"hide the decline" – worse than we thought

Some background from the original “hide the decline” from Steve McIntyre here

Despite relatively little centennial variability, Briffa’s reconstruction had a noticeable decline in the late 20th century, despite warmer temperatures. In these early articles [e.g. Briffa 1998], the decline was not hidden.

For most analysts, the seemingly unavoidable question at this point would be – if tree rings didn’t respond to late 20th century warmth, how would one know that they didn’t do the same thing in response to possible medieval warmth – a question that remains unaddressed years later.

He writes now in Hide-the-Decline Plus

Indeed, they did not simply “hide the decline”, their “hide the decline” was worse than we thought. Mann et al did not merely delete data after 1960, they deleted data from 1940 on, You can see the last point of the Briffa reconstruction (located at ~1940) peeking from behind the spaghetti in the graphic below:

Detail from Mann et al (EOS 2003) Figure 1. Arrow points to Briffa series peeking out from behind the spaghetti

Had Mann et al used the actual values, the decline would have been as shown in the accompanying graphic:

Figure 3. Re-stated Mann et al (EOS 2003) Figure 1 showing the decline.

Had Mann and his 13 co-authors shown the Briffa reconstruction, without hiding the decline, one feels that von Storch (and others) might have given more consideration to Soon et al’s criticism of the serious problem arising from the large-population failure of tree ring widths and density to track temperature.

Read the whole article Hide-the-Decline Plus

Make this known far and wide.

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kim

FergalR gets the
Gold on the foremast this time.
So many Mobys.
===========

Al Gored

Jeez. How much worse can it get!?

Tel

Sounds like Briffa wasn’t a team player and didn’t understand cause and deflect.

Mann Bearpig

I dont know if 1479 has already been covered, but it gets worse..
From: David Rind
To: Jonathan Overpeck
Date: Wed, 13 Sep 2006 16:43:08 -0400
Subject: Re:
Cc: Keith Briffa , rahmstorf@ozean-klima.de, Bette Otto-Bleisner
, cddhr@giss.nasa.gov, joos ,
Eystein Jansen , “Ricardo Villalba” ,
t.osborn@uea.ac.uk
Leaving aside for the moment the resolution issue, the statement should at least be
consistent with our figures. Fig. 6-10 looks like there were years around 1000 AD that
could have been just as warm – if one wants to make this statement, one needs to expand
the vertical scale in Fig. 6-10 to show that the current warm period is ‘warmer’.
Now getting back to the resolution issue: given what we know about the ability to
reconstruct global or NH temperatures in the past – could we really in good conscience say
we have the precision from tree rings and the very sparse other data to make any definitive
statement of this nature (let alone accuracy)? While I appreciate the cleverness of the
second sentence, the problem is everybody will recognize that we are ‘being clever’ – at
what point does one come out looking aggressively defensive?
I agree that leaving the first sentence as the only sentence suggests that one is somehow
doubting the significance of the recent warm years, which is probably not something we want
to do. What I would suggest is to forget about making ‘one year’ assessments; what Fig.
6-10 shows is that the recent warm period is highly anomalous with respect to the record of
the last 1000 years. That would be what I think we can safely conclude the last 1000 years
really tells us.

Jessie

Al Gore @ 11.24 pm
Probably this response would do for that question…………………….. in relation to love in using public funding poorly………………
Babe, You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet (1974) Bachman Turner Overdrive

Looks like the error bars need error bars…

LabMunkey

It’s a spectacular own goal really this. If they’d just left that whole series out with the argument that it didn’t track temps (though that would raise questions over other proxies, but that’s a different matter) then they’d have been fine.
SIgh. Science at it’s best apparently.

Peter Miller

Hidden in plain sight!
Even Gavin at RC, notorious for his ability to argue black is white, will have trouble providing ‘a reasonable explanation’ for this.

“Make this known far and wide”
Well, I’ve done my best by being the first commenter on Deltoid’s latest ‘Open Thread’. Within the hour they will be coming out of the woodwork with bad breath and foam on their lips so if anyone feels like riding to my support like the US cavalry, feel free:
http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/12/december_2011_open_thread.php

Peter Stroud

“Worse than we thought.” Makes a great headline. Something ‘the team’ must recognise.

Richard S Courtney

Friends:
I have been watching ‘Climategate 2.0’ with interest and have made no comments on the emails because they state the case I have been making since the early 1980s; viz. ‘climate science’ needs to be returned to the practices and methods of real science.
I write now to point out what I consider to be an error being made by commentators.
‘Hide The Decline’ was wrong. It was absolutely and unpardonably wrong. Hence, revelation of any additional detail cannot be “worse than we thought” because it is not possible to be worse than absolutely wrong.
‘Hide The Decline’ is the same scientific fraud as the ‘Piltdown Man’. In each case, selected parts of two different items were spliced together to provide a misleading scientific indication. This is scientific fraud of the worst possible kind.
It does not matter one jot whether one of the selected parts of one of the items was deleted at 1960 or 1940: the important issue is that the misleading splicing was deliberately conducted and is a scientific fraud.
A claim that the deletion date makes it “worse than we thought” invites argument about splicing dates which can only obscure the fact that the splicing is unforgiveable whatever the date of the splice.
Richard

What was that quip about State Penn, then? Is there a cell big enough for these sobs. This climate fraud was used to give the OK to a wind farm in our community and which has torn it apart. My blood boils.

mac

Perhaps it reflects a “tipping point” in the paleo-climate community’s attitude to doing honest science. If the data post 1940 cannot be explained then neither can the pre 1940 data.
If you are going to delete post 1940 data then you might as well delete pre 1940 data all the way to 1000AD, unless you are acting dishonestly.

GabrielHBay

Richard: While I respect the point you make, I still feel that there is a difference between (e.g.) stealing $1 and stealing $1 000 000, but maybe that’s just me… Personally I am getting quite punch drunk from reading all this stuff emerging from the e-mails. Dunno whether to cry or laugh (both hysterically, of course). It is without a doubt worse than I thought, and I thought it was pretty bad… 🙁 I at least thought that these pple, while misguided and arrogant, had some honour in believing their own nonsense… Now I know differently. No honour at all. Unbelieveably sad…

Over and over and over yet again the alarmists are caught fudging the data or just plain making up non-scientific scare stories and calling it science. And yet, so many people in the western world believe in their heart of hearts that the planet is warming and mankind is the cause!
I just don’t understand. Is it that truth really does not matter to most people and data is only useful when it proves one’s own myths?
“Man sees what he wants to see and disregards the rest” ~ Paul Simon

Richard S Courtney says: December 1, 2011 at 1:52 am
I write now to point out what I consider to be an error being made by commentators.
‘Hide The Decline’ was wrong. It was absolutely and unpardonably wrong. Hence, revelation of any additional detail cannot be “worse than we thought” because it is not possible to be worse than absolutely wrong.

Fair point, perhaps Anthony can put the “worse than we thought” in inverted commas and emphasise Richard’s point in the head text.

How come nobody ever talks about the Holocene Optimum? 1000 years is a cherry picked figure, 6000 is cherry picked the opposite way:)
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/ca/Holocene_Temperature_Variations.png

I recommend readers to visit the Eos Forum paper itself, and use magnification themselves to verify Steve’s picture. When you do this, it is, er, mindblowing to see how the incriminating evidence is there, in the paper itself, when we apply a simple forensic technique – attend to the details – that are cleverly made unnoticeable at the ordinary scale.
Note too that the grey is the “uncertainty” attendant on Mann 1999. Note too that there are many other suspiciously truncated lines, whose provenance we can detect by referring to the colour chart. Note too that it is mainly PSEUDO-DATA from models that rises along with the temperature record (which is also vulnerable to recent UHI)

richard verney

@Richard S Courtney says:
December 1, 2011 at 1:52 am
////////////////////////////////////
Up to a point I agree with your observation.
However, I do consider the period to have a bearing on the confidence that can be appled to the proxy. Eg, if at around this time there were 150 years worth of instrument temperature records for the area in question, if there was a divergence between tree rings and just 1 year, one might reasonably conclude that tree rings were a good proxy, had been well tuned to the instrument record and the divergence of just 1 year was an outlier.
However, what we have here is a very different issue. Of the 150 year record, we have a divergence for 60 years, ie., for more than 1 third of the period. This is no outlier. Further, one imagines that the errors associated with temperature records grow wider the further back in time one goes. Put another way, the most recent 60 years is likely to be the most accurate years of data. So what we have here is divergence with the best and most accurate 60 year period of the data.
This would suggest that there was either at the very least a tuning error and the proxy should be tuned to the last 60 years of the data, or if that made nonsense then the conclusion would inevitably be that the proxy is wholly unreliable PERIOD such that the entire proxy should be thrown out.
I consider that any reasonable scientist in this situation would conclude that the proxy was not reliable and should be wholly disregarded, and that no reconstruction of events earlier than the instrument record could be made using that particular proxy.
Thus the issue here is why did these scientists not throw out the proxy? Why did they go ahead and make a reconstruction based upon what was so obviously a patently flawed and unreliable proxy?

Richard S Courtney says:
“‘Hide The Decline’ is the same scientific fraud as the ‘Piltdown Man’. In each case, selected parts of two different items were spliced together to provide a misleading scientific indication. This is scientific fraud of the worst possible kind.”
Shouldn’t that read Piltdown Mann ?

MattN

Not that it matters much when you can plug in any random number set and STILL generate a hockey stick….

Jose Suro

Looking at this the other way around, If we assume for a moment that the tree-ring reconstruction is correct, would this not imply that it was the station record that was “played with” past 1940?
Best,
J.

Jimbo

For most analysts, the seemingly unavoidable question at this point would be – if tree rings didn’t respond to late 20th century warmth, how would one know that they didn’t do the same thing in response to possible medieval warmth – a question that remains unaddressed years later.

This need addressing. I want Warmists here to give me an answer.

John Marshall

As time progresses we are being made aware of more and more data that has been ignored, altered or twisted to exaggerate the political goal of carbon control. These liars are not worth the ‘scientist’ label.

Skeptic Tank

Have you found a graph in that flaw?

Roger Carr

Julian Williams in Wales: Shouldn’t that read Piltdown Mann ?
I still prefer Meltdown Man

PascalM.

I think you should read this. This is how they reacted on Broeckers paper: Was the Medieval Warm Period Global?
http://di2.nu/foia/0983196231.txt
http://di2.nu/foia/0983286849.txt
Some extracts:
“but he thinks Ed Cook is a great scientist”
“If we’re all on board, than an appropriately toned, “high road” response here might be appropriate.”
“let Wojick stew in his own juice”
“perhaps we should just try to let this thing die…”
“there *is* a hemispheric “medieval warm period” and “little ice age””
“Science’s embargo policy prevents me from saying much more at this time, but if Phil or anyone else wishes to comment further,”
“I’m not the only one who thinks the IPCC is nuts.”
“So Julia handled it.”
“Wally told me he didn’t reckon Tom, so Tom has got the right vibes.”
“Julia is asking us to go ahead and hinting at a joint response.”
“Could add in that even the two warming periods in the 20th century don’t show warming everywhere – especially the early 20th century. Remember that we are all basically averaging long series together and if one site shows a big warming/cooling then the average will to a lesser extent.”
“Thanks for your message regarding Wally Broecker’s Perspective. I am of course aware of this Perspective coming out – I did handle it – I realized that it was perhaps a bit handwaving in parts but I thought the message was interesting and the article passed the usual screening.”
Found on:
http://mittelalterlichewarmperiode.blogspot.com
Yours,
Pascal

Jessie

Richard @ 1.52 am
Well stated and many thanks.
However this does not negate the work that needs to be done.
And you do not need to be observing, rather actioning, speaking to the people that lived (or not), who challenged this fraud in science. Honour them.
The others were content it seems to allow this to occur. As it has become an artefact.
Or is art-e-fact?

Stephen Wilde

Actually the Briffa record up to 1940 is a pretty good reflection of what we do know from other data about tropospheric temperature changes over the past 600 years.
On that basis the post 1940 drop would be higly significant yet it was simply deleted as an inconvenient truth.
Given my interest in shifting climate zones I would suggest the following:
i) In cool periods like the LIA the limiting factor for growth is temperature.
ii) In warm periods such as the MWP and today the limiting factor for growth is rainfall.
The best growth conditions occur between cold and warm periods.
So that proxy record understates the warmth of warm periods but fully reflects the coolness of cold periods.
Having dendro evidence underrating warm periods would be a problem for Mann because the MWP could have been significantly warmer than the present. There is a suggestion of that in the warmth of Greenland when the Vikings settled it. The climate zones would have to have been more poleward than at present to allow the agriculture that they engaged in.

Andy

David Duff,
I added my comment to the thread on Deltoid – I hope it’s some help.
I made a comment in reply to a numpty called Kevin who seemed to think that because the graph was ‘only on the cover’ it didn’t matter that it was being wantonly selective with the data.
Regards,
Andy

Bill Illis

Obviously, all the the tree-ring temperature reconstructions should be just thrown out.
As a technique, it does not work.
Let’s see if climate science can accept the “more-than-obvious” conclusion and move on to other temperature indicators.
If they don’t, we will be able to assess their ability to make reasonable conclusions and/or their desire to continue abusing the scientific method.

mark wagner

I’ve asked it before, and I’ll ask it again:
at what point does this level of manipulation rise to the level of fraud?
many others have been prosecuted for less.

Tony Mach

tallbloke says:
December 1, 2011 at 12:05 am
Looks like the error bars need error bars…

My first thought: Huh, a part of the data that lies outside the error band? But you hit the nail on the head with your remark.

Mark T

Richard:

A claim that the deletion date makes it “worse than we thought” invites argument about splicing dates which can only obscure the fact that the splicing is unforgiveable whatever the date of the splice.

I agree, but such an argument is not a scientific one, rather, it is one of political gamesmanship. The counter to any defense along this line of thought is that now there is yet another 20 years of divergence that must be dealt with, even more seriously calling into question the validity of tree rings as proxies for temperatures. If they diverged from 1940 till now, and we only have a few hundred years with which to compare, what does that say about a 1500 year comparison? Furthermore, for a 1960 divergence, there are all manner of deflections being applied, many tied to events during that period of history IIRC, but 1940 renders any of those moot.
Ultimately, tree rings tell us how well trees grow during any given period. The number of inputs and known non-linearities greatly overshadow any individual indicator.
Mark

Jud

They faced four big problems with their narrative – a medieval warm period, a little ice age, a temperature drop post 1940, and a divergence between instrumentation and proxies post 1960.
Unable to find even a single data source to cover all four problems, they had to splice together different data sources, and quite literally remove the pieces which did not fit the narrative.
It now is clear they were all aware and complicit in this – over a long period of time.
Is it any wonder they have hid, refused access to, and deleted data and correspondence?
The whole thing is astonishing – but it does support the theory that if you are going to sell a lie, better make it a big and outrageous one.
I can totally see why the general population find the counter narrative hard to believe – what we are suggesting has been going on is quite literally unbelievable if anything approaching reasonable standards are assumed.

NK

I agree with Richard S C at 1:52 am. Let’s all face certain ‘facts’ because Steve M’s discovery regarding the post-1940 drop deleted from mann’s reconstruction makes certain things fact. The CO2 theory is a valid theory of physical science; the last 200 years has seen unprecedent human intervention in the’carbon cycle’ so AnthroGW (AGW) is a valid theory, there is a massive distinction between CO2 theory and CATASTROPHIC GW (CAGW) predictions, there is now way to empirically prove CAGW because there is no database of worldwide temps pre-industrialization to date. Those are the facts. Enter Mann’s fraud. The historic DENDRO THERMOMETER temp reconstruction. He came up with physical evidence proving CAGW. There was a problem. There is no Dendro thermometer — trees are a rough analoge to a mass of factors including temps, humidy, rainfall, cloud cover, drought, ice storms etc etc. They are NOT thermometers. So he had a bogus theory — fair enough. His fraud was deleting inconvenient post 1940 data, and covering that up since then. His greed was all the grant money and publicity to be had from his proof of CAGW. He’s been exposed as a fraud– nothing he says can be considered credible. Those are the facts.

NK

Jud– they had a bigger problem. trees are not thermometers. The rest of your comment is spot on.

Richard S Courtney

richard verney:
At December 1, 2011 at 3:21 am you say to me:

I consider that any reasonable scientist in this situation would conclude that the proxy was not reliable and should be wholly disregarded, and that no reconstruction of events earlier than the instrument record could be made using that particular proxy.
Thus the issue here is why did these scientists not throw out the proxy? Why did they go ahead and make a reconstruction based upon what was so obviously a patently flawed and unreliable proxy?”
For clarity, I reply that I completely agree. Indeed, I have often said the same myself (including on WUWT).
But I was making a different point. Simply, the splicing of parts of two different data sets is not acceptable: it is plain wrong. And I have been saying it is wrong since the week that MBH98 was published.
Nothing should be allowed to distract from the facts that the splicing is plain wrong and was done with malice of forethought.
Richard

Veritas

@Peter Miller – Good luck getting Gavin to respond. I tried posting twice yesterday at RC, pointing out that proxy chopping and manipulation (i.e. grafting) was not good science. My comments were summarily banished to the bit bucket.

Allan MacRae

I agree with my friend Richard – wrong is wrong – but the additional detail, that the false data-splice dates back to ~1940 and is visible (with magnification) in plain sight, is news to me – thanks.
My scientific conclusion is this:
These “hockey team” global warming conspirators are utterly discredited – a reasonable assumption is that EVERYTHING they have or will produce should be disregarded.
This conclusion saves considerable time and energy…
… and I trust that true energy conservation is something we can all agree on.
__________________________
BTW, splicing together two dissimilar datasets to promote the fantasy of humanmade global warming was also used by “the team ” in a bogus attempt to say that Antarctica was warming. Remember this, from 2009?
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/01/21/antarctica-warming-an-evolution-of-viewpoint/#comment-80957

Pamela Gray

Tallbloke I would take that one step further. These GIGO climate scientists need to start developing error bars for themselves!!!! And the funny thing about that, is that they probably have already done that…you know…just in case.

Veritas

@Peter Miller (Update) – My post and a reply from earlier today. They (Dr. Schmidt) chose to remove a portion of my comment. The part that now reads [edit] originally stated “proxy manipulation as bad science”.

579. I see now how this site works. Why did you not allow my comment about [edit]. That’s just another reason why people believe that something is being hidden.
[Response: What is being hidden is the endless repetition of tired insults and talking points. Take it elsewhere. – gavin]
Comment by Veritas — 1 Dec 2011 @ 8:38 AM

DCA

I notice that the red line (temp record) is wider and place on top of the other lines. I suppose this is to cover up those being chopped off.

Johnnythelowery

Lucy: I went to the EOS paper you linked to see for myself per your recommendation. However, there are no lines the pass over and infront of the big red line. I could not find the snap shot of McKintyres (presumably of the same EOS plot) with the actual EOS. Can you do a snap shot in progressively higher magnifications.

Splicing the dataset to drop the non-fits, as Richard Courtney observes, is done “with malice a forethought” and this is unforgiveable. Yet I think that the splice setup is even worse than the Briffa deletion.
(1) it looks like it isn’t just Briffa that’s been deleted or curtailed too soon
(2) those iniquitous pseudo-data from models are there, looking like they prop up a “meteoric rise” in thermometer records. These do NOT belong here at all, and simply make more visual distractions
(3) Look at Siberian thermometer records compared with local treering records 1880-2005. The treering records do not remotely resemble the thermometer records regarding years of high temperatures or low temperatures; yet the thermometer records agree closely with each other. Trees are self-evidently no use as thermometers. However, treeline records DO show a correspondence with climate changes – showing, of course, a warmer MWP in Siberia.
(4) of course, the EOS paper simply puts in all the pro-hockey-stick papers and omits all the rest, the papers against which the Team is fighting with this paper. I want to be reminded, which are the rogue HS-creators in each recon?? (Tiljander etc)

Theo Goodwin

Stephen Wilde says:
December 1, 2011 at 4:06 am
“Actually the Briffa record up to 1940 is a pretty good reflection of what we do know from other data about tropospheric temperature changes over the past 600 years.
So that proxy record understates the warmth of warm periods but fully reflects the coolness of cold periods.
Having dendro evidence underrating warm periods would be a problem for Mann because the MWP could have been significantly warmer than the present.”
There is an apparent conflict in your statements. How can the record be a pretty good reflection of what we know from other data over the past 600 years yet the proxy understates the warmth to the degree found in hide the decline?
I think many people are struggling with this question. It does seem a big step to say that the entire proxy record is as untrustworthy as the years 1940-2000, roughly the period in “hide the decline.” I believe that the entire record must be viewed as untrustworthy until we have some scientific evidence to the contrary. At the very least, we must conclude on what we know now that tree ring proxies cannot be treated as a linear function of temperature.
The importance of “hiding the decline” has not received a full explanation. What makes the hiding worse than we thought is that it reveals that the scientists involved either do not have the instincts of empirical scientists or they overcame their instincts. Upon making the discovery of the decline in tree ring width, a genuine scientist would have seen that this discovery is the important product of his work and would have published the matter and undertaken empirical research to determine why the decline occurred. No member of The Team did that. If we do not understand this larger point about “hiding the decline” then we do not understand the degree to which The Team betrayed science.

Sandrina

I would have thought that Horner etc have enough evidence by now (re emails) to put Mann (and other persons aiding and abetting at Penn State and UEA) in Jail/or fines for public fraud.

Stephen Wilde

“They faced four big problems with their narrative – a medieval warm period, a little ice age, a temperature drop post 1940, and a divergence between instrumentation and proxies post 1960.”
A neat explanation:
i) The cooling period post 1940 shows up nicely in the dendro data with a reduction in tree growth.
ii) From 1960 the UHI effect starts to influence thermometer readngs and the divergence begins.
iii) From 1975 to 2000 a poleward shift in the climate zones causes drought issues for tree growth which declines further.
iv) From 1975 to 2000 the UHI effect is compounded by a run of strong El Ninos raising tropospheric temperatures.
The result is a large divergence between surface sensors and dendro data.

Pedro saldivar QC

I would say that the WHOLE editorial staff at Nature and main editors needs to be fired/replaced totally, over the whole climate science issue to get some credibility back for what was now become a “trash journal”

Bob Rogers

Anyone who has ever grown a tree (or nearly any plant) knows that growth is limited by water. In drought years trees don’t grow much, no matter what the temperature is.