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Daily Mangle

Filed under: — group @ 15 February 2010

Yesterday, the Daily Mail of the UK published a predictably inaccurate article entitled “Climategate U-turn as scientist at centre of row admits: There has been no global warming since 1995”.

The title itself is a distortion of what Jones actually said in an interview with the BBC. What Jones actually said is that, while the globe has nominally warmed since 1995, it is difficult to establish the statistical significance of that warming given the short nature of the time interval (1995-present) involved. The warming trend consequently doesn’t quite achieve statistical significance. But it is extremely difficult to establish a statistically significant trend over a time interval as short as 15 years–a point we have made countless times at RealClimate. It is also worth noting that the CRU record indicates slightly less warming than other global temperature estimates such as the GISS record.

The article also incorrectly equates instrumental surface temperature data that Jones and CRU have assembled to estimate the modern surface temperature trends with paleoclimate data used to estimate temperatures in past centuries, falsely asserting that the former “has been used to produce the ‘hockey stick graph’”.

Finally, the article intentionally distorts comments that Jones made about the so-called “Medieval Warm Period”. Jones stated in his BBC interview that “There is much debate over whether the Medieval Warm Period was global in extent or not. The MWP is most clearly expressed in parts of North America, the North Atlantic and Europe and parts of Asia” and that “For it to be global in extent, the MWP would need to be seen clearly in more records from the tropical regions and the Southern hemisphere. There are very few palaeoclimatic records for these latter two regions.”

These are statements with which we entirely agree, and they are moreover fully consistent with the conclusions of the most recent IPCC report, and the numerous peer-reviewed publications on this issue since. Those conclusions are that recent Northern Hemisphere warming is likely unprecedented in at least a millennium (at least 1300 years, in fact), and that evidence in the Southern Hemisphere is currently too sparse for confident conclusions. Mann et al in fact drew those same conclusions in their most recent work on this problem (PNAS, 2008).

Unfortunately, these kinds of distortions are all too common in the press nowadays and so we must all be prepared to respond to those journalists and editors who confuse the public with such inaccuracies.

Update 2/16/10. Phil Jones has confirmed to us that our interpretations of his comments in the BBC interview are indeed the correct ones, and that he agrees with the statements in our piece above. He and his CRU colleagues have also put up an response to some of the false allegations in a previous piece in the UK Guardian. We’ll report further such developments as they happen.

493 Responses to “Daily Mangle”

  1. 301
    Jacob Mack says:

    Better population control by ethical means would be of great help too. If we educated people in developing and third world countries now to reduce how many offspring they have and continue to increase the amount of educated people here in the US we can effectively lower the increase in energy needs (concave down incline atleast) and begin to lower GHG emissions.

  2. 302
    John E. Pearson says:

    288: Walt The Physicist says:
    “It seems to me that there is no room for variations in the intrpretation of “no statistical significance” statement. To us, scientists it sounds like “no effect” -> “no warming”. ”

    I’m a physicist too and I sure as hell don’t hear the sounds you hear. Here’s a simple exercise that ought to clarify this a bit for any semi-conscious physicist. Consider the position, as a function of time, of a one dimensional random walker who starts at the origin at time zero and moves with a constant positive drift velocity v and variance 2 D t. The distribution function for the position of the walker is Gaussian with mean vt with variance 2Dt. In terms of the walker’s position we have: = v t and variance: var(t)=< [x(t)-]^2 > = 2 D t.
    At what time does the mean equal the standard deviation?

  3. 303
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “Better population control by ethical means would be of great help too.”

    Except that would prove to the Utah politicians that AGW really IS a conspiracy to neuter the american public.

  4. 304
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “CFU: No spin here, I just do not like people (not the majority of scientists of course) who make catastrophic predictions.”

    But if someone says “if you don’t get that appendix removed, it will burst!”, do you hurl them from you in disgust, or hope like heck the doctor gets there in time to stop you dying from the pain?

    Only the Sith deal in absolutes.

    And you’re dealing in them here.

  5. 305
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “However, just a straight comparison of 1998 to now, or 1995 to now, you only have to klook at the thermometers for those time periods, and their error ranges.”

    No, that doesn’t give you a trend if you just take two years.

    To get a trend you need to take ALL the years.

    This generally means that your start point and end point do not coincide with the first and last datapoint. And why should it? They are as likely to be off the mean trend as any year inbetween, and THEY don’t fall on the trend line.

    And, after doing that, if you get a trend of 0.12C per decade and 15 years of yearly data where the average year-to-year variation is 0.5C +/- then your error bar on that estimation from that natural annual variation is

    +/-0.5/sqrt(15) C

    +/- 0.13 C

    Given that the prediction is 0.17C per decade, you cannot ascribe that 15 year period trend of 0.12C/decade as proof that the prediction of 0.17C/decade is wrong.

    This is the very minimum statistics and as close as possible to man-in-the-street without being so simple that it’s wrong.

  6. 306
    Completely Fed Up says:

    We see one reason for *seemingly* police OC to ask questions, especially vague ones that don’t really have an impact on whether we need to mitigate AGW by reducing CO2 output from human activities:

    “Gavin and RC teams I am out of here. Thanks for all the great data and examples that lend themselves well to multiple interpretations.”

    Reads to me like he’s looking for stuff (and thankful he’s walking off with a crop full) of things that can be (mis) interpreted in many ways.

    Spin?

  7. 307
    BobFJ says:

    In 2007, under the banner of “Safeguarding impartiality in the 21st century”; (link below); the BBC published in part:

    “…The BBC has held a high-level seminar with some of the best scientific experts, and has come to the view that the weight of evidence no longer justifies equal space being given to the opponents of the consensus…”

    However, following repeated requests over the years, the BBC has steadfastly refused to identify the seminar participants. To say the least, this seems to be rather odd behaviour. Whatever, the BBC has until recently been extremely one-sided in the climate debate in favour of catastrophic climate change

    It is thus surprising, that in the written Q & A exchanges between Harrabin and Jones via the UEA Press Office, that Harrabin has deviated from his previous reporting style. (See also my 231/p5) The puzzle is; why the change?
    I hypothesise that he must have studied the CRU Emails and the recently revealed IPPC-Pachauri “errors”, and has concluded that something odd is going on somewhere!
    Shortly before that Q & A, he Emailed Anthony Watts (WUWT) asking for assistance to identify certain sceptical scientists, and it seems from his questions to Jones that he has indeed consulted such people by virtue of the nature of those questions. Whatever, those bold U-turn Q & A’s are now out there in B & W, and I’m sure that Harrabin can understand their significance.

    Harrabin is also on record; quote:

    “…government ministers may have to reconsider their description of sceptics as “deniers” and “flat earthers”…”

    BBC policy: http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/assets/files/pdf/review_report_research/impartiality_21century
    The Q & A:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8511670.stm

  8. 308
    jimt says:

    Walt The Physicist @ 288
    “It seems to me that there is no room for variations in the intrpretation of “no statistical significance” statement. To us, scientists it sounds like “no effect” -> “no warming”. How does it sound to you, climatologists?”

    If you interpret “no statistical significance” as “no effect” you are not a very good scientist, and should probably read a good introductory statistics book immediately. “No statistical significance” means insufficient evidence in the data to reject a null hypothesis – given some pre-determined (usually completely arbitrarily) level of “acceptable” false-rejection rate (0.05 by convention). Very real, important effects can be “not significant” statistically if there are too few, or too noisy data. Thats (just one reason) why looking at short term trends is a waste of time.

  9. 309
    David B. Benson says:

    jonesy (274) — Tamino has several fairly recent threads on his Open Mind blog (linked on sidebar) which will answer your questions.

  10. 310
    jonesy says:

    To David B. Benson re #309. Thanks. I now see this was addressed in #2 above already. The How Long? post does answer my question about how long a period is needed (more than 14 years, which is consistent with Jones saying it is close). I guess I can infer also that 0.12C per decade is the lower limit for establishing a significant trend over that time.

    It’s correct though that establishing significance is dependent on both the trend rate and the time period? That is, the larger the rate for a given time, the more the significance; and the longer the time for a given rate, the more the significance?

    [Response: Yes, trend rate and sample size are the critical elements. Autocorrelation also plays a role.–Jim]

  11. 311
    Doug Bostrom says:

    BobFJ says: 17 February 2010 at 5:09 PM

    Watts? Isn’t he the guy who apparently squandered thousands of hours spent by hundreds of volunteers, sending them scurrying all over the country as lab partners on a poorly designed experiment, gathering the wrong information to prove his own point only to see somebody else use what little information his volunteers managed to gather to disprove his fallacy? The same misconception he could have settle using no volunteers, his own kitchen oven and a lightbulb?

    The laughing stock of the climate science community? Why would Harrabin seek out Watts’ advice, of all people?

  12. 312
    David B. Benson says:

    jonesy (310) — Tamino used GISTEMP which for the most recent years gives substantially faster warming that HadCRUv3 (which presumably Professor Jones was referring to). The reason for the difference has to do with the estimation of temperatures in the Arctic; I am now under the impression that more than 15 years is the minimum required using HadCRUv3.

    I want to emphasize Jim Bouldin’s second ssentence. Temperature and temperture proxy time series are first of all
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pink_noise
    (approximately) on decadal scales and thus exhibit enough autocorrelation that using longer times to establish trends is most wise. However, the current trend of fast warming has continued for over 30 years now, which is enough to have a good grip on the (stupendous) rate.

  13. 313
    Jacob Mack says:

    CFU #304: If we are headed into a true catastrophe then we had better figure out on how to adapt as we strive to lower GHG in the meantime. The appendix analogy does not follow for that is a certain and immediate threat to the patient where AGW is not. No one can predict what the actual results of AGW will be or to what extreme, but with high confidence in the IPCC report we are relatively confident we should lower GHG emissions even in the wake of 2-3 errors or so… what I am disputing is: the degree of warming to be expected since most of the passed predictions were off the mark, Hanson’s predictions, Gavin’s boss or not, were a bit extreme, and if there is a lag of warming on the horizon at the approximately 380-395 ppm in our future with such a long atmospheric life then adaptation is far more important then just lowering GHG. Now, how do we adapt? Build more energy efficient green factories, get some carbon capture that does not place all of the GHG under the ground, plant more trees, grow more algae, stop pouring Benzene in the water and get solar power costs down. I am not with Obama or the GOP on the premise the mass nuclear power plants is a good idea for the US; leave that to France who thus far handles it well. I am all for more windmills and aerial turbines and more natural gas usage.

  14. 314
  15. 315
    BobFJ says:

    Doug Bostrom, Reur 311 (17 February 2010 at 8:29 PM )
    In response to my 307 (17 February 2010 at 5:09 PM ), it is highly revealing of you that all you can do is lambaste Anthony Watts. Perhaps you should try to read my 307 in full with a little more comprehension, because you don‘t address any of the issues therein. In fact it does not matter if you think Watts has vampire teeth and horns growing out of his head or anything else dastardly. All Harrabin wanted from Watts was a list of sceptical scientists, and BTW, Watts was unable to reply in the timing cut-off asked for by Harrabin. Whatever, he must have somehow found some sceptic’s views by virtue of the questions that he asked Jones.
    At the end of your rant you wrote:

    “…Why would Harrabin seek out Watts’ advice, of all people?”

    Well apparently because he thought that Watts would have a list of sceptical scientists. I fail to see how you cannot comprehend the very simple nature of that ask!

  16. 316
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “Well apparently because he thought that Watts would have a list of sceptical scientists. I fail to see how you cannot comprehend the very simple nature of that ask!”

    Isn’t that a bias?

    There are skeptical scientists in the IPCC, so it can’t be merely “skeptical” he’s looking for.

    They ALL ***disbelieve*** AGW is possible. They don’t know what they *believe*, but they “know” AGW is wrong.

    This is not skepticism.

  17. 317
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “313
    Jacob Mack says:
    17 February 2010 at 9:46 PM

    CFU #304: If we are headed into a true catastrophe then we had better figure out on how to adapt as we strive to lower GHG in the meantime.”

    And if we start mitigation NOW then we have (even if it’s now inevitable) more time to adapt. Is it cheaper to adapt in a rush or in a planned gradual manner?

    If we don’t change, we ARE up for a catastrope. That is INEVITABLE. In the same way as even though “a watched pot doesn’t boil”, if you leave it on the fire long enough it will boil.

    But the adaption comes AFTER you’ve started mitigation.

    Because the mitigation efforts change the future. Much as when your doctor says “if you don’t cut out the cigarettes, you’ll die of cancer before retirement” is not disproven if you cut out the cigarettes and retire not dead.

    And they are required NO MATTER WHAT adaption.

    In fact, reduction of AGW by changing what you do IS an adaption.

    So why the false dichotomy? The statements that we should adapt? Mitigation IS adaption.

    So mitigate already.

  18. 318
    Cannaman says:

    I often use this site as an excellent resource when trying to answer the mindless drivel that passes for debate on the Daily Mail threads. I have been on their site for some time, along with a couple of other people, we all try to argue the science and demonstrate the ignorance of the cammon denialist approach. It is, frankly, a thankless task but I feel it is necessary to take the argument into the lions den so that the passing audience do not fall into the anti-science hysteria that the mail threads actively encourage with their rather wierd moderation policy. The denier approach most often used is personalisation and politicisation, both intended to hide the facts and distort the science. It can take a couple of months defending the logical position before you wear down the more loony elements.
    To be honest, it would be nice to have a little more support from the public who appear regularly on the other news paper boards, if we could show a little more strength in numbers, despite the tedium, it could well reduce the Mails current editorial leanings. Any Hoo, keep up the good work and keep feeding us the ammunition neccesary to fight the good fight :-)

  19. 319
    Rod B says:

    I may have mentioned this before, but my eyebrows rise with the scarcity of SH temperature data is sufficient to rule out the MWP, but such scarcity of data is no problem what-so-ever in extrapolating with high confidence global temperatures for millions of years before and nearly 1000 years since the MWP. I don’t know if this proves anything one way or another, but the scientific dichotomy is at the minimum very curious.

  20. 320
    Jacob Mack says:

    CFU, there is only so much mitigation we can do currently. Even building more green replacememts puts more GHG into the atmosphere at first anyways. Many so called green technologies are in fact not green at all, as a matter of fact and are just marketed that way. Mitigation is important, but there exists no false dichotomy when we see how much we do actually changes nothing about GHG emissions, actually increases them or only lowers them by some extremely small margin. By all means let us continue to use more energy effcient and longer lasting batteries, LED lights, green manufacturing of concrete and steel, drive a hybrid and use less water, etc… all I am saying is with such a lrge global population that is going to increase by leaps and bounds a significant reduction in GHG in the next say, 25-50 years is not very realistic and there are ways to help adapt like: growing genetically modified foods which can stand more extreme climates and weather patterns, taking salt water and purifying it to potable drinking water, (though at the moment this is still energetically and monetarily expensive) building structures not only more green, but more sturdy to extreme weather, earhquakes and climate, & reducing the other major pollutants further so nature can respond more favorably to greenhouse gas emissions.

  21. 321
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Rod B., Of course global temperatured become more uncertain as you go back into time. You have nothing like the resolution you do with instrumental data with proxy data, and the delta O^18 data give poorer resolution still. Still, the assumption is that on a timescale of decades, the hemispheres follow each other, and that is born out in the multiple ice cores we have. If you’d learn the science, you wouldn’t have to wonder.

  22. 322
    Ray Ladbury says:

    BobFJ@315,
    OK, Bob, why not contact Richard Lindzen or John Christy or even Roy Spencer–you know, actual scientists? As a result of going with Watts’ hand picked lackeys, he got meaningless questions with cherry-picked dates.

    Why not ask the frigging scientists. It’s not like they are hard to find. Oh, wait. It is bloody hard to find scientists who dissent from the consensus, isn’t it? So, instead, I guess you have to go with a moron. Boy, that restores my faith in the credibility of the BBC!

  23. 323
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “320
    Jacob Mack says:
    18 February 2010 at 1:44 PM

    CFU, there is only so much mitigation we can do currently.”

    There’s a lot more mitigation we can do than we’re doing.

    So stop fannying about about how much mitigation we can do and the the mitigation.

    All of your population by leaps and bounds will happen or not whether you’re mitigating or not.

    So mitigate already.

  24. 324
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “319
    Rod B says:
    18 February 2010 at 1:05 PM

    I may have mentioned this before, but my eyebrows rise with the scarcity of SH temperature data is sufficient to rule out the MWP,”

    Well Roger Moore on your own time.

    The temperature data rules out a SH MWP in so far as the data there doesn’t show one.

    The data is sufficient to show a global trend.

    This is because a global trend includes the southern AND northern halves.

    This means you get MORE data than you get if you include only one half.

  25. 325
    Doug Bostrom says:

    BobFJ says: 18 February 2010 at 12:36 AM

    Judging from his pathetic error regarding surface temperature trends, Watts has as little knowledge of climate science as he does vampire’s teeth.

    The fact Harrabin would turn to Watts as an authority on any matter related to climate science is a testimony to Watts’ skills with self-promotion and a condemnation of Harrabin as a journalist with the skills to guide the public to a better understanding of this topic.

  26. 326
    BobFJ says:

    Doug Bostrom you wrote in part in 325:

    “…a condemnation of Harrabin as a journalist with the skills to guide the public to a better understanding of this topic.”

    I guess you are unaware of, (or forget), the long standing advocacy of Harrabin, (and the BBC in general), with the message of catastrophic AGW. Up until now he has served your cause extremely well, but has suddenly done a U-turn, which was ONE of the issues I raised in my 307

    Ray Ladbury you wrote in part in 322:

    “…why [did Harrabin] not contact Richard Lindzen or John Christy or even Roy Spencer–you know, actual scientists?…”

    Because Watts is an activist on the sceptical side, it is reasonable to suspect that he may have a list of sceptical scientists, regardless of what you think of him. Maybe Harrabin did contact the three scientists you mention. I don’t know; how do you know that he did not? Whatever, Watts apparently did not sight Harrabin’s request until after Harrabin’s cut-off date, so, as I’ve already said he must have got sceptical advice from somewhere else. (all background to his U-turn)

    Completely Fed Up Reur 316::
    Uh? Could you re-phrase that? (non comprendo)
    Is there something you don’t understand in what you quote?
    “Well apparently because he [Harrabin] thought that Watts would have a list of sceptical scientists. I fail to see how you cannot comprehend the very simple nature of that ask!”

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    All three of you; You have not responded to any of the issues in my 307 (17 February 2010 at 5:09 PM). Now why would that be? (Watts should be able to provide a list of sceptics regardless of what you think of him… Not an issue). Trying to change the subjects are you?

  27. 327
    David B. Benson says:

    Completely Fed Up (324) — Limnological studies in Patagonia show no sign of warming during the MCA (MWP) intreval. Some hint that Antarctica underwent a polar see-saw, i.e., cooling, during this interval.

    Vaguely recall seeing something about New Zealand having a particularly cool spell as well.

  28. 328
    Completely Fed Up says:

    Bob, I already used words of mostly one syllable.

    How much simpler do you want? Watts et al are frauds.

    Simple enough?

    “You have not responded to any of the issues”

    We did respond to your query as to what was wrong with asking people who had no interest in the science being improved because they have many times demonstrated that, to them, the science is worth less than their ideology or paycheck.

  29. 329
    dhogaza says:

    Because Watts is an activist on the sceptical side, it is reasonable to suspect that he may have a list of sceptical scientists, regardless of what you think of him.

    So, every time scientists report on new, exciting birdlike dinosaur fossils, the BBC should ask some creationist with a high school education for a list of skeptical scientists in order to balance the science story with claims that the earth is only 6,000 years old, I imagine …

  30. 330
    Fred Magyar says:

    Scott @ 283,

    Seems that link is broken and I can’t seem to get it from your website either. I’ll try again later but as for getting around the filters, I know. I tried to post with the word Special_ist only to find out the word (C I A L I S) is a part of that word and therefore banned. I had to use expert…

  31. 331
    Doug Bostrom says:

    BobFJ says: 18 February 2010 at 4:58 PM

    Which issue are you referring to? Your mind reading– oops– “hypothesis” regarding Harrabin?

    What you wrote appeared to me as a wriggle of delight, celebrating what you perceive as a public relations victory. Don’t let me spoil your fun, but for some reason you mentioned Watts even though you later disclosed he was irrelevant to your keen enjoyment.

    Thank you for giving me the opportunity to remind readers here that when it comes to climate science, Watts is a post turtle. I can well imagine you’re pleasantly surprised to see he’s not lost his magic touch in spite of being thoroughly humiliated.

  32. 332
    Completely Fed Up says:

    “327
    David B. Benson says:
    18 February 2010 at 5:04 PM

    Completely Fed Up (324) — Limnological studies in Patagonia show no sign of warming during the MCA (MWP) intreval.”

    I did realise that in the climate (pun not intended) currently available where if a statement CAN be construed to mean “AGW is wrong”, this WILL happen, that merely saying that there was no evidence for a southern MWP would be still open to stating “So there’s evidence for warming”.

    But it was a bit late by then.

    Thanks for closing that hole before some ditto poked their head in.

  33. 333
    David B. Benson says:

    Rod B (319) — The ice cores in Greenland only go back to the Eemian interglacial. The long ice cores in Antarctica go back multiple interglacials. The tropical bethnic cores with d18O proxies go back for millions of years, but with only millennial resolution. Where these multiple proxy sources overlap in time the large scale fluctuations in temperatures agree, but the regional details do not.

    The MCA (MWP) is too small for d18O to register and the ice from the two different polar regions disagree, north up, south maybe down or flat. This suggests, but does not fully establish, that MCA was confined to the northern hemisphere. A good way of checking would be through more archaeological digs in the southern hemisphere. What little there is also suggests no MCA warming in the southern hemisphere.

  34. 334
    John E. Pearson says:

    333: David, the wikipedia article on the “MWP” links to a paper which argues for a MWP signal in New Zealand. Is that serious or just BS ? Surely Lonnie Thompson has evidence one way or the other from his observations of the Andean glaciers?

  35. 335
    John E. Pearson says:

    OK. So here’s Thompson

    “The Andean composite, and thus the Tropical composite, shows modest 18O enrichment from A.D. 300 to 500 and A.D. 1100 to 1300 (the so-called Medieval Warm Period) and depletion from A.D. 1400 to 1900 (LIA). Neither the Medieval Warm Period nor the LIA is discernable in the TP composite. However, all three composites (Fig. 6 A–C) clearly reveal that a large and unusual warming (18O enrichment) is underway at high elevations in the tropics. Although the factors driving the current 18O enrichment (warming) may be debated, the tropical ice core δ18O composite (Fig. 6 A) confirms that it is unusual from a 2,000-yr perspective.”

    http://www.pnas.org/content/103/28/10536.full

    No reconstructions. No proxies. Just raw data. and it is “unusual from a 2,000-yr perspective.”

  36. 336
    BobFJ says:

    Completely Fed Up 328 & Doug Bostrom 331:
    Let’s see if we can get back on-topic for this thread which is about media issues.
    Let’s see if you can perhaps comprehend more after me reconstructing my 307 to highlight by number what the 4 main issues are, but with additional hints. (since you seem to want to deny that these issues exist):

    ISSUE 1) In 2007, under the banner of “Safeguarding impartiality in the 21st century”; (link below); the BBC published in part:

    “…The BBC has held a high-level seminar with some of the best scientific experts, and has come to the view that the weight of evidence no longer justifies equal space being given to the opponents of the consensus…”

    However, following repeated requests over the years, the BBC has steadfastly refused to identify the seminar participants. To say the least, this seems to be rather odd behaviour. Whatever, the BBC has until recently been extremely one-sided in the climate debate in favour of catastrophic climate change

    HINT 1) If the “high level seminar” was real and fairly conducted, (unbiased), why has the BBC steadfastly resisted all attempts to provide the identify of the alleged “best scientific experts” involved?
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    ISSUE 2) It is thus surprising, that in the written Q & A exchanges between Harrabin and Jones via the UEA Press Office,…

    HINT 2) Contrary to what has been claimed both in the lead article and by various commenters, the Q & A was not an ‘interview‘, but an extended written exchange, including updates. Thus Jones could carefully compose his responses, possibly with the assistance of the UEA press office. There is no excuse that he may have been caught-out in a face to face verbal.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    ISSUE 3) [It is thus surprising, that in the written Q & A exchanges between Harrabin and Jones via the UEA Press Office], that Harrabin has deviated from his previous reporting style. (See also my 231/p5) The puzzle is; why the change?

    HINT 3) Harrabin and the BBC are iconic in the UK media scene, and as demonstrated in ISSUE 1) have for some years been extremely supportive of the paradigm that AGW is having/will have catastrophic consequences. However, Harrabin has now done a sharp U-turn in his attitudes, and it is appropriate to ponder as to why that might be.
    (I offer an hypothesis on that next)
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    NOT AN ISSUE, but a musing on my part)
    I hypothesise that he must have studied the CRU Emails and the recently revealed IPPC-Pachauri “errors”, and has concluded that something odd is going on somewhere!
    Shortly before that Q & A, he Emailed Anthony Watts (WUWT) asking for assistance to identify certain sceptical scientists, and it seems from his questions to Jones that he has indeed consulted such people by virtue of the nature of those questions. Whatever, those bold U-turn Q & A’s are now out there in B & W, and I’m sure that Harrabin can understand their significance.

    HINT ON THIS MY HYPOTHESIS You do understand the word ‘hypothesis‘? I was just putting forward a possible rational explanation, as to why the Harrabin/BBC U-turn, without claiming any truth in what I proposed. If you can come-up with a better hypothesis, please express it. As stated elsewhere above, Harrabin probably got no advice from Watts in time, but apparently got it from somewhere else. This thread is about media issues, and you should not digress from that by lambasting Watts. (Your dire opinion on Watts himself is irrelevant to the topic of this thread, although Harrabin‘s request to him is sensible background consideration concerning Harrabin‘s U-turn )
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    ISSUE 4) Harrabin is also on record; quote:

    “…government ministers may have to reconsider their description of sceptics as “deniers” and “flat earthers”…”

    HINT 4) Golly gosh! ….Now that really is a big change coming from Harrabin! Need I say more?
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    BBC policy: http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/assets/files/pdf/review_report_research/impartiality_21century
    The Q & A: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8511670.stm

  37. 337
    Leo G says:

    Ray @ 322 –

    Harribin is looking for sceptical AGW scientists in English academia, so far it seems, with not much luck.

  38. 338
    Doug Bostrom says:

    BobFJ says: 18 February 2010 at 10:56 PM

    What in the name of FSM was that all about? Whatever is reverberating between your ears, too much of it is leaking out. Stripping away the tea leaves, chicken entrails and other mumbo-jumbo, it sounds as though you’ve got a notion Harrabin has become the victim of some awful cognitive shortcircuit, maybe a ministroke shutting off the blood supply to important parts of his brain and is now a “believer” like you. Does that about sum it up? Harrabin now believes that scientists have joined together in a giant conspiracy to take away our Western Lifestyle?

  39. 339

    Doug Bostrom: Judging from his pathetic error regarding surface temperature trends, Watts has as little knowledge of climate science as he does vampire’s teeth.

    BPL: I hate to disagree, but I have it on good authority that Watts does, in fact, own a set of plastic vampire teeth.

  40. 340
    Sou says:

    @336 BobFJ
    I very much doubt that the ‘skeptic’ questions put to Professor Jones by the BBC were from a genuine scientist. They were silly questions in the main and designed purely to try to trip up Professor Jones, not inform the public.

    Prof Jones is clearly not adept at handling the media, he’s a scientist not a politician. A more experienced person would have pointed out the questions were meaningless and rephrased them to give people a better understanding of the climate. Prof Jones didn’t do too badly, but he could have handled the questions better (or not participated in the charade at all).

  41. 341
    Orkneygal says:

    In response to-

    333: David, the wikipedia article on the “MWP” links to a paper which argues for a MWP signal in New Zealand. Is that serious or just BS ? Surely Lonnie Thompson has evidence one way or the other from his observations of the Andean glaciers?

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 18 February 2010 @ 9:38 PM

    Positive evidence of the MWP signal in New Zealand and throughout the SH is unequivocal and ignored by the warmist camp for obvious reasons.

    There are plenty of clear signals from the SH.

    Here are but two examples, one from New Zealand and one from Antartica, both peer reviewed-

    Example 1-

    “We describe a new tree-ring reconstruction of Austral summer temperatures from the South Island of New Zealand, covering the past 1,100 years. This record is the longest yet produced for New Zealand and shows clear evidence for persistent above-average temperatures within the interval commonly assigned to the MWP. Comparisons with selected temperature proxies from the Northern and Southern Hemispheres confirm that the MWP was highly variable in time and space. Regardless, the New Zealand temperature reconstruction supports the global occurrence of the MWP.”

    From GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 29, NO. 14, 1667, 10.1029/2001GL014580, 2002

    http://ruby.fgcu.edu/courses/twimberley/EnviroPhilo/CookPalmer.pdf

    Example 2-

    “Terra Nova Bay, Victoria Land, Antarctica
    Reference
    Baroni, C. and Orombelli, G. 1994. Holocene glacier variations in the Terra Nova Bay area (Victoria Land, Antarctica). Antarctic Science 6: 497-505.

    Description
    In the words of the authors, they describe and analyze “data obtained during studies carried out by the Italian Antarctic Research Programme (1985-1991) in the Terra Nova Bay area, Victoria Land.” Of most significance to the Medieval Warm Period, in this regard, were data pertaining to the Edmonson Point Glacier (74°20’S, 165°08’E), which abuts a small ice-free area along the eastern coast of Mount Melbourne. Baroni and Orombelli state that a withdrawal phase of the glacier’s cliff front “is documented by a horizontal marine ingression of more than 150 meters and the deposition of coastal marine sediments,” noting that “the dates relative to this withdrawal phase correspond to a calibrated age between the 10th and the 14th centuries, a time interval including the Medieval Warm Period [authors’ italics].” They also say “there is evidence of a more recent period of advance, of at least 150 meters” that “occurred later than the 14th century in a time interval possibly corresponding to the Little Ice Age (16th-19th centuries).” Last of all, they state that “at present, the glacier appears to be in slight regression (as much as several tens of meters), as is documented by the ice-core moraines which locally face its frontal and lateral margins.” From these observations we conclude that the Medieval Warm Period of AD 900-1300 was more substantial than the Current Warm Period to date.”

    More examples here

    http://www.co2science.org/data/mwp/mwpp.php

    The MWP was real and global.

    Later……………..

    Orkneygal

    [Response: Try looking at all those so-called ‘MWP’ records and note which century the MWP is supposed to be in. You’ll find that they range over a 5 to 600 year period (even for the ones that have good age control – and many of them don’t) and so when you put them together you find that the peaks don’t line up. This has been the basis of the ‘MWP-scepticism’ for over a decade (Hughes and Diaz (1994), Bradley et al (2003), Osborn and Briffa (2006)). – gavin]

  42. 342
    Ray Ladbury says:

    BobFJ,
    Having worked a bit in science journalism, one of the most important resourced a journalist can have is a list of good sources. It is never possible for a journalist to become an expert on all issues he covers. When said journalist begins to turn to acknowledged wingnuts for help, it does sort of raise questions about his judgment.

    And FWIW, I’ve never found BBC’s science reporting to be any good. They’ve always tended toward the senstional “this changes everything” headline stories rather than the more in-depth narratives tha actually enlighten.

    In my opinion, the best science reporting looks for a significant development and uses that as a “news peg” for exploring the recent history of the field more thoroughly. It is interesting that BBC does do this with their cultural reporting–e.g. a new album being used to explore an artist’s career in perspective. It makes for interesting programming that is also enlightening.

    BBC has always been a wasteland when it comes to science.

  43. 343
    Theo Hopkins says:

    I have just been reading the Daily Mail headline from the 14 Feb article. “Climategate U-turn as scientist at centre of row admits: There has been no global warming since 1995”

    If anything is a “travesty” it is this headline.

    Oxford Concise Dictionary:
    Travesty. An absurd or grotesque misrepresentation”.

  44. 344
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Orkneygal,
    Thanks for the article. However, I’m afraid it doesn’t support your contention of a MWP in the SH contemporaneous with that in the North. The dates for the MWP in the NH are around 800-1300. Your data show the SH was abnormally cold during that period, only warming back to normal temperatures (as opposed to higher than normal) in the last couple hundred years or so.
    Indeed, this is a general problem I’ve seen. The data the Idso’s cite contradicts their contention that there was a global contemporaneous MWP. When CO2″science” gets this so badly wrong, shouldn’t it make you wonder what else they’re wrong about?

  45. 345
    Rod B says:

    Ray Ladbury , then how does that account for the conclusion that the MWP was “local” and not global?

  46. 346
    David B. Benson says:

    Rod B (345) — The evidence, such there is of it, suggests that the southern hemisphere did not warm up during MCA (MWP); those who studiy such matters calim to little evidence to be confident. But anthropologist Brain Fagan has a fine book which discusses MCA effects from Peru north to Mesa Verde; twas a hard time for all those civilizations.

  47. 347
    David B. Benson says:

    Rod B (345) — The evidence, such there is of it, suggests that the southern hemisphere did not warm up during MCA (MWP); those who studiy such matters claim too little evidence to be confident. But anthropologist Brian Fagan has a fine book which discusses MCA effects from Peru north to Mesa Verde; t’was a hard time for all those civilizations.

  48. 348
    BobFJ says:

    Doug Bostrom, Reur colourful 338:
    Well actually, I don’t do tea leaves, and I don’t approve of most chicken farming methods. Maybe I gave you some facts that were too detailed and caused you some confusion? Let’s see if you can better comprehend some brief summaries of the four issues, condensed from my 336:

    1) Some years ago, the BBC claims to have conducted; “…a high-level seminar with some of the best scientific experts…” to justify a bias towards catastrophic AGW reporting. However, the BBC has repeatedly refused to identify who the scientific experts were, who allegedly gave their recommendation. Is the BBC hiding something….did it not happen….why the secrecy?

    2) Contrary to what is widely claimed, the Q & A exchanges between Harrabin and Jones were written via the UEA Press Office. Thus Jones had plenty of time to compose and seek advice in his replies, and could not have been a typically poor performer in an interview as some have suggested.

    3) Harrabin, (and the BBC) have in recent years been extremely supportive of catastrophic AGW allegations. However, following on from Climategate and IPCC “errors” etc he has done a U-turn and has asked Jones some questions that appear to have been obtained from sceptical scientists. Does this signal a change in policy on AGW at the BBC?

    4) Harrabin has since stated: “…government ministers may have to reconsider their description of sceptics as “deniers” and “flat earthers”…” I guess that also means that he will avoid making such slurs too. What do you think?

    I hope that isn’t too complicated for you Doug….. Go-on give it a try, it‘s not hard!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    BTW, further to item 4), Harrabin has also written this:

    “…Amid the clamour on the blogosphere, though, there are the seeds of a growing climate peace movement. What a relief it would be if the extremists in the warring factions would lay down the Weapons of Mass Vilification like “denier”, “flat-earther”, “climate scam” and “climate con”.
    We are certainly in the right moment for a great Climate Armistice…

    …So there is space for a debate on the science. If politicians can frame their arguments in terms of uncertainty and risk, they may be better prepared to engage their critics. Shielding their heads behind an IPCC summary report won’t make the debate go away.
    This article is from the BBC News website

    http://www.heralddeparis.com/harrabins-notes-10/74168

  49. 349
    dhogaza says:

    2) Contrary to what is widely claimed, the Q & A exchanges between Harrabin and Jones were written via the UEA Press Office. Thus Jones had plenty of time to compose and seek advice in his replies, and could not have been a typically poor performer in an interview as some have suggested.

    He was a “poor performer” for assuming his honest words would be taken honestly, and for not attempting spin control when composing his scientifically accurate, non-controversial answers that in no way are out of synch with mainstream scientific thought.

    That when he said “temps have risen +0.12C/decade from 1995 to present, just shy of statistical significance” that it would not be reported that he said that there was no warming 1995 to present.

    Etc.

    Does this signal a change in policy on AGW at the BBC?

    I, for one, could care less. Nor does the planet.

  50. 350
    BobFJ says:

    Ray Ladbury, Reur 342:
    As an Australian resident, I thought your comments on the media, particularly the BBC were interesting and probably generally sound, despite that I seem to remember podcasting some interesting non-AGW BBC science stuff a couple of years ago. (but no more, due time limitations etc). We do have apparently similar problem here in Oz with the ABC TV programme “catalyst” which is science journalism that can sometimes be quite irritating. On the other hand the ABC radio “Science Show” that I sometimes listen to by chance, can be quite good. Oh, and BBC “World Service” sometimes has good stuff, that I listen to sometimes overnight to help me sleep.

    However, I think you (and similarly others) have a misunderstanding when you wrote:
    When said journalist begins to turn to acknowledged wingnuts for help, it does sort of raise questions about his judgment.
    I guess given the tenor here, that by “wing-nut” you mean Anthony Watts. However, be reminded that Watts was not asked for any of his personal advice, but for a list of sceptical scientists, that Harrabin might approach for the information that he rquired. If for instance Watts listed some scientific papers, even say MBH 99, does that mean that they are crap?