RealClimate logo


10 years on

Filed under: — gavin @ 17 November 2019

I woke up on Tuesday, 17 Nov 2009 completely unaware of what was about to unfold. I tried to log in to RealClimate, but for some reason my login did not work. Neither did the admin login. I logged in to the back-end via ssh, only to be inexplicably logged out again. I did it again. No dice. I then called the hosting company and told them to take us offline until I could see what was going on. When I did get control back from the hacker (and hacker it was), there was a large uploaded file on our server, and a draft post ready to go announcing the theft of the CRU emails. And so it began.

From “One year later”, 2010.

Many people are weighing in on the 10 year anniversary of ‘Climategate’ – the Observer, a documentary on BBC4 (where I was interviewed), Mike at Newsweek – but I’ve struggled to think of something actually interesting to say.

It’s hard because even in ten years almost everything and yet nothing has changed. The social media landscape has changed beyond recognition but yet the fever swamps of dueling blogs and comment threads has just been replaced by troll farms and noise-generating disinformation machines on Facebook and Twitter. The nominally serious ‘issues’ touched on by the email theft – how robust are estimates of global temperature over the instrumental period, what does the proxy record show etc. – have all been settled in favor of the mainstream by scientists plodding along in normal science mode, incrementally improving the analyses, and yet they are still the most repeated denier talking points.

Sure, there has been some change in community awareness of how email can be weaponised, and consequently a greater separation (thankfully) between official email and more casual fare. There are better support networks for scientists caught in the “firehose of shit” than there used to be (CSLDF!). There is surely less naivety about how politicised climate science can become. But the drive of right-wing ‘think-tanks’ like CEI and the American Tradition Institute, to FOIA their way to more email-related scandal has run aground – the political appetite for more ‘revelations’ of scientists doing science and being human has apparently evaporated. Meanwhile the hacks involved have resorted to suing each other over whose hands should be in the dark money cookie jar.

There are still folks insisting that the ’emails speak for themselves’ without ever being able to articulate what they say without getting the context or timing or people totally wrong (see here for a typical recent example of absolutely certainty coupled with almost total ignorance). This is an indication that for some, ‘climategate’ has simply become a banner to be waved around on the battlefield to encourage the troops. Obviously, that has nothing to do with science, or scientific practice.

The bigger changes over the last 10 years have nothing to do with ‘issues’ in climate science either. The ‘facts on the ground’ have shifted dramatically. The warmest years on record, increasing influences of climate change on wildfires, hurricane intensity, heat waves, coastal flooding, coral bleaching, etc. have meant that outright denial of science isn’t as marketable any more as the wider conversation has moved to solutions. The issues associated with how we actually reduce emissions involve mostly a different group of people, with different (and diverse) expertise and controversies that revolve far more around theories of political change and questions of equity, than they do arcane issues in paleo-climate or weather station homogenization. Some people will continue to obsess of two-decade-old minutae which even at the time were obscure and irrelevant, but now I don’t see why anyone sane would want to even bother.

As I said more than a decade ago, no political decisions have ever been made based on 15th Century trees – not even in the 15th Century. The development of the politics of climate over the last 10 years simply underlines that.

Google search trends since 1/1/2009

88 Responses to “10 years on”

  1. 1
    CM says:

    Once again, thank you for your outstanding marathon work putting the record straight 10 years ago.

  2. 2
    Thomas William Fuller says:

    I’ll second CM’s comment. I disagree with much of what appears in this blog, but by staying in post for 3 days answering questions and responding to talking points from all and sundry, you performed a real service.

  3. 3
    Matthew R Marler says:

    Some people will continue to obsess of two-decade-old minutae which even at the time were obscure and irrelevant, but now I don’t see why anyone sane would want to even bother.

    Minutia are the stuff of science, like the differences among acetic acid, ethanol and methanol; the difference between CO and CO2; or the differences among gasolines of different octane ratings. Some people do and some people don’t perceive a difference between “Mike’s trick” (a sophisticated technique) and “Mike’s trick to hide the decline” (an attempt at deception.) Some do and some don’t perceive a difference between “exoneration” as a result of investigation, and “past the statute of limitations” as a reason not to file criminal charges.

    Other “minutia” include a possible 1% increase in global mean temperature, and an increase in the concentration of a trace gas in the atmosphere.

  4. 4
    BrettnCalgary says:

    Nice recap. I recall that particular mess well, the deniers dig it up occasionally but it has mostly faded away. Btw, minor typo:
    “absolutely certainty”
    Better fix it before some science denier declares you unfit to lead GISS.

  5. 5
    Robert Bradley says:

    Why not mention Judith Curry’s take, Legacy of Climategate – 10 Years Later https://judithcurry.com/2019/11/12/legacy-of-climategate-10-years-later/

  6. 6
    MA Rodger says:

    RealClimate isn’t the only blog-site remembering the Climategate hack. The denialists are reliving their past glories as well – an OP at Wattsupia delving into the archive to re-run the old nonsense and Judy Curry expending 4,000 words saying not-a-lot, although she does manage to make plain her belief that eventually AGW will be overwhelmed by future climatic events:-

    “At some point, a spate of La Nina events, a shift to the cold phase of the AMO, increased volcanic activity, impacts of a solar minimum and another ‘hiatus’ are inevitable; sort of the reverse of what Steve Schneider** was waiting for.”

    [**Judy’s 4,000 word essay includes a post-Climategate Steve Scheinder quote saying “A mega heat wave this summer is worth 3 orders of magnitude more in the PR wars–too bad we have to wait for random events since evidence doesn’t seem to cut it anymore with the MSM.”]

    ..

    PS – Be aware that comments posted on other RC threads are appearing on the side-bar list of comments but are not appearing on the threads themselves.

  7. 7
    Artful Dodger says:

    Matthew R Marler,
    There never was a statement “Mike’s trick to hide the decline” – that was made up by AGWDeniers only. The two phrases – ‘Mikes trick’ and ‘hide the decline’ came in separate emails days/weeks apart.

    Only AGW deniers continue this chronic deceptive lie about the stolen emails.

  8. 8
    JCH says:

    “Mike’s trick to hide the decline” (an attempt at deception.) – Matthew Marler

    Risible.

    To be deception, it would have to hide truth. The truth: there was no decline, so it illuminated truth. You just don’t like it, so you throw around the usual Cesspool Etc. type insults.

  9. 9
    nigelj says:

    Interesting that Judith Curry is impressed by James Delingpole, a journalist who knows little and who lies and misleads repeatedly. This says much about Judith Curry. She appears to have been sucked in, and is obviously in so deep shes too proud to change tack now.

  10. 10
    nigelj says:

    Matthew R Marler, yes minutia are the stuff of science and you make it plain you have a very limited understanding of them. Many of the most powerful effects in the world are from substances in very low concentration. Do some research.

  11. 11
    CCHolley says:

    Reference @5

    Robert Bradley, just another paid climate denier who honed his morals while working for ENRON

    Robert Bradley Jr. is the founder and CEO of Institute for Energy Research (IER). Bradley spent nearly 20 years in the business world including 16 years at Enron where he served as corporate director of public policy analysis and as a speech writer for Kenneth L. Lay. [14]

    Robert Bradley has been associated with a range of conservative and free-market think tanks; he was an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute and Competitive Enterprise Institute CEI), an Energy and Climate Change Fellow at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) in London, and an honorary senior research fellow at the Center for Energy Economics. He has been a member of the Academic Review Committee for the Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University. [13]

    He is also the author of several books including Climate Alarmism Reconsidered (2003) and Renewable Energy: Not Cheap, Not ‘Green’ (Cato Institute, 1997), and formerly ran the website Political Capitalism.org. [13]

    DESMOG–Robert L. Bradley Jr.

  12. 12
    Keith Woollard says:

    Gavin, it really says something that you chose only the US to do you google comparison. Maybe you should start a World Series :-)
    Sure a similar trend can be seen if you ask the rest of the world, but there are some striking differences. For example Climategate peaked interest in climate change to a level that only just recently has been matched.

    Or do the comparison using global warming instead of climate change. Or look at Russia who supposedly was responsible…

  13. 13

    Robert Bradley says:

    “Why not mention Judith Curry’s take, Legacy of Climategate – 10 Years”

    Why not mention that Robert Bradley is a former chief speechwriter for Ken Lay and ENRON? He was there at the beginning of The Long Grift.

  14. 14
    Patrick Mazza says:

    This is not about facts. It is about ruthless psywar and disinformation, Goebbels “Big Lie” technique – Tell a lie long enough and people will believe it. Realize this is a war.

  15. 15
    William Jackson says:

    Curry’s take reminds us of why she is not very highly regarded by the majority of climate scientists. She is become a professional denier.

  16. 16
    aaron says:

    Why not mention that ENRON was largely created to help facilitate the changing the grid to integrate wind and solar power to combat climate change/global warming?

  17. 17
    Marco says:

    “Why not mention that ENRON was largely created to help facilitate the changing the grid to integrate wind and solar power to combat climate change/global warming?”

    Why mention something that is not true?

  18. 18
  19. 19
    Al Bundy says:

    Marco,

    Enron was formed via the merger of a Houston natural gas company and an Omaha pipeline company. The purpose was to game the system so as to extract value fraudulently.

    “At the end of 2001, it was revealed that Enron’s reported financial condition was sustained by institutionalized, systematic, and creatively planned accounting fraud, known since as the Enron scandal. Enron has since become a well-known example of willful corporate fraud and corruption.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enron

  20. 20
    zebra says:

    For the moderators and any experts, about the issues with comments not being visible:

    I notice that there is a little green “at” showing up underneath “zebra says:” when I am trying to submit. I don’t recognize this. Is this a “fix” for whatever was going on, or is it the source of the problem?

    Clicking on it sends me back to the original topic screen; my comment vanishes.

  21. 21
    Paul Donahue says:

    #3 “Other “minutia” include a possible 1% increase in global mean temperature…”

    Well, assuming you are talking about Kelvins (the only scale where a “percent” rise in temperature would make any kind of sense), then a global mean temperature which leads to runaway “moist greenhouse” conditions and eventual boiling of the oceans only required a rather modest 10% increase in temperature

  22. 22
  23. 23
    john byatt says:

    remember it well, just happened to be reading as it unfolded

  24. 24
    DasKleineTeilchen says:

    @zebra: this is getting weirder and weirder; yesterday the new comments on “unforced variations” and “Sensitive But Unclassified” on the second page of comments werent there, but after submitting a new comment, they were?!? now, today they vanished again, even as it says on page ONE (for example) of “unforced variations” “74 comments” but on page TWO it says still (and again) “69 comments”. tried different computers, a smartphone and a proxy-server, same result.

    ?????

  25. 25
    Matthew R Marler says:

    10 Nigel J: Many of the most powerful effects in the world are from substances in very low concentration.

    I did not deny that. My point was that minutia (such as substances in very low concentration) can be important. Most people here recognize that the slight concentration of CO2 can be important; so (potentially) were the “minutia” of the ClimateGate affair, so calling them “minutia” is at best empty.

  26. 26
    MA Rodger says:

    Also whittering away in the denialosphere is Roy Spencer who marks the anniversary of the Climategate hack by tapperty-tapping just 1,500 words on the subject of Climate Extremism in the Age of Disinformation (although some of it is a cut-&-paste job from that paragon of troof & onistee James Dellingpole). Spencer attempt to argue that the swivel-eyed climate change deniers are matched by the bulk of climate science, and it is thus implied that it is just he plus a few others who are not being corrupted by political (or religions) views/prejudice. It is not Climategate (or what it allegedly exposed) that matters because science is being driven by belief, not the evidence. He puts this sarcastically as follows:-.

    You see, it does not really matter whether a few bad actors (even if they are leaders of the climate movement) conspired to hide data and methods, and strong-arm scientific journal editors into not publishing papers that might stand in the way of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) mission to pin climate change on humans, inflate its seriousness, and lay the groundwork for worldwide governmental efforts to reduce humanity’s access to affordable energy.
    The folks were simply trying to Save the Earth™, and we all know that the ends justifies the means, right? So what if they cheated? Boys will be boys, you know. The science is sound, and besides, 97% of all scientists agree that… something.

  27. 27
    Dennis Horne says:

    Roy Spencer is the old man on his way home when his wife calls to tell him there’s an idiot driving down the wrong side of the motorway.

    “Not just one”, he says, “There’s hundreds of them…”

  28. 28
    Dennis Horne says:

    @25 Matthew R Marler. Climategate was nothing more than a beat-up based on lies.

    Scientists’ warnings about the consequences of the (rising) level of CO2 in the atmosphere is based on evidence, describes by the American Physical Society as “incontrovertible”.

    No amount of arguing about detail changes “fantasy” into “reality” or “lies” into “truth”.

  29. 29
    nigelj says:

    Matthew R Marler @25, I agree and it looks like I misinterpreted your comment. All I saw was the meme about CO2 was a trace gas that denialists often use, and I jumped to the conclusion you were downplaying it. So much denialist stuff gets posted on the net that I get a bit suspicious.

  30. 30
    Marco says:

    Al Bundy @19: I think you meant to respond to Aaron @16, who made the strange claim that Enron was created “to help facilitate the changing the grid to integrate wind and solar power to combat climate change/global warming”, and now at #22 provides a link to an anti-wind site that promotes the view of Robert Bradley, who has rather personal motives to try and not make Enron’s failure a result of fraud, but instead of supposed “green” policies (Aaron does not seem to know that Robert Bradley was Ken Lay’s speech writer for many years). And he fails to note that even that ‘evidence’ he provides does not support his claims about ‘why’ Enron was created.

  31. 31
    nigelj says:

    MAR @23, given Spencers comments in the quote are a collection of misleading statements, strawmen, nonsense and conspiracy theories and is all just utterly unscientific, there would arguably be a good case to stop his UAH temperature analysis funding. He would probably survive but only because RSS does the same job and offers a more level headed and less politicised alternative.

  32. 32
    Matthew R Marler says:

    7 artful dodger: Matthew R Marler,
    There never was a statement “Mike’s trick to hide the decline” – that was made up by AGWDeniers only. The two phrases – ‘Mikes trick’ and ‘hide the decline’ came in separate emails days/weeks apart.

    I am glad that you agree with me that getting the “minutia” correct is important.

  33. 33
    Matthew R Marler says:

    JCH: The truth: there was no decline

    You are mistaken. It was also called the “divergence”. The last 3 decades of the temperatures inferred from the principal components of the tree ring measurements seemed to show a decline in global meant temperature.

  34. 34
    Al Bundy says:

    Matthew R Moron: I am glad that you agree with me that getting the “minutia” correct is important.

    AB: No. The minutia is minutia and when the issue is Death and Extinction minutia gets in the way.

  35. 35

    #33, MRM–

    Correct, basically; the “decline” in the infamous “hide the decline” email line was a decline in warming trend in tree ring proxy data. The principals involved in the email exchange knew that perfectly well, and so did anyone who read the entire exchange, because context made it clear. Dr. Mann was “hiding” it, not to deceive, but to clarify what the reality was, by highlighting the information believed to be trustworthy and leaving the untrustworthy to the ‘notes.’

    The only “deception” involved, in my perhaps insufficiently humble opinion, occurred when propagandists ripped the phrase from its context to create the misleading impression that “decline” referred to instrumental data (or, naively, “the real temperature.”) It’s notable, also IMPIHO, that at least the first person to do so necessarily did it in bad faith (since they HAD to read the whole thread, and hence had, or should have had, the context.)

    The naturalness of the assumption, and hence the effectiveness of the true deception, is neatly illustrated by the fact that here we are once again, ten years later, clarifying just what “declined.”

    For those who might be interested, the ‘rest of the story’ was that the tree ring decline was accounted for by the effect of CO2 fertilization.

  36. 36
    Matthew R Marler says:

    35, Kevin McKinney: Correct, basically; …

    For those who might be interested, the ‘rest of the story’ was that the tree ring decline was accounted for by the effect of CO2 fertilization.

    I think that is basically a good post. However, there are flaws in using the technique of selecting some of the tree records (those that correlate highly with temperature) and then using the principal components of the selected records to estimate temperature. This has been addressed many times: basically, even in a set of totally independent time series you find that some are correlated over a chosen time frame, and selecting those that correlate with another time series in that time interval does not show that they are actually not independent. In this case, the chosen time series were inaccurate over the best recorded temperature interval, illustrating the existence of potential flaws. The “explanation” that the tree ring decline was due to CO2 fertilization might be true, but it is also completely post-hoc, so there might have been something else at work. Everything in the reported trend of selected tree-ring proxies might be due to something(s) other than global mean temperature.

    Omitting the most recent proxy temps and substituting actual temp measurements was (probably) motivated by the desire to present graphically what the authors thought was really happening, thinking the decline to have been artifactual. Nevertheless, I do not see how you can read the phrase “to hide the decline” as being other than deceptive, even though some people misunderstood what had been hidden.

    You will have noticed that some writers at this blog deny that anything had ever been hidden. Perhaps you would be willing to school them as you have schooled me.

  37. 37
    Romain says:

    Kevin McKinney,#35,

    “Hide the decline”…
    So you have a candidate proxy that fails to act as a proxy for a significant portion (from 1960) of the period during which you can actually test it (the instrumental temp record).
    How inconvenient.
    But still, you just ignore that, or propose an unverified hypothesis (fertilization) explaining the recent divergence and magically saving your proxy from being thrown away in the dustbin.
    And you call that science?

    If there is something that Climategate confirmed, it is that tree rings are hardly a reliable proxy for temperature.

  38. 38
    Al Bundy says:

    Marco,

    Thanks for the gentle correction. You’ve got much better technique than the standard Righteous Indignation.

    This thread and RealClimate’s current hacker seem to be frying my mind…

    (Ain’t it grand that humans never come to the obvious conclusion: “It ain’t externals. I AM an idiot”)

  39. 39
    Al Bundy says:

    Speaking of idiocy, I think I owe MRM an apology. Stuff hasn’t published yet (or the hacker is laughing) so I’m not sure, but, anyway, I apologize.

  40. 40

    #37, MRM–

    The “explanation” that the tree ring decline was due to CO2 fertilization might be true, but it is also completely post-hoc, so there might have been something else at work.

    Actually, it wasn’t advanced in that context, and it wasn’t “post hoc.” See below for more…

    #38, Romain–

    But still, you just ignore that, or propose an unverified hypothesis (fertilization) explaining the recent divergence and magically saving your proxy from being thrown away in the dustbin.
    And you call that science?

    “I” didn’t do any of that. I am just telling you what happened in the professional literature. The so-called “unverified hypothesis” wasn’t brought up to “save” anything; rather, it was published 5 years *before* the first MBH paper, and it was published by a couple of gentlemen one of whom was known for being, shall we say, highly skeptical of CO2-induced climate change–Sherwood Idso.

    https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1029/92GB02533

    As the abstract has it:

    The growth‐promoting effects of the historical increase in the air’s CO2 content are not yet evident in tree‐ring records where yearly biomass additions are apportioned among all plant parts. When almost all new biomass goes into cambial enlargement, however, a growth increase of 60% or more is observed over the past two centuries. As a result, calibration of tree‐ring records of this nature with instrumental climate records may not be feasible because of such growth changes. However, climate signals prior to about the mid‐19th century may yet be discovered by calibrating such tree‐ring series with independently derived proxy climate records for those times.

    MRM again:

    I do not see how you can read the phrase “to hide the decline” as being other than deceptive…

    We may have to agree to disagree on that. Among other things, I am a writer, and I can assure you that if clarity is what a writer (or graphic designer) wishes, it is not a good idea to drag in irrelevant information (such as proxy data that is known to be incorrect). So I see nothing whatever of the “deceptive” in the “trick.”

    I rather agree with you that the later unreliability of the proxy data tends to raise reasonable questions as to whether it was reliable in earlier times. But that is a much larger question, involving the whole field of dendrochronology. I’d say that the fact that many other proxy reconstruction studies, based on many different proxies and carried out with varying methodologies, agree to a reasonable degree with MBH, rather shows that the dendro folk probably didn’t get it too drastically wrong.

    And at the very least, you can feel reassured that the fertilization ‘hypothesis’ was not proposed to defend climate ‘orthodoxy.’

  41. 41
    patrick says:

    Thank you for the history, analysis, and RC in the first place.

    It has always been the gate-that-wasn’t to me. I called it that because I didn’t want to amplify the effect of the disinformation or dignify the inventions of disinformers. Let me update the term to “gate-not.”

    I am reminded of it often enough. I’m reminded of it by disinformation now. So that’s how I would update it–by looking at disinformation now.
    Here’s a look (17 Nov ’19) by analyst Karen Kornbluh, senior fellow and director of the Digital Innovation and Democracy Initiative at the German Marshall Fund. It’s good.

    https://www.npr.org/2019/11/17/780312529/troll-watch-disinformation-around-impeachment-hearings

    Kornbluh makes several points. (Such as: the goal, in part, is to confuse; the central role of conspiracy theories; and the merging of the digital and the physical.) But I disagree on one point. I think the same kind of tactics (like context switching tricks) need to be learned and understood in order to recognize and antidote disinformation. Just as for medical antidotes, rapidity is decisive, effectiveness is time dependent. Especially in response to the kind of shameless, unvarnished real time pop-up context switching trick–performed in plain sight, no less–in the example provided by Kornbluh.

    More so than Kornbluh, I would say that responding with the same techniques does not mean responding with another falsehood. It may mean using the same techniques, but with the truth, in the service of the truth, oriented towards the truth. Well chosen antidotes do not preclude providing lengthier more considered responses later on.

    Techniques that were learned previously from fighting foreign adversaries on social media have now been systematically turned on domestic targets, for domestic purposes–namely, to build a domestic insurgency–according to Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie in no uncertain terms. This is where we are now.

    https://www.npr.org/2019/10/08/768216311/whistleblower-explains-how-cambridge-analytica-helped-fuel-u-s-insurgency

    One can bet that things like this have played (and continue to play) a role in scenes like those iterated in quick succession by the climate scientists–K. Hayhoe for one–in the video on the homepage of the CSLDF, which you link.

    “These days, to get attacked, all we have to do is set foot off campus and tell anybody–even a local Kiwanis club, or a local church, or even a group of elementary school kids–that climate change is real, and then the angry letters start to flood in.” –K. Hayhoe.

    One can see the direct attack on climate science of the chief foreign-insurgency-fighter-turned-domestic-insurgent–named by Wylie–by looking the name up on DeSmogBlog. What the self-chosen insurgent says and does–this isn’t speech, to borrow a phrase. It’s incitement, I think.

    The advent of personality profiling–Analytica’s specialty, eclipsing demographic profiling–ushered in the all too mindless trend of wannabe-mind-gaming trolling which we see now. Wylie has another word for “mindgame.” It’s the title of his new book.

    Gate-not was a wake-up call. It was influenced by foreign intelligence amplified by susceptible personalities in the U.S., among others. See Gavin on that, and Barton Paul Levinson on this thread #18. Thanks BPL for those facts, and assembling them so well. Thanks too for your link to this article–partly about the events narrated by Gavin at the top of this post.

    https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/climate-emails-hacked-by-spies-1885147.ht

    I would like to note a bit of Gavin’s narrative (“One Year Later, 2010”) which does not appear in the excerpt at the top, namely: “From that Friday, and for about 3 weeks afterward, we were drafted into the biggest context setting exercise we’d ever been involved in.”

  42. 42

    MRM 36: some writers at this blog deny that anything had ever been hidden

    BPL: That’s because the authors of the paper discussed why they were leaving that series out _in the paper they were left out of._ If you’re “hiding” something, you don’t tell everybody you’re hiding it–unless you are merely excluding an outlier, which is a perfectly valid statistical procedure.

  43. 43
    CCHolley says:

    Re. Romain @37

    “Hide the decline”…
    So you have a candidate proxy that fails to act as a proxy for a significant portion (from 1960) of the period during which you can actually test it (the instrumental temp record).
    How inconvenient.
    But still, you just ignore that, or propose an unverified hypothesis (fertilization) explaining the recent divergence and magically saving your proxy from being thrown away in the dustbin.
    And you call that science?

    The use of tree rings does have its well known shortcomings as there are multiple climate and non-climate factors as well as nonlinear effects that impact tree ring width yet there are ways to isolate these factors and to make the data useful. And, regardless of these shortcomings, the uncertainties can be surmised and reasonable conclusions can be drawn especially in the context of other corroborating evidence. The divergence isn’t just ignored, it is considered in the context of the whole body of knowledge. That is science.

    And of course Mann’s work, the so called hockey stick, has been confirmed by close to forty additional studies as reported in the peer reviewed journals. Some of these studies use different tree ring data where there is no divergence. Others use a variety of other temperature proxies such as ice cores, sub-fossil pollen, corals, lake and ocean sediments, and carbonate speleothems that have no such divergent problem. As such, there is substantial evidence that the current temperature rise is unprecedented in the past 2000 years and most likely unprecedented in all of the Holocene. Seems that those who want to have us deny the truth of AGW focus only on Mann’s work as if it somehow diminishes the science while conveniently ignoring the rest of the science. That is not science.

    See: Raymond S. Bradley, Paleoclimatology, Reconstructing Climates of the Quaternary

  44. 44
    Ric Merritt says:

    Also worth pointing out: if the eye-rolling denialist story about hiding decline were somehow entirely true (in some weirdly twisted and hardly imaginable universe, because you’d have to turn a lot of reality dials to make it true) the effect on overall knowledge and desirable public policy would be zero to several decimal places.

  45. 45
    Mal Adapted says:

    Mathew R. Marler:

    Some people do and some people don’t perceive a difference between “Mike’s trick” (a sophisticated technique) and “Mike’s trick to hide the decline” (an attempt at deception.)

    Robert Bradley:

    Why not mention Judith Curry’s take, Legacy of Climategate – 10 Years Later

    Let us by all means mention Judith Curry, as she has been exposed as a quote-mining character assassin who deceptively cut’n’pasted “Mike’s Nature trick” to “hide the decline” from a hacked email Phil Jones sent to colleagues including Mike Mann in 1999. I learned this from a 2015 blog post by Greg Laden, and from John Mashey (whew!) in the comments. Please go there with questions first.

    As reported in The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars, Jones was pleased to have verified Mike’s published results:

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

    “Mike’s Nature trick”, of course, was his well-founded substitution of direct temperature measurements for tree ring data from Yamal after 1960, when Briffa et al. found they departed from their previous temperature relation as confirmed by other data; and from all tree-ring sites after 1980. In #35 and #40, Kevin McKinney referred to published findings that the tree ring decline was accounted for by the effect of CO2 fertilization. Mike and Phil Jones both knew, even if Curry didn’t, that the tree-ring proxy was still considered by specialists to be reliable prior to those dates.

    IOW, only a conspiracist would continue to suspect intent to deceive on Mann’s or Jones’s part. Yet long after being independently confirmed, Mike and his seminal 1998 hockey stick continue to draw hostile fire. The propaganda campaign by fossil-fuel investors to postpone collective decarbonization, OTOH, is abundantly documented in the public record. It sure looks like professional disinformers, including Curry and apparently Robert Bradley, have singled out Mike for vilification under a “Serengeti strategy”.

  46. 46
    JCH says:

    You are mistaken. It was also called the “divergence”. The last 3 decades of the temperatures inferred from the principal components of the tree ring measurements seemed to show a decline in global meant temperature.

    I am not mistaken, and I have read for years about the divergence.

    The paper is about a reconstruction of the NH temperature. It’s not about proxies. Want to read about divergence problems with proxies, read a scientific paper about divergence problems with proxies.

    The was no decline in the GMST, so why on earth would any sane person put a decline in temperature that never happened on a graph purporting to be a reconstruction of the actual GMST of the NH? Do you often poop on your food? It’s just lunacy, and it would be a deception: hiding the truth that the GMST did not drop where the divergence happened. It cannot be a deception unless it his the truth about the NH GMST. It did not hide a truth about the NH GMST. You’re indulging in character assassination, which is hardly a wholesome personal attribute. Just a suggestion, stop letting Professor Curry spoon feed you.

  47. 47
    Al Bundy says:

    CCHolley: And of course Mann’s work, the so called hockey stick, has been confirmed by close to forty additional studies as reported in the peer reviewed journals.

    AB: As if forty studies hold a candle to some internet idiot’s pontifications. Haven’t you read 1984?

  48. 48
    Matthew R Marler says:

    40 Kevin Donald McKinney: We may have to agree to disagree on that. Among other things, I am a writer, and I can assure you that if clarity is what a writer (or graphic designer) wishes, it is not a good idea to drag in irrelevant information (such as proxy data that is known to be incorrect). So I see nothing whatever of the “deceptive” in the “trick.”

    I rather agree with you that the later unreliability of the proxy data tends to raise reasonable questions as to whether it was reliable in earlier times. But that is a much larger question, involving the whole field of dendrochronology.

    Well, I don’t agree that evidence that the proxy data were incorrect is “irrelevant”. I don’t think the word “hide” in context has a benign interpretation.

    You might be right that interpretation may be depending on previous experience.

  49. 49
    Titus says:

    Agree context needed for understanding. What was the context behind Jones telling the team to delete emails?

  50. 50

    #48, MRM–

    …evidence that the proxy data were incorrect is “irrelevant”.

    It is irrelevant in the context of determining (or displaying) temperature patterns as accurately as possible. The issue with the trustworthiness of dendrochronology more generally is another can of worms altogether, and was dealt with in the relevant literature. I’m with JCH:

    “The paper is about a reconstruction of the NH temperature. It’s not about proxies. Want to read about divergence problems with proxies, read a scientific paper about divergence problems with proxies.”

Leave a Reply

Comment policy. Please note that if your comment repeats a point you have already made, or is abusive, or is the nth comment you have posted in a very short amount of time, please reflect on the whether you are using your time online to maximum efficiency. Thanks.