Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Climate Gate...NOT!

Climate change sceptics are having a dizzy five minutes on account of some hacked e-mails from the University of East Anglia being made public. Excerpts from these emails have been released and are being circulated out of context to imply dirty deeds by mainstream climate scientists. 

The most popular extract is scientist Phil Jones  discussing the presentation of temperature reconstructions. He states that:

 “I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.” 

This statement is being pinged all over the internet by climate denial trolls exercised by the threat of  'One World Government'.

So to take this one comment and deconstruct it for the sake of the would be deluded:

The paper in question is the Mann, Bradley and Hughes (1998) Nature paper on the original multiproxy temperature reconstruction, and the ‘trick’ is just to plot the instrumental records along with reconstruction so that the context of the recent warming is clear. Scientists often use the term “trick” to refer to a “a good way to deal with a problem”, rather than something that is “secret”, and so there is nothing problematic in this at all. As for the ‘decline’, it is well known that Keith Briffa’s maximum latewood tree ring density proxy diverges from the temperature records after 1960 (this is more commonly known as the “divergence problem”–see e.g. the recent discussion in this paper) and has been discussed in the literature since Briffa et al in Nature in 1998 (Nature, 391, 678-682). Those authors have always recommend not using the post 1960 part of their reconstruction, and so while ‘hiding’ is probably a poor choice of words (since it is ‘hidden’ in plain sight), not using the data in the plot is completely appropriate, as is further research to understand why this happens. 

For more check out George Marshall's blog: http://climatedenial.org/

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