Saturday, February 13, 2010

Dr. Jones splains it all

In a recent response to a series of questions by the BBC, former Hadley CRU director Dr. Phil Jones attempts to answer his critics:
The phrase 'hide the decline' was shorthand for providing a composite representation of long-term temperature changes made up of recent instrumental data and earlier tree-ring based evidence, where it was absolutely necessary to remove the incorrect impression given by the tree rings that temperatures between about 1960 and 1999 (when the email was written) were not rising, as our instrumental data clearly showed they were.

This "divergence" is well known in the tree-ring literature and "trick" did not refer to any intention to deceive - but rather "a convenient way of achieving something", in this case joining the earlier valid part of the tree-ring record with the recent, more reliable instrumental record.

The manipulation of the tree ring data is problematic in two ways. First, it is asserted that the tree ring data corresponds well to global temperatures, and the findings based on the tree rings indicate that there has been a warming of the global climate. However, from 1961 on, the tree ring data indicates a significant cooling of the global climate. As this is apparently contradictory to observed temps, the conclusion must be one the following: either tree ring data are a poor indicator of global temperature, or something else is going on with the climate. Thus one of the three main information sources for the 2007 IPCC report should have been thrown out, or should have caused a general reconsideration of the reports findings.

Instead we have Dr. Jones doing a little 'doctoring' to the record, and the doctoring is hidden in the code, with code instructions such as:
"MXD - but shouldn't usually
; plot past 1960 because these will be artificially adjusted to look closer to
; the real temperatures.

Given the IPCCs statement of purpose:
“The IPCC was established to provide the decision-makers with an objective source of information about human-induced climate change.”

the whole thing is rather exploded.

This is the primary problem with the tree ring data manipulation. The evidence is that a significant effort was made by at least one of the principle proponents of AGW theory to mislead the citizens of the world, and that in and of itself utterly undermines his position.


  1. I'm certainly not going to pretend I know diddly about climate science, but it seems to me there is a logic problem with Jones' decisions about the tree-ring data. If the tree-ring data does not jibe with the "observed temperatures" data, why assume it is the "observed temperature" data that is correct? Isn't it more likely that something is wrong with the observation techniques than that trees would suddenly change their rates of growth?

  2. Yes. Either something is wrong with the observation techniques recording the temperatures or the tree ring information does not correlate that well with global temperatures.

    But of course, those are all questions of science, that scientists would be interested in trying to answer so that they could come about a better understanding of nature. That was decidedly not what was going on here.

    Dr. Jones had a far more efficient approach to the apparent contradictory data, which was to simply replace the tree ring data after 1961 when the tree ring data was no longer agreeing with the theory predictions. That was pretty bold of him, as it was Dr. Keith Briffa's data that he was 'adjusting'. This was one of the areas that Steve McIntyre and others were trying to get explained with their FOI requests, which Dr. Jones was blocking.

    The document dump from Hadley CRU answered a great many questions as to why the alarmists were unable to be forthright in their answers.

    I watched the first episode of the 6th season of LOST on HULU. Wow, that was all over the place. I do not think I will be up for trying to watch that, as much as I would like to provide good company for Darrell.

    I like the Net Flicks idea. I've never done it, but it would be great to see The Razors Edge again, and I doubt I could find it at a rental store.

  3. Well, I really am surprising myself, but... I am now sorry I haven't watched LOST all along. Not just because I couldn't possibly begin to untangle what's going on with the current episodes (can't be done), but because the show is so well done.

    I read all 100+ "recaps" on -- spotty in a few places, but overall pretty good -- and since I'd watched the show a few times over the years, I could "see" the characters, setting, etc ok. By Season 5 i was thinking this was hopelessly far-fetched, but finished anyway. Then I watched the how-we-got-this-far clip show, recognized each of the highlighted scenes, and started to get much more psyched. I am generally pretty critical of the melodramatic or otherwise ridiculous, and I gotta tell ya', the production quality , casting, direction, all make me forget about the far-fetched-ness and just look forward to seeing how they're going to resolve all the mysteries.

    Re Netflix-- what the heck, I guess I'll sign up for the "free trial" tomorrow (I just don't think I can stand the fine print tonight) and see what they've got. :)


  4. WOW! Back to the real world and climate science -- April linked an article re a major new crack in the case... I think you'll be pleased.

  5. Once again, some good and juicy context you've uncovered here. I WILL have to at least link this on my ever-impending post that will have to hurry before the damn thing implodes fully before the week is out, Nick.