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Hide the Decline put in context

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December 14, 2009 – Comments (37)

Many have complained that Phil Jones' statement that he used a "trick" to "hide the decline" was taken out of context.  However, putting it in context paints an even worse picture for Jones and the IPCC. 

David in Qatar

IPCC and the "Trick" by Steven McIntyre

Much recent attention has been paid to the email about the “trick” and the effort to “hide the decline”. Climate scientists have complained that this email has been taken “out of context”. In this case, I’m not sure that it’s in their interests that this email be placed in context because the context leads right back to a meeting of IPCC authors in Tanzania, raising serious questions about the role of IPCC itself in “hiding the decline” in the Briffa reconstruction.

Relevant Climategate correspondence in the period (September-October 1999) leading up to the trick email is incomplete, but, in context, is highly revealing. There was a meeting of IPCC lead authors between Sept 1-3, 1999 to consider the “zero-order draft” of the Third Assessment Report. The emails provide clear evidence that IPCC had already decided to include a proxy diagram reconstructing temperature for the past 1000 years and that a version of the proxy diagram was presented at the Tanzania meeting showing the late twentieth century decline. I now have a copy of the proxy diagram presented at this meeting (see below).

The emails show that the late 20th century decline in the Briffa reconstruction was perceived by IPCC as “diluting the message”, that “everyone in the room at IPCC” thought that the Briffa decline was a “problem” and a “potential distraction/detraction”, that this was then the “most important issue” in chapter 2 of the IPCC report and that there was “pressure” on Briffa and other authors to show a “nice tidy story” of “unprecedented warming in a thousand years or more”. [Update Dec 11 - see note at bottom on the chronology. Comments from readers have clarified that the issue at the Arusha meeting was that the Briffa reconstruction "diluted the message" more through its overall inconsistency as opposed to the decline, which was still relatively attenuated in the Arusha version. After the Arusha meeting, Briffa hastily re-calculated his reconstruction sending a new version to Mann on Oct 5, 1999 and it was this hastily re-done version that introduced the very severe decline that was hidden in the First Order Draft and Jones WMO Report]

The chronology in today’s posts show that the version of the Briffa reconstruction shown in the subsequent proxy diagram in the IPCC “First Order Draft” (October 27, 1999), presumably prepared under the direction of IPCC section author Mann, deleted the inconvenient portion (post-1960) of the Briffa reconstruction, together with other modifications that had the effect of not “diluting the message”.

About two weeks later (Nov 16, 1999) came the now infamous Jones email reporting the use of “Mike’s Nature trick” to “hide the decline” in a forthcoming WMO (World Meteorological Organization) report. Jones’ methodology is different than the IPCC methodology. Jones’ trick has been described in previous posts.

Today, I’ll describe both the context of the IPCC version of the “trick” and progress to date in reverse engineering the IPCC trick.

IPCC Lead Authors’ Meeting, Sept 1999
IPCC Lead Authors met in Arusha, Tanzania from September 1 to 3, 1999 (see Houghton, 929985154.txt and 0938018124.txt), at which the final version of the “zero-order” draft of the Third Assessment Report was presented and discussed. The “First-Order Draft” was sent out to reviewers two months later (end of October 1999).

By this time, IPCC was already structuring the Summary for Policy-makers and a proxy diagram showing temperature history over the past 1000 years was a “clear favourite”.

A proxy diagram of temperature change is a clear favourite for the Policy Makers summary. (Folland, Sep 22, 1999, in 0938031546.txt)

This desire already placed “pressure” on the authors to “present a nice tidy story” about “unprecedented warming in a thousand years”:

I know there is pressure to present a nice tidy story as regards ‘apparent unprecedented warming in a thousand years or more in the proxy data’ …(Briffa, Sep 22, 1999, 0938031546.txt)

The “zero-order” draft (their Figure 2.3.3a as shown below) showed a version of the Briffa reconstruction with little variation and a noticeable decline in the late 20th century.


Figure 1. IPCC Third Assessment Report Zero-Order Draft Figure 2.3.3a Comparison of millennial Northern Hemisphere (NH) temperature reconstructions from different investigators (Briffa et al, 1998; Jones et al, 1998; Mann et al, 1998;1999a)… All the series were filtered with a 40 year Gaussian filter. The problematic Briffa reconstruction is the yellow series.

No minutes of this meeting are available, but Climategate correspondence on Sep 22-23, 1999 provides some contemporary information about the meeting. Mann noted that “everyone in the room at IPCC was in agreement that the [decline in the Briffa reconstruction] was a problem”:

Keith’s series… differs in large part in exactly the opposite direction that Phil’s does from ours. This is the problem we all picked up on (everyone in the room at IPCC was in agreement that this was a problem and a potential distraction/detraction from the reasonably concensus viewpoint we’d like to show w/ the Jones et al and Mann et al series. (Mann, Sep 22, 1999, 0938018124.txt)

IPCC Chapter Author Folland of the U.K. Hadley Center wrote to Mann, Jones and Briffa that the proxy diagram was a “clear favourite” for the Summary Policy-makers, but that the existing presentation showing the decline of the Briffa reconstruction “dilutes the message rather significantly”. After telling the section authors about the stone in his shoe, Folland added that he only “wanted the truth”.

A proxy diagram of temperature change is a clear favourite for the Policy Makers summary. But the current diagram with the tree ring only data [i.e. the Briffa reconstruction] somewhat contradicts the multiproxy curve and dilutes the message rather significantly. [We want the truth. Mike thinks it lies nearer his result (which seems in accord with what we know about worldwide mountain glaciers
and, less clearly, suspect about solar variations). The tree ring results may still suffer from lack of multicentury time scale variance. This is probably the most important issue to resolve in Chapter 2 at present..(Folland, Sep 22, 1999, in 0938031546.txt)

Climategate Letters, Sep 22-23, 1999

The Climategate Letters contain a flurry of correspondence between Mann, Briffa, Jones and Folland (copy to Tom Karl of NOAA) on Sep 22-23, 1999, shedding light on how the authors responded to the stone in IPCC’s shoe. By this time, it appears that each of the three authors (Jones, Mann and Briffa) had experimented with different approaches to the “problem” of the decline.

Jones appears to have floated the idea of using two different diagrams - one without the inconvenient Briffa reconstruction (presumably in the Summary for Policy-makers) and one with the Briffa reconstruction (presumably in the relevant chapter). Jones said that this might make it “somewhat awkward for the reader trying to put them into context”, with it being unclear whether Jones viewed this as an advantage or disadvantage:

If we go as is suggested then there would be two diagrams - one simpler one with just Mann et al and Jones et al and in another section Briffa et al. This might make it somewhat awkward for the reader trying to put them into context. (Jones, Sep 22, 1999 Jones 093801949)

Another approach is perhaps evidenced in programming changes a week earlier (Sep 13-14, 1999), in which programs in the osborn-tree6/mann/oldprog directory appear to show efforts to “correct” the calibration of the Briffa reconstruction, which may or may not be relevant to the eventual methodology to “hide the decline”.

The correspondence implies (though this is at present not proven) that IPCC section author Mann’s first reaction to the “problem” was to totally delete the Briffa reconstruction from the proxy diagram, as the correspondence of September 22 seems to have been precipitated by Briffa being unhappy at an (unseen) version of the proxy diagram in which his reconstruction had been deleted.

Briffa’s length email of Sep. 22, 19990 (938031546.txt) should be read in full. Briffa was keenly aware of the pressure to present a “nice tidy story” of "unprecedented warming", but is worried about the proxy evidence:

I know there is pressure to present a nice tidy story as regards 'apparent unprecedented warming in a thousand years or more in the proxy data' but in reality the situation is not quite so simple… [There are] some unexpected changes in response that do not match the recent warming. I do not think it wise that this issue be ignored in the chapter. (Briffa, Sep 22, 1999, 0938031546.txt)

He continued:

For the record, I do believe that the proxy data do show unusually warm conditions in recent decades. I am not sure that this unusual warming is so clear in the summer responsive data. I believe that the recent warmth was probably matched about 1000 years ago. I do not believe that global mean annual temperatures have simply cooled progressively over thousands of years as Mike appears to and I contend that that there is strong evidence for major changes in climate over the Holocene (not Milankovich) that require explanation and that could represent part of the current or future background variability of our climate. (Briffa, Sep 22, 1999, 0938031546.txt)

Thus, when Mann arrived at work on Sep 22, 1999, Mann observed that he had walked into a “hornet’s nest”. (Mann Sep 22, 1999, 0938018124.txt). In an effort to resolve the dispute, Mann said that (subject to the agreement of Chapter Authors Karl and Folland) he would add back Briffa’s reconstruction, but pointed out that this would present a “conundrum”:

So if Chris[Folland] and Tom [Karl] are ok with this, I would be happy to add Keith’s series. That having been said, it does raise a conundrum: We demonstrate [through comparining an exatropical averaging of our nothern hemisphere patterns with Phil's more extratropical series) that the major discrepancies between Phil's and our series can be explained in terms of spatial sampling/latitudinal emphasis (seasonality seems to be secondary here, but probably explains much of the residual differences). But that explanation certainly can't rectify why Keith's series, which has similar seasonality *and* latitudinal emphasis to Phil's series, differs in large part in exactly the opposite direction that Phil's does from ours.] This is the problem we all picked up on (everyone in the room at IPCC was in agreement that this was a problem and a potential distraction/detraction from the reasonably concensus viewpoint we’d like to show w/ the Jones et al and Mann et al series. (Mann Sep 22, 0938018124.txt

Mann went on to say that the skeptics would have a “field day” if the declining Briffa reconstruction were shown and that he’d “hate to be the one” to give them “fodder”:

So, if we show Keith’s series in this plot, we have to comment that “something else” is responsible for the discrepancies in this case. [Perhaps Keith can help us out a bit by explaining the processing that went into the series and the potential factors that might lead to it being "warmer" than the Jones et al and Mann et al series?? We would need to put in a few words in this regard] Otherwise, the skeptics have an field day casting doubt on our ability to understand the factors that influence these estimates and, thus, can undermine faith in the paleoestimates. I don’t think that doubt is scientifically justified, and I’d hate to be the one to have to give it fodder! (Mann Sep 22, 0938018124.txt)

By the following day, matters seem to have settled down, with Briffa apologizing to Mann for his temporary pangs of conscience. On Oct 5, 1999, Osborn (on behalf of Briffa) sent Mann a revised version of the Briffa reconstruction with more “low-frequency” variability (Osborn, Oct 5, 1999, 0939154709.txt), a version that is identical up to 1960, this version is identical to the digital version archived at NCDC for Briffa et al (JGR 2001). (The post-1960 values of this version were not “shown” in the version archived at NCDC; they were deleted.)

As discussed below, this version had an even larger late-20th century decline than the version shown at the Tanzania Lead Authors’ meeting. Nonetheless, the First Order Draft (Oct 27, 1999) sent out a few weeks later contained a new version of the proxy diagram (Figure 2.25), a version which contains the main elements of the eventual Third Assessment Report proxy diagram (Figure 2.21). Two weeks later came Jones’ now infamous “trick” email (0942777075.txt).

The IPCC Trick

Mann’s IPCC trick is related to the Jones’ trick, but different. (The Jones trick has been explained in previous CA posts here, here and consists of replacing the tree ring data with temperature data after 1960 – thereby hiding the decline – and then showing the smoothed graph as a proxy reconstruction.) While some elements of the IPCC Trick can be identified with considerable certainty, other elements are still somewhat unclear.

The diagram below shows the IPCC version of the Briffa reconstruction (digitized from the IPCC 2001) compared to actual Briffa data from the Climategate email of October 5, 1999, smoothed using the methodology said to have been used in the caption to the IPCC figure (a 40 year Hamming filter with end-point padding with the mean of the closing 20 years).


Figure 3. Versions of the Briffa Reconstruction in controversy, comparing the original data smoothed according to the reported methodology to a digitization of the IPCC version.

Clearly, there are a number of important differences between the version sent to Mann and the version that appeared in the IPCC report. The most obvious is, of course, that the decline in the Briffa reconstruction has, for the most part, been deleted from the IPCC proxy diagram. However, there are some other frustrating inconsistencies and puzzles that are all too familiar.

There are some more technical inconsistencies that I’ll record for specialist readers. It is very unlikely that that the IPCC caption is correct in stating that a 40-year Hamming filter was used. Based on comparisons of the MBH reconstruction and Jones reconstruction, as well as the Briffa reconstruction, to versions constructed from raw data, it appears that a Butterworth filter was used – a filter frequently used in Mann’s subsequent work (a detail that, in addition, bears on the authorship of the graphic itself).

Second, the IPCC caption stated that “boundary constraints imposed by padding the series with its mean values during the first and last 25 years.” Again, this doesn’t seem to reconcile with efforts to replicate the IPCC version from raw data. It appears far more likely to me that each of the temperature series has been padded with instrumental temperatures rather than the mean values of the last 25 years.

Finally, there are puzzling changes in scale. The underlying annual data for the Jones and Briffa reconstructions are expressed in deg C (basis 1961-1990) and should scale simply to the smoothed version in the IPCC version, but don’t quite. This may partly derive from errors introduced in digitization, but is a loose end in present replication efforts.

The final IPCC diagram (2.21) is shown below. In this rendering, the Briffa reconstruction is obviously no longer “a problem and a potential distraction/detraction”and does not “dilute the message”. Mann has not given any “fodder” to the skeptics, who obviously did not have a “field day” with the decline.

IPCC Third Assessment Report Figure 2.21: Comparison of warm-season (Jones et al., 1998) and annual mean (Mann et al., 1998, 1999) multi-proxy-based and warm season tree-ring-based (Briffa, 2000) millennial Northern Hemisphere temperature reconstructions. The recent instrumental annual mean Northern Hemisphere temperature record to 1999 is shown for comparison. Also shown is an extra-tropical sampling of the Mann et al. (1999) temperature pattern reconstructions more directly comparable in its latitudinal sampling to the Jones et al. series. The self-consistently estimated two standard error limits (shaded region) for the smoothed Mann et al. (1999) series are shown. The horizontal zero line denotes the 1961 to 1990 reference period mean temperature. All series were smoothed with a 40-year Hamming-weights lowpass filter, with boundary constraints imposed by padding the series with its mean values during the first and last 25 years.

Contrary to claims by various climate scientists, the IPCC Third Assessment Report did not disclose the deletion of the post-1960 values. Nor did it discuss the “divergence problem”. Yes, there had been previous discussion of the problem in the peer-reviewed literature (Briffa et al 1998) – a point made over and over by Gavin Schmidt and others. But not in the IPCC Third Assessment Report. Nor was the deletion of the declining values reported or disclosed in the IPCC Third Assessment Report. [Dec 11.- IPCC TAR does contain a sly allusion to the problem; it mentions "evidence" that tree ring density variations had "changed in their response in recent decades". Contrary to claims of realclimate commenters, this does not constitute disclosure of the deletion of the post-1960 values in the controversial figure or even of the decline itself.] The hiding of the decline was made particularly artful because the potentially dangling 1960 endpoint of the Briffa reconstruction was hidden under other lines in the spaghetti graph as shown in the following blow-up:


Figure. Blow-up of IPCC Third Assessment Report Fig 2-21.

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.

Returning to the original issue: climate scientists say that the “trick” is now being taken out of context. The Climategate Letters show clearly that the relevant context is the IPCC Lead Authors’ meeting in Tanzania in September 1999 at which the decline in the Briffa reconstruction was perceived by IPCC as “diluting the message”, as a “problem”, as a “potential distraction/detraction”. A stone in their shoe.

Update (Dec 11) : Some of the follow-up comments on this post do shed light on this sequence and enable a more precise interpretation of the emails. With the benefit of these comments, there are a couple of points on the chronology that I need to modify, particularly in respect to the role of the October 5 revision of the Briffa reconstruction in respect both to the Arusha meeting and to the hide the decline.

The Arusha meeting objected to the Briffa reconstruction “diluting the message” and reducing confidence in the multiproxy reconstructions. And, of course, it is the overstated confidence that has been the primary objection here. However, I agree with critics who observe that the proximate objection to the Briffa reconstruction at Arusha was not that the decline per se diluted the message, but the Briffa reconstruction overall diluted the message and interfered with a “tidy story”. The stone in the shoe was that the Briffa reconstruction prevented a “tidy story”; the “decline” as a separate problem came a bit later.

After the Arusha meeting, Briffa hurriedly re-did his chronology and the new version was delivered to Mann on Oct 5, 1999 – it was this version that had the big decline. In the First Order Draft of Oct 27, 1999, IPCC author Mann deleted the post-1960 portion of the Briffa reconstruction plus other things that I don’t yet quite understand. Jones’ trick, as observed in the post, is a little different. (The post-1960 portion of the Briffa reconstruction was also deleted from the NCDC archive and the Climategate Letters, as previously noted, was the first digital “archive” of the post-1960 Briffa reconstruction used in TAR.)

As of Oct 5, 1999, the revised Briffa reconstruction had not been presented in any peer-reviewed literature but nonetheless was adopted by IPCC. The hasty recalculation of the Briffa reconstruction resulted in a big decline in the late 20th century – this is the decline illustrated in the graphic in my post.

In the First Order Draft of late October 1999, IPCC did not show the decline. In the Jones trick email two weeks later, as noted above, Jones hid the decline in a slightly different way.

Nearly 1000 Arrested in Copenhagen

Tempers flare.

Copenhagen police arrested 968 green protesters on Sunday, Danish TV reports, for smashing several shop windows and lobbing rocks at cops during an otherwise peaceful protest march to the Bella Center, where climate change talks are being held.

Most of those arrested engaged in nonviolent resistance, but a handful of confrontations with officers turned nasty, especially in the city's Christiana neighborhood.

The police said that four cars were set ablaze, and an officer reported being struck in the jaw with a rock.

The rally – estimated at more than 50,000 -- began at Christiansborg Slotsplads, in the heart of the city, and proceeded slowly in mid-afternoon south to the convention center, ringed by a cordon of black police vans and officers in riot gear.

37 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On December 14, 2009 at 1:14 AM, whereaminow (34.08) wrote:

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#2) On December 14, 2009 at 7:01 AM, whereaminow (34.08) wrote:

999.9
999.9
999.9
999.9
999.9
999.9
999.9
999.9
999.9

Do you know what that number signifies?

David in Qatar

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#3) On December 14, 2009 at 7:17 AM, whereaminow (34.08) wrote:

The rule which I dare to enact and declare,
Is that all shall be equal and equally share
All wealth and enjoyments, nor longer endure
That one should be rich, and another be poor,
That one should have acres, far-stretching and wide,
And another not even enough to provide
Himself with a grave: that this at his call
Should have hundreds of servants, and that none at all.
All this I intend to correct and amend:
Now all of all blessings shall freely partake,
One life and one system for all men I make.

This work is actually a comedic farce called Ecclesiazusae, written approximately 390 B.C. 

It's among the oldest communist texts.  It was meant as a joke.  Repeated today however, it sounds like a speech delivered at a political convention to cheering masses.  Now, that's Progressivism!

David in Qatar

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#4) On December 14, 2009 at 8:36 AM, ChrisGraley (30.06) wrote:

Hey I've got a trick too!

By carefully picking the locations for temperature measurements, I can make the measured temperature go up, down or sideways!

Take your pick!

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#5) On December 14, 2009 at 8:46 AM, whereaminow (34.08) wrote:

ChrisGraley,

Haha, you may be a mind reader as my next post is alluded to in comment #2.

Say it with me.... 999.9!

The "junk science" is so pervasive that everywhere you look: IPCC, GISS, NASA, you find preposterous methods, cherry picked or smoothed data, intentional withholding or destruction of methodologies, etc.

What kind of people can still believe in this junk?

David in Qatar 

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#6) On December 14, 2009 at 8:48 AM, djemonk (< 20) wrote:

 whereaminow,

I've never really been clear about what your position is.  Are you saying that the science is wrong or the legislation is wrong?  Your arguments seem to be centered around poking holes in the people and the organizations, but I might have missed your actual position.  I assume that you're not just flinging mud for no reason here.

Then again, I've lived outside of my home country for extended periods of time and dealt with culture shock, as well.  I might have taken up a crusade like this when I was stressed out and surrounded by Koreans.  You certainly seem to have put a lot of time into this, so I was just curious as to your motivation.

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#7) On December 14, 2009 at 8:55 AM, whereaminow (34.08) wrote:

djemonk,

Koreans?  LOL.  Well, my position is and always has been that I trust no one with power.  I have never said that I know that the globe is warming or cooling or that I understand the ramifications of either.  However, I do have a great deal of experience with government workers, and they are a motley lot.

David in Qatar 

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#8) On December 14, 2009 at 8:56 AM, nzsvz9 (< 20) wrote:

Ah ... the chart war begins. I await the reposting of more charts from the usual sources.

A question I had posted elsewhere NEVER got addressed. A large part of North America was covered in ice sheets - over a mile thick - and they have been melting and retreating for the last 20,000 years. What caused that?

Known not as a denier but as skeptic nzsvz9

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#9) On December 14, 2009 at 9:09 AM, nzsvz9 (< 20) wrote:

I also want to know who set the "zero" line. Is this the average temperature of the earth since creation? Someone, some group, some body of "scientisticians" CHOSE this zero line. It is arbitrary, ten degrees warmer or colder would be just as arbitrary. Yet this line biases the discussion does it not?

Known as simple graph skeptic nzsvz9

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#10) On December 14, 2009 at 9:39 AM, ChrisGraley (30.06) wrote:

Since we are promoting t-shirts.

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#11) On December 14, 2009 at 9:40 AM, ChrisGraley (30.06) wrote:

Why doesn't anyone focus on Water vapor? It causes more global warming than anything else!

I can imagine building giant dehumidifiers all over the world. This would be a great boom to countries where water is scarce.

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#12) On December 14, 2009 at 9:41 AM, ChrisGraley (30.06) wrote:

http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://graphjam.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/song-chart-memes-think-2012.jpg&imgrefurl=http://graphjam.com/2009/11/19/funny-graphs-end-world/&usg=__trckcZwt2XBPDjzUseFCx4FadTw=&h=470&w=504&sz=28&hl=en&start=3&um=1&tbnid=1YYpP3LGQc7OsM:&tbnh=121&tbnw=130&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dfunny%2Bglobal%2Bwarming%2Bchart%26hl%3Den%26safe%3Dactive%26sa%3DN%26um%3D1

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#13) On December 14, 2009 at 9:44 AM, ChrisGraley (30.06) wrote:

And another one...

http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://butnowyouknow.files.wordpress.com/2009/07/globa-mean-temp.gif&imgrefurl=http://antigreen.blogspot.com/2009_08_01_archive.html&usg=__N-gohcLoakAQtZ7XwtCYeISsELg=&h=427&w=469&sz=13&hl=en&start=11&um=1&tbnid=PECtQiO98p5BIM:&tbnh=117&tbnw=128&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dfunny%2Bglobal%2Bwarming%2Bchart%26hl%3Den%26safe%3Dactive%26sa%3DN%26um%3D1

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#14) On December 14, 2009 at 10:18 AM, dudemonkey (40.40) wrote:

It is arbitrary, ten degrees warmer or colder would be just as arbitrary. Yet this line biases the discussion does it not?

This wouldn't change the discussion.  The graph would be the same regardless of the left axis.  Shifting by 10 degrees would just shift the colored lines up or down by 10 degrees, but they'd all move in tandemn.

If you studied analytic geometry at all in high school or college, this is just adding a constant to an equation.  It shifts it up or down the left axis, but doesn't change the graph at all.

Hope this helps.

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#15) On December 14, 2009 at 11:17 AM, nzsvz9 (< 20) wrote:

dudemonkey

I get the basics of it, (in simplistic terms the y=mx + b where b is the constant) but my point is someone chose the baseline - it is not arbitrary. Of course the line (or best fit curve) would still demonstrate the same characteristic - with or without b - but someone chose b. Do you knot think the "hockey stick" breaking through the "average line" is significant (emotionally) to the lay person reviewing the graph - perhaps to the point of being alarming? Do you see what I'm saying?

Known as the linear nzsvz9

 

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#16) On December 14, 2009 at 11:19 AM, dudemonkey (40.40) wrote:

Well, my position is and always has been that I trust no one with power.  I have never said that I know that the globe is warming or cooling or that I understand the ramifications of either.  However, I do have a great deal of experience with government workers, and they are a motley lot.

This clarification is much appreciated.  My initial reaction to your postings was that this was driven from an ideological perspective (ie, you had made up your mind already and were just backfilling evidence to prove your "conclusion").  I might have been in error in thinking that.

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#17) On December 14, 2009 at 11:20 AM, kdakota630 (29.65) wrote:

Why doesn't anyone focus on Water vapor? It causes more global warming than anything else!

I always wonder what would happen if we had the alkaline fuel cell as the main source of power with all the waste water vapour that they produce, what all the environmentalists would do if all that extra water vapour caused some actual global warming.

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#18) On December 14, 2009 at 11:21 AM, dudemonkey (40.40) wrote:

Do you knot think the "hockey stick" breaking through the "average line" is significant (emotionally) to the lay person reviewing the graph - perhaps to the point of being alarming? Do you see what I'm saying?

I see where you're coming from.  I was going to put a qualifier in my post saying something to the effect of "this doesn't really take into account the emotional reactions one might have when seeing this graph."  You're totally right in that the zero line does seem to have been chosen specifically to highlight the "hockey stick" at the end.

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#19) On December 14, 2009 at 11:29 AM, whereaminow (34.08) wrote:

An issue that needs to be raised sooner or later:

The scientists don't have temperature data from thermometer readings past 100 years, so they rely on tree ring data to help paint the picture.  That is understandable.  What is hard to understand is that all of the sudden they claim the tree ring data from the last 40 yaers is no good, even though in the same breath they say that tree ring data from 1000 years ago is good.  That makes absolutely no sense to me.

Instead, they use only thermometer readings. You might initially say, well great!  Thermometers have to be better right?  But unfortunately, as you will see, the thermometer readings are atrocious.  They remove any station that has a low reading and replace with a smoothed average of stations that have a higher reading.  It would be bad enough if they just removed it, but instead they remove and smooth in many cases.  

So what's left to believe when it comes to past reconstructions?

David in Qatar

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#20) On December 14, 2009 at 11:33 AM, whereaminow (34.08) wrote:

And again, this is vitally important because it this very hockey stick graph that really drove the consensus.  It seems to be a product of the IPCC (justifying their bureaucratic budget), Jones ($22.6 million), and Mann (hardcore anticapitalist).

Motives are not even really necessary, but I added them as possible explanations. 

The fact is that McIntyre's work in uncovering Mann's secret methodology is very important.  Mann's hockey stick accelerated this whole phenonomen and has us at Copenhagen today.  He needs to release his methodology.  They need to add the Briffa reconstruction back in. Then we need to see where we really stand.  

This closed door science is frustrating as hell.

David in Qatar

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#21) On December 14, 2009 at 1:11 PM, nzsvz9 (< 20) wrote:

And this science is now emotionally pulling at the heartstrings of people with articles like this one Koalas, penguins at risk of extinction: study coming from Copenhagen.

Clownfish - aka Nemo (from finding Nemo) and Koalas (the inspiration for Teddy Bears) destined for extinction because of us. And our emissions. I am such a species decline denier.

I was soooo wrong. There's no agenda on the other side. None at all. Can you all forgive me? I need to start looking for links to more alarming charts so we can reverse this. I want the un-extinctions to begin. And if I work hard enough, I can really push science to clone a dinosaur; I think they would if it tasted better than chicken.

Known as species-ist nzsvz9

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#22) On December 14, 2009 at 2:47 PM, nzsvz9 (< 20) wrote:

Just looking at the graph, another thought coems to mind. DOes it look like the "band of uncertainty" is tightenting over time? They grey zone on fhe chart "IPCC diagram (2.21)" is getting more narrow.

At about year 1600 the data series (Mann et al 30-70 degrees) is added and the range of uncertainty narrows significantly. Yet, at about year 1400 when the the data series (Briffa) is adde, the range does not seem to narrow. The range is tightest from 1900 on, as the lines converge (as one would statistically expect from such an overlap of source data series).

But what would the layman think? Perhaps that over time the science gets "better" and more "accurate" and so the convergence of the range speaks loudly - as much as the recent run up hockey stick. Excluding Briffa data probably reinforces that "narrower range" and would, IMHO, tend to lead one on the path to conclude the scientists are "getting it right".

But I'm no scientician.

Known as layman nzsvz9

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#23) On December 14, 2009 at 8:17 PM, ChrisGraley (30.06) wrote:

nzsv9 that's not a bad line of thought but if you wanted to exclude Briffa for that reason then you should also exclude Mann.

There is nothing wrong with excluding the extreme end of a set of data as long as you exclude the other end of that same set of data equally. That would narrow the range but also add to the possibility that your estimate is incorrect. Your margin of error would be higher in that case.

When you exclude one end of any range of data without proving why it's incorrect it's only because you want to manipulate the results.

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#24) On December 14, 2009 at 9:49 PM, 292972826 wrote:

It is so bad, it makes me think to the anti Darwinist movement...

 

 

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#25) On December 14, 2009 at 10:53 PM, Toburk (57.40) wrote:

 

Hockey Stick over Time - Narrated

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mxmo9DskYE&feature=player_embedded

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#26) On December 15, 2009 at 6:48 AM, whereaminow (34.08) wrote:

lucas1985,

Pretty graph. Can you respond to the question I posed in comment #19. 

What happened in 1961 that made tree ring data suddenly erroneous.

Thanks,

David in Qatar

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#27) On December 15, 2009 at 9:55 AM, whereaminow (34.08) wrote:

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#28) On December 16, 2009 at 5:23 PM, lucas1985 (< 20) wrote:

@whereaminow,
"It's among the oldest communist texts."
It never ceases to amaze me your giant leaps of logic. In this case, a discussion of the paleo community on how to handle a problematic tree-ring chronology which disagrees with a vast array of evidence, including other and more numerous tree-ring chronologies is assumed to mean a giant communist conspiracy. Please, double the thickness of your tinfoil hat.

"IPCC, GISS, NASA, you find preposterous methods, cherry picked or smoothed data, intentional withholding or destruction of methodologies, etc."
GISSTEmp
"The basic GISS temperature analysis scheme was defined in the late 1970s by James Hansen when a method of estimating global temperature change was needed for comparison with one-dimensional global climate models. Prior temperature analyses, most notably those of Murray Mitchell, covered only 20-90°N latitudes. Our rationale was that the number of Southern Hemisphere stations was sufficient for a meaningful estimate of global temperature change, because temperature anomalies and trends are highly correlated over substantial geographical distances. Our first published results (Hansen et al. 1981) showed that, contrary to impressions from northern latitudes, global cooling after 1940 was small, and there was net global warming of about 0.4°C between the 1880s and 1970s.
The analysis method was documented in Hansen and Lebedeff (1987), showing that the correlation of temperature change was reasonably strong for stations separated by up to 1200 km, especially at middle and high latitudes. They obtained quantitative estimates of the error in annual and 5-year mean temperature change by sampling at station locations a spatially complete data set of a long run of a global climate model, which was shown to have realistic spatial and temporal variability.
This derived error bar only addressed the error due to incomplete spatial coverage of measurements. As there are other potential sources of error, such as urban warming near meteorological stations, etc., many other methods have been used to verify the approximate magnitude of inferred global warming. These methods include inference of surface temperature change from vertical temperature profiles in the ground (bore holes) at many sites around the world, rate of glacier retreat at many locations, and studies by several groups of the effect of urban and other local human influences on the global temperature record. All of these yield consistent estimates of the approximate magnitude of global warming, which has now increased to about twice the magnitude that we reported in 1981. Still further affirmation of the reality of the warming is its spatial distribution, which shows largest values at locations remote from any local human influence, with a global pattern consistent with that expected for response to global climate forcings (larger in the Northern Hemisphere than the Southern Hemisphere, larger at high latitudes than low latitudes, larger over land than over ocean).
Some improvements in the analysis were made several years ago (Hansen et al. 1999; Hansen et al. 2001), including use of satellite-observed night lights to determine which stations in the United States are located in urban and peri-urban areas, the long-term trends of those stations being adjusted to agree with long-term trends of nearby rural stations.

Current Analysis Method
The current analysis uses surface air temperatures measurements from the following data sets: the unadjusted data of the Global Historical Climatology Network (Peterson and Vose, 1997 and 1998), United States Historical Climatology Network (USHCN) data, and SCAR (Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research) data from Antarctic stations. The basic analysis method is described by Hansen et al. (1999), with several modifications described by Hansen et al. (2001) also included.
Graphs and tables are updated around the 10th of every month using the current GHCN and SCAR files. The new files incorporate reports for the previous month and late reports and corrections for earlier months. NOAA updates the USHCN data at a slower, less regular frequency; we switch to a later version as soon as a new complete year is available.
The GHCN/USHCN/SCAR data are modified in two steps to obtain station data from which our tables, graphs, and maps are constructed. In step 1, if there are multiple records at a given location, these are combined into one record; in step 2, the urban and peri-urban (i.e., other than rural) stations are adjusted so that their long-term trend matches that of the mean of neighboring rural stations. Urban stations without nearby rural stations are dropped.
A global temperature index, as described by Hansen et al. (1996), is obtained by combining the meteorological station measurements with sea surface temperatures based in early years on ship measurements and in recent decades on satellite measurements. Uses of this data should credit the original sources, specifically the British HadISST group (Rayner and others) and the NOAA satellite analysis group (Reynolds, Smith and others).
(See references.)
The analysis is limited to the period since 1880 because of poor spatial coverage of stations and decreasing data quality prior to that time. Meteorological station data provide a useful indication of temperature change in the Northern Hemisphere extratropics for a few decades prior to 1880, and there are a small number of station records that extend back to previous centuries. However, we believe that analyses for these earlier years need to be carried out on a station by station basis with an attempt to discern the method and reliability of measurements at each station, a task beyond the scope of our analysis. Global studies of still earlier times depend upon incorporation of proxy measures of temperature change. References to such studies are provided in Hansen et al. (1999).
Modifications to the analysis since 2001 are described on the separate Updates to Analysis.
Programs used in the GISTEMP analysis and documentation on their use are available for download. The programs assume a Unix-like operating system and require familiarity with FORTRAN, C and Python for installation and use."

It's clear: no description of methodologies, no downloadable code, spurious statistical analysis, cherry-picking. Hansen et al must be a fraud.


"What kind of people can still believe in this junk?"
I ask myself that very question: how can people be so gullible to propaganda crafted by the denial industry. It's because they're scientific illiterates, it's because they listen all the time to partisan hacks uninterested in the truth, it's because of the comfy reassuring given by the fossil fuel industry (it's all fine, keep filling your tank), it's because they exercise cognitive dissonance to facts that would undermine their worldview and thus their self-confidence?

"Well, my position is and always has been that I trust no one with power."
Understandable. Knowledge is power so you distrust knowledgeable people.

"I have never said that I know that the globe is warming or cooling or that I understand the ramifications of either."
Yet you post endless blog entries parroting talking points you don't understand. You feel capable of questioning the competence and integrity of scientists yet you know nothing about the subject you rant about. Classy.

"The scientists don't have temperature data from thermometer readings past 100 years, so they rely on tree ring data to help paint the picture.  That is understandable.  What is hard to understand is that all of the sudden they claim the tree ring data from the last 40 yaers is no good, even though in the same breath they say that tree ring data from 1000 years ago is good.  That makes absolutely no sense to me."
It makes no sense to you because you know nothing about the subject. Armchair skepticism has its limits. Bear with me:
- A small fraction of tree-ring chronologies are affected by the divergence problem.
- Scientists are confident in tree-ring data from the past because they carefully construct the chronologies looking for trees that are temperature-limited in their growth and the readings are calibrated against thermometers.
- Other lines of evidence (paleoclimatic proxies) agree with tree-rings in the past and disagree with the fraction of affected tree-rings in the present.
- The divergence problem is well-documented in the scientific literature for more than a decade and it's an area of ongoing research. Hardly an example of secretive behavior.

"Instead, they use only thermometer readings. You might initially say, well great!  Thermometers have to be better right?  But unfortunately, as you will see, the thermometer readings are atrocious.  They remove any station that has a low reading and replace with a smoothed average of stations that have a higher reading.  It would be bad enough if they just removed it, but instead they remove and smooth in many cases."
Bollocks:
- It's necessary to adjust temperature records. Instrumental changes, placing changes, UHI, etc affect temperature readings.
- Comparing raw records against GATA (global average temperature anomalies) reconstructions shows the same trend.
- Using only rural stations gives the same trend.
- Using different statistical techniques to account for biases gives the same trend.
- Using satellites or radiosondes shows the same trend.
- Wildlife and glaciers show the same trend.

"this very hockey stick graph that really drove the consensus."
BS. The hockey stick isn't even important to our understanding of natural and anthropogenic climate change. The consensus was driven by the enormous array of evidence carefully documented in the scientific literature and the strong physical underpinnings of the theory.

"It seems to be a product of the IPCC (justifying their bureaucratic budget), Jones ($22.6 million), and Mann (hardcore anticapitalist)."
Provide evidence for your claims.

"The fact is that McIntyre's work in uncovering Mann's secret methodology is very important."
Let me know when McIntyre does significant work. Smearing scientists, nitpicking over irrelevant things, writing insane FOIA requests and publishing in Energy and Environment is not significant work. Real men collect their own data, do their own analysis, publish in real scientific journals and don't whine when their work is picked apart by colleagues.
In the meanwhile, I demand McIntyre to release all his personal emails, financial statements, private meetings, computer code, past activities, college records, etc. It only seems fair.

"What happened in 1961 that made tree ring data suddenly erroneous."
It's an interesting question with research going on.


@djemonk,
"Are you saying that the science is wrong or the legislation is wrong?"
He doesn't know the difference between climate science and climate/energy policy. He's attacking the messenger (climate science) for discovering facts that don't fit with his fairy tale worldview (markets are perfect, every government intervention is bad, evidence supporting regulation is suspect, etc)


@nzsvz9,
"Ah ... the chart war begins. I await the reposting of more charts from the usual sources."
Do you disagree with the use of numerical data in the form of graphs to support an argument? Let's ban analytic geometry.

"A question I had posted elsewhere NEVER got addressed. A large part of North America was covered in ice sheets - over a mile thick - and they have been melting and retreating for the last 20,000 years. What caused that?"
It was answered. The end of the last glaciation was caused by orbital forcing augmented by the CO2 feedback and ice sheet feedback.

"I also want to know who set the "zero" line."
You didn't even read whereaminow's copy/pasting
"The underlying annual data for the Jones and Briffa reconstructions are expressed in deg C (basis 1961-1990)"

"Yet this line biases the discussion does it not?"
No, it doesn't bias the discussion.


"but someone chose b"
The meteorological and climatological community chose it:
"The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) requires the calculation of averages for consecutive periods of 30 years, with the latest covering the 1961–1990 period. However, many WMO members, including the UK, update their averages at the completion of each decade. Thirty years was chosen as a period long enough to eliminate year-to-year variations."

"Do you knot think the "hockey stick" breaking through the "average line" is significant (emotionally) to the lay person reviewing the graph - perhaps to the point of being alarming? Do you see what I'm saying?"
Neither I nor climate scientists are somehow responsible of how uneducated morons use scientific facts.

"The range is tightest from 1900 on, as the lines converge (as one would statistically expect from such an overlap of source data series)"
Hint: thermometers and more accurate and abundant proxy data.


@ChrisGraley,
"Why doesn't anyone focus on Water vapor? It causes more global warming than anything else!"
Because water vapor is neither a long-lived nor a well-mixed GHG. Also, it's controlled by temperature and thus considered as a positive feedback.




@dudemonkey,
"You're totally right in that the zero line does seem to have been chosen specifically to highlight the "hockey stick" at the end."
Well we could choose the zero line to be the temperature at the time of the birth of Earth. Dangerous cooling I claim ;)

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#29) On December 17, 2009 at 2:53 PM, nzsvz9 (< 20) wrote:

The American People are not "uneducated morons".

I was speaking to the alarmist nature of the AGW movement, and the possible perceptions and inferences the hockey stick can induce in the lay audience. The hockey stick chart has been used by the AGW movement as an "alarm bell" for the nation to "do something" about global warming, and as such the choices made regarding it's representation are relevant to the discussion - to wave it aside as not biased, or those who view it as stupid - is to be an advocate for the apparent inherent bias.

And "Let the chart wars begin" was my coy way of describing what I thought you would do, and did, in your post above. Choosing a zero line (by scienticians or not) is arbitrary - notice the wikipedia charts have based the long-term average temperature on the Phanerozoic eon - since abundant animal life is believed to exist - and shows us in a cool period now ... relatively speaking. Why is 30 years better than 500 million years? It's not - it's just another scale.

My discussion was from the viewpoint of the lay person viewing the AGW hockey stick - whether the numbers were fudged or not - since it is being used to justify cap and trade and by AGW advocates pointing at my lifestyle and choices (as a free person) as the cause of the hockey stick.

It's political.

This is a world destruction, your life ain't nothing.
The human race is becoming a disgrace.
Countries are fighting with chemical warfare.
Not giving a damn about the people who live.
Nostradamus predicts the coming of the Antichrist.
Hey, look out, the third world nations are on the rise.
The Democratic-Communist Relationship,
won't stand in the way of the Islamic force.
The CIA is looking for other detectives.
The KGB is smarter than you think.
Brainwash mentalities to control the system.
Using TV and movies - religions of course.
Yes, the world is headed for destruction.
Is it a nuclear war?
What are you asking for?

World Destruction - John Lydon and Afrika Bambaataa (Time Zone)

The only thing they left out was AGW ... but that was 1984.

Known as Time-Zoner nzsvz9

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#30) On December 17, 2009 at 11:34 PM, lucas1985 (< 20) wrote:

@nzsvz9,
"The American People are not "uneducated morons"."
I don't want to comment on the intellectual abilities of Americans in general. That would be irresponsible and impolite. That said, uneducated morons take facts and distort them to suit their agendas or their paymasters.

"I was speaking to the alarmist nature of the AGW movement"
- There's no "AGW movement". There are climate activists. These activists are pushing governments to adopt serious climate/energy policies. Do you think that activism is bad?
- The "alarmist tone" of some activists and scientists is somewhat justified by the weight of the evidence. Of course, people with an affection to doomsday stories can be found between the activists. You'll find "doomers" in every corner of the world; this is a sad fact of life

"The hockey stick chart has been used by the AGW movement as an "alarm bell" for the nation to "do something" about global warming, and as such the choices made regarding it's representation are relevant to the discussion - to wave it aside as not biased, or those who view it as stupid - is to be an advocate for the apparent inherent bias."
I'll repeat it for the nth time: the hockey stick isn't essential evidence. You could refute it and nothing would change. The push to "do something" comes from what we know about CO2: its radiative properties, its importance as the biggest control knob of Earth's climate, the magnitude of the emissions, its residence time in the atmosphere. What's the value of the hockey stick then? It indicates a sharp rise in temperatures in an otherwise stable millennium.

"And "Let the chart wars begin" was my coy way of describing what I thought you would do, and did, in your post above."
I choose visual information because it makes it easy to observe patterns, visualize trends and provide points of reference. If I use the equations of radiative physics, would it make a difference? Would people even take a look? Would people think that I'm telling lies disguised as complex math?

"Why is 30 years better than 500 million years? It's not - it's just another scale."
It's simple:
- We now have the most precise proxies for surface temperatures (i.e. thermometers). Using the highest quality data to make a reference is standard practice in science.
- 30 years is enough to visualize long-tern trends. Temporal, short-lived forcings and internal fluctuations roughly cancel each other in this time frame so relevant conclusions can be made.
- 1961-1990 is the most recent 30 years period. In 2020, we'll be using the most recent time frame to analyze trends.

"since it is being used to justify cap and trade and by AGW advocates pointing at my lifestyle and choices (as a free person) as the cause of the hockey stick"
- As I said before, the hockey stick is peripheral evidence.
- Cap and trade is one of the many policy options available to reduce emissions. Don't like cap and trade? Propose a better policy.
- Nobody will restrict your freedoms and hurt your lifestyle. You can buy all the gas guzzlers you want, live in an energy inefficient home, eat a cow daily and burn coal for breakfast. We just ask you to pay for the externalities of GHG emissions. You're free to ignore the carbon price signal if you wish so. I don't care what you do with your hard-earned money, I just want fair compensation for damages to my private property.

"It's political."

You make it so. In a rational world, policy would be enacted on the best available evidence. In the real world, people have values, worldviews and financial interests to protect. If you don't like a certain policy the best thing to do is to discredit the evidence (and the evidence-makers) used to enact it. It can be done cheaply.


To finish this silly thing about "tricks" I'm going to link two excellent articles:
- "McIntyre provides fodder for skeptics" Here you'll learn McIntyre "tricks" such as misrepresentation, out-of-context quoting, cherry-picking, subtle smears and more. Who will audit the self-appointed auditor?
- "Climategate, global warming, and the tree rings divergence problem". Superb article by The Christian Science Monitor on the divergence problem and what it means. Some excerpts:
"Scientists use tree rings as one of many ways to reconstruct climate conditions of the past 2,000 years. Traditionally, they've looked at tree ring width and density, preferably from trees at the very edge of their comfort zone — at high latitudes, for example, or high up on mountains near the tree line — as an indicator of temperature.
The idea: The temperature signal will be strongest in trees living in extreme environments where cold is a major factor limiting growth. They'll very clearly grow more when it's warmer, and less when it's cold."
"Here's the issue: In recent decades, some — although not all — trees have stopped responding positively to higher temperatures. How do we know? For the past 150 years, we've been measuring temperatures directly with various instruments. And, indeed, trees seem to follow temperatures faithfully, growing more during warm years and less during cold, until around 50 years ago. Then, even as scientific instruments continued to register rising temperatures, some trees started growing less.
If you were to go solely by these tree rings — and if you were looking at just ring density and width — you'd erroneously conclude that temperatures were falling when, in fact, they were rising. That's why scientists sometimes omit tree-ring data from recent decades in favor of the more accurate instrumental data."
"Scientists have several possible explanations for this divergence, none of them mutually exclusive, and all of which — drought, global dimming, ozone holes — fault human activity for the slowing growth rate of some trees. In other words, scientists generally take the divergence as further evidence that humans are changing Earth's climate and that the warming is stressing various life forms — including trees in environments that are already extreme."
"It's also worth noting that the phenomenon is hardly a secret. It's been discussed at length in the scientific literature for at least 15 years — basically, since scientists first recognized it. Here's a 1995 article from the journal Science, one of many.
It's also discussed in Chapter 6 of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's most recent report, pages 472-473."
"So why does divergence happen? First, divergence doesn't happen in all tree-ring records. In some, trees respond positively to warming temperatures just as scientists would have predicted. Generally, scientists find that the divergence phenomenon shows up in trees from the far northern hemisphere, but not the southern, although that may be due to a paucity of samples from the southern hemisphere.
Even in the northern hemisphere, some tree rings don't show divergence.
Where they do diverge, one crucial factor seems to be the micro environment of the sampled tree. If temperatures are rising there, but moisture isn't, then higher temperatures lead to water stress, which retards, rather than enhances, growth."
"As it turns out, there's some independently verifiable evidence of this droughtlike stress on northern forests; it's visible from space. Says Dr. D'Arrigo: "[S]atellite vegetation data, another entirely independent source of information from tree rings, shows evidence of browning in some northern vegetation despite recent warming, supporting some tree-ring evidence for divergence effects in the far north."
And there's another intriguing possibility for the divergence phenomenon, one that explains why, at least so far, it seems restricted to the northern hemisphere: global dimming from pollution. Here's an explanation, including references, from the review cited above:
    Global dimming is defined as a measured decline in solar radiation reaching the ground, which has been observed since the beginning of routine measurements over approximately the past half century (Stanhill and Cohen, 2001). The identified causes are a combination of cloud changes and air pollution (e.g., Russak, 1990; Liepert, 2002). The combination of more cloud water and more aerosols effectively decreases incoming solar radiation (Cohen et al., 2004; Liepert et al., 2004). It is estimated that the average amount of sunlight reaching the ground has declined by 4–6% over 1961–1990, although the estimated effects can vary from region to region (Stanhill and Cohen, 2001; Liepert, 2002; Che et al., 2005), and there can be considerable disagreement between instrumental measurements at the ground and satellite estimates of surface solar radiation (e.g. Xia et al., 2006). A decline in solar radiation of this magnitude can potentially have a profound impact on climate, the hydrological cycle (Liepert et al., 2004), and ecosystems worldwide (Stanhill and Cohen, 2001)."
"All of this does raise another question, of course. Given the divergence of some tree-ring records from observed temperature during the past 50 years, how do we know that when we interpret growth patterns from deeper in the past, we're not actually seeing drought or abrupt warming similar to today's –- that is, how do we know divergence is only a recent phenomenon?
In an e-mail, Rob Wilson, a tree ring scientist at the University of St. Andrews in Fife, Scotland, and a coauthor on above-cited review, responds to this question: "[D]o not forget that tree-rings are not the only proxy source of past climatic information. If the divergence issue had been relevant in the past, we would see the TR [tree ring] data divergence from other proxy records (e.g. lake sediment, ice cores etc). We do not see this and on the whole all the multi-proxy records agree. Current evidence points to the fact that the divergence phenomenon is a phenomenon of the recent period.""


I'll ask you: is it reasonable to discard obviously bad data in a multi-proxy reconstruction of temperatures and research the nuts and bolts of this bad data as a separate investigation?

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#31) On December 18, 2009 at 11:24 AM, nzsvz9 (< 20) wrote:

lucas1985,

"Nobody will restrict your freedoms and hurt your lifestyle." - lucas1985

"We just ask you to pay for the externalities of GHG emissions." - lucas1985

And if I don't agree with you? Because I have reasonable doubt? Because in 1974 Science had come to the conclusion (through the evidence) that we were going to have another ice age - and it clearly says man too may be somewhat responsible for the cooling trend. So I'd have to pay my cooling tax. Now you would me have to pay my warming tax (about $1,600 for my family of five). No thanks.

It's a con game.

"From each according to his ability, to each according to his need" - Karl Marx

And per your question: What is reasonable is to have open scientific debate, where you pass the scrutiny of your critics - even your harsest critics, through peer review - and not through political consensus.

Known as non-Marxist nzsvz9

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#32) On December 18, 2009 at 3:10 PM, lucas1985 (< 20) wrote:

@nzsvz9,
"And if I don't agree with you?"
Nature (the laws of physics) doesn't care about our opinions. If you think that the entire scientific community has wrong data or has interpreted it in a wrong way, you're free to collect your own data, analyze it and publish in the literature. Big bucks (and possibly a Nobel prize) await you if you can falsify the scientific case of ACC/AGW.

"Because I have reasonable doubt?"
Reasonable doubt was fine in the 90s, not anymore.

"Because in 1974 Science had come to the conclusion (through the evidence) that we were going to have another ice age - and it clearly says man too may be somewhat responsible for the cooling trend."
Ahh, the myth of cooling consensus in the 70s. Let me point some facts:
- You linked to the science section of Time (a popular magazine) and not to Science [1] , the scientific journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science [2]
- The cooling position was a minority viewpoint and supported by what was known at that time. When better evidence came along, this view was discarded. An example: "the 1970s radiative forcing debate – which would win out in the end, aerosols or greenhouse gases? As Schneider was the co-author of one of the few papers that predicted a cooling, he was able to explain the problems with that paper and why it was quickly discredited. Firstly, the climate model used for the paper didn’t have a stratosphere, so the climate’s sensitivity to CO2 was underestimated by a factor of 2. Secondly, the paper incorrectly assumed that aerosols would evenly disperse globally, like greenhouse gases do. It was very early on in the study of both aerosols and climate modelling, so Schneider’s mistake wasn’t a big deal to the scientific community"

- Do you want to know what was the consensus view in the 70s? Read the Charney report [3]

"So I'd have to pay my cooling tax"
You paid your "cooling tax" in the 90s, when the Clear Air Act was ammended to deal with smog, air pollution and acid rain. It introduced emissions trading for SO2 and fines for companies that violated the established limits. How much did it impact in your expenses? Did it bring a world communist government?

"Now you would me have to pay my warming tax (about $1,600 for my family of five)."
You got your numbers wrong:
"On June 19, the Congressional Budget Office announced that the average household would spend a minuscule amount to reduce global warming pollution under H.R. 2454.  This independent analysis determined “that the net annual economywide cost of the cap-and-trade program in 2020 would be $22 billion—or about $175 per household.”  This is 48 cents per day –- a little more than the cost of a postage stamp.
The least well off households — those “in the lowest income quintile — would see an average net benefit of about $40 in 2020.” These households had an income under $20,292 in 2007.
CBO acknowledges that its estimates are quite conservative (low) since the calculation “does not include the economic benefits and other benefits of the reduction in GHG emissions and the associated slowing of climate change.”
Signficantly, CBO’s estimate also does not include the economic benefits of other provisions in H.R. 2454. The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy estimates that the efficiency provisions alone could save businesses and consumers $22 billion annually by 2020.  The savings would be $170 per household in 2020 –- roughly equal to CBO’s cost per household estimate for ACES in 2020.
Economic models that attempt to predict the future compliance costs of pollution reduction legislation generally overestimate the actual costs.  That’s because they do not account for the vast potential for innovation and entrepreneurship once binding reductions and deadlines are set.  This would put a price on greenhouse gas pollution for the first time, which creates economic incentives to spur engineers and managers to devise technologies and methods to meet the gas reduction requirements more cheaply than estimated in the CBO’s model.
The estimated cost of compliance with the acid rain control provisions in the Clean Air Act of 1990 were much lower than EPA predicted.   The “annual cost of the program was expected to be $2.7 billion — 4.0 billion.” Yet an EPA analysis a decade later determined that the actual cost of cutting sulfur emissions by 40 percent was substantially lower—“$1 to $2 billion per year, just one quarter of original EPA estimates.”"

Don't want to pay your "warming tax"? Fine: insulate your home, use energy-efficient appliances, use a fuel-efficient car, install a solar water heater, paint your roof white, eat less meat and processed grain, etc. Your house will be more valuable, indoor air quality may improve and your exposure to the carbon price signal will be far lower. Win-win-win.


"It's a con game."
Prove it.

""From each according to his ability, to each according to his need" - Karl Marx"
The red bogeyman. A classic of right-wingers.

"And per your question: What is reasonable is to have open scientific debate, where you pass the scrutiny of your critics - even your harsest critics, through peer review - and not through political consensus."
Then go to read the scientific literature to see what the areas of dispute are. Radiative physics, the dynamics of the carbon cycle, the magnitude of warming in the last century are "settled" [4] questions. You may debate climate sensitivity, internal fluctuations, etc.



1- Science is the academic journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and is considered one of the world's most prestigious scientific journals. The peer-reviewed journal, first published in 1880 is circulated weekly and has a print subscriber base of around 130,000. Because institutional subscriptions and online access serve a larger audience, its estimated readership is one million people.
2- The American Association for the Advancement of Science (or AAAS) is an international non-profit organization with the stated goals of promoting cooperation between scientists, defending scientific freedom, encouraging scientific responsibility, and supporting scientific education and science outreach for the betterment of all humanity. It is the world's largest general scientific society, with 126,995 individual and institutional members at the end of 2008, and publisher of the well-known scientific journal Science.
3- In 1979, the National Academy of Sciences was asked by the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy to prepare a report to assess the scientific basis for projection of possible future climate changes resulting from anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions. The Academy convened an ad hoc study group, headed by Jule Charney, to write the report. This report became influential for both policy makers and scientists, and is frequently cited as "the Charney report." It is especially useful as an outline of the state of climate models in the late 1970s, including some discussion of the largest unknowns in climate modeling.
4- "The phrase “the science is settled” is associated almost 100% with contrarian comments on climate and is usually a paraphrase of what ’some scientists’ are supposed to have said. The reality is that it depends very much on what you are talking about and I have never heard any scientist say this in any general context – at a recent meeting I was at, someone claimed that this had been said by the participants and he was roundly shouted down by the assembled experts.
The reason why no scientist has said this is because they know full well that knowledge about science is not binary – science isn’t either settled or not settled. This is a false and misleading dichotomy. Instead, we know things with varying degrees of confidence – for instance, conservation of energy is pretty well accepted, as is the theory of gravity (despite continuing interest in what happens at very small scales or very high energies) , while the exact nature of dark matter is still unclear. The forced binary distinction implicit in the phrase is designed to misleadingly relegate anything about which there is still uncertainty to the category of completely unknown. i.e. that since we don’t know everything, we know nothing.
In the climate field, there are a number of issues which are no longer subject to fundamental debate in the community. The existence of the greenhouse effect, the increase in CO2 (and other GHGs) over the last hundred years and its human cause, and the fact the planet warmed significantly over the 20th Century are not much in doubt. IPCC described these factors as ‘virtually certain’ or ‘unequivocal’. The attribution of the warming over the last 50 years to human activity is also pretty well established – that is ‘highly likely’ and the anticipation that further warming will continue as CO2 levels continue to rise is a well supported conclusion. To the extent that anyone has said that the scientific debate is over, this is what they are referring to. In answer to colloquial questions like “Is anthropogenic warming real?”, the answer is yes with high confidence". - Gavin Schmidt, a climate modeller at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York.

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#33) On December 18, 2009 at 3:35 PM, angusthermopylae (39.82) wrote:

Reasonable doubt was fine in the 90s, not anymore.

That line pretty much sums up my entire problem with the "have to do something now!" mentality. Reasonable doubt is the basis for both legal AND scientific inquiry.  Since the climate debate combines both arenas, it's pretty sickening to see the "it's settled" mentality become so pervasive.

I've been mildly surprised how well climate debaters are avoiding the phrase "slam dunk."   Guess we can thank Bush II for that...

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#34) On December 23, 2009 at 11:34 AM, GADawg (< 20) wrote:

"That said, uneducated morons take facts and distort them to suit their agendas or their paymasters."

The CRU scientists may take issue with your characterization of them.

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#35) On December 23, 2009 at 4:14 PM, lucas1985 (< 20) wrote:

@GADawg,
"The CRU scientists may take issue with your characterization of them."
Show me the evidence. You're making a serious accusation against CRU.

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#36) On December 23, 2009 at 5:34 PM, angusthermopylae (39.82) wrote:

...er...isn't this entire article a serious accusation against the CRU?

It's a joke, son.

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#37) On December 23, 2009 at 6:19 PM, lucas1985 (< 20) wrote:

@angusthermopylae,
".er...isn't this entire article a serious accusation against the CRU?"
Yep, and the supporting evidence fails to show up. Not that it matters for denialists. This "event" will resurface again and again as a talking point in the same way that "the hockey stick is broken" talking point is used nowadays. Denialists are immune to logic and evidence so they resort to make noise out of thin air and conspiracy theories as Ben Goldacre points out:
"But the key to all of this is the recurring mischief of criticisms mounted against climate change. I am very happy to affirm that I am not a giant expert on climate change: I know a bit, and I know that there’s not yet been a giant global conspiracy involving almost every scientist in the world (although I’d welcome examples). More than all that, I can spot the same rhetorical themes re-emerging in climate change foolishness that you see in aids denialism, homeopathy, and anti-vaccination conspiracy theorists.
Among all these, reigning supreme, is the “zombie argument”: arguments which survive to be raised again, for eternity, no matter how many times they are shot down. “Homeopathy worked for me”, and the rest. Zombie arguments survive, they get up and live again, immortal and resistant to all refutation, because they do not live or die by the normal standards of mortal arguments
. There’s a huge list of them at realclimate.org, with refutations. There are huge lists of them everywhere. It makes no difference.
“CO2 isn’t an important greenhouse gas”, “Global warming is down to the sun”, “what about the cooling in the 1940s?” says your party bore. “Well,” you reply, “since the last time you raised this, I went and checked, and it turns out that there were loads of suphites in the air in the 1940s to block out the sun, made from the slightly different kind of industrial pollution we had back then, and the odd volcano, so that’s sort of been answered already, ages ago.”
And they knew that. And you know they knew you would find out, if you could be botheredbut they went ahead anyway and wasted your time, raising it, knowingly, as if it was unrefuted, as if it was unrefutable, and worse than that, you both know they’re going to do it again, to some other poor sap. And that is simply rude."
- Ben Goldacre, Badsciece.net

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