Steve McIntyre has blogged an excellent must read technical explanation about IPCC and the “Trick” on the newly provisioned climateaudit.org now on WordPress.com. He provides the context that CRU says the emails lack. So, I thought this would be a good time to have a look at the word “trick” and how it was used in the leaked CRU emails.
A few days ago, I had an email exchange with NRO’s Planet Gore editor Chris Horner who wondered how often the word “trick” was used in the CRU emails. Of course the instance that everyone remembers is this email from November 16th, 1999:
I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.
The explanation for that use of the word came quickly from CRU director Dr. Phil Jones in his official announcement on November 23rd:
The word ‘trick’ was used here colloquially as in a clever thing to do. It is ludicrous to suggest that it refers to anything untoward.
Well that certainly seems reasonable on the surface. For example, an American colloquialism is “that’ll do the trick”, when a solution to a problem is found. I hadn’t thought much more about it until I was reminded of this again this past week, when Dr. Michael Mann, in an interview with the State College, PA newspaper Centre Daily, defending himself and Dr. Jones about the language used in the emails.
Mann said Jones was using the word “trick” in the sense of “here’s the trick for solving that problem,” not to indicate anything inappropriate.
So if Dr. Jones uses such colloquialisms regularly, it stands to reason that we should find a number of similar instances of the word “trick” in the CRU emails over the decade that the emails spanned. I decided to find out.
I setup a file search program with a simple mission, scan the email folders for all file content with instances of the word “trick” used by itself, excluding other words like “Patrick” that would have “trick” embedded in it. Eight files were returned with that condition:
I was rather surprised that so few files met the condition, so I ran it again to be sure, same result. I took off the quotes to see just how many emails contained some permutation of the letters t r i c k.
The answer was 29 emails out of the 1079 emails in the FOIA2009.zip file:
So that we can all see how often these scientists used the work trick colloquially, and not part of another word, I’m showing the 8 instances of “trick” by itself highlighted in yellow below, plus another instance where “trick” is part of another word “tricky”:
The CRU emails can be found at http://eastangliaemails.com/ if you care to look at the originals.
So as you can see, we really have only one instance where Dr. Jones uses the word “trick” in reference to a procedure on data. There are other uses and variations of the word “trick” in other emails, but only this one instance attributed to Jones where he refers to this data issue.
As Dr. Jones put it: The word ‘trick’ was used here colloquially as in a clever thing to do.
Perhaps, but you’d think we’d see it in general use by Dr. Jones in other emails if it was indeed a colloquialism. In the thousand plus emails we have, there’s no other use of the word “trick” by Dr. Jones that I could find related to data truncation or otherwise, though there are other colloquial uses of the word by other authors.
Add the technical proof that Steve McIntyre has done today:
Which shows that CRU did indeed truncate tree ring data, so that the decline is not shown in the IPCC report as shown in the red line above.
And the fact that McIntyre brought this to their attention as an expert reviewer in the IPCC process:
To my knowledge, no one noticed or reported this truncation until my Climate Audit post in 2005 here. The deletion of the decline was repeated in the 2007 Assessment Report First Order and Second Order Drafts, once again without any disclosure. No dendrochronologist recorded any objection in the Review Comments to either draft. As a reviewer of the Second Order Draft, I asked the IPCC in the strongest possible terms to show the decline reported at CA here:
Show the Briffa et al reconstruction through to its end; don’t stop in 1960. Then comment and deal with the “divergence problem” if you need to. Don’t cover up the divergence by truncating this graphic. This was done in IPCC TAR; this was misleading. (Reviewer’s comment ID #: 309-18)]
They refused, stating that this would be “inappropriate”, though a short discussion on the divergence was added – a discussion that was itself never presented to external peer reviewers.
Add all these things up, and I’m ready to say PANTS ON FIRE! regarding Dr. Jones claim of “ It is ludicrous to suggest that it refers to anything untoward.“