    The text “www.berkeleyearth.org” is OK, just not the embedded link.

    John

  8. I am encouraged to see that private investors will be having a major part in this process. Science, art, and charity are all persuits for free individuals.

    I personally would not donate to this venture; I am not interested in transforming local temperature measurements into a global climate record and basing policy on it. I am interested in the earth’s weather systems and a space age understanding of what powers the weather events I experience every day. We do know that other planets experience extreme electrical storms, planetwide dust storms, twisters the size of Mt Everest, enormous auroras and windspeeds, and that electrical currents ripple our own magnetosphere, discharge through our upper and lower atmospheres to the ground, and flow through the earth’s crust. Electricity always moves in a circuit.

    There are wonderful opportunities to support scientific research all around us. Anthony Watts’ work is one.

  9. [snip - Mr. Adler when you go and visit, ask questions, examining data and methods, getting facts firsthand, then you can have an informed opinion about it. As it stands, I'm growing tired of your constant thread bombing on every topic here, many of which you know nothing about, but you simply parrot. Your trolling is getting tiresome. Take a 48 hour timeout. - Anthony]

  10. sharper00 says:
    February 19, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    Much as I hate to admit it. I agree. The trick was to hide the decline in the proxy data, not the adjusted LIG thermometer record.
    Wouldn’t it be interesting if the proxies were right & the adjustments made to thermometers were wrong?

    I’m not going to argue temps though as whatever they do, it’s irrelevant. Temps ain’t energy, end of argument.

    DaveE.

  11. Sharper00, evidently you and a few others are the only ones who believe the teams explanation for “hide the decline” and “nature trick”, the rest of the thinking world know it is bulls%$t. My hope is whoever funds them does just that, fund them and have no say in what they do and how they go about it. I know it will take a while to do and i look forward to thier progress reports and final paper>

  12. “However, the most serious revelation from the e-mails is that they tried to “hide the decline” in temperatures, using various “tricks” in order to keep alive a myth of rising temperatures in support of the dogma of anthropogenic global warming. ”

    Yikes!!! that is just so wrong!!!!!!!

    The decline was in tree temperature data. This followed thermometer readings until the 60s then started falling. There are papers written by UEA that query why this happened.

    The thermometer temperature has been rising since the late 60s. the tree data is therefore in error. after this time.

    The HIDE part refers to a leaflet written by the WMO where a graph was provided that appended the valid thermometer readings to the possibly valid tree readings calculated berfore the 60s. The decline in tree temperatures were therefore hidden.

    Dr. Fred Singer should be ashamed of his distortion of reality

  13. As has been pointed out above, “Hide the Decline” relates to the proxies, and does not refer to temperature only if you believe that proxies don’t refer to temperature.

  14. Tallbloke:

    You know perfectly well that the “hide the decline” scandal was to hide the lack of agreement since 1960 between the proxies and the instrumental temperature record, calling into question the use of these proxies to depict the temperatures before the instrumental era. Much as I hate to, I agree with sharper00 on this point: Dr. Singer, at best, misspoke. Whether the instrumental record is in fact reliable is still another question. My own semi-educated guess is that it is not, but the evidence is still not in. It would be really ironic if the treemometers really were accurate proxies for temperature…

  15. The good thing about Dr Singer’s pieces is that the sheer shrillness of the tone should immediately tick off thinking readers that something is afoot (special marks for the “myth of rising temperatures” bit).

    More seriously: I can’t find any Arthur Rosenfeld at UCSB or GATech. Presumably this is not Arthur H. Rosenfeld from the California Energy Commission /UC Berkeley?

  16. Having spent some time on Novim’s website , I agree with John Who – they look a little suspicious . BTW , I had problems with the link in the article as well . It works in the same article at American Thinker – I would provide a link , but my links to AT haven’t been working recently .

  17. “tallbloke says: February 19, 2011 at 12:44 pm
    I think Fred does know exactly what the Team mean, but likes to court controversy by saying something ambiguous.”

    That has to be a quote of the week

    Keep on defending, It gives me a laugh!

  18. walt man says:
    February 19, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    “However, the most serious revelation from the e-mails is that they tried to “hide the decline” in temperatures, using various “tricks” in order to keep alive a myth of rising temperatures in support of the dogma of anthropogenic global warming. ”

    Yikes!!! that is just so wrong!!!!!!!

    The decline was in tree temperature data. This followed thermometer readings until the 60s then started falling. There are papers written by UEA that query why this happened.

    The thermometer temperature has been rising since the late 60s. the tree data is therefore in error. after this time.

    Dear walt man:

    I am curious why the trees are reporting lower temperatures, than the thermometers since the 1960s – this seems to be an anomaly that needs more research. Simply stating that well, the trees are wrong now, does little to inspire the assumption that the trees were right before. Or are the tree rings simply coincidental in their relationship to (pre)historical temperature data and people are reluctant to explore this? This coincidental relationship error seems to be widespread in the data vs proxies in other areas too, leading one to suspect that the proxies are not so viable as a source for prehistorical data interpretation when they fail historical validation at random points as the tree rings do.
    Carbon 14 dating had this problem (dates failing to match), I do not think it has been resolved to the satisfaction of researchers either…
    This may fit in with the budding general chaos theory of the universe. Science is fun!

  19. @tallbloke

    “I think Fred does know exactly what the Team mean, but likes to court controversy by saying something ambiguous.”

    There’s nothing ambiguous here, the statement is completely wrong and strongly suggests Fred Singer either can’t get basic facts right or doesn’t let basic facts get in the way of his argument.

    Unless everyone wants to argue that temperatures have actually declined since 1960 and tree proxies are the only reliable measurement of this then scientists did not ” keep alive a myth of rising temperatures in support of the dogma of anthropogenic global warming.” as alleged.

  20. walt man says:
    “Dr. Fred Singer should be ashamed of his distortion of reality”

    Why? Anyone paying attention knows “hide the decline” refers to the proxy curve hidden beneath the instrument curve from the same timeframe on the same graphic.
    The perpetrators of the “hockey stick” should be the ones who are ashamed. Since the proxy temp study diverges substantially from the instrument record, it renders the pre-instrument portion unusable and the whole graphic is questionable at best.

    Why do they keep using it?
    If the current bit of warming is nothing unusual in this interglacial, then increasing atmospheric CO2 is a non-issue.
    That’s why.

  21. I hope more funding is forthcoming – maybe shut down the half dozen redundant government weather/climate watchers and fund an independent group. This is because more than just working out what the temps have been, there should be more thermometers out there in places where there are few.

    And Sharperoo – you are revealing that you bought into the rationalizations after the fact and the ugly whitewashes. Re the “decline” shown in the tree rings. You are probably an intelligent fellow – how can we put any confidence in the millennial record these rings show if they aren’t relevant to climate since the 1960s because they diverge in the opposite direction to the thermometric record of the last 40+years. Do you accept that in the past millennium, that this most incovenient period to diverge in was the only one in history. To a scientist, this recent divergence destroys the value of these tree rings to tell us what the Middle Warming Period was like, or the Little Ice Age. Especially since we learned from horticulturists after all this that the variations in nutrients and water availability can give the same results in terms of ring thicknesses. Re the whitewashes, an intelligent person doesn’t have to be a scientist to see that these were egregious, non independent, self-serving exercises. As the AGW theory falls into tatters be sure to get out before the unethical proponents have left and remade themselves. Hey, I was prepared to believe until I saw what sordid lengths the players were prepared to go to in the service of this theory.

  22. sharperoo is correct..

    the ‘hide the decline’ refers of course to proxies for temperature showing a deline, when actually thermomters show rising temperatures..

    As these proxies for temperature are used to produce temperature reconstruction for up to a 1000 years or so.. the hockey sticks graph… and supposed evidence of ‘unprecedented man made global warming, it must be us…

    The fact that they are reliable when you have thermometers around, shows them to be very suspect at recording temperature….

    don’t trust me?, how about a scientist in the field
    Bishophill wrote about it as well.

    http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2011/1/29/paul-dennis-on-the-trick.html

    Paul Dennis’ thoughts.
    (Head of Geo-Isotope – UEA – yes same university as Phil Jones, CRU, UEA)

    http://slsingh.posterous.com/41313406

    Before I add anything further to the debate I should say that I’m an Isotope Geochemist and Head of the Stable Isotope and Noble Gas Laboratories in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia.

    I’ve also contributed to and published a large number of peer reviewed scientific papers in the general field of palaoclimate studies. I don’t say this because I think my views should carry any more weight. They shouldn’t. But they show there is a range and diversity of opinion amongst professionals working in this area.

    What concerns me about the hide the decline debate is that the divergence between tree ring width and temperature in the latter half of the 20th century points to possibly both a strong non-linear response and threshold type behaviour. There is nothing particularly different about conditions in the latter half of the 20th century and earlier periods.

    The temperatures, certainly in the 1960′s, are similar, nutrient inputs may have changed a little and water stress may have been different in some regions but not of a level that has not ben recorded in the past. Given this and the observed divergence one can’t have any confidence that such a response has not occurred in the past and before the modern instrumental record starting in about 1880.”

    Paul Dennis

    “How can you be so certain that the tree ring data tracks temperature outside of the calibration period, say before 1880? As you have pointed out we have no explanation for the modern divergence. Thus we have no certainty that such divergence would
    not occur in the past. I’ve no doubt the biophysical response of trees to environmental factors is complex and almost certainly is non-linear with respect to temperature.

    I reiterate my point of view that the divergence is highly significant and given it’s occurrence it seriously limits our ability to use tree rings as a proxy for temperature. Moreover, hiding the divergence also hides the evidence that tree rings might not be such faithful recorders of temperature.

    There is a widespread global temperature data base, contra your assertion that ‘early weather experiments’ (I assume you mean records) were scattershot. Why not use the instrumental temperature record from 1880 instead of 1960?
    ————-

    Maybe I should write a book.

  23. “However, the most serious revelation from the e-mails is that they tried to “hide the decline” in temperatures, using various “tricks” in order to keep alive a myth of rising temperatures in support of the dogma of anthropogenic global warming. ”

    Fred singer. Try to be more careful explaining the mails you probably never read.
    Your statement is wrong. Those of us who dedicated months to investigating the mails, years to investigating tree rings and temperatures deserve better. At this stage you should know better.

    Please.

  24. walt man says: February 19, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    Some stuff about the output of the UEA modeling code, some stuff about the retro-cast explanation and white-wash in general.

    Walt, you might want to look at the infection in the code that caused the graph to rise.

    http://www.thespoof.com/news/spoof.cfm?headline=s5i64103

    The code (FOI2009/FOIA/documents/harris-tree/briffa_sep98_e.pro) did Exactly what the author intended. It drove the MWP down and the industrial era up.
    The computer code is a complete context, unlike the emails, it requres No interpertation of the intent, the meaning or the purpose; it is a complete description of the intent of the author.

    The hockey stick was the objective, the code was the means, the data was irrelevent.

    You could have fed the program noise and you would have got the same result. Actually given the error bars in the data, it likely could be considered tat the input was in fact just noise.

  25. Fred Singer could have better said: “they tried to “hide the decline” in temperature [proxies], using various “tricks” in order to keep alive a myth of rising temperatures”
    There, fixed, but we all knew what he meant. You never hear the Warmists emphasize the word ‘proxies’ when referring to the Hockey stick, except when defending the ‘hide’.

  26. Other than showing how crappy the current adjusted temperature datasets and records are I’m not sure what BEST hopes to accomplish. Is there a prayer that anything useful and or correct can come out of the raw data as it was collected. Speaking of raw data, where are they getting it?

  27. John Robertson says:

    “The thermometer temperature has been rising since the late 60s. the tree data is therefore in error. after this time. ”

    Lol. Brilliant deduction, sir! How, pray tell, did the trees learn to lie ?

    Imo, the mistake the Team made was to get their trees from the wilds: if they’d
    got them from urban sites, they might’ve shown the same warming that urban
    thermometers do.

  28. steven mosher says:
    February 19, 2011 at 1:30 pm
    Fred singer. Try to be more careful explaining the mails you probably never read.
    Your statement is wrong. Those of us who dedicated months to investigating the mails, years to investigating tree rings and temperatures deserve better. At this stage you should know better.
    ========================================
    Mosh, can you add a short note showing where Fred was wrong?

  29. Anthony Says: I spent the day with the BEST team yesterday at Lawrence Livermore Berkeley Laboratories

    Stomping around on Ben Santer’s own turf. He didn’t try to lure you into a dark alley, by any chance…?

  30. Andrew30 says: February 19, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    Walt, you might want to look at the infection in the code that caused the graph to rise.
    The code (FOI2009/FOIA/documents/harris-tree/briffa_sep98_e.pro) did Exactly what the author intended. It drove the MWP down and the industrial era up.

    Lets look at a bit more of that code:
    ; Apply a VERY ARTIFICAL correction for decline!!
    ;yrloc=[1400,findgen(19)*5.+1904]
    valadj=[0.,0.,0.,0.,0.,-0.1,-0.25,-0.3,0.,-0.1,0.3,0.8,1.2,1.7,2.5,2.6,2.6,$
    2.6,2.6,2.6]*0.75 ; fudge factor
    if n_elements(yrloc) ne n_elements(valadj) then message,’Oooops!’
    yearlyadj=interpol(valadj,yrloc,timey)
    ;
    ;filter_cru,5.,/nan,tsin=yyy+yearlyadj,tslow=tslow
    ;oplot,timey,tslow,thick=5,color=20
    ;
    filter_cru,5.,/nan,tsin=yyy,tslow=tslow
    oplot,timey,tslow,thick=5,color=21

    yearlyadj=interpol(valadj,yrloc,timey)
    Does not this line give a yearly adjustment value interpolated from the 20 year points?

    filter_cru,5.,/nan,tsin=yyy,tslow=tslow oplot,timey,tslow,thick=5,color=21
    Does not this line plot data derived from yyy

    ;filter_cru,5.,/nan,tsin=yyy+yearlyadj,tslow=tslow
    ;oplot,timey,tslow,thick=5,color=20
    The smoking gun line!!!!
    Does not his line plot data derived from yyy+yearlyadj The FUDGED FIGURE
    BUT…………
    IT’S COMMENTED OUT!!

    This is further backed up by the end of file:
    plot,[0,1],/nodata,xstyle=4,ystyle=4
    ;legend,['Northern Hemisphere April-September instrumental temperature',$
    ; 'Northern Hemisphere MXD',$
    ; 'Northern Hemisphere MXD corrected for decline'],$
    ; colors=[22,21,20],thick=[3,3,3],margin=0.6,spacing=1.5
    legend,['Northern Hemisphere April-September instrumental temperature',$
    'Northern Hemisphere MXD'],$
    colors=[22,21],thick=[3,3],margin=0.6,spacing=1.5

    To me this looks as if ‘Northern Hemisphere MXD corrected for decline’ would have been printed in colour 20 – just the same as the smoking gun line. HOWEVER you will note that this section is commented out also.

    This code was written in 1998. If it had been implemented in any document then there would have been no leaked emails about hiding the decline

    What is more – The code does not touch the medieval warm period
    Also worth a look (hidden????)

    http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/research/

    about 13th project

  31. . . support comes mostly from a group of charitable foundations.

    Hopefully nothing connected to the Sierra Club, Greenpeace or the WWF. Of course most foundations tend to lean left, some heavily. In a truely impartial situation the people carrying out the measurements should not know who is funding it.

  32. I wonder if the objective of BEST is still to try to produce a meaningless number – an AVERAGE global temperature change from data that has such a wide spread annual and decadal swing as to be utterly meaningless.
    I wonder how BEST is going to deal with UHI, poor siting, “drift siting” (from rural to urban) and airport bias that may or may not have completely different causality to rural global average temperature change? Further, I wonder how BEST will deal with the lack of uniform siting of the historical record, the lack of sites at the temp extremes, the lack of sites in difficult locations, (mountain slopes, glaciers, deserts, jungles) record discontinuities, and the lack of adequate auditing to verify verity?
    Finally, based on the graphic video shown here on a previous post of modeled global CO2 changes over time that was more modeling-to-fill-in-the-blank guesstimate than actual data, based on fewer actual data points – it seems to me that ALL of the data that are being used – historical temp, “adjusted” current land and sea temp, CO2 and especially proxys – trying to find truth in any of it is a sisyphean waste of time and money. And since it is so very easy and tempting to introduce your personal bias, your group’s genera political bias, or your funding source’s bias, it will be impossible to conduct the blinded or double blinded analyses necessary to prove correctness and draw meaningful conclusions.
    Before the work even starts, I am skeptical of the results, and bemoan the waste of good money chasing after bad . . .

  33. JohnWho says:
    February 19, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    Maybe someone on the unsceptical side has realised that continually spinning will not in the long run persuade people, so they have decided that a few incontrovertible facts might do it. In that case, bring it on, we could do with more facts and less opinion.

  34. Using a new magnifying glass to refigure Earth’s global temperature from a sad assortment of surface-based measurements made during the past 150 years or so is another exercise in futility. It would seem equally rewarding to inspect the old products of buggy-whip makers and their peddlers to see if there was something wrong with the materials or the sales methods they used.

    Global temperature measurements made by satellites for the past 30 years or so cover almost the entire globe including the oceans, are not affected by poor siting conditions and rapidly growing urban heat islands. Just junk the hopelessly polluted surface data and look at what the satellites are reporting — lots of noise in the data, but no signal to validate the IPCC’s AGW buggy-whip.

  35. steven mosher says:
    February 19, 2011 at 1:30 pm
    “Fred singer. Try to be more careful explaining the mails you probably never read.
    Your statement is wrong. Those of us who dedicated months to investigating the mails, years to investigating tree rings and temperatures deserve better. At this stage you should know better.

    Please.”

    ————————————-
    Do you really believe that Fred Singer never read those e-mails?
    A lot of people spent months etc. etc.
    They didn’t all arrive at the same conclusion.
    A lot of people have spent (or “dedicated” if you want it to sound grander) a lot of years studying things, including astrology.
    Credentials get you an audience, they don’t prove your case.
    You should know that by now.

  36. Fred Singer: “…support comes mostly from a group of charitable foundations.”

    The Berkeley project, in as far as it generates an ‘open source’ Temp database and involves the likes of Judith Curry is excellent. Charitable foundation funding however is no comfort, in case anyone should infer this from Dr Singer’s neutral statement.

    Further to JohnWho above, the fourth listed donor:
    Fund for Innovative Climate and Energy Research (created by Bill Gates).

    Bill Gates’ TED Speech 2010: “To cut CO2 emissions to zero and stop climate change — a problem that he said is bigger than creating new vaccines — Gates urged researchers to find clean sources of energy. CNN reports: Gates said the deadline for the world to cut all of its carbon emissions is 2050.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/02/12/bill-gates-ted-speech-201_n_461034.html

  37. I’ve read most of the comments and haven’t seen the point made that I recall reading several months ago. The tree ring data are specifically selected to produce the flat temperatures during the MWP and the rising temperatures during the 20th century.
    Rather than rely upon failing memories, let’s look at the arguments from the time.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/10/02/ross-mckitrick-sums-up-the-yamal-tree-ring-affair-in-the-financial-post/

    http://www.nationalpost.com/news/Trouble+over+tree+rings/2365992/story.html

    From the National Post:
    [I]n an important concluding remark, Mr. Mann tells Mr. Briffa to “correct” his definitions regarding “global temperature and non-temperature proxies.” Mr. Mann prefers using the words “global climate proxies,” thus giving the impression that proxies from tree rings and other sources and actual temperatures are one and the same for IPCC purposes. What Mr. Mann appears to be talking about here is the use of what CRU head Phil Jones would later call Mr. Mann’s “trick” and how he was able to “hide the decline” in 20th century temperatures seen in Mr. Briffa’s tree-ring research.

    A little further down….

    The emails take another turn against the IPCC scientists after Mr. McIntyre got his hands on some of the tree-ring data collected by Russian scientists in Yamal in Siberia. It appeared to Mr. McIntyre that Mr. Briffa, in producing another hockey-stick like result in 2007, cherry-picked tree rings. Mr. Briffa, once at war with Mr. Mann over climate records, now found himself aligned with Mr. Mann in defending the hockey stick. After Mr. McIntyre revealed his Yamal tree ring findings on his ClimateAudit blog, and Ross McKitrick wrote of the Briffa Yamal tree-ring issue in the Financial Post this past October, the emails again lit up with fresh rounds of defensive fire.

    Here is probably what was the Financial Post piece. See:

    http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2009/10/01/ross-mckitrick-defects-in-key-climate-data-are-uncovered.aspx

    And here is part of the discovery:

    It turns out that many of the samples were taken from dead (partially fossilized) trees and they have no particular trend. The sharp uptrend in the late 20th century came from cores of 10 living trees alive as of 1990, and five living trees alive as of 1995. Based on scientific standards, this is too small a sample on which to produce a publication-grade proxy composite. The 18th and 19th century portion of the sample, for instance, contains at least 30 trees per year. But that portion doesn’t show a warming spike. The only segment that does is the late 20th century, where the sample size collapses. Once again a dramatic hockey stick shape turns out to depend on the least reliable portion of a dataset.

    But an even more disquieting discovery soon came to light. Steve searched a paleoclimate data archive to see if there were other tree ring cores from at or near the Yamal site that could have been used to increase the sample size. He quickly found a large set of 34 up-to-date core samples, taken from living trees in Yamal by none other than Schweingruber himself! Had these been added to Briffa’s small group the 20th century would simply be flat. It would appear completely unexceptional compared to the rest of the millennium.

    Now please continue the debate.

  38. One of the lead scientists is Robert Rohdes, now Phd physics, but use to run Global Warming Art through Wikipedia.

    For many of us, Global Warming Art was our first exposure to objective data that covered a wide range of topics. I know I replicated many of the charts that needed alot of processing and I always concluded Robert did it right in the end. So, I’m okay with the group as long as they show all the raw data as well as the processed data.

  39. As the US senate have now voted not to fund the IPCC any more this would be an ideal opportunity for them to fund some real research instead with a fraction of the funds
    previously thrown at the IPCC.

  40. I spent the day with the BEST team yesterday at Lawrence Livermore Berkeley Laboratories

    So you were in that cold rain down here. It smelled so clean though.

  41. There is nothing wrong with Fred Singer’s statement ‘they tried to “hide the decline” in temperatures, using various “tricks” in order to keep alive a myth of rising temperatures’.
    What is being missed in comments criticizing Fred’s statement is that there are two different temperature ‘declines’ that are impacted by the proxy data, and the commenters are only considering the first:

    1) A decline in the post 1960 proxy temperatures.
    2) A decline in overall temperatures since the MWP.

    If you leave all the proxy data in the graph, then you get a temperature decline after 1960. As the instrument record shows, that post 1960 decline does not reflect actual temperatures. The correct response should have been to withdraw all the proxy data as unreliable. However, if all the proxy data were to be withdrawn, then it would show a longer term overall decline in temperature since the MWP – thus destroying the hockey-stick shape.

    So the ‘trick’ is to leave in the proxy data up to the 1960s so that it lowers the MWP temperatures (thus hiding the overall decline), but remove the post 1960′s proxy data so that it doesn’t invalidate the entire graph.

    A scientific ‘trick’ is usually acceptable if it either has no material impact on the correctness of the results, or if it is clearly shown as part of the results. What makes the hockey-stick ‘trick’ utterly unscientific is that it had a significant impact on the temperature declines and there was no clear indication that this data manipulation had been performed.

  42. Theo Godwin.

    I don’t think I want “climate science” to regain credibility. We are in no position to consider planetary atmospheres’ behaviors and climatic developments until we have a few thousand years of direct measurements of many different planetary atmospheres.

    Then, we may be in a position to make some scientific deductions; until then … just measure and shut up.

  43. Michael Cejnar says:
    February 19, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    Fred Singer could have better said: “they tried to “hide the decline” in temperature [proxies], using various “tricks” in order to keep alive a myth of rising temperatures”
    There, fixed, but we all knew what he meant. You never hear the Warmists emphasize the word ‘proxies’ when referring to the Hockey stick, except when defending the ‘hide’.

    #####
    still WRONG. it was NOT to keep a “myth” of rising temperatures alive. It was to “hide” the problem of divergence which raises doubt about the viability of certain trees as proxies and raises doubts about the CI of reconstructions.

    please, be better than the scientists you are criticizing. In this case thats a low hurdle

  44. sharparoo: “There’s nothing ambiguous here, the statement is completely wrong and strongly suggests Fred Singer either can’t get basic facts right or doesn’t let basic facts get in the way of his argument.

    Unless everyone wants to argue that temperatures have actually declined since 1960 and tree proxies are the only reliable measurement of this then scientists did not ” keep alive a myth of rising temperatures in support of the dogma of anthropogenic global warming.” as alleged.”

    I too think Fred Singer has this wrong. While it is certainly true that the Team tried to “hide the decline” in the temperature signal from their proxies, the real issue is the value of the proxies. What sort of scientists find that the data they’ve been using for a 1500 year reconstruction has, for no reason they can explain, diverged from measurable temperature records, then proceed to truncate the records, or in Jones’ case add the temperature records to the end of the period, without asking themselves whether these proxies can be trusted. If we have a divergence in the late 20th century that cannot be explained how on earth is it possible to trust these proxies to give us accurate temperature measurements for the previous 1400 years. That’s the scandal in “hide the decline”, continuing to use the proxies when there was an unexplained divergence in the 20th century.

  45. sharper00 says:
    February 19, 2011 at 1:07 pm
    Unless everyone wants to argue that temperatures have actually declined since 1960 and tree proxies are the only reliable measurement of this then scientists did not ” keep alive a myth of rising temperatures in support of the dogma of anthropogenic global warming.” as alleged.

    The point is that the decline in tree ring proxy temperature was hidden by overlaying a thick red instrumental temperature curve. One one graph Jones made he even failed to differentiate the proxy from the instrumental properly. The obvious implication is that the proxy is not reliable if the instumental is (at least more reliable). So if the proxy is crap, it tells us nothing about temperature hundreds of years ago, and Mann’s flattening of the MWP to make modern temperature ‘unprecedented’ is falsified.

    Singer knows all this, but when being quoted by the media, he knows he isn’t going to get the chance to explain all that and have it quoted in full.

    I think he does it to annoy.

    Seems to work too.

  46. A word or two on Singer saying “using various “tricks” in order to keep alive a myth of rising temperatures in support of the dogma of anthropogenic global warming”.

    Before the emails came to light, Steve Mac had raised issues with the truncation of a series of labelled “Briffa” in two IPCC reports. This falls within the scope of Singer’s choice of words.

    walt man says: “The HIDE part refers to a leaflet written by the WMO where a graph was provided that appended the valid thermometer readings to the possibly valid tree readings calculated berfore the 60s. The decline in tree temperatures were therefore hidden.”

    OK – that’s another example.

    If there were any attempts to manipulate peer review with regard to relevant analysis, these could also fall within the scope of Singer’s choice of words.

    walt man needs to do more work to support his assertion that Singer has distorted reality.

  47. Yes, yes, yes, the decline that Jones and Mann were hiding was for treemometers, but that is only half of the trick. The other half is adding thermometer graph to the treemometer graph is the first place.

    Are their scales equivalent? Are their errors equivalent? Absolutely not! Those of us who have practiced real science know that Mann’s trick is very wrong. If I put such a graph in one of my reports or papers, I would trashed by my colleagues – and rightly so!

    The whole concept of Mann’s trick was to make modern warming “look” unprecedented. The trick was apparently quite successful too. So successful, that people not trained in the sciences still argue about whether and how it was done.

  48. It’s simple, really.

    Convince people that their human activities are ruining the planet, and you can then tax, regulate, and guilt-trip them into doing anything you like.

    And if that fails, you can shoot them as enemies of Gaia.

  49. Dr. Singer said: “However, the most serious revelation from the e-mails is that they tried to “hide the decline” in temperatures, using various “tricks” in order to keep alive a myth of rising temperatures in support of the dogma of anthropogenic global warming. ”

    Taken in the context of what was happening at the time, his statement is a close approximation of the truth. Here’s why:

    I used to believe in AWG. One day a guest blogger on boingboing posted a clearly reasoned, cogent argument that the hockey stick was flawed because it erased the medieval warm period. That got my attention. I had studied the European settlement of Greenland (as a hobby). The historical evidence indicated that the settlement of Greenland ended when the climate got too cold to support farming.

    The editors at boingboing posted a counter article in which they pointed to a link and said something like: “See there, the hockey stick does too exist.” Neither the article nor the link it pointed to passed the smell test. Some time later, both articles disappeared. The result was that I now became interested in AGW and started paying some serious attention to it.

    I have spent a large part of my career in both scientific and engineering environments and am acutely aware of the difference. The job of scientists is to speculate. Engineers, on the other hand, require something like certainty. The basic legal requirement for Engineering is that people can bet their lives on your work. If scientists had to work to that standard, they would never discover anything. My initial ‘smell test’ reaction was much better stated by Burt Rutan: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/01/03/aviation-pioneer-and-master-engineer-burt-rutan-on-global-warming/

    Dr. Singer states the truth. ‘The Team’ bent over backward to attempt to erase the Medieval Warm Period. Splicing thermometer readings to the proxy readings to ‘hide the decline’ was far from the only trick they tried. IMHO, Singer may be too polite to ‘The Team’. If they were engineers, not scientists, they would lose their licenses.

  50. How about “. The Project is in the hands of a group of recognized scientists, who are not at all “climate skeptics” — which should enhance their credibility. ”

    When interpretation of temp records was in the hands of a group containing no skeptics at all, was that be more credible?

  51. As so many have stated above “if tree rings were not accurate proxies after 1960 why should we believe they were accurate before 1960″? It defies logic that when tested against thermometers they failed but were still considered reliable as proxies. How can anyone claiming to be a scientist be so deceived?

    I am but a simple farmer yet I know that growing any crop requires a multitude of inputs all of which are necessary in the correct amounts at the correct time to ensure successful production. It takes just one input to be sub-optimum to cause production loss or in some cases complete failure. The most obvious is a lack of water at critical times. Trees are just another crop and react in much the same way as corn or lucerne.

  52. In my opinion it is worse if Fred Singer knowingly attempted to falsify the record on “hide the decline” than if he didn’t know he was making a mistake. Just because he may say lots of things you (and I) agree with, it does not mean we should excuse other things he says that are wrong. The statement is not correct and he should be notified and asked to correct it.

  53. @tallbloke

    “The point is that the decline in tree ring proxy temperature was hidden by overlaying a thick red instrumental temperature curve. “

    That isn’t Singer’s point.

    This post is about instrumental records and Fred Singer used the “Hide the decline” line to suggest that the other instrumental records were hiding a real decline in temperatures which this new one will presumably correct.

    “Singer knows all this”

    Does he?

    http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=6640

    The UEA e-mails tell us of attempts to “hide the decline” (of temperature) using “Mike [Mann]‘s Nature trick.” It is important now to discover the truth, either from e-mail evidence or by direct testimony. Unfortunately, none of the investigations so far have delved into this matter, but instead have produced what amounts to a series of whitewashes. “

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/07/10/fred-singer-on-the-muir-russel-report/

    It is ironic then that the real post-1980 global temperatures may be closer to the proxy record than to the thermometer record. We will find out when we learn what data Michael Mann discarded.”

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/02/the_end_of_the_ipcc.html

    We learn from the e-mails that the ClimateGate gang was able to “hide the decline” [of global temperature] by applying what they termed as “tricks,” and that they intimidated editors and forced out those judged to be “uncooperative.” No doubt, thorough investigations, now in progress or planned, will disclose the full range of their nefarious activities. “

    It’s clear that Singer believes “hide the decline” refers to a real decline in temperatures which have been covered up, not the ad-hoc explanation you just invented about not having the space to be vaguely accurate.

    “Seems to work too.”

    Apparently it only works on people who care about accuracy. Others seem to be more skilled at reversing the clear meaning of others to make it whatever they need it to be.

  54. I would like to see a metrological analysis of the methods of temperature measurements. This is to detemine the precision to which this such measurements are valid. I suspect that global warming is a “rounding error”.

  55. bob paglee says

    Global temperature measurements made by satellites for the past 30 years or so cover almost the entire globe including the oceans, are not affected by poor siting conditions and rapidly growing urban heat islands. Just junk the hopelessly polluted surface data and look at what the satellites are reporting — lots of noise in the data, but no signal to validate the IPCC’s AGW buggy-whip.

    I totally agree. Why on earth try to make a new record of a very dubious record. The satellite record is the best so far so why not stick with it? Rehashing the land temp record is no different to going back to ships taking temps from buckets and ignoring ARGO. Wasted effort. Just make sure the IPCC can’t adjust the satellite and ARGO data.

  56. What is particularly striking about the `decline’ in the tree ring proxy temp is that we had every reason to expect to see the exact opposite.

    Higher CO_2 levels should have resulted in more vigorous tree growth making the tree ring proxy temp appear to accellerate ahead of the measured temperatures. The world as a whole has become SIGNIFICANTLY greener over the last two decades most likely due to the CO_2 fertilisation effect.

    But that didn’t happen. The alpine tree or trees being used to construct the proxy instead grew more slowly. The reasons for this still havn’t been explained to my satisfaction. However whatever other factors caused this (Sunlight hours? Wind strength? Snow depth? Moisture? Disease? Insects?) were sufficiently powerful to outweigh not only a measured increase in temperature but also the fertilisation effect of CO_2.

    I guess what I’m saying here is that not only are tree rings a lousy proxy for temperature, they are even worse than we thought!

  57. K says:
    February 19, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    I propose that WWF, Greenpeace, The Sierra Club, Al Gore, and the like be deemed part of a group called the World Temperature Federation. Think about it (but not too long).
    8^D

  58. sharper00 says:
    February 19, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    Sharper: Which do you think is more egregious, the Team’s hiding of the decline, or Singer’s characterisation of it?

  59. walt man says: February 19, 2011 at 2:02 pm
    Wrote a poorly constructed explanation of a completly different program.
    I don’t expect that Walt was the author of the response.

    briffa_sep98_e.pro
    Line 4:

    ; Reads Harry’s regional timeseries and outputs the 1600-1992 portion
    — Poor Harry, we know about his story..

    Line 10:

    valadj=[0.,0.,0.,0.,0.,-0.1,-0.25,-0.3,0.,-0.1,0.3,0.8,1.2,1.7,2.5,2.6,2.6,$
    2.6,2.6,2.6]*0.75 ; fudge factor

    Lines 53-70

    ; APPLY ARTIFICIAL CORRECTION
    ;
    yearlyadj=interpol(valadj,yrloc,x)
    densall=densall+yearlyadj
    ;
    ; Now plot them
    ;
    filter_cru,20,tsin=densall,tslow=tslow,/nan
    cpl_barts,x,densall,title=’Age-banded MXD from all sites’,$
    xrange=[1399.5,1994.5],xtitle=’Year’,/xstyle,$
    zeroline=tslow,yrange=[-7,3]
    oplot,x,tslow,thick=3
    oplot,!x.crange,[0.,0.],linestyle=1
    ;
    endfor
    ;
    ; Restore the Hugershoff NHD1 (see Nature paper 2)
    ;

    valadj is Not Altered between lines 10 and 53.
    Line 67 is the last statement in the primary processsing for loop (endfor)

    Each series in the loop is altered using valadj via yearlyadj immediately before plotting.
    None of this is commented out.

    Perhaps you are looking at an ‘adjusted’ version of the source code.

    Try this:

    http://ukginger.net/FOI2009/FOIA/documents/harris-tree/briffa_sep98_e.pro

    PS:
    The lines from your post:
    ; ‘Northern Hemisphere MXD’,$
    ; ‘Northern Hemisphere MXD corrected for decline’],$

    Do NOT appear in the code (briffa_sep98_e.pro), in fact most of wat you posted is NOT in the code.

    The code you used was from briffa_sep98_d.pro, the Prior version the program.

    The last version know is briffa_sep98_e.pro.

    You are being deceptive or you are being decieved.
    Nice try, but you fail.

    I feel that briffa_sep98_e.pro is the encoding of a lie.

  60. Robert E. Phelan

    “You know perfectly well that the “hide the decline” scandal was to hide the lack of agreement since 1960 between the proxies and the instrumental temperature record, calling into question the use of these proxies to depict the temperatures before the instrumental era. ”

    You just stated indirectly that the hide the decline was just that to hide the declining temperatures, so the original author sung a pretty darn accurate tune just like what a very tall bloke explained about the whole sung also did.

    Or do you mean to say that you think the “team” used temperature proxies not to mean temperatures even though they used the same temperature proxies as temperatures in their computer models and conclusions and what not?

  61. @tallbloke

    “Sharper: Which do you think is more egregious, the Team’s hiding of the decline, or Singer’s characterisation of it?”

    We’re talking about what Fred Singer said on the post in which Fred Singer said it and you want to talk about “the team”. Says a lot really.

    I wonder what Singer will say if the new temperature record agrees with the existing ones and whether his comments will be better than teenage acne or worse than teenage acne. If better we can presumably give him a pass.

  62. Until they properly address the actual required method for averaging temperatures

    There is no need to average temperatures.

    If a reliable database is constructed, with no amendments, then other methods can be used.

    I would do it via an index system. Each record is “indexed” to a baseline value and only compared to itself. As records enter the system, they do so at the current overall base value. Each record is weighted somewhat, according to the area it covers, so that the US and European records don’t swamp the rest.

    That, more or less, is how stock markets are tracked. Cost of living indexes too. Items come and go from the index, at various weightings.

  63. Once again, you need to watch the pea under the thimble. Few would disagree that the earth has warmed a little in the past 150 years. So what are this fine folk gonna do, confirm it, or tell us is was worse than we thought? We are all missing the point, it is the CAUSE of the change in temperatures which is the prime consideration, and I doubt that a trace gas, about 0.039% of the earths atmosphere is the reason. We have had some serious cooling in the past three years, and I wouldn’t believe a word what any group of thermometer stats say. They are wasting their and our time trying to tell us that it is warmer/colder/the same. We need to know WHY! Watch the pea.

  64. walt man says:
    February 19, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    Andrew30 says: February 19, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    Walt, you might want to look at the infection in the code that caused the graph to rise.
    The code (FOI2009/FOIA/documents/harris-tree/briffa_sep98_e.pro) did Exactly what the author intended. It drove the MWP down and the industrial era up.

    Lets look at a bit more of that code:

    Walt – do what Andrew30 suggests – analyse briffa_sep98_e.pro – you have analysed the wrong file – you are looking at briffa_sep98_d.pro. While the fudge calculation is commented out in briffa_sep98_d.pro, it is clearly used in briffa_sep98_e.pro.

    You will readily recognise briffa_sep98_e.pro by the following clear comment at the beginning of the file:
    ;****** APPLIES A VERY ARTIFICIAL CORRECTION FOR DECLINE*********

  65. Walt;

    One more thing.
    I expect that the code that follows the

    ; Restore the Hugershoff NHD1 (see Nature paper 2)

    Comment is reproduction of ‘Mikes nature trick’, you can look at the code and if you understand it it will be clear. Here are the highlights.

    restore,filename=’../tree5/densadj_MEAN.idlsave’
    ; Extract the post 1600 part
    ..
    densadj=densadj+yearlyadj

    ; Now overplot their bidecadal components

    ; Now overplot their 50-yr components

    ; Now compute the full, high and low pass correlations between the two
    ; series
    ;
    perst=1400.
    peren=1992.

    ts1=densadj(klh)
    [Walt remember where densadj came from; yearlyadj which includes valadj (the fudge)]

    printf,1,’Age-banded vs. Hugershoff-standardised’


    That print statment does not seem to transarently explain the fudge.
    You could have put a straight line (segment) through this thing and you would have got a hockey stick out. No other outcome was possible.

  66. sharper00 says:
    February 19, 2011 at 4:04 pm
    We’re talking about what Fred Singer said on the post in which Fred Singer said it and you want to talk about “the team”. Says a lot really.

    Well duh. What Fred Singer said on the post That *you* wanted to talk about was his characterisation of the decline the Team hid.

    And the proxy is a *temperature* proxy. So the team were hiding a decline in temperature. If you say otherwise, then what the heck were the team splicing instrumental records to and why??

  67. Let’s see what Richard Muller, Chair of the New Berkley BEST team study, thinks about “hide the decline” and the “team”.
    Scan the video to 8:00 and play. At 9:55 his thoughts on the “team”.

    Wow, he won’t even read their papers anymore!
    I wonder if we’ll get back the local temperature anomaly formally known as the MWP.

  68. re. Kramer’s comment:
    “What worries me about this project is that it’s being done at UC Berkeley. That town is practically Moscow west.”

    I suggest that one views the web site of Professor Muller, a key member of the team, and physics professor. He teaches the course “Physics for Future Presidents” and has an excellent book out on the subject. His lectures are on the web for all to see. Below is his web address. I suggest we all listen/view lecture 28, especially the beginning. His beginnings are fifteen minutes of answers and comments on any questions from the class. The beginning of lecture 28 is about the “Hockey Stick,” and the time of the particular class is about one week before Copenhagen.

    I believe you will find him to be objective and truthful and not afraid to speak out.

    http://muller.lbl.gov/teaching/Physics10/PffP.html

  69. I welcome a more complete review of the temperature record. It may show that the temperatures in the 1930s were not statistically different than the temperatures now. This effort cannot be the arbiter of the CAGW meme though. I believe they will find that the earth’s surface temperature has increased about a degree but SO WHAT.

    This will tell us nothing about attribution or feedbacks, and as others have said temperature is not energy. The idea that we can pedantically discuss one metric, global temperature anomaly, that is changing in tenths of a degree every 50 years to prove or disprove CAGW is ludicrous. I just hope it doesn’t become a rallying cry for alarmists……………”See we told you, the earth is warming.” Reply: No #$%^, who cares, we already knew that!!!!!!!!

    In my view both MBH ’98 and S’09 were marketing tools, I hope this doesn’t become one also.

  70. I have heard Richard Muller interviewed many times. He has become rather well known recently for his book, “Physics for Future Presidents”. He seems to me a straight shooter, someone interested in the truth. He does not seem particulary political, is pro nuclear power and has no problem shooting down popular urban myths when they run counter to scientific fact.
    The lectures from his class “Physics for Future Presidents” (voted most popular class at Cal many times) can be found on Youtube if you want to learn more about him.
    Not everybody at Berkeley drinks the Cool-aid and I think that the findings of this group should be taken very seriously by anyone interested at getting to the bottom of this matter. And with the checks of the steering group, it sounds like they are going out of their way to give us all confidence in the veracity of the project. So I’m with Dr. Singer

  71. “Hide The Decline” is a poster phrase. It is at least possible that Fred Singer used it to neatly characterise up to SIX “tricks” the Team have done:

    (1) hiding the “temperature” decline in the post-1960 treering proxy record
    (2) hiding the decline in correspondence of treering with temperature post-1960
    (3) hiding the decline of max temperatures since MWP – the one basic reason for the creation of the Hockey Stick
    (4) hiding the decline of correspondence post-1960 between issued global temperature trends and rural temperature trends (see my article here)
    (5) hiding the decline of the last decade of temperatures
    (6) hiding the declining link with reality as suggested by multiple temperature record problems particularly associated with GISS

    Of course this is speculation, putting words in Singer’s mouth, making his statement more a “gotcha” than a scientific statement. But IMHO Hoser has it also dead right when he comments on our collective forgetting and blurring of history; sometimes a not-quite-technically-accurate statement is what one does in the attempt to state what one knows is true because one has seen the evidence and knows it was correct, but one does not have the means or energy right now to get the detail quite right. I’ve caught myself guilty of this one, and it is a big reason behind many ping-pong arguments where there is actually truth on BOTH sides.

    Note what I’ve said about the collective forgetting and blurring of history. I shall return to this issue again later. Hint: why we still need a wiki.

  72. Thanks D King

    Everyone should watch the Dr. Muller video. Watch the whole thing it’s only 11 minutes long.

  73. “The Project is in the hands of a group of recognized scientists, who are not at all “climate skeptics” — which should enhance their credibility.”

    ——–

    Why would this enhance their credibility?
    And enhance their credibility with whom? Al Gore & Co? We The People? The IPCC? The people who will provide continuing grant funding? The skeptical community?

    How do we know that any new information produced by these people will be “unadjusted” and something we can trust as accurate? How many of them have the “right stuff” to go against the alarm machine if that’s what the data shows (and I think it will.) If the data shows significant warming will they be able to do work that’s bullet-proof enough for skeptics to respect?

    It’s nice that Dr. Curry is part of this group. Maybe that means they won’t spit in the eyes of the heretics skeptics. /sarc_off

    I’m also looking forward to any results that come from this and my apologies for sounding cynical, but given this report it sounds a bit like the climategate whitewashes. It sounds good and their website says all the right things, so we’ll see.

  74. Any response from Real Climate? After all, for those that believe in the Hansen tale, the GISTemp is solid, if not solidly gold.

    If the BEST group drops with reasons stations and data, that would be a slap at many people. Be interesting.

  75. D King and will1be
    thanks for pointing towards Prof Muller of Berkeley – especially that video. Ah, he seems like Fortinbras coming in to clean up the usurpation and corruption of kingship that Hamlet exposes, and all the tragedy and dead bodies that ensued there. The real post-Copenhagen, as I seem to remember ruefully thinking about at the time.

  76. Sleepalot says:
    February 19, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    John Robertson says:

    “The thermometer temperature has been rising since the late 60s. the tree data is therefore in error. after this time. ”

    Lol. Brilliant deduction, sir! How, pray tell, did the trees learn to lie ?

    Imo, the mistake the Team made was to get their trees from the wilds: if they’d
    got them from urban sites, they might’ve shown the same warming that urban
    thermometers do.

    The problem here is I was actually quoting ‘walt man’ for the line you attributed to me. Unfortunately I had neglected to italicize the quote (my bad – I don’t know the cite attributes and must read up on them!) and that led to the confusion. I agree that the fact that the trees diverged from the temperature data in the 1960s is quite interesting and (to me at least) makes any tree ring data suspect for (pre) historical times until that discrepancy is explained by something other than ‘anomalous behaviour’ which only means ‘haven’t a clue’.

  77. Greg2213 says:
    February 19, 2011 at 5:09 pm
    “The Project is in the hands of a group of recognized scientists, who are not at all “climate skeptics” — which should enhance their credibility.”
    =========================================
    I agree Greg, this sounds like some bad dream or joke.
    I would prefer skeptical scientists, the ones that are not at all skeptical have had the first go round…………….

    So if this new project is in the hands of scientists that are not at all skeptical, it’s just the same old same old………….

    …….Hiding the problem of divergence was the “trick” used to keep the “myth” of rising temperatures alive……

    Fred’s correct………….

  78. Fred Singer and the heartland institute are 2 good reasons skeptics get called “deniers”… Skeptics should distance themselves from their nonsense to maintain any credibility…

  79. sharper00 says:
    February 19, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    I’m pretty sure that anyone even remotely familiar with the climategate emails, even people who think everyone involved should be stuffed into a cannon and fired into the sun, knows this claim is simply not correct

    = = = = = =
    Sharper00,

    Your omniscience is remarkable deficient.

    John

  80. Robb876 says:
    February 19, 2011 at 5:24 pm
    Fred Singer and the heartland institute are 2 good reasons skeptics get called “deniers”… Skeptics should distance themselves from their nonsense to maintain any credibility…
    =====================================
    Robb, would you like a list of the people the true believers should distance themselves from……..should we start at 10,000 and work our way back

  81. A lot of comments on here about the proxy vs the instrumental temperature record overlook the fact that there is legitimate and much talked about dispute of the temperature record, too.

  82. Sharper00, “Unless everyone wants to argue that temperatures have actually declined since 1960 and tree proxies are the only reliable measurement of this then scientists did not ” keep alive a myth of rising temperatures in support of the dogma of anthropogenic global warming.” as alleged.

    The decline was hidden to keep alive the myth that tree rings are an accurate representation of temperature. The decline was hidden to preserve the double myth that the Hockey Stick of MBH98/99, and allied spuriosities, represented 1ky of global average temperature. The decline was hidden to keep alive the myth that 20th century temperatures are “unprecedented” in 1000 years.

    The decline was hidden, in short, to preserve “the myth of rising temperatures in support of the dogma of anthropogenic global warming.” The context of “rising temperatures” is 1000 years, not 60 years.

    There’d be nothing at all to the AGW claim if one could only argue that temperatures have risen since 1880. No big deal, that. To make any impression at all, one must argue that recent temperatures have departed suddenly from a long-term trend. Evidence of the sudden arrival of that ole demon, LuCO2fer

    That’s the myth hide the decline was meant to preserve: the rhetorical/political/Fentonian spin-purity of the long term, 1ky, (crock of a) temperature trend. Restricting your argument to the last 60 years is a complete miscarriage of context.

    Fred Singer was dead-on right. He just wasn’t entirely explicit, contextually, thereby leaving a specious opening for diversionary dust-raisers.

  83. steven mosher says:
    February 19, 2011 at 1:30 pm
    “However, the most serious revelation from the e-mails is that they tried to “hide the decline” in temperatures, using various “tricks” in order to keep alive a myth of rising temperatures in support of the dogma of anthropogenic global warming. ”

    Fred singer. Try to be more careful explaining the mails you probably never read.
    Your statement is wrong. Those of us who dedicated months to investigating the mails, years to investigating tree rings and temperatures deserve better. At this stage you should know better.

    Please.

    Spot on, Steve. No wonder the BBC are keen to quote Fred as a “leading sceptic”.

  84. lawrie says:
    February 19, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    Why on earth try to make a new record of a very dubious record. The satellite record is the best so far so why not stick with it? Rehashing the land temp record is no different to going back to ships taking temps from buckets and ignoring ARGO. Wasted effort. Just make sure the IPCC can’t adjust the satellite and ARGO data.

    Three cheers!

  85. Anthony,

    I suggest that the BEST project processes be virtually transparent and continuously interactive with the broad blog community.

    Given your participation already in the BEST project, can you advise how I can input such recommendations to them?

    John

  86. I now have more ‘faith’ (is that the right word?) that something good may come out of this after reviewing the video of one of Richard Muller’s talks. It appears that he is at least sceptical to the correctness of the temperature record as presently compiled by the Team. If he is a key player and if he approaches this with an open mind, perhaps a more ‘accurate’ temperature record will be achieved.
    Of course, there will always be the problem with error bars, the problem that a global record is instrinsically absurd and measuring temperature is not a measurement of energy. All of these failings will mean that caution will alwasys need to be applied when considering the relevance of the temperature record.

  87. The methods used by the BEST analysis are, at present, unknown to the general public. I look forward to hearing about their methodology and seeing their results.

    Here is how I would utilize modern computers to estimate mean global temperature changes over the period 1880 to present, minimizing systematic and random error as well as biased “adjustments” by the official climate Team or others who have a political agenda in either direction:

    1) Take the available temperature record from each and every station world-wide and split it into a number of shorter series by discarding the year before and the year after any known or reasonably suspected disruption and starting a new series. Disruptions would include a) Known change in location, b) Known change in measuring equipment or shelters, c) Known change in time of observation or other protocol, d) Excessive amount of missing-day data, and, e) based on the actual data, any short-term step change over a given amount that would indicate a suspected change in local environment, such as newly laid asphalt, new air conditioning, etc.

    2) Discard any series shorter than ten years. Break up any series longer than 30 years into two or more separate series.

    3) Compute the mean of each series and determine the daily anomaly (that day’s reading minus the mean). This will minimize any systematic bias due to equipment calibration or nearby UHI, etc.

    4) Group all world wide anomaly data by date and discard the “outliers” (top and bottom 10%). Then take the mean and publish that as an estimate of the global anomaly for that date. The mean of a large number of data points will minimize random error.

    The above could be done totally automatically, with no need for human intervention and (possibly biased) adjustment. It would eliminate any need to extend temperature readings for a given grid location to nearby grid locations that lack measurement stations. Each series would be long enough (at least ten years) to capture relative changes even if that station was near a UHI and short enough (no more than 30 years) to minimize the effect of slowly changing development. By discarding data within a year of known or suspected disruptions, the effects of station relocation or nearby development would be minimized. By discarding the outliers, most unknown unusual events would be eliminated.

    The strongest advantage of the above scheme is that it is totally transparent and understandable.

    I wish the BEST team “the best”!

    Ira Glickstein

  88. JPeden says:
    February 19, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    “Just make sure the IPCC can’t adjust the satellite and ARGO data.”

    Well said.
    Beware sensor calibrations!

  89. Steven mosher is a grumpy bugger. And that’s not ad hominem because I didn’t try and disprove anything he said.
    But I do think people are being a bit nasty with Fred singer who may have left out the word proxies but we knew what he meant.
    The real issue is that tree ring proxies for past climate are probably crap.

  90. This thread is becoming decidedly surreal – as if I’d fallen into Alice’s rabbit hole and found myself looking at Real Climate (TM) through some looking glass, with Tall Bloke playing the part of Don Baccus and sharper00 coming across as Roger Tattersall. Over at Steve M’s place we have the skeptics excoriating Dr. Steig for his disengenuousness, lambasted Dr. Schneider for his scary scenarios, then over here we are defending with definitions of “is” not dissimilar actions by Dr. Singer. Whether he didn’t know, misspoke, or was being provocative, he was wrong and we are wrong to excuse it. People are not as stupid as you may think and do not need things “simplified”. Let Real Climate deal in soundbites, let us stick to the unvarnished, cumbersome facts.

    And Troll, I did not state indirectly that the hide the decline was just that to hide the declining temperatures … to the best of our knowledge, the temperatures from the Little Ice Age on have generally increased, and the correspondence between the instrumental and proxy records was close until 1960 when they began to diverge. To state anything else is just not factual and makes us look bad. I would not be really surprised to discover that the instrumental record had been adjusted and biased to show higher temperatures, but that evidence just isn’t in yet…

    and just as an aside, both the treemometers and the mechanical instruments of the industrial age are “proxies”. Don’t mistake the map for the territory.

  91. Yes, Dr. Singer cited the wrong email for surface temperatures. But certain emails do indicate ad hoc adjustments, massaging and finagling of surface temps (esp sea surface temps). Dr. Singer just picked the wrong example.

  92. Correction Note:

    Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory is spread mostly up the hill behind (east) of the main UC Berkeley campus while Lawrence Livermore Laboratory is in the city of Livermore about 50 miles east of Berkeley and, as I understand, is the stamping ground of Ben Santer.

    Professor is a Senior Faculty Scientist at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory.

  93. D. King says:
    February 19, 2011 at 6:19 pm
    JPeden says:
    February 19, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    “Just make sure the IPCC can’t adjust the satellite and ARGO data.”

    Well said.

    Agreed, but lawrie was the one who said it!

  94. Minor correction to the above comment about Ben Santer’s “stamping ground.”

    As I understand it, Ben Santer’s “ground” is at Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, about 50 miles east of Berkeley in the city of Livermore.

    Professor Muller is at UC Berkeley and is also a Senior Faculty Scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley which is spread out on the hill behind the main campus.

  95. I didnt’ see a damn thing in the methodology about correcting for UHI.

    Anybody here willing to bet the results are more than 0.05C different than the hockey team’s pencil whipped result?

    I wouldn’t bet on it. This is just an attempt to lend credibility to the extant claims. The data collection methods were just never designed or intended to have the kind of accuracy needed to detect a miniscule GHG signature riding on top of far greater natural variation. It’s an exercise in polishing a turd and everybody knows you can’t polish a turd.

  96. Don V
    I’m inclined to agree with you when you list all the problems with the historic temperature record in various countries BEFORE adjustment.
    How can BEST hope to cope with these when the extent of the problem is unknown and unknowable.
    You need a certain lack of a sense of humour to be a climatologist.

  97. Robert E. Phelan says:
    February 19, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    “correspondence between the instrumental and proxy records was close until 1960 when they began to diverge”

    Sure they were. If you have enough trees to choose from it’s easy enough to find some that show what you want. Unfortunately none of those worked really well in the last several decades so they just stopped using tree rings and stitched in thermometer data instead which showed what they wanted to show.

    The bottom line remains that if the tree rings weren’t a good proxy in the last 40 years you cannot claim they were a good proxy for the 800 years preceding that. What Mann did was bogus, dishonest, and several other adjectives which propriety prevents me from writing here. Anyone who argues otherwise can apply the same adjectives to themselves.

  98. Now tree rings as an indicator of historic temperature also needs a certain lack of a sense of humour.
    Consider the problems.

    Mostly confined to the north hemisphere.
    Confined to the land not the ocean.
    Confined to a relatively few, scattered locations.
    Confined to wilderness locations.
    Uncontrolled and uncontrollabe confounding errors coming from variations in rainfall, competing species, variations in pest levels, etc etc.

  99. Redherrings abound, Cadae has nailed the context of “Hide The Decline”, Fred Singer is accurate in his description of the multiple fraud by team IPCC. The period of climate being argued has steadily shrunk since Steve McIntyre started asking questions, soon the sky is falling section will be calling todays weather unprecedented since breakfast. Sort of like the concensus has fallen from 2500 to 0052. Or is it now 18? Saying the temperature increase since 1960 is significant is a deliberate ploy. The defense of the CRU emails ,of context ,was ironic to say the least.

  100. Doug Badgero says:
    February 19, 2011 at 5:03 pm
    Thanks D King

    Everyone should watch the Dr. Muller video. Watch the whole thing it’s only 11 minutes long.

    I second that, Dr. Muller looks like someone who will follow the facts despite his beliefs.

  101. Andrew30 says: February 19, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    briffa_sep98_e.pro
    Line 4:

    ; Reads Harry’s regional timeseries and outputs the 1600-1992 portion
    Line 10:

    valadj=[0.,0.,0.,0.,0.,-0.1,-0.25,-0.3,0.,-0.1,0.3,0.8,1.2,1.7,2.5,2.6,2.6,$
    2.6,2.6,2.6]*0.75 ; fudge factor


    ========================
    Notice that phrase “fudge factor” doesn’t sound like hiding to me!
    ========================

    Lines 53-70

    ; APPLY ARTIFICIAL CORRECTION

    I feel that briffa_sep98_e.pro is the encoding of a lie.

    did you notice this:
    ;****** APPLIES A VERY ARTIFICIAL CORRECTION FOR DECLINE*********

    Hiding????

    Next file calibrate_nhrecon
    ; Specify period over which to compute the regressions (stop in 1960 to avoid
    ; the decline that affects tree-ring density records)
    next file recon_overpeck
    ; Specify period over which to compute the regressions (stop in 1940 to avoid
    ; the decline
    (I think they mean 1960 !! to agree with the code that follows)
    Next File recon_esper.pro
    recon_mann.pro
    recon2.pro
    recon_jones.pro
    recon_tornyamataim.pro

    All the same comment added in the header

    Hiding?? I do not think so

    recon_tornyamataim.pro
    Seems to be the later version of your files:
    densadj=reform(rawdat(2:3,*))
    ml=where(densadj eq -99.999,nmiss)
    densadj(ml)=!values.f_nan

    Note no yearlyadj no valadj

    So which programme was used to publish??

  102. So cutting through all the above verbage, am I correct in saying that nobody gives the treemometers any credibility in the very recent past (and that’s why Mann dovetailed data from two completely different temperature sources)?

    What gives anybody any confidence that treemometers for hundreds or thousands of years ago are any more credible?

    I’d say Mann’s move was quintessential climsci–bastardized data!

  103. Dr. Singer is being generous when he says that “[The Climategate protagonists] undermined the peer-review system.” They MANIPULATED the peer-review system so as to try to exclude opposing research and to intimidate editors who did have an inclination to publish such work. Then, having contrived this nearly impermeable wall of opposition, they and their supporters could puff themselves up as self righteous and demean any work that was not “peer reviewed.”

    The BEST project has the potential to begin to establish badly needed credibility in the field. But we have been burned before. “Trust but eerify.”

  104. Are these the same charitable foundations that, though Tides, are trying to eco-subvert the leadership race of the “right-of-centre” party in British Columbia? For background, see Vivian Krause’s investigative reports in The National Post and elsewhere.

  105. sharper00 says:
    February 19, 2011 at 12:00 pm
    “However, the most serious revelation from the e-mails is that they tried to “hide the decline” in temperatures, using various “tricks” in order to keep alive a myth of rising temperatures in support of the dogma of anthropogenic global warming.”

    “I’m pretty sure that anyone even remotely familiar with the climategate emails, even people who think everyone involved should be stuffed into a cannon and fired into the sun, knows this claim is simply not correct.”

    Jones, Mann, and others lied and presented graphs which falsely showed that tree ring data continued to show rising temperatures after 1960 when the data in fact showed a decline. Spin it how you want. They are liars.

  106. I wonder if the trees are actually correct. We know the surface station records aren’t right, and the whole network is an almighty mess. The alarmists couldn’t make the trees tell the story they wanted them to like they could with the surface stations, so they hid that inconvenient bit of info.

  107. Pretty soon the trolls are going to be so annoying that there will be no point in posting to this site. If there were some redeeming value in the trolls, I could maybe understand posting what they write, but I do not see it.

  108. I’m staying cautious on this until we see more. There are few reasons for optimism:

    - I suspect that they will likely release all the raw data, adjusted data, methods and code.
    - The involvement of physicists (or anyone from the ‘hard’ sciences) is probably a positive. Even the ones with an agenda tend to have more rigor in their work than they typical Team ‘climate scientist’.
    - The involvement of some lukewarmers.
    - Seeking input from the skeptic community.

    There are also reasons for pessimism:

    - Some of the funding appears to come from agenda-driven sources.
    - Focus on the temperature record is generally not conducive to promoting skepticism among the public. Most skeptics acknowledge that the temperature has increased since the little ice age, just not as much as the alarmists assert. The key point that remains unaddressed in this effort is “why the temperature is increasing”. Due to the last few decades of relentless propaganda, most members of the public will just assume that any increase they hear about is man-made, even if the “why” is left unaddressed. Therefore any improved data set that shows the temperature is increasing, even if less than previously thought, does little to help the skeptical viewpoint but is a PR “win” for the alarmists.
    - If you were one of the leaders behind the climate alarmist movement, now that the existing temperature records are so thoroughly suspect, it would be a logical strategic move to commission a new temperature record that would appear more legitimate. In fact, if you were clever you would probably try to include (or appear to include) some of the things in the “optimistic” list above (as long as your desired outcome could still be guaranteed). It would be particularly damaging to your opponents if you could get some leading climate skeptics to endorse the methodology before the results are released.

    Thus, even if the results are completely unbiased and accurate, it’s probably not going to be much help to the skeptics but can easily be spun to support the alarmist agenda (“see, the world actually is warming due to CO2 just not yet as fast as we thought. That means there’s still time for Cap and Trade to still save your children’s future!”)

    Certainly, a more accurate and transparent temperature record will help the fundamental science (for those that want to pursue it honestly), however even the best case outcome for skeptics is still likely to be neutral-to-slightly-negative for the political battle and near-term public opinion.

  109. Ooops! My second sentence should read “There are [a] few reasons for optimism”. That missing “a” inverts the meaning…

  110. In the beginning was the decline.
    Then there was the desire to CONCEAL (sorry, HIDE) the decline.
    Then there was the HIDING of the decline.
    Then there was the discovery of the HIDING of the decline.
    Then there was the protracted discussion about which decline was being HIDDEN.
    Okay, the HIDING wasn’t a roaring sucess, but the intent was not HIDDEN.

  111. TWE says:
    February 19, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    I wonder if the trees are actually correct. …….
    ———————————————————————————————

    I’ve been out for a bit, so I’m late. And I apologize beforehand for the demeanor that may be conveyed.

    The trees being correct? By what significance?

    “By this tree ring, I can determine, without question, within a 1/10th of a degree what the temp was 500 years ago, globally.”

    That’s horse [snip]. I know it’s horse [snip]. The people that did the studies knows its horse [snip]. Any cogent person in this universe knows this is horse [snip]. And here’s the [snip] kicker. I can prove that in today’s world, they can’t come to even one degree of accuracy, much less a 1/10th. But they can 500, 100, 1000 years ago. ………… buying that.

    People practicing in fictional history should be horse whipped.

  112. sharper00 says:
    February 19, 2011 at 12:00 pm re Climategate -
    “knows this claim is simply not correct.”

    Sharperoo, precisely in which way is the claim wrong?

    My only criticism is the inference that the “trick” and “hide the decline” were the most serious revelations. There were other serious revelations, depending on where ones interests were.

    A vexatious fool might argue for the sanitised meanings of trick and hide, but in the world of reality, we know better, don’t we.

  113. Berkeley doing the compilation?… Berkeley? Really? Ummm, I’m don’t I trust tenured scientists anymore.

  114. Dave Springer says:
    February 19, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    Dave: May I humbly suggest that you sit down and attempt to stop hyperventilating and start engaging your thinking processes. There was nothing I wrote that could be construed as defending Dr. Mann, his methods or his tactics and I resent your implication that’s what I was doing and impugning my character. Steve McIntyre has had an extensive discussion of the divergence problem, the hockey stick and the apparent cherry-picking of data from Yamal to support the hockey stick. No one who has studied the issue claims that the pre-1960 correlation of tree rings with the instrumental record was the result of cherry-picking or innovative statistics. If I understand McIntyre correctly, the correlation existed but it was accidental. Cores with rings dating after 1960 are interpreted as showing lower temperatures than those yielded by the instruments. McIntyre also argued that the cores, which by this time are thirty years old, should be updated with new cores from the same trees to see if the divergence has continued; something that Michael Mann and others have resisted. The only accurate statement you made was if the tree rings weren’t a good proxy in the last 40 years you cannot claim they were a good proxy for the 800 years preceding that which of course, is the whole point behind “hide the decline”, splicing the instrumental record on to the proxy record to avoid inconvenient questions about the reliability of the proxies.

    The whole point of my comment, Mosher’s and others is that “hide the decline” was not about a decline in temperature. All we are asking is that someone with Dr. Singer’s prominence and visibility keep the facts straight. Anything else just gives the alarmists fodder.

  115. There are several current projects examining the temperature record (at last). Some are global, some national, some land only. Some are concentrating on specific adjustments. The rationale is that a second look might not go amiss. By analogy, it is quite common in business for a budget submission to go back back for a sharper pencil repeat.

    In the specific case of land thermometer temperatures, I’m sure that several readers have formed views as to the main points needing attention in a reanalysis.

    It would be most appreciated if you would give some thought to these – especially to innovative approaches and algorithms – and send your thoughts to me either through here (OK, Anthony?) or to my email sherro1 at optusnet dot com dot au

    I’m proposing to experiment with discarding infilling of missing data by guesswork in favour of deleting missing days for all adjacent years in the surrounding decade. This, of course, depends on the missing values not being biased to a time, like summer holidays. I’m also proposing to do away with TOBS on the basis that the ups and downs will cancel on examination over long terms. Comments appreciated.

  116. The most significant aspect of the BEST project, as I see it, is their commitment to complete transparency. If they stick to that commitment, it matters not what the motives or biases of the participants are, because everyone will be able access and evaluate their data and methods with full knowledge and base their judgements of the final product on those evaluations without any need to rely on the participants claims. Certainly a superior situation to what we face at present.

  117. Robert E. Phelan says:
    February 19, 2011 at 10:45 pm
    The whole point of my comment, Mosher’s and others is that “hide the decline” was not about a decline in temperature. All we are asking is that someone with Dr. Singer’s prominence and visibility keep the facts straight. Anything else just gives the alarmists fodder.

    Who outside the Team actually knows what the Team meant by “Hide the Decline”? We have heard explanations put forward, but nothing says that the ClimateGate emails are a complete record. The Team may have invented the explanation to fit what was released, to hide the full facts of the matter.

    Clearly there was an attempt to paint a false picture of past temperatures and except for the work of a few individuals this would have gone largely undetected. Trillions of dollars would have been diverted in the name of “saving the planet” and some very well connected people would have made out like bandits.

    Even today the effort to hide the facts about past temperatures continues. The simple facts are that tree rings are not a good proxy for temperature. They are a better proxy for rainfall. The Team knows this yet they persist in their claims. This tells me they very likely have not come clean about the true meaning of “hide the decline”. Assuming that they have is likely a mistake.

  118. Both high and low temperatures can result in slender tree rings. It is not a good proxy for temperature.

    http://www.ehow.com/facts_7894222_tree-growth-rings-vs-rain.html

    Influences
    •A number of factors influence the appearance of the rings. A year with many stressors — such as extremely high heat, shorter or cooler summer or drought — will leave a slender ring. The tree put much of its efforts into surviving that year and did not grow much.
    Thick Rings
    •A thick ring indicates a good year with the proper growing conditions for the tree. Rainfall came at the proper time and amounts, the soil nutrition level was sufficient and the overall weather was acceptable.

  119. “However, the most serious revelation from the e-mails is that they tried to “hide the decline” in temperatures, using various “tricks” in order to keep alive a myth of rising temperatures in support of the dogma of anthropogenic global warming.”

    I don’t agree with that statement. That was just a symptom of a much larger problem. The real problem was the “one-party” state that had developed and the ensuing group-think. The group-think allowed them to believe it was right to “hide the decline”, it allowed them to believe it was right to prevent proper peer review (or as they saw it stop “evil” deniers getting a press), but the conditions that allowed that group-think was the development of this “one-party” state, whereby no opposition was either allowed or funded.

    And the root cause of that is the failure of the funding bodies that funding in such a way as to create this one-party state in climate “science”.

  120. To Gregg2213 and Latititude-

    The virtue of not having skeptics doing this Temp data set, the BEST team, is to gain the respect of the Team’s allies and enablers, and perhaps any Team members with scientific integrity and standards remaining.

    For the skeptic side, barriers to actual transparency – a constant source of aggravation and skullduggery – can finally be removed. With UAH and RSS, no one debates the satellite data anymore.

    This means that following the release of the BEST work will come a time of interpretation and debate and revision – ie, actual science. The kind that the Team has prevented all along. This is what McIntyre has wanted forever, and will give researchers a new and better benchmark for weighing Temp change over time, and
    get a proper handle on the much disputed degree of significance of it.

    What isn’t “win-winhere?

    FURTHERMORE, LET ME ECHO Pat Frank:

    Fred Singer was dead-on right. He just wasn’t entirely explicit, contextually, thereby leaving a specious opening for diversionary dust-raisers. Fred’s been a friend of science all along. The pejoratives, smears, and calumnies heaped upon him before our’ Johnny come lately’ time are burdens we too ought to share – and live to see through into the light of Truth. That’s what good science means.

  121. Scientists have only their credibility to support or defend them. Honesty must be expected. Tricks and hide are not words that can be allowed or accepted by science, end of story.

  122. Smokey says:
    February 19, 2011 at 6:28 pm
    John Finn,

    Let’s allow folks to make their own judgements of the infamous “hide the decline” email.

    And lest we forget the context of Climategate.

    Over 6 years ago, long before ‘climategate’, I challenged Michael Mann (on Realclimate) about the practice of ‘grafting’ the thermometer record on to proxy reconstuctions. I was well aware at the time that this disguised the failure of the proxies to simulate the temperature record. Aside from perhaps Steve McIntyre and one or two others I believe that I am better qualified than other “folks” to assess the “hide the decline” trick.

    Steven Mosher is correct about Fred Singer. Fred is either not acquainted with the facts or is choosing to misrepresent them. The BBC are targetting Fred. He is regularly being asked to appear on GW ‘investigations’. The only reason for this is that it’s easy to show that he is mistaken and/or confused. Fred needs to bow out gracefully or “folks” will start to make
    up their minds about the robustness of the sceptic argument – and it might not be in the way you hoped.

  123. FWIW, I’ve found that comparing sites NOT in the GHCN with sites that are shows one trend (often flat or cooling) for the “remote” site and another (typically warming) in the GHCN sites. I think there is an opportunity to do this kind of “A/B” compare for the present surviving GHCN sites and show how they are biased. There is an on-line site that does a nice simple job of presenting trend charts for comparision:

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2011/02/18/fun-data-temperature-site/

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2011/02/18/comparison-temperatures/

  124. Personally, I dont care if they are pro CO2/AGW, Sceptics, luke warmers or Luke Skywalker.
    If they are prepared to produce documented evidence, rationales , hypotheses and conclusions, make it all available for reproduction to all comers, what more can we ask for ?

    EO

  125. John Finn,

    It’s amusing watching how apologists for the straightforward statement “Hide the decline” try to make it mean “Let’s not hide the decline.”

    Who are you trying to fool?☺

  126. sharper00,
    As I have said before if tree rings were good prior to the decline then why were they no good after? If they were no good after the decline then why have any confidence in the results prior to the decline?

  127. Hi Lucy!

    Apropos hiding post 1960 temps: Here see how IPCC in their report shows old vs. new temperature graphs.
    For some reason they have only chosen old series that ended around 1960 at the latest… They “forgot” a row of graphs showing a decline post 1960:

    In the IPCC graphics its mostly NH temperature data based graphs they show, as do I.

    Taken from:

    http://hidethedecline.eu/pages/posts/the-perplexing-temperature-data-published-1974-84-and-recent-temperature-data-180.php

    K.R. Frank

  128. Lucy, addition:
    Some important IPCC-used Tree temperature proxies are often NH – land too, so the idea that the falling tree praphs should be faulty is perhaps not that well supported by original pre 1984 temperature data graphs.

    K.R. Frank

  129. It is irrelevant whether temperatures actually declined after 1960, unless Phil Jones was referring to such a decline with his words “Mike’s Nature trick to hide the decline.” Unless Jones was doing so, Fred Singer is wrong. I think it’s obvious that Jones was not doing so, because: the trick in question is the substitution of the instrumented record for the proxies; the decline shown by the proxies is what the trick hides; surely, Jones believes that thermometers are a more reliable indication of actual temperatures than proxies are; it doesn’t matter whether the instrumented record is wrong, because that’s not what the trick hides.

  130. Smoking Frog,

    If we could trust the instrumental temperature record, there would be no need for this project. But we can’t….

  131. Indeed, with this line:

    > they tried to “hide the decline” in temperatures

    Fred Singer basically skewers all criticism of, eg. the BBC Horizon program for attempting to address this misconception.

    You can argue that all “real skeptics” understand it was all about proxy divergence all you like – the fact is that this understanding is restricted to a niche audience, while the “temperature” misconception was published far and wide.

    Do you honestly think that the fallout from the CRU emails would have been anything like as severe had this particular untruth not been repeated ad nauseum through the popular media?

    And now we see this from Dr Singer. If one the most prominent “skeptical” experts either does not understand this trivially simple point, then clearly something is very wrong.

    By rights, Singer should be corrected with as much venom and vehemence as has been directed at those that have tried to refute this particular talking point in the past.

  132. If hiding in plain sight is hiding, well that is a good trick indeed.

    The use of thermometer data after 1960 was fully explained in the first paper that was published with it. All subsequent papers footnote the “trick” — so nothing at all was ever hidden.

    I think that Richard Muller (in the youtube video above) was quite remiss in failing to mention this.

    But let us suppose that tree-ring data is not a very good proxy for past temperatures.

    There are plenty of other paleo-temperature proxies being used that are derived from sediment cores from around the world, and they pretty much agree with the tree ring data.

    For example, there is the recent paper by Spielhagen et al., Science 28 (January 2011), “Enhanced Modern Heat Transfer to the Arctic by Warm Atlantic Water”: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/331/6016/450.short

    The whole tree-ring thing is a continual beating of a dead horse.

  133. David A. Evans says:
    February 19, 2011 at 12:34 pm
    sharper00 says:
    February 19, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    …..I’m not going to argue temps though as whatever they do, it’s irrelevant. Temps ain’t energy, end of argument.

    DaveE.

    It seems it is impossible to make people understand – after all they are Physicists . /sarc

    It is perhaps unfortunate that it was decided to have physicists run this project and not metrologists (yes people with expertise in measurement). A metrologist would have asked what was to be measured. Answer ‘energy’.
    A metrologist would then have told the physicists that measurements of atmospheric temperature are a very poor guide to atmospheric energy content.

    The metrologist would then have pointed to a site like http://www.coaps.fsu.edu/~maue/extreme/gfs/current/pwat_max_swath.png
    (which is in the reference section of WUWT) and asked the physicists if they noticed any difference in the amount of water in the atmosphere at the equator and near the poles. The metrologist could then have given the physicists a much needed lecture on enthalpy of volumes of air with varying amounts of water vapor and therefore the total unreliability of comparing air temperatures at sites near the pole with sites near the equator and the folly of averaging these values. More detailed issues like not even using averages for diurnal variables like this would probably be too complex for the physicists to follow.

    /sarc? off

    If it is the energy being retained in the Earth that is of concern then measure ocean heat content as it happens heat content and temperature are closely equivalent in water and the oceans cover 2/3 of the globe. Whereas atmospheric temperature gives almost no guide to heat content unless you know the water content of the volume of air being measured and work out its enthalpy and then convert to energy content.

    Instead we get global averages of averages of the wrong metric.

    Nevertheless, if this is exercise is going to be done using temperature at least follow an auditable Quality Management System ideally to ISO-9000. For each site document the details of the site the observation system, and its history, the raw readings and why particular observation times were chosen and the method used to collate the data. Document any variance or adjustment made, how it was made, why it was made, and on whose authority it was made. Provide documented source code for all collation algorithms to allow others to replicate the production of the final outputs. In other words complete transparency.

    I have a feeling that this quality approach will not be followed as this is a university science exercise not an engineering exercise. It will be a huge disappointment if this is the case as literally inestimable amounts of money and even people’s lives could hinge on the output.

  134. “There are plenty of other paleo-temperature proxies being used that are derived from sediment cores from around the world, and they pretty much agree with the tree ring data.”

    No there are not, the only way to produce a hockey stick it to use tree rings or the Tiljander sediments. Not even the team defends the HS anymore. This thread is about Dr. Singer’s statement. He’s wrong it’s that simple, and us skeptics need to stop defending his statements as accurate.

  135. I’m not a scientist but do wonder why there is little discussion of whether a single number average of temperatures has any real meaning.
    I believe that cold dry air needs much less energy to warm it up than warm “wet” air, so averaging temps from different places is not going to mean much re energy gain/ loss/ distribution, surely?
    Also, a single number blurs whether it is day time or night time or both that are changing (if they are), and seasonal effects.
    Seems to me there are huge leaps of faith needed to go from single figure averages via simplified radiative physics ideas to it all being CO2.
    I wish BEST well, but I’m not sure whether the results will help, unless some of the above is addressed.
    Please tell me if I’m wrong. (I’ve learned quite a lot from WUWT comments and posts, useful in explaining that matters aren’t “settled”, so thanks Anthony and others)

  136. Orson says:
    February 20, 2011 at 2:22 am

    To Gregg2213 and Latititude-

    The virtue of not having skeptics doing this Temp data set, the BEST team, is to gain the respect of the Team’s allies and enablers, and perhaps any Team members with scientific integrity and standards remaining.
    ================

    It seems to me that the real problem is that the Team’s allies and enablers have a vested interest in creating the alarmist nonsense that we’ve all come to know and “love.” I’m not sure it’s possible to gain their respect with a product that does not support that alarm. I think a good start would be to publicly throw Al Gore & Co under the bus, which would establish their positions on the “catastrophe,” but that’s just me.

    Also, I am having difficulty imagining a product that the RC side and the WUWT side can both agree is “good stuff.” Again, that’s just my lack of imagination.

    Your remark about openness is a good one. If BEST can be 100% open and if their work is bullet-proof enough that the skeptical side (eg: the Singers, Lindzens, McIntyres, & Co) can respect it, then yeah, it’s a BIG step forward. It can be a win-win, as you say, but they’ll have to both set some pretty high standards, and meet them, and carry some pretty thick skins. (Dr. Curry seems to have grown heavy armor-plate, so that’s good. ;) )

  137. Not meaning to bombard this thread with defenses of the hockey stick (which to me actually looks more like a bottle rocket these days), but this graph is self-explanatory and comes from South American data:

    JGR: “The last decades of the past millennium are characterized again by warm temperatures that seem to be unprecedented in the context of the last 1,600 years.”

    [figure at http://http://climateprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/Hockey-SA-small1.gif%5D

    “Reconstructed tropical South American temperature anomalies (normalized to the 1961–1990 AD average) for the last ∼1600 years (red curve, smoothed with a 39‐year Gaussian filter). The shaded region envelops the ±2s uncertainty as derived from the validation period. Poor core quality precluded any chemical analysis for the time interval between 1580 and 1640 AD.”

  138. “walt man says:
    February 19, 2011 at 12:37 pm”

    The real issue is if the tree ring data diverged and suggested lower temperatures when the thermometer based temperatures were supposedly rising then the issue is was the previous tree ring data actually a good proxy for temperature? That was the real purpose of hiding the decline because it calls into question the validity of the tree ring data used to construct the proxies.
    As to the validity of the temperature measurements I would have to see all the raw data not the homogenized data that is released. I would also need to see a better handling of the UHI effect. Finally the arctic temperatures need to be actually measured not just use some land sites and then extend them out up to 1200 km. The validity of the overall values really hasn’t been established given all the problems raised by a lot smarter scientists than I am.

  139. Sorry once again to be commenting so much, but many people seem to be unaware that there was an entire paper published in Nature in 1998 that was solely about the “divergence problem” concerning the particular sample of tree rings that diverged from the thermometer record after 1960.

    K. Briffa et al. (1998). “Reduced sensitivity of recent tree growth to temperature at high northern latitudes,” Nature 391: 678-682.

    Later tree-ring papers always referred back to this paper. The divergence problem is very well known among the small group of scientists who do research in this area.

  140. will1be says:
    February 19, 2011 at 6:42 pm
    Minor correction to the above comment about Ben Santer’s “stamping ground.”

    Lesson learned: if you try to inject a little wit, be careful it doesn’t reveal you as a half-wit.

  141. Tenney Naumer says:
    February 20, 2011 at 6:48 am

    If hiding in plain sight is hiding, well that is a good trick indeed.

    The use of thermometer data after 1960 was fully explained in the first paper that was published with it. All subsequent papers footnote the “trick” — so nothing at all was ever hidden.
    ——————————————-
    Silly, silly Phil!
    He said “I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature Trick…..to hide the decline.”
    He intended to hide the decline, he took action to hide the decline, he appears to believe that he has hidden the decline, but you tell us that nothing was ever hidden.
    For sure, it didn’t stay hidden!
    Are you saying he was deluded or incompetent when it came to concealment? You don’t appear to have an alternate meaning for the word ‘hide’.

  142. Robert E. Phelan says:
    February 19, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    . . . just as an aside, both the treemometers and the mechanical instruments of the industrial age are “proxies”. Don’t mistake the map for the territory.

    This dictum from the late Alfred Korzybksi is the nub of the problem. When ideologies take over, the map becomes increasingly separated from the territory, and science becomes wishful thinking, at best, or nasty agendas at worst.

    Sounds to me as though the engineering approach advocated by Ian W (February 20, 2011 at 6:57 am) is the best way to keep your eyes fixed on the territory—and eschew the simplistic and probably meaningless reification of ‘global average temperature’ altogether.

    /Mr Lynn

  143. “…Unless everyone wants to argue that temperatures have actually declined since 1960…”

    Actually temps did decline after 1960 all the way to the late 70′s. This is one of my personal point of irritation. As time moves on, the past temp data keeps changing so much. 20 years ago a graph of the last 100 years showed a clear and sharp decline from the 50′s through the 70′s. But every new revision of the past has lessened that cooling. Now we see nothing but a flat plateau during that period in the most recent graphs. This is re-writing history.

    I would not be so quick to completely write of the tree rings as completely incorrect. Does everyone here think that every proxy in every area of the planet is a perfect match to the global climate average? Of course they are not. I would expect there are lots of tree rings that disagree, or exaggerate trends or have delays in showing global trends. It is the nature of the proxies. But it is very obvious why the Mann and team would want to edit out the recent divergence and bury it. It does bring out a good point brought forward by some posters though. Why not just eliminate that set if it has such a clear problem? The obvious answer is they wanted to keep the rest because it supports the the “myth”.

    But of course that particular e-mail was talking about that one example in a specific context, and a literal review of Singers statement would show it incorrect.

    So instead of arguing endlessly in posts, why not just ask Anthony to send a request to Singer for a clarification of what he meant? Add it to the end of the article. Simple and no more speculation. simple

  144. Tenney,

    You are pointing to single location or regional proxies that may or may not be valid and that’s fine. I could just as easily point to other proxies from other regions that show the MWP was warmer. Recall that was the team’s argument, that the MWP was a local phenomenon unique to certain areas of the NH. I personally remain unconvinced that it is possible to reconstruct global temps to a level of accuracy that answers the “unprecedented” question. As you must be aware, the adequacy of the excuses as to why the divergence exists has been beaten to death also. The publication of these excuses in the peer reviewed literature doesn’t mean their adequate. Ironically, until the CAGW mania publication of a scientific hypothesis marked the beginning of debate not the end.

  145. D. Caldwell writes,
    “Why do they keep using it?”

    It has totemic value to contrarians but I don’t know of any scientists still using Mann et al.’s 1998 temperature reconstruction, because it’s been superceded by better ones including Mann et al. 2009. The 1998 version was described to me recently as “hitting the target but missing the bullseye” — that is, wrong on some details but not the big picture. Studies by different research teams using better PCA centering or no PCA at all, and other sets of tree rings or no trees at all, have found again and again they reach roughly similar conclusions.

    That big picture (anomalous recent warming, which forms the “blade” of the hockey stick seen by Mann and just about everyone else) has been widely confirmed. I’ve noticed three new hockey-ish graphs from widely different studies published in just the past few months. There are scores more in the literature.

    Researchers keep using this idea of recent warming because so many of them can see it in their own data.

  146. @Oliver

    Please look at my comment about two comments above yours.

    As I wrote there, this divergence problem is out there in the literature for all to see — and it is always referred to in any paper using this particular sample.

    Therefore, it would not be correct to assume that the “trick” involved was anything more than standard procedure for authors of tree-ring papers who used this sample.

    It was not hidden. This was an innocuous use of the word “trick.”

    And “hide the decline” would be a short hand way of describing the procedure (by now standard) to deal with the divergence problem.

    Taken out of context, of course it looks bad. But since the whole thing is a well-known procedure used by these authors that has been out in the literature for over 10 years, we cannot ascribe nefarious purposes to Phil Jones’ email. Nor to Michael Mann.

  147. Doug Badgero writes,
    “I could just as easily point to other proxies from other regions that show the MWP was warmer.”

    I’m sure it happened somewhere, but which proxies do you have in mind, showing the MWP warmer than today?

  148. Smokey says:
    February 20, 2011 at 2:55 am
    John Finn,

    It’s amusing watching how apologists for the straightforward statement “Hide the decline” try to make it mean “Let’s not hide the decline.”

    Who are you trying to fool?

    I’m not trying to fool anyone. As I said earlier I was on to the “hide the decline” trick several years ago – long before you ever thought it was an issue. “Hide the decline” refers to the proxy reconstruction. Fred Singer wrote

    However, the most serious revelation from the e-mails is that they tried to “hide the decline” in temperatures, using various “tricks” in order to keep alive a myth of rising temperatures ….

    He has clearly got it wrong. It’s easy to show he has got it wrong. I’m sure the BBC and other pro-AGW media outlets will be only too pleased to point out how one of the leading sceptics has got it wrong. Perhaps you agree with Singer’s statement, in which case you are also wrong and you need to familiarise yourself with the facts.

  149. By Dr. Fred Singer.
    >>
    However, the most serious revelation from the e-mails is that they tried to “hide the decline” in temperatures, using various “tricks” in order to keep alive a myth of rising temperatures in support of the dogma of anthropogenic global warming.
    >>

    Oh, PLEASE get your facts straight. I’m no defender of CRU or their americain based co-conspiritors but if you’re going to critisise them for twisting the truth there’s no point in twisting the truth to do it or looking silly by getting your facts wrong.

    “Hide the decline” was NOT a decline in temperatures it was a decline in Briffa’s tree ring proxy data. This blatantly showed the proxy was less than reliable. When the proxy went the wrong way the decided to “hide” it by cutting it off in 1960 and blending in incompatible thermometer data.

    In the case of P. Jones’ WMO graphic where he claimed to have used “Mike’s trick” he went even further than Mann had done with the hockeystick, he actually used the same line colour for both data sets. Complete scientific fraud.

    Mann by comparison just cropped off the bit that did not suit his argument and super-imposed the thermometer data. It has been fairly well established (see CA coverage of this issue) that Mann also fiddled proxy data by padding the end of the running mean window with thermometer data to blend the two lines together despite the fact that actual proxy data was available. The thermometer data was shown in a different colour.

    What they were actually hiding was not only the small period of decline but the fact that the proxy data upon which the whole “unprecidented warming” argument was based was totally unreliable.

    That is no small matter. So rather than making specious claims that warmists will take create comfort in dismissing (quite justifiably) please get your facts straight, doctor. This is one of the key issues of the climategate fraud which shows they knew their data did not show what they were claiming it did and on at least two very public documents went to quite some efforts to hide the facts.

    I suggest you correct this article. The truth is more damning than your incorrect claim.

  150. Maintain a public data base the raw data, the corrected data, and corrected methodology.

    Have statisticians vet your analytical procedures, not climatologists, and make public copies of the procedures, their reasoning, and your software code. The former will prevent ‘hockey stick’ problems, the later will spot your errors. Acknowledge any contributions from both.

    Above all, you must be like Caesar’s wife – above reproach.

  151. Wow, Tenney, do you think you could try harder to contort the issue any better to support your position? It was indeed nefarious because their intent was to deceive, to hide from everybody the truth that tree rings aren’t reliable as proxies.

    Mark

  152. hey! what happenned to my last post? I spent a while correcting “Doctor” Fred Singers specious rubbish and it seems to have got dumped.

  153. It was decline in temperatures, which they tried to hide. Temperatures as reconstructed by proxy (tree ring) data.
    Otherwise, they wouldn’t speak about unprecedented temperatures.

    IMO, this temperature proxy decline hints at real temperature decline, which is not seen in official instrumental records (UHI, selection/confirmation bias).

  154. @

    Tenney Naumer says:
    February 20, 2011 at 9:58 am

    ——————————————-
    I’m not yet addressing what the word ‘decline’ refers to.
    It’s the word ‘hide’ for starters.
    To hide is to conceal. To keep from view, to prevent from seeing. It just doesn’t have another meaning.
    It is not unreasonable to believe that Phil Jones was seeking to conceal something. He said that he had just concealed something. It doesn’t matter yet what it was.
    I am fully prepared to discuss this in some other language, but to “hide” means to conceal in English, and that connotes an intent to deceive.
    It’s absurd to move on to the meanng of ‘decline’ without acknowledging that.
    If it helps, I don’t have a problem with “trick” having innocuous meanings.

    Of course, the divergence was his problem, but the greater context is that he was an embattled warmista wishing to deny ammunition to his opponents in the war of “humans are warming the world with their CO2″ and “No, they’re not”.
    If the divergence destroys the credibility of the proxy, then you can’t prove it’s warming because we don’t know how warm it was before. Offering up other proxies is fine but it doesn’t in any way rescue the discredited ones.

  155. Dave Wendt, I checked out the first Northern Hemisphere example on the “CO2 Science” website you cited. It’s Moberg et al. (2005), a well-respected alternative to Mann’s reconstruction. But the Moberg data don’t support any claim that the MWP was warmer than today. Their proxy series ends in 1979. The Moberg article itself contains a graph matching proxy with instrumental records, which have risen substantially since 1979. They draw a conclusion opposite to yours:
    “We find no evidence for any earlier periods in the last two millennia with warmer conditions than the post-1990 period—in agreement with previous similar studies1, 2, 3, 4, 7.”

    CO2 science skips the substance and draws their own version of this graph. But when they write that their version is “adapted from Moberg et al. 2005,” what that means is they left off instrumental data in order to hide the incline.

    Are there other examples better than this?

    Doug Badgero, I’m not sure where to start with your link. Can you pick one for me, a well-validated regional proxy that you like, showing MWP temperatures higher than today?

    I’m not doubting that such exist, just curious to see your best case.

  156. Edim says:
    February 20, 2011 at 11:50 am

    IMO, this temperature proxy decline hints at real temperature decline, which is not seen in official instrumental records (UHI, selection/confirmation bias).

    Presumably you also accept that the neither the MWP nor LIA existed since that is what is “hinted” in the proxy record.

  157. Oliver Ramsay writes,
    “I am fully prepared to discuss this in some other language, but to “hide” means to conceal in English, and that connotes an intent to deceive.”

    It connotes no such thing. Computer programs offer “hide” options in a wide range of contexts, including the drawing of graphs.

    Googling “microsoft word hide” just now got me 5 million hits. I doubt that most have anything to do with deception.

  158. Gneiss,

    It’s quite clear from the context of the quote that the intent was indeed to keep from the intended audience (policy makers) the fact that the instrumental record diverged from the proxy record.

  159. John M writes,
    “It’s quite clear from the context of the quote that the intent was indeed to keep from the intended audience (policy makers) the fact that the instrumental record diverged from the proxy record.”

    If the email had said instead, “We decided to show proxy-derived temperatures for older periods, where they have been well validated, but then show instrumental temperatures more recently where those are more accurate,”

    it would have meant exactly the same thing. But without the magic word “hide,” and people stating as you did that “hide” connotes deception, there would be no outrage.

  160. @Mr Lynn says:
    February 20, 2011 at 9:23 am

    Thank you for the support of my proposal.

    Unfortunately, the thread has been hijacked into a severe thread drift.

    As I said in my post unless an engineering approach is taken to ‘BEST’ with a transparent QMS and the correct metric is measured, this is nothing but a highly publicized waste of time or worse, a simple trap for the unwary skeptics.

    Perhaps we could have a post on enthalpy by a meteorologist and a metrologist and another on the problems of ‘averaging’ air temperatures at one site then averaging those averages over geographically separated sites to create a ‘global average’. Ideally, at each step highlighting the error bars in energy measurement generated by these approaches and the subsequent utility of the averages and whether fractions of a degree are justified mathematically or logical.

    My experience so far is that nobody wants to listen.

  161. Gneiss says:
    February 20, 2011 at 1:50 pm
    “It connotes no such thing. Computer programs offer “hide” options in a wide range of contexts, including the drawing of graphs.”

    ———————
    Do you mean programs like CAD, where you can hide layers so you DON’T see them?
    Can we agree that “hide” means “conceal”?
    Then we can look at why one might choose to “conceal” something.
    Or, would you like to suggest another meaning?
    Where are we trying to conceal it? On a graph? How does it show up on that graph?
    Would it have appeared as a big mess of ink that obscured the lines, or as a nice clean line going in an unsatisfactory direction? A downwards one, perhaps?
    It’s cute that you cite a Google search and then speculate about what you might have found in the results. You could try another one with the word ‘decline’ and I’ll hazard a guess that outside of the UEA fiasco you won’t find an instance of “divergence” being offered as a synonym.

  162. Gneiss,

    The global Medieval Warming Period is one of the most settled questions in all of climate science. Michael Mann tried to erase it in MBH98/99 and was thoroughly debunked.

    No credible scientist seriously questions that the MWP existed, or that its effect was world wide. Here are just a few of the numerous peer reviewed papers and other resources confirming the MWP:

    click1
    click2 [interactive map of various studies]
    click3
    click4
    click5 [Willis Eschenbach article & comments]
    click6 [JoNova article & comments]
    click7
    click8
    click9
    click10

    If the MWP was erased, then the falsified CO2=CAGW conjecture and Mann’s debunked Hockey Stick could regain their lost credibility. Click10 above shows the failed efforts to re-write climate history.

  163. If the email had said instead, “We decided to show proxy-derived temperatures for older periods, where they have been well validated, but then show instrumental temperatures more recently where those are more accurate,”

    How well validated were they for the period prior to 1800? Why “hide” from policy makers the fact that the divergence occured at all?

    I suspect the second question is related to the first.

  164. Smokey writes,
    “No credible scientist seriously questions that the MWP existed, or that its effect was world wide.”

    Actually, there are credible scientists who seriously question that there was a worldwide, simultaneous MWP. A regional MWP shows up in several datasets I work with, however, so I’m OK with the general idea. The timing is sometimes off by centuries, however.

    What I asked for above was for the “best case” for proxy data showing a large-scale MWP that was warmer than today. Can you pick out a favorite study or two, citing the actual research?

  165. Oliver R writes,
    “It’s cute that you cite a Google search and then speculate about what you might have found in the results.”

    Well, I actually looked through the first half-dozen pages, and it appeared all the citations that far used “hide” the same way my graphics software does. So it wasn’t quite as cute as speculation. Perhaps you

    “Can we agree that “hide” means “conceal”?”

    Sure.

    “Then we can look at why one might choose to “conceal” something.”

    In this case, because showing it gives a misleading impression. That temperatures declined, when they didn’t.

    “You could try another one with the word ‘decline’ and I’ll hazard a guess that outside of the UEA fiasco you won’t find an instance of “divergence” being offered as a synonym.”

    Now we’re both cute.

  166. Maybe it’s time to form a union of non-tax-funded scientists, with standards of honesty and a way to enforce them. It could become a model for certain other organizations.

  167. John Finn writes,
    “Presumably you also accept that the neither the MWP nor LIA existed since that is what is “hinted” in the proxy record.”

    There’s no reason to presume that.

    The proxy records do more than hint about these periods. For instance, Mann et al. (2009) clearly show the LIA, and also a period they term the MCA which more or less corresponds to the MWP. Mann’s MCA covers warm periods in the N Atlantic and PDO regions, but anomalous cool temps in El Nino 3 region for those centuries.

    Moberg’s (2005) reconstruction shows a Northern Hemisphere warm period that starts earlier than Mann’s does, and a LIA that seems to start later. GISP2 suggests a Greenland MWP that starts earlier and ends earlier than Mann (2009), and a LIA that starts earlier too.

    Anyway, there’s much information on these topics in various proxy datasets, and extensive discussion in the scientific literature about them.

  168. Gneiss says:
    February 20, 2011 at 4:27 pm
    John Finn writes,
    “Presumably you also accept that the neither the MWP nor LIA existed since that is what is “hinted” in the proxy record.”

    There’s no reason to presume that.

    The proxy records do more than hint about these periods. For instance, Mann et al. (2009) clearly show the LIA, and also a period they term the MCA which more or less corresponds to the MWP. Mann’s MCA covers warm periods in the N Atlantic and PDO regions, but anomalous cool temps in El Nino 3 region for those centuries.

    Mann et al (2009) is not under discussion wrt to the “hide the decline” trick. I’m not sure why you would mention it oer any other study which did not use the trick.

  169. @ Gneiss,

    I’ll agree that we’re both cute and that “hide” means “hide”.

    You said:
    “If the email had said instead, “We decided to show proxy-derived temperatures for older periods, where they have been well validated, but then show instrumental temperatures more recently where those are more accurate,”
    ———-
    Well, he DID say that in the same e-mail.
    We don’t think he was trying to HIDE anything from Ray, Mike and Malcolm, the recipients of the e-mail. He was talking to them about hiding some decline or other from somebody else.
    When I phone up my fellow bank-robbers and say “I’ve hidden the money under my mattress,” that doesn’t constitute a confession to the police. Unless they’ve got my phone tapped.

  170. P. Solar: hey! what happenned to my last post? I spent a while correcting “Doctor” Fred Singers specious rubbish and it seems to have got dumped.

    Why do you quote the word “Doctor”? According to Wikipedia, Singer holds a Ph.D. in physics from Princeton University, Wheeler was his supervisor, and Oppenheimer and Bohr were on his thesis committee.

  171. 007:
    Smoking Frog,

    If we could trust the instrumental temperature record, there would be no need for this project. But we can’t….

    I didn’t say we could trust it. My point was that Dr. Singer’s remarks were about what Phil Jones said, so they stand or fall depending on what Jones meant. I say that Jones did not mean that the trick was hiding a decline of temperatures, and this is practically beyond disputing. So Singer’s remarks on this point are wrong. However, I doubt that Singer meant them the way they sound. I think he was talking about temperatures derived from the proxies. At least, I hope so.

  172. Gneiss says:
    February 20, 2011 at 1:27 pm
    Dave Wendt, I checked out the first Northern Hemisphere example on the “CO2 Science” website you cited. It’s Moberg et al. (2005), a well-respected alternative to Mann’s reconstruction. But the Moberg data don’t support any claim that the MWP was warmer than today. Their proxy series ends in 1979. The Moberg article itself contains a graph matching proxy with instrumental records, which have risen substantially since 1979. They draw a conclusion opposite to yours:
    “We find no evidence for any earlier periods in the last two millennia with warmer conditions than the post-1990 period—in agreement with previous similar studies1, 2, 3, 4, 7.”

    CO2 science skips the substance and draws their own version of this graph. But when they write that their version is “adapted from Moberg et al. 2005,” what that means is they left off instrumental data in order to hide the incline.

    Are there other examples better than this?

    Appending instrumental records to proxy data is not in my opinion a legitimate technique , but a “trick”, for reasons which have been delineated quite thoroughly more times than I’d care to count. If you are still unable to comprehend that notion I fear it is beyond my capability to enlighten you. If paleo-proxies have any value, and personally I don’t lend any of them much credence especially any with tree in the description, it is to provide fairly rough scale indications of relative values over time.
    Though Moberg does terminate in 1979, it does cover the early 20th century peak in the 30s, which until it was beat down by a couple decades of none to random adjustments, was thought to be as warm or warmer than the present. The graph indicates the MWP was marginally warmer than that peak, though the Idsos being more even minded than I call it a wash

    “Using data provided by the authors, we have produced a graph of average decadal temperature anomalies, shown below, in which the Medieval Warm Period peaks just prior to AD 900 and is strongly expressed between about AD 650 and 1250. Peak temperatures during this time period are about 0.22°C higher than those at the end of the Moberg et al. record. Instrumental data suggest significant subsequent warming; but the directly-measured temperatures cannot be validly compared with the reconstructed ones. Hence, it is not possible to determine if current temperatures have eclipsed those of a thousand years ago or whether they still fall below them; and the fairest thing to do, in our estimation, is to tentatively conclude (for this data set only) that the peak temperatures of both periods are approximately equivalent.”

    The link I provided contains quite a large number of citations. Many support the notion of of a warmer MWP, some do not. Unlike some in the climate community, the Idsos let you see everything they find and let you draw your own inferences.
    Your challenge to Doug was a little imprecise and I hadn’t realized I’d need to lead you by the nose through such an accessible archive. I could go through and assemble a call out list for you but, from the tenor of your comments, I suspect you’d manage to find something to justify your disregarding them all and life is too short.

  173. Dave Wendt writes,
    “If you are still unable to comprehend that notion I fear it is beyond my capability to enlighten you. ”

    You wrote a long note and you’re right I can’t follow your thinking. Something about the invalidity of comparing proxies with instrumental records, followed by a claim that the 1930s are equivalent to the present. No example, though, of a study that showed large-scale MWP temperatures warmer than today.

  174. Gneiss says, conversing with Oliver Ramsay:
    February 20, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    “Can we agree that “hide” means “conceal”?”

    Sure.

    “Then we can look at why one might choose to “conceal” something.”

    In this case, because showing it gives a misleading impression. That temperatures declined, when they didn’t.

    Gneiss, if Briffa’s “hide the decline”, intentionally truncated tree-ring series was not indicating a temperature course, why would showing the decline mislead or confuse things? But why would any plot in question, such as the TAR’s figure 2-21, be labeled as only ‘temperature anomaly vs time’ if its curves weren’t all alleging to show “temperatures”?

    In other words, why is Briffa’s data even shown there, if its not to assess temperatures? But since it is shown there, why is it truncated if not to intentionally mislead concerning temperatures vs time? Bottom line, if it doesn’t correctly show or track temperatures in the instrumental period, why is it left there to give any impression whatsoever?

  175. Here my post that you first responded too

    Dave Wendt says:
    February 20, 2011 at 10:43 am
    Gneiss says:
    February 20, 2011 at 10:04 am
    Doug Badgero writes,
    “I could just as easily point to other proxies from other regions that show the MWP was warmer.”

    I’m sure it happened somewhere, but which proxies do you have in mind, showing the MWP warmer than today?

    http://www.co2science.org/data/mwp/mwpp.php

    Doug suggested the existence of regional proxies that verify that the MWP was warmer than the present and you seemed to express a desire to see some of them. I responded by providing a link to an archive that contains numerous examples of such proxies. You responded by referring to one of the studies which was somewhat equivocal and indicated it could be made to show the present climate to be warmer by the simple expedient of attaching instrumental data to the proxy data. My response to that indicated my personal objection, and afaik the objection of most of the world outside of Mr. Mann’s small circle of friends, to the legitimacy of APPENDING instrumental data to proxy data. That’s appending, not comparing

    ap·pend (-pnd)
    tr.v. ap·pend·ed, ap·pend·ing, ap·pends
    1. To add as a supplement or appendix: appended a list of errors to the report.
    2. To fix to; attach: append a charm to the bracelet.
    [Latin appendere, to hang upon : ad-, ad- + pendere, to hang; see (s)pen- in Indo-European roots.]
    The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

    I closed my response with a statement that life is too short. Although it’s perhaps to subtle for you, implicit in that statement is an extension which continues “to argue with someone who is not amenable to rational persuasion”. If you consider that statement as a hypothesis, I would have to say that your last response is QED.

  176. Gneiss:
    Googling “microsoft word hide” just now got me 5 million hits. I doubt that most have anything to do with deception.

    Googling “bullshit any word you like” gets – About 6,760,000 results (0.18 seconds)

    So what?

    Both Mann in the original “trick” and P. Jones’ in his even more blattent fraud where trying to hide the part of the data that clearly showed that the proxies they were using as the basis for thier argument were not reliable proxies at all.

    The fact that Jones produced his graphic for the cover of a WMO report shows his clear intent to decieve the world.

  177. Robert E. Phelan says:
    February 19, 2011 at 12:42 pm
    Tallbloke:

    You know perfectly well that the “hide the decline” scandal was to hide the lack of agreement since 1960 between the proxies and the instrumental temperature record, calling into question the use of these proxies to depict the temperatures before the instrumental era.

    Yes.

    Much as I hate to, I agree with sharper00 on this point: Dr. Singer, at best, misspoke. Whether the instrumental record is in fact reliable is still another question. My own semi-educated guess is that it is not, but the evidence is still not in. It would be really ironic if the treemometers really were accurate proxies for temperature…

    Little chance of that. Treemometers are affected by too many other variables. Regarding Singer being ‘misspoke’. On further reflection, I admit I don’t know whether he is ignorant or whether he is being deliberately ambiguous for dramatic effect or pure mischief . I find it difficult to believe the former, but belief doesn’t make anything true.

  178. The compromised surface-temperature stations — now greatly reduced in number — give NOAA NCDS and NASA GISS all kinds of opportunities to manipulate the data through homogenization, interpolation and “adjustments” that either ignore or fail to accurately account for the urban heat island (UHI) effect. The current network of reporting stations is beyond redemption. We should stick with the satellite data, and call it a day.

  179. “How about “. The Project is in the hands of a group of recognized scientists, who are not at all “climate skeptics” — which should enhance their credibility. ”
    “When interpretation of temp records was in the hands of a group containing no skeptics at all, was that be more credible?”- Anopheles

    How does such a ridiculous comment belong in this article? I agree with Anopheles, it doesn’t and you should take another look at your own built in bias.

  180. Pat Frank: “Fred Singer was dead-on right. He just wasn’t entirely explicit, contextually, thereby leaving a specious opening for diversionary dust-raisers.”

    Tallbloke: “On further reflection, I admit I don’t know whether he is ignorant or whether he is being deliberately ambiguous for dramatic effect or pure mischief.”

    I’ve just been pointed to this thread from Keith Kloor’s site, as an example of sceptical ignorance. It is VERY clear that whatever cause/reasoning lies behind Fred’s miscommunication, his uncorrected assertion is exceedingly unhelpful and will remain so until the ambiguity is resolved.

    It is hard enough to fight the obfuscations and straw man arguments that drip from the fingers of the mts and Lamberts of this world without this kind of output from Fred, air-dropping free cannon fodder on the alarmists’ positions.

    The thing I enjoy most about arguing the sceptical corner is that I don’t HAVE to rely on obfuscation, carefully constructed and caveat-laden points in order to defeat the ridiculous and indefensible drivel spewed forth by the alarmists. All I have to do is point out those things in their arguments before driving my own points home. Fred’s output in this piece, whether because he wants to ruddle the bucket or because he actually believes what he wrote as simply as he wrote it, is at the VERY best complicating things. How can we criticise the “opposition” for their round and vehement defence of lousy practices if we turn a blind eye to the same within our own ranks?

  181. It’s about time the selection of temperature measurement stations and data sets, and the methodology of processing that data be taken away from Dr. James “Thumbs On The Temperature Scale” Hansen and his band of agenda-driven “homogenizers” and given to a transparent agency eager to deal with challenge of developing a reliable temperature history and willing to work with all scientists to that end.

  182. “”””” walt man says:
    February 19, 2011 at 2:02 pm
    Andrew30 says: February 19, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    Walt, you might want to look at the infection in the code that caused the graph to rise.
    The code (FOI2009/FOIA/documents/harris-tree/briffa_sep98_e.pro) did Exactly what the author intended. It drove the MWP down and the industrial era up.

    Lets look at a bit more of that code:
    ; Apply a VERY ARTIFICAL correction for decline!!
    ;yrloc=[1400,findgen(19)*5.+1904]
    valadj=[0.,0.,0.,0.,0.,-0.1,-0.25,-0.3,0.,-0.1,0.3,0.8,1.2,1.7,2.5,2.6,2.6,$
    2.6,2.6,2.6]*0.75 ; fudge factor
    if n_elements(yrloc) ne n_elements(valadj) then message,’Oooops!’
    yearlyadj=interpol(valadj,yrloc,timey)
    ;
    ;filter_cru,5.,/nan,tsin=yyy+yearlyadj,tslow=tslow
    ;oplot,timey,tslow,thick=5,color=20
    ;
    filter_cru,5.,/nan,tsin=yyy,tslow=tslow
    oplot,timey,tslow,thick=5,color=21

    yearlyadj=interpol(valadj,yrloc,timey)
    Does not this line give a yearly adjustment value interpolated from the 20 year points?

    filter_cru,5.,/nan,tsin=yyy,tslow=tslow oplot,timey,tslow,thick=5,color=21
    Does not this line plot data derived from yyy

    ;filter_cru,5.,/nan,tsin=yyy+yearlyadj,tslow=tslow
    ;oplot,timey,tslow,thick=5,color=20
    The smoking gun line!!!!
    Does not his line plot data derived from yyy+yearlyadj The FUDGED FIGURE
    BUT…………
    IT’S COMMENTED OUT!!

    Well Walt Man, I’m not into writing code; but I’m surrounded by people who do. And the code they write ultimately has to be burned into a ROM on a chip, to get the chip to do what it is supposed to do (It’s an Optical Navigation digital camera)
    There’s not a single byte of code that those guys leave in to take up valuable real estate; and also to increase the probability of making mistakes, that are hard to find in debugging.

    So the fact that some skullduggery code was COMMENTED OUT to me merely indicates that it was placed there so it could be used whenever it wqs needed; after all, commenting out code, is simply adding a switch to turn it on or off.

    So the very existence of the code; commented out or not; shows an intent to use it when required; and then return the switch to the off position.

    And evidently much of the raw data was “lost” or erased, so how could anyone now go back and prove whether the commented out code was ever used or not.

    You don’t have to actually catch sight of the skunk, to know that one passed by.

  183. As for the BEST project; if they start witha position statement, that acknowledges that there is a whole science of sampled data theory, and climate data recording so far pays no heed to that discipline; then they might be able to accomplish something; but I’m not going to hold my breath.

    I have no confidence whatsoever, that the US Congress can fix the 2500 pages of the Obama-care, medical Industry take over.
    I’d accept that if they start with a single sheet of paper that says on both sides:- “This page intentionally left blank.” they might be able to produce an environment for improvements in medical care.

    Same thing with the climate data; changing the base data period, and base time frame, isn’t going to make much out of mush.

  184. Simon Hopkinson says:
    February 21, 2011 at 9:39 am

    “How can we criticise the “opposition” for their round and vehement defence of lousy practices if we turn a blind eye to the same within our own ranks?”

    Let me say at the beginning Simon that this comment is not aimed at you particularly, but at this whole comment thread. Your comment just happened to be the last straw.

    Can I request that we all lighten up and give it a rest. Dr. Singer’s statement that has generated all this sanctimony was obviously not a masterpiece of accuracy or logical wizardry and I have no intent to argue it one way or the other, just to point out that it is not greatly relevant to the post in general, which, in itself appears to be a largely unedited attempt to endorse the BEST project. In the end that endorsement is not exactly ringing and by the time the project produces any results this post, like most of the information in the world today will have disappeared down the memory hole.

    The notion that the alarmist community is going to use this faux pas as a bludgeon in future argumentation misses two rather obvious difficulties. First the alarmist side has never seemed to require any actual errors from the skeptical community to maintain the torrential flood of propaganda they produce on a daily basis. Second, for them to leap on this particular blurb and use it effectively against the skeptical argument would require them to embrace the alternative interpretation offered by the commenters most critical of Singer’s assertion i.e. that Mike’s “trick” was deployed to conceal the complete worthlessness of the proxy data. I may have missed something, but I can’t recall that argument ever being one they were eager to make.

    The various talking heads that are out front for CAGW have been filling the world with misstatements and outright lies for decades without their supporting blogs ever uttering even a whimper of anxiety about the potential damage to their credibility, but it seems that when any of those, who ought to be seen as our allies in what is indeed a life or death struggle, commits so much as a typo the comment thread degenerates almost immediately into an orgy of cannibalistic sanctimony. There is a need to support scientific standards, but we also need to recognize that purity in science is a laudatory goal which is never achieved, least of all in “climate science” which is the most bastardized field in all of human enquiry.

    The skeptical side of this controversy has been on the defensive from the beginning, largely because of huge deficits in financial support and media access, but also because the other side never allows these principled niceties to interfere with their message. They have continually shown themselves to be capable of screwing themselves right into the floor in order to spin facts that challenge their meme. That no matter how erroneous the argument or egregious the behavior of their comrades they will be supported and defended at all costs. I don’t suggest we should embrace a similar modus operandi for ourselves, only a little reasonability in the face of fairly inconsequential diversions from our own assumed truths.

    CAGW does indeed present an existential threat to humanity’s future, not from any fantastical cascade of climate catastrophes, but from the real present, ongoing, and future disasters being produced as the intended and unintended consequences of the nearly insane solutions which have been implemented, are being implemented, and are proposed for future implementation to solve a problem which is not likely to be as damaging as any of a couple dozen real harms which have been shuffled to the back burner so that resources can be focussed on a computer generated illusion.

    If the coal train of carbon demonization is to ever be really derailed we need to keep all the allies we have and recruit as many more as possible. That incredibly important effort will not be advanced by continually deploying into circular firing squads on the delusional expectation that it will force our opponents to cede us the moral high ground.

    rant off

  185. Good summary Fred. I find only one word, “at”, a bit troubling. You say,

    The Project is in the hands of a group of recognized scientists, who are not at all “climate skeptics” — which should enhance their credibility.

    Do you really believe that the credibility of a group of scientists is enhanced by none of the group being skeptics? (I presume you mean “skeptics of the prevailing theories of climate” — I don’t think anyone seriously understands “climate skeptics” to refer to people skeptical of climate itself, and only hardline AGW apologists use the term to refer to those who repudiate 20th century warming trends altogether).

    I don’t.

    Indeed, since skepticism is an essential part of any work of science of any sort of integrity, any group that puts up their failure to be skeptics as some sort of validation in their work is clearly less interested in actual credibility but in acceptance within some cabal.

    I sincerely hope you don’t mean this at all.

    I hope what you meant to say was

    The Project is in the hands of a group of recognized scientists, who are not at all “climate skeptics” — which should enhance their
    credibility.

    I.e., their credibility is “enhanced” by the fact that individuals in the group take a variety of different views about the prevailing theories of climate science. I would agree that such a group has more credibility than one that lines up uniformly on one side of this question.

  186. If Fred Singer and Judith Curry are involved, then I will be satisfied with the end results as I know they will insist the studies are conducted using the scientific method.

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