Read on for a new Josh cartoon.
What’s wrong with this image? Well if you are part of The Team (RealClimate and friends), it goes against everything you’ve been publishing. You want the Medieval Warm Period to disappear, and you want a hockey stick at the end showing “unprcedented” warming. The shape below just doesn’t cut it when that’s what you are
On the left is temperature in °C, on the X axis, years, with labels from 0AD to the year 2000.
Images like the above don’t sell. With a clear MWP and no hockey stick, there’s no alarm, and no $$ coming in for “further studies”. In the Wake of the Gergis et al retraction, Steve McIntyre notes that one of the “screened out” datasets just happens to be the one with the best resolution and the greatest duration – the Law Dome Oxygen 18 data set (from Antarctica). He writes:
An annual version for two millennia was provided to Gergis (who screened it out.) delD and O18 are closely related and presumably the unarchived del D series will look somewhat similar.
For those that don’t know what this data represents, here’s a quick primer from Wikipedia.
Oxygen isotope ratio cycles are cyclical variations in the ratio of the abundance of oxygen with an atomic mass of 18 to the abundance of oxygen with an atomic mass of 16 present in some substances, such as polar ice or calcite in ocean core samples. The ratio is linked to water temperature of ancient oceans, which in turn reflects ancient climates. Cycles in the ratio mirror climate changes in geologic history.
Connection between temperature and climate
The 18O/16O ratio provides a record of ancient water temperature. Water 10 to 15 °C (18 to 27 °F) cooler than present represents glaciation. As colder temperatures spread toward the equator, water vapor rich in 18O preferentially rains out at lower latitudes. The remaining water vapor that condenses over higher latitudes is subsequently rich in 16O. Precipitation and therefore glacial ice contain water with a low 18O content. Since large amounts of 16O water are being stored as glacial ice, the 18O content of oceanic water is high. Water up to 5 °C (9 °F) warmer than today represents an interglacial, when the 18O content of oceanic water is lower. A plot of ancient water temperature over time indicates that climate has varied cyclically, with large cycles and harmonics, or smaller cycles, superimposed on the large ones. This technique has been especially valuable for identifying glacial maxima and minima in the Pleistocene.
Oxygen isotope series are the backbone of deep-time paleoclimate. The canonical 800,000 year comparison of CO2 and temperature uses O18 values from Vostok, Antarctica to estimate temperature. In deep time, O18 values are a real success story: they clearly show changes from the LGM to the Holocene that cohere with glacial moraines.
On its face, Law Dome, which was screened out by Gergis and Karoly, is an extraordinarily important Holocene site as it is, to my knowledge, the highest-accumulation Holocene site yet known, with accumulation almost 10 times greater than the canonical Vostok site. (Accumulation is directly related to resolution: high accumulation enables high resolution.) The graphic below compares glacier thickness for some prominent sites for three periods: 1500-2000, 1000-1500 and 0-1000. its resolution in the past two millennia is nearly double the resolution of the Greenland GRIP and NGRIP sites that have been the topic of intensive study and publication.
Given the high reliance on O18 series in deep time, one would think that paleoclimatologists would be extremely interested in a publication of the Law Dome O18 data and be pressuring Tas van Ommen on this point.
But despite the apparent opportunity offered by Law Dome, there has been virtually no technical publication of a high-resolution O18 or delD isotope series.
A Climategate email shows that Phil Jones asked about the omission of the Law Dome series from the IPCC illustration in the AR4 First Draft. I asked the same question about the AR4 Second Draft. They realized that the Law Dome graphic had an elevated medieval period and thus, including it in the graphic would – to borrow a phrase from the preparation of AR3 – would “dilute the message” and perhaps provide “fodder to skeptics”.
Read the whole report at Climate Audit here
The Team keeps trying to bury this stuff, and Climate Audit keeps digging it up: