«Edited and Annotated by John Costella The Lavoisier Group March 2010 About the Author John Costella was born in East Melbourne in 1966. After being ...»
At best, they have a few other “proxies”, which themselves introduce more unknown quantities into the equation—like the differences between sea temperatures and air temperatures, or the sizeable differences of temperature across the planet. And instead of using these other “proxies” to try to disentangle temperature from the other relevant physical quantities, these climate scientists told the world that each of them is an independent measure of temperature.
It may seem unbelievable that these “scientists” were so mathematically incompetent that they didn’t realize the folly of this assumption; but it must be remembered that they drew their limited membership from the ranks of the “soft” sciences, where mathematical modelling expertise is, sadly, often lacking.
Of course, these researchers realized that all of their “independent temperature proxies” didn’t always give the same answers; so most of their work was involved in either figuring out which pieces of data agreed with which others (and ignoring or suppressing those that didn’t), or concocting mathematically invalid ways of “averaging out” the various discrepant pieces of data, to give an artificial appearance of consistency.
Unfortunately for them, the game fell apart when one of their colleagues did what any good scientist would have done in the first place: they went to check that their main “temperature proxy”—the tree ring data—agreed with absolutely reliable and rocksolid temperature measurements: those made in a certain area in the United States, over the previous forty years, using actual, genuine, scientific thermometers.
And what did they find?
That while the thermometers said that temperatures had gone up, the rings of the trees in those same locations indicated that temperatures had gone down.
In other words, tree rings had been proved to be completely unreliable thermometers.
It is with this huge problem in mind that Keith Briffa writes to Mike Mann, Phil Jones, Tom Karl, and Chris Folland, expressing severe reservations about their contribution to the next Report by the IPCC (the 2001 IPCC’s Third Assessment Report or TAR),
at that time in its revision stages:
I know there is pressure to present a nice tidy story as regards “apparent unprecedented warming in a thousand years or more in the temperature proxy data” but in reality the situation is not quite so simple. We don’t have a lot of temperature proxies that come right up to today and those that do (at least a significant number of tree proxies) have some unexpected changes in response that do not match the recent warming. I do not think it wise that this issue be ignored in the chapter.
That is an understatement! Indeed, Briffa states his key opinion even more clearly:
I believe that the recent warmth was probably matched about 1000 years ago.
This is a remarkable statement, which undermines the entire argument propounded by Briffa and his colleagues that global warming was “unprecedented”.
Mike Mann responds to this catastrophic development:
I walked into this hornet’s nest this morning! Keith and Phil Jones have both raised some very good points. And I should point out that Chris Folland, through no fault of his own, but probably through me not conveying my thoughts very clearly to the others, definitely overstates any singular confidence I have in my own (Mann and co-workers’) results.
In other words, Mann has hardly any confidence in his own results!
Mann now engineers what became the infamous “green graph”—the green tree-ring line in the graph in the IPCC Report that mysteriously passes behind the other lines at the year 1961—and never emerges on the other side. First, he needs to fiddle the data,
to make sure that the lines all cross at right place:
I am perfectly amenable to keeping Keith’s series in the graph, and can ask Ian Macadam (Chris?) to add it to the graph he has been preparing (nobody liked my own color and graphing conventions so I’ve given up doing this myself). The key thing is making sure the lines are vertically aligned in a reasonable way. I had been using the entire 20th century, but in the case of Keith’s, we need to align the first half of the 20th century with the corresponding average values of the other lines, due to the late 20th century decline.
Satisfied with that solution, he then turns to the problem of that bothersome “late 20th century decline”:
So if Chris and Tom (?) are OK with this, I would be happy to add Keith’s line to the graph. That having been said, it does raise a conundrum: We demonstrate … that the major discrepancies between Phil’s and our line can be explained in terms of (statistical excuses). But that explanation certainly can’t rectify why Keith’s data, which has similar properties to Phil’s data, differs in large part in exactly the opposite direction that Phil’s does from ours. This is the problem we all picked up on—everyone in the room at the IPCC was in agreement that this was a problem and a potential distraction/detraction from the reasonably consensus viewpoint we’d like to show with the Jones and co-workers’ and Mann and co-workers’ results.
In other words, there was no consensus at all at the IPCC—other than the participants’ universal agreement that there was a problem with what they wanted to show. Mann is here telling us, in his own words, that there was an agenda to present a “consensus viewpoint”—that simply didn’t exist in reality because of the science.
Mann now buries himself, by explaining what they should have done:
So, if we show Keith’s line in this plot, we have to comment that “something else” is responsible for the discrepancies in this case. Perhaps Keith can help us out a bit by explaining the processing that went into the data and the potential factors that might lead to it being “warmer” than the Jones and co-workers’ and Mann and co-workers’ results? We would need to put in a few words in this regard. Otherwise, the skeptics would have a field day casting doubt on our ability to understand the factors that influence these estimates and, thus, can undermine faith in the …estimates from paleological data. I don’t think that doubt is scientifically justified, and I’d hate to be the one to have to give it fodder!
In other words, Mann believes that all the lines should agree, but the actual data say otherwise; and he is loath to give that “fodder” to the critics. Mann is in denial of the obvious conclusion: that the science is in doubt. He tries to pressure Briffa to come up with excuses why his data might not agree with the others.
Of course, we know that, ultimately, he gave up on this impossible task, and the troublesome “decline” was simply removed! This was how the term “hiding the decline” came into being (see below).
Mann-made global warming, indeed.
November 16, 1999: email 0942777075 That background now paves the way to our understanding the historic email which generations of schoolchildren to come will study as the 33 words which summarize one of the most serious scientific frauds in the history of Western science.
Phil Jones to Ray Bradley, Mike Mann, Malcolm Hughes, Keith Briffa, and Tim
Osborn, regarding a diagram for a World Meteorological Organization Statement:
I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temperatures to each series for the last 20 years (i.e. from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline. [emphasis added] This email was sent less than two months after the one analysed above. Clearly, Mike Mann’s problems with Keith Briffa’s data—that it didn’t agree with the real temperature measurements from 1961 onwards—had by this time spread to the data for the other “temperature proxies”, albeit only from 1981 onwards. Jones reveals that Mann did not address this problem by making an honest note of it in the paper that he and his co-authors published in Nature, but rather by fraudulently substituting the real temperature data into the graphs, for the past 20 or 40 years as required.
That Mann did so would, of itself, disqualify him and all of his research from any future consideration in the annals of science; but here we have the other leader of the field, Phil Jones, bragging that he admired the “trick” so much that he adopted it himself. Moreover, his email was sent to the major players who dominated this field. It is their silence and collaboration over the following decade in “hiding the decline” which justifies the use of the word “conspiracy”; a conspiracy which will rob the “discipline” of climate science of any credibility, and which will cast suspicion about the integrity of Western science for many decades to come.
July 5, 2000: email 0962818260 Mike Kelly, of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, writes to
Mike Hulme and Tim O’Riordan:
Had a very good meeting with Shell yesterday. Only a minor part of the agenda, but I expect they will accept an invitation to act as a strategic partner, and will contribute to a studentship fund, though under certain conditions.
And they accuse skeptics of “being in the pockets” of Big Oil?
I’m talking to Shell International’s climate change team, but this approach will do equally for the new Foundation, as it’s only one step or so off Shell’s equivalent of a board level. I do know a little about the Foundation and what kind of projects they are looking for. It could be relevant for the new building, incidentally, though opinions are mixed as to whether it’s within the remit.
Sounds lucrative. Buildings don’t come cheap.
August 23, 2000: email 0967041809 In this email we get an insight into how the politics of propaganda completely overrode the rules of good scientific practice, when it came to publications on “climate science”.
Steve Schneider of the Department of Biological Sciences at Stanford University in the
United States complains to a number of his international colleagues:
… please get rid of the ridiculous “inconclusive” for the 34% to 66% subjective probability range. It will convey a completely different meaning to lay persons—read decision makers—since that probability range represents medium levels of confidence, not rare events. A phrase like “quite possible” is closer to popular lexicon, but “inconclusive” applies as well to very likely or very unlikely events and is undoubtedly going to be misinterpreted on the outside.
To anyone even vaguely familiar with probability and statistics, Schneider’s suggestion is unforgivable; and it doesn’t take a PhD to understand why. Forget about climate change, for the moment, and consider the simpler example of tossing a coin. If the coin is fair, and it is tossed fairly, then the likelihood of getting “heads” is 50 per cent.
Now, imagine that you had to describe how sure you are that you would get “heads” on the next toss, to your boss—or your spouse—without using any numbers. “It’s inconclusive” would accurately convey the fact that it’s just as likely that you would not get “heads” as it is that you would. “It’s quite possible”, on the other hand, conveys the impression that it’s a possibility that is quite likely; it biases the language in one direction, without faithfully conveying the equal likelihood that reality could go in the exact opposite direction.
Indeed, placing any emphasis at all on a 34% to 66% confidence interval is a complete misapplication of probability and statistics. Standard scientific practice is to only consider a result to be significant if the probability of it being true is estimated to be greater than some pre-determined threshold—typically 95%, for everyday analyses, or some more stringent threshold if the ramifications of getting it wrong are really serious.
Tom Karl, Director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s
National Climatic Data Center, compounds the comedy:
Steve, I agree with your assessment of “inconclusive”—“quite possible” is much better and we use “possible” in the United States National Assessment. Surveys have shown that the term “possible” is interpreted in this range by the public.