Dr. Ray Bradley's amazing photo

Here is the web page for Dr. Raymond S. Bradley who is listed as:

University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Geosciences and Director of the Climate System Research Center (http://www.paleoclimate.org).

Readers may also recognize Dr. Bradley from his co-authorship with Dr. Michael Mann in the famous MBH98 paper which produced the embattled “hockey stick” graph.

Dr. Bradley has also gained some recent notoriety with his accusations of plagiarism regarding the Wegman report to congress, by Dr. Edward Wegman of George Mason University, which was critical of MBH98’s statistical methods.

Here’s Dr. Bradley’s photo from his UMass web page:

Notice anything interesting? Here are some hints:

His graph for CO2 data titled “Greenhouse Gas Record from the Vostok Ice Core” shows a value around 360 ppm for CO2 at the “zero date” of the present history.  The photo must be old, since the current value in the atmosphere from Mauna Loa is said to be around 390ppm currently.

So, it’s an old photo, what’s the problem you say?

For readers not familiar with the CO2 data from the Vostok Ice Core, you can find the official data set here from NOAA’s FTP servers:

CDIAC (Carbon Dioxide Information and Analysis Center)

ftp://cdiac.ornl.gov/pub/trends/co2/vostok.icecore.co2

NCDC (National Climatic Data Center)

ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/icecore/antarctica/vostok/co2nat.txt

NASA Goddard also offers access to the official Vostok data here:

http://gcmd.nasa.gov/records/GCMD_CDIAC_CO2_VOSTOK_ICECORE.html

…and they offer this helpful graph, which is time reversed from Dr. Bradley’s graph, with the present day on the left:

That’s odd, the Vostok CO2 data for the present is around 280ppm, way lower than the 360ppm shown on Dr. Bradley’s graph. Strange, but that NASA web page on Vostok Ice Core data shows the most recent update at:

So it must be current, right?

So let’s look at some other sources, maybe they are closer to Dr. Bradley’s value, surely there must be some update somewhere to this Vostok data that I’ve missed.

Let’s check Wikipedia, which always seems to be updated. Even though William Connelly doesn’t edit there anymore surely it’s been updated with this new data in the past year or so? Here’s the Wikipedia graph:

Graph of CO2 (Green graph), temperature (Blue graph), and dust concentration (Red graph) measured from the Vostok, Antarctica ice core as reported by Petit et al., 1999. Higher dust levels are believed to be caused by cold, dry periods.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Vostok_Petit_data.svg

That’s odd, the CO2 data there shows just over 280ppm of CO2 in the Vostok record. But they reference Petit, et al 1999 on that page. Hmmm, I went to find that paper, and was able to locate a PDF copy of it here: http://www.daycreek.com/dc/images/1999.pdf and I saved a local copy here Vostok_nature_1999 to prevent overloading that website with downloads. Here’s the title of that 1999 paper from Nature:

Climate and atmospheric history of the past 420,000 years from the Vostok ice core, Antarctica

J. R. Petit*, J. Jouzel†, D. Raynaud*, N. I. Barkov‡, J.-M. Barnola*, I. Basile*,M. Bender§, J. Chappellaz*,M. Davisk, G. Delaygue†, M. Delmotte*, V. M. Kotlyakov¶, M. Legrand*, V. Y. Lipenkov‡, C. Lorius*, L. Pe´ pin*, C. Ritz*, E. Saltzmank & M. Stievenard†

Oh, OK, that explains it, the CO2 levels in 1999 must have been 360ppm and that’s where that value on Dr. Bradley’s graph comes from. Let’s check the Mauna Loa record for 1999 here: ftp://ftp.cmdl.noaa.gov/ccg/co2/trends/co2_mm_mlo.txt

The values for 1999 are:

1999   3    1999.208      369.46      369.46      367.90     26

1999   4    1999.292      370.77      370.77      368.19     30

1999   5    1999.375      370.66      370.66      367.84     29

1999   6    1999.458      370.10      370.10      367.87     30

1999   7    1999.542      369.10      369.10      368.42     30

1999   8    1999.625      366.70      366.70      368.21     30

1999   9    1999.708      364.61      364.61      367.95     29

1999  10    1999.792      365.17      365.17      368.41     31

1999  11    1999.875      366.51      366.51      368.58     29

1999  12    1999.958      367.85      367.85      368.58     29

Well that explains it then right? The value of the CO2 atmosphere in 1999 was around 360 ppm, so that’s what Dr. Bradley was showing in that old photo. And the 1999 Nature paper from Petit et al must show the same value, right? Here it is:

Huh, that’s strange, it only shows around 280ppm of CO2 at the “present” of 1999 when this graph was published.

Well OK, the archived NOAA data on the FTP server must be updated and have ~360ppm somewhere in the dataset, right? So I looked through it to be sure. Here’s the most recent data from: ftp://cdiac.ornl.gov/pub/trends/co2/vostok.icecore.co2

Hmmm, the most recent data is from 2342 yr BP (years before present) and shows 284.7. That can’t be right, because the distinguished Dr. Bradley shows the data at around 360ppm. Yet, the header shows the co-author names from the 1999 Nature paper on the Vostok ice core data analysis. Surely there must be an update to it?

Maybe the other NOAA data set from NCDC  is what he used? at: ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/icecore/antarctica/vostok/co2nat.txt

Well, it agrees with the CDIAC data, but there’s still no ~360ppm of CO2 listed in the data for the most recent readings.

Well gosh, how can this be?

The answer is seems, is that there is no new data from the Vostok Ice core. It ended, and the official repositories of that data have no new data. The last CO2 value for the Vostok Ice Core dataset is listed as being 284.7ppm.

So how does Dr. Bradley get ~360ppm? Easy, I think he uses the same technique he and his co-authors learned when writing the famous MBH98 paper that made the hockey stick -splice the instrumental record onto the paleo record:

Graph above from Fred Pearce’s Feb 2010 article in the Guardian shows the instrumental record attached to the ice core record.

And here’s a later version from 2003 showing the same instrumental record splice along with paleo data (Figure 1. from Mann et al. EOS Forum 2003):

Source: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/pubs/mann2003b/mann2003b.html

So it seems rather apparent that Dr. Bradley (or whoever made the graph) simply took the Vostok Ice Core CO2 paleo data and “spliced” it with the instrumental record on the end. Or, as Joe Romm likes to say “make stuff up”.

The only problem is, as he presents it with the title of his graph: Greenhouse Gas Record from the Vostok Ice Core as shown below…

…it’s patently  false in my opinion. Ditto for the red Methane line, but that’s another story.

Now here’s the problem. If you took surface temperature data from Antarctica, and spliced it with surface temperature data from Hawaii, and then presented it as the entire historical record from Antarctica, our friends would have a veritable “cow”.

Or, if you took stock performance data from poorly performing Company “A” and spliced on better performing stock data from Company “B”, and then made a new graph and used that graph to sell investors on Company “A”, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) would have a veritable “cow” when they found out, wouldn’t they? People go to jail for such things.

But hey, this is Climate Science.

big h/t to WUWT reader Brian M. who sent the tip in via email.

Addendum: I should add that I have no evidence that this graph has been used in any scientific publications or professional presentations by Dr. Bradley, I’m only pointing out that for this photo, which appears to be staged, what is presented doesn’t match the actual Vostok data. Readers should not extrapolate anything beyond this scope until new examples are presented. – Anthony

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Peter H

Does that graph show what has and is going on with atmospheric CO2 over time?
Yes it does.
So, get over it and stop trying to find someone else to pick on.

Herbie Vandersmeldt

Yup. Sloppy Sloppy Sloppy. Sad that its intentional. If he labelled his work carefully, that would be different.

Jim

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

Henry chance

I am thankful and grateful that we can review this fudged data on this site. It may be next month or next year. They will have to explain the false data one day.

Daniel Bengtsson

The problem with this post is that the “zero date” does NOT say 360ppm. The data for CO2 ends BEFORE the right side axis that indicates year 0.
Much work for nothing….
REPLY: But you won’t find a 360 PPM value anywhere near the end date in the Vostok record, or anywhere in the record at all, for that matter. Look for yourself:
ftp://cdiac.ornl.gov/pub/trends/co2/vostok.icecore.co2
Anthony

Nuke

On the other hand, I don’t care what the level of CO2 is today because nobody has ever shown that it means diddly for the climate. So what if CO2 is high — the climate is not warmer than in other recent warm periods, not more volatile, major storms are not increasing, coasts are not flooding, etc., etc., etc.
It’s all a bunch of noise about nothing. It’s a smoke screen. Nobody can show anything out of ordinary or anything to be alarmed about so they drum up hysteria over an inconsequential change in a trace gas and then “prove” it’s going to destroy the world via computer model “scenarios.”

kMc2

Bravissimo!!!! Give ’em enough rope….Hoist on his own petard.

Rob Z

CO2 numbers below 200ppm? I thought the CO2 levels in the atmosphere were well mixed? Not good. What’s the offset between reality and the ice cores? Don’t plants have issues at low concentrations of CO2? Looks to me like the methane increases precede the CO2 increases…maybe we should blame the mammoth poop.

Bdaman

Submitted to the Drudge Report

Colin Aldridge

yep sloppy but not a “hide the decline” type trick

1DandyTroll

So essentially it IS worth then they thought: CO2 is down a 110 ppm since the hippie years of MBH98!
No wonder it has gotten colder this last month.

John W.

@Peter H.
Anthony very clearly noted that the graph does show the current PPM of CO2 (in fact, he noted that the PPM is higher). The issue here is that this scientist, who is making accusations of academic misconduct, is engaging in academic misconduct himself. It seems only fair that he have his own expectations of academic honesty applied to himself.
REPLY: I don’t know that this photo stagecraft rises to that level. I should add that I have no evidence that this graph has been used in any scientific publications or professional presentations by Dr. Bradley, I’m only pointing out that for this photo, which appears to be staged, what is presented doesn’t match the actual Vostok data. Readers should not extrapolate anything beyond this scope until new examples are presented. – Anthony

A C Osborn

Peter H says:
November 24, 2010 at 10:14 am
Does that graph show what has and is going on with atmospheric CO2 over time?
You obviously did not bother to read the article at all because the graph patently DOES NOT show what has and is going on with atmospheric CO2 over time for the last decade of the 20th century.

Ray

It’s Ray’s poster trick.

Ralph

>>Does that graph show what has and is going on with atmospheric CO2 over time?
The problem is that the ice record may not be an accurate record. It may be reading 280 ppm for an atmosphere that was in reality at 340 ppm, with instrument errors or diffusion accounting for the difference. Thus splicing on the recent instrument record may be entirely erroneous.

crosspatch

Does that graph show what has and is going on with atmospheric CO2 over time?

Actually, we don’t really know until we get ice cores that correlate in time with the Mauna Loa measurements in order to calibrate the proxy to the instrument record.
The ice cores are a guess. A guess is made about atmospheric CO2 based on the cores. We don’t know how accurate that guess is until we have cores that correspond in time with other measurements and we haven’t been measuring long enough to do that yet.
That said, there is no doubt that burning fossil fuel adds CO2. That is not in question. The part that is in question is if that CO2 is harmful in any way or makes any significant change to climate. So far nobody has proved that it does. The *only* information we have are computer models that say it *could* but we have no information that says it *does*.

R. Shearer

Peter H., ice core estimates are proxies, that show trends, but the values reported from ice core measurements are “adjusted” just like most climate “data.”

Stephen Wilde

There’s no guarantee that the Vostock Core will EVER show 380ppm in the year 2010 if the proxy record is too coarse to show changes of the type currently being observed.
That is why the deception is significant.

Klimate Kip

Peter H, seriously… whaaat?
The graph shows Vostok Ice Core CO2 data and then tacks on atmospheric data from somewhere else at the end!
Besides, this should be a headshot/staff photo, not another Hockeystick reloaded/”its worse than we thought”/my construct is too important to leave out of my bio!

Nobody has said that, wherever CO2 appears there is cold around: It is endothermic because its purpose in nature is to be the building block of SUGAR and carbohydrates. The energy it absorbs, unfortunately, it takes it to living beings, though some times troublesome human beings as the Prophet himself, who has been built after big efforts by nature in accumulating such a big bag of ungracefully walking grease. 🙂

John F. Hultquist

On first read of the headline my mind registered Ray Bradbury who you can trust to always tell a good story. That phrase is similar to “who can you trust?” and that sounded very familiar. So I searched. Lots of hits, but of the bunch, I liked this one by Martha Beck (from Oprah’s magazine) :
http://www.oprah.com/relationships/Martha-Becks-No-Fail-Way-to-Figure-Out-Who-to-Trust
It’s because I’ve learned to depend on a handy little inner mechanism—you’ve got one too. Call it a “trust-o-meter,” . . .
So, it is now confirmed that Dr. Ray Bradley is on the “no trust” list.
~~~~ Brian M. !!! nice find
Anthony, great post.
To all: Happy Thanksgiving

MilanS

Dr. Mann about the splicing reconstruction with instrumental records as cited from http://www.realclimate.org:
No researchers in this field have ever, to our knowledge, “grafted the thermometer record onto” any reconstruction. It is somewhat disappointing to find this specious claim (which we usually find originating from industry-funded climate disinformation websites) appearing in this forum. :o)
See

jimmi

So if the graph had been labeled “Data from Vostok Ice Core plus one point showing current value”, you would have had no objection?

James F. Evans

Anthony,
Thanks for the analysis & interpretation.
Amazing how much a single photograph can reveal.

Daniel Bengtsson

Anthony,
so your point here is that the title of the slide should have said “Vostok Ice Core + observations” instead of just “Vostok Ice Core”?
Still, much work for nothing.
REPLY: So you’re saying then it’s OK if a company publishes spliced data in a stock report but doesn’t tell anyone? -A

Alexander K

The Hockey team are incredible; that is, they have completely shredded their own credibility. This pic is golden!

stumpy

Does anyone know what co2 levels are for antarctica itself?
I have seen themed maps of co2 levels globally from satellite, and they show antarctica as being lower than the rest of the earth. If thats the case, you cannot splice a record for antartica which has lower co2 levels, with the higher global record, you cant compare an apple with an orange – but then it makes a nice hocky stick for them to scare people with and generate funding / publicity.
As an aside, the vostock core always fascintates me, the correlation with dust (cosmic dust?) and temperature – is it increased dust causing the earth to cool, or increased dust due to a drier cooler windier earth? We may never know!

Area Man

Wow. Just wow. This doesn’t even pass the giggle test.
How could he possibly justify this, or think it would go unchallenged?

[snip – off color]

Daniel Bengtsson

Anthony,
I think it would be worse if the company published a stock report that was 50.000 years old, if the stock owners were interested in present results and future forecasts… 😉
And, after all, we don’t know what was being said at the lecture.

paulsnz

Does that graph show what has and is going on with atmospheric CO2 over time?
Yes it does, with periodicity that is regular and has been part of the Climate Forever regardless of MAN Proves AGW is a myth!.

Michael in Sydney

Peter H says
“Does that graph show what has and is going on with atmospheric CO2 over time?
Yes it does….”
So you appear to support the saying that “the ends justify the means”. This way of thinking is the problem in climate studies.

Nothing to worry about!. That happens in a parallel world known as “Brave New World” (To find it you just to cross the Bermuda Triangle or going Way over the Rainbow….)

John Day

Actually at the point reading 360ppm the line is going straight up, off the chart! It’s worse than we thought!! Shocking!!!

mpaul

I think this might be the source of the graph:
http://files.eesi.org/corell_061506.pdf
So I don’t think its right to say Bradley ‘made this up’, rather I think he simply plagiarized it.
REPLY: We don’t know that – Anthony

Kev-in-UK

I suppose someone will pipe up and say that he was just stood next to a graph reviewing it for a student or something? I hope he told them that it is entirely false to title the graph as one thing (GHG Record from the Vostok ice core) and then to add/superimpose OTHER data on top in the same colours, etc.
Moreover, he should advise that there should be a definitive method of indicating two different sources of data with a break between. No doubt this graph has never seen the light of real publication thanks to Bradleys review?
/sarc off

Frank K.

Why are some posters here trying to rationalize a graph that is CLEARLY WRONG AND DISHONEST!?
And you would think someone of his intellect would have the presence of mind to vet a photo like that before putting it on his web page…[LOL!]

Bill Hunter

“No researchers in this field have ever, to our knowledge, “grafted the thermometer record onto” any reconstruction. It is somewhat disappointing to find this specious claim (which we usually find originating from industry-funded climate disinformation websites) appearing in this forum.” Michael Mann, 2004
I guess the oil companies are now photo-shopping Prof. Bradley! The only possible explanation for which we have a physical mechanism!

Keith Davies

It is sad that we have to view another misleading graph.
The Global Warming community tries its best to mislead the public but they cannot fool all of the people all of the time.

JEM

These guys just can’t get past the notion that if they don’t have the numbers they want they can just make ’em up.

crosspatch says: “Actually, we don’t really know until we get ice cores that correlate in time with the Mauna Loa measurements in order to calibrate the proxy to the instrument record.”
Um, we do have those. Law Dome and Mauna Loa overlap almost exactly. Then, Law Dome and Taylor Dome, same. And Law Dome, Taylor Dome and Vostok, same.
Klimate Kip says: “The graph shows Vostok Ice Core CO2 data and then tacks on atmospheric data from somewhere else at the end!”
It wouldn’t much matter whether the instrumental record for atmospheric CO2 at the end was from Mauna Loa, Barrow Alaska, American Somoa or the South Pole. On average, they all show basically the same thing. It’s a well-mixed gas.

Is it time to panic?

Alan Bates

Just a quick note. We need to be sure what is meant by “Before Present”. It is NOT “Before 2010”. The “Present” in “Before Present” derives from its use in radiocarbon dating where a reference year (“The Present”) was chosen arbitrarily as 1950. For example, “20 years BP” means 1930. The term is used in a range of studies including archaeology, carbon-14 dating and geology (to my certain knowledge).
This does not alter whether or not an instrument record from Hawiai was attached to the Vostok ice core record and whether or not this is valid. We do, however, need to be careful with the term, “Before Present – BP” because it does not mean what some writers above think it means. We then look stupid and give an excuse for others to challenge the argument with a red herring (if you can mix the analogies!).

erik sloneker

Old habits die hard. Splicing apples and oranges together yeilds………research grants.

jobnls

Re Daniel Bengtsson
Do you at all understand what has been done? You can never in science splice on data from a different source on a continuous line. There are simply no circumstances that would allow this. You can make a line from a combination of data sets that are averaged but you can not change data set and continue the line with the new set. Capiche?

For those of us that run websites that present data this is an amusing and frustrating article. I have been mercilessly hounded for using heavily smoothed data that didn’t show enough warming in the present day. If I had pulled something like this I would have really taken heat (maybe enough to cause actual global warming).
It is a good example of the ethical standards that the people that work with Mann have. Clearly trying to express their point is more valuable than actually understanding what the data is trying to tell them.
John Kehr
The Inconvenient Skeptic

There’s an assumption here that the Vostok data has the Mauna Loa data spliced on it. My guess is that Bradley (or whomever) add an Antarctica CO2 instrument record, or just drew a straight line from the end of the Vostok record to recent value that was 360 ppm.
So it appears to me the best we can say is it’s the Vostok record spliced with something else.
MilanS says:
November 24, 2010 at 10:34 am

Dr. Mann about the splicing reconstruction with instrumental records as cited from http://www.realclimate.org:
No researchers in this field have ever, to our knowledge, “grafted the thermometer record onto” any reconstruction.

To be a bit anal here, Mann was talking about a temperature record, not CO2 records. The quote leaves me uncertain as to whether Mann knows of CO2 records that are spliced together. One of the exciting things claimed about the Vostok record is that it is a long, unbroken record. Maybe it isn’t any longer! (Pun intended.)

Stonyground

The part that I found interesting was that the graphs that go back 400k years seem to show a rather regular saw tooth pattern as if CO2 levels have been rising and falling in cycles since well before the industrial age. I would seem to be beyond doubt that human activity is contributing to the current peak but what was causing them before? Also what effect accounts for the reversals that led to the troughs in between?

MattN

I’m thinking of a 5-letter word that begins with “F”…..

TinyCO2

Here’s a possible question for the Climate Science Rapid Response Team.
Have the ice core experts ever experimented with fake snow, different CO2 levels and artificial compression to simulate the weight of different depths? Could this give experimental data to compare with real ice cores?