More on Climategate and the Alarmist Hoax
By David J. Theroux • Sunday December 13, 2009 12:20 PM PDT • 2 Comments
In a December 13th article in the London Daily Mail, David Rose reveals more details from Climategate (or “Warmergate” for some) on how scientists at the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit and elsewhere deliberately distorted the data and subsequent IPCC graphs. Rose discusses the new findings by Steve McIntyre that are posted in detail at the website, Climate Audit, on how Michael Mann and others performed their “trick” to “hide the decline.”
[T]he full context of that ‘trick’ email, as shown by a new and until now unreported analysis by the Canadian climate statistician Steve McIntyre, is extremely troubling.
Derived from close examination of some of the thousands of other leaked emails, he says it suggests the ‘trick’ undermines not only the CRU but the IPCC.
There is a widespread misconception that the ‘decline’ Jones was referring to is the fall in global temperatures from their peak in 1998, which probably was the hottest year for a long time. In fact, its subject was more technical – and much more significant.
It is true that, in Watson’s phrase, in the autumn of 1999 Jones and his colleagues were trying to ‘tweak’ a diagram. But it wasn’t just any old diagram.
It was the chart displayed on the first page of the ‘Summary for Policymakers’ of the 2001 IPCC report – the famous ‘hockey stick’ graph that has been endlessly reproduced in everything from newspapers to primary-school textbooks ever since, showing centuries of level or declining temperatures until a dizzying, almost vertical rise in the late 20th Century.
There could be no simpler or more dramatic representation of global warming, and if the origin of worldwide concern over climate change could be traced to a single image, it would be the hockey stick.
Rose traces the emails among Keith Briffa, Phil Jones, Chris Folland, Michael Mann in which the “trick” was planned:
This is the context in which, seven weeks later, Jones presented his ‘trick’ – as simple as it was deceptive.
All he had to do was cut off Briffa’s inconvenient data at the point where the decline started, in 1961, and replace it with actual temperature readings, which showed an increase.
On the hockey stick graph, his line is abruptly terminated – but the end of the line is obscured by the other lines.
‘Any scientist ought to know that you just can’t mix and match proxy and actual data,’ said Philip Stott, emeritus professor of biogeography at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies.
‘They’re apples and oranges. Yet that’s exactly what he did.’
Since Warmergate—broke, some of the CRU’s supporters have claimed that Jones and his colleagues made a ‘full disclosure’ of what they did to Briffa’s data in order to produce the hockey stick.
But as McIntyre points out, ‘contrary to claims by various climate scientists, the IPCC Third Assessment Report did not disclose the deletion of the post-1960 values’.
On the final diagram, the cut off was simply concealed by the other lines.
By 2007, when the IPCC produced its fourth report, McIntyre had become aware of the manipulation of the Briffa data and Briffa himself, as shown at the start of this article, continued to have serious qualms.
McIntyre by now was an IPCC ‘reviewer’ and he urged the IPCC not to delete the post-1961 data in its 2007 graph. ‘They refused,’ he said, ‘stating this would be “inappropriate”.’
But it gets even worse as data was deliberately distorted elsewhere as well:
This suggested that average temperatures had risen there by about two degrees Celsius. However, the raw data had been ‘adjusted’ in a series of abrupt upward steps by exactly the same amount: without the adjustment, the Darwin temperature record would have stayed level.
In 2007, McIntyre examined records across America. He found that between 1999 and 2007, the US equivalent of the Met Office had changed the way it adjusted old data.
The result was to make the Thirties seem cooler, and the years since 1990 much warmer. Previously, the warmest year since records began in America had been 1934.
Now, in line with CRU and IPCC orthodoxy, it was 1998.
At the CRU, said Davies, some stations’ readings were adjusted by unit and in such cases, raw and adjusted data could be compared.
But in about 90 per cent of cases, the adjustment was carried out in the countries that collected the data, and the CRU would not know exactly how this had been done.
Davies said: ‘All I can say is that the process is careful and considered. To get the details, the best way would be to go the various national meteorological services.’
The consequences of that, Stott said, may be explosive. ‘If you take Darwin, the gap between the two just looks too big.
‘If that applies elsewhere, it’s going to get really interesting. It’s no longer going to be good enough for the Met Office and CRU to put the data out there.
‘To know we can trust it, we’ve got to know what adjustments have been made, and why.’
Last week, at the Copenhagen climate summit, the Met Office said that the Noughties have been the warmest decade in history. Depending on how the data has been adjusted, Stott said, that statement may not be true.
Pielke agreed. ‘After Climategate, the surface temperature record is being called into question.’ To experts such as McIntyre and Pielke, perhaps the most baffling thing has been the near-unanimity over global warming in the world’s mainstream media – a unanimity much greater than that found among scientists.
Rose then explains how this has happened:
In part, this is the result of strongarm tactics.
For example, last year the BBC environment reporter Roger Harrabin made substantial changes to an article on the corporation website that asked why global warming seemed to have stalled since 1998 – caving in to direct pressure from a climate change activist, Jo Abbess.
‘Personally, I think it is highly irresponsible to play into the hands of the sceptics who continually promote the idea that “global warming finished in 1998” when that is so patently not true,’ she told him in an email.
After a brief exchange, he complied and sent a final note: ‘Have a look in ten minutes and tell me you are happier. We have changed headline and more.’
Afterwards, Abbess boasted on her website: ‘Climate Changers, Remember to challenge any piece of media that seems like it’s been subject to spin or scepticism. Here’s my go for today. The BBC actually changed an article I requested a correction for.’
Last week, Michael Schlesinger, Professor of Atmospheric Studies at the University of Illinois, sent a still cruder threat to Andrew Revkin of the New York Times, accusing him of ‘gutter reportage’, and warning: ‘The vibe that I am getting from here, there and everywhere is that your reportage is very worrisome to most climate scientists ... I sense that you are about to experience the “Big Cutoff” from those of us who believe we can no longer trust you, me included.’
But as Rose also notes, this is changing now directly because of Climategate:
[I]n the wake of Warmergate, such threats – and the readiness to bow to them – may become rarer.
‘A year ago, if a reporter called me, all I got was questions about why I’m trying to deny climate change and am threatening the future of the planet,’ said Professor Ross McKitrick of Guelph University near Toronto, a long-time collaborator with McIntyre.
‘Now, I’m getting questions about how they did the hockey stick and the problems with the data.
‘Maybe the emails have started to open people’s eyes.’
HT: Manuel Klausner