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Two More Down

December 8, 2009

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6 comments

  1. Two more down? It would take a Beavis and Butthead mentality to believe that.

    Trenberth was simply commenting on the recent lack of warming and how this defies the models. This doesn’t indicate he doesn’t believe in AGW, and yes some right wing talking heads have made that incorrect assumption. But it does acknowledge that our observing systems have failed to detect the expected changes in Earth’s energy budget over the past 10 years. “Our observing system is inadequate” Trenberth says. The logic seems to be if the observations don’t match the models we need better observations.

    In that same E-mail string Mike Mann offers up a graph which Gavin Schmidt created for a realclimate blog post. Tom Wigley says “the Figure you sent is very deceptive” and later when Gavin defends this Wigley says “I just think that you need to be up front with uncertainties and the possibility of compensating errors.” Wigley must be unaware of the way the realclimate PR machine works.

    http://www.eastangliaemails.com/emails.php?eid=1057&filename=1255553034.txt

    On the second point, the infamous “hide the decline” is about the divergence problem which is documented in the peer reviewed literature. The problem here is cutting off the proxy data when it diverges from the instrumental record. This issues isn’t about questioning the instrumental record but failing to show this divergence. One of the biggest uncertainties in paleoclimate is if recent proxies diverge from measured temperature what does that tell us about warm periods 1,000 years ago? According to these scientists it tells us nothing, they simply chop off the recent divergence (or add in the instrumental record) to “hide the decline” in graphics the public will see yet give no consideration to any divergence in earlier warm periods. While the divergence issue is known in the literature it doesn’t show up in climate reconstructions because of the decision to “hide the decline”.

    In comparisons between modern warming and the MWP (claims of unprecedented warming), it is not proxies of temperature from the MWP and proxies from modern times that are compared since proxies from modern times diverge and decline, although you won’t see that decline on paleo-reconstructions because of the “trick” used to “hide” it.

    People who don’t really understand these issues tend to spin them. The right wing talking heads are overstating what this reveals, the left wing talking heads are spinning this to make things appear as taken out of context. As Beavis and Butthead said to close that video, “some people are dumb”.


  2. Isn’t that exactly the right kind of conversation to be having, one in which both parties are engaged in a discussion about how to portray the material in a way that is straightforward enough to grasp but not deceptive?


  3. It would be good for there to be such a conversation, but with the polarization of the climate issue we rarely see it. In the media the spin seems to be right wing or left wing. We see from the released E-mails even among scientists there seems to be little middle ground. In this case Wigley seemed to exhibit a proper attitude concerning deceptive graphics, however his concerns were dismissed by those that run the realclimate PR site.

    A constant theme in the E-mails was to prevent giving ammunition to skeptics. Withholding of data, even threatening to delete data rather than to release it.

    In one E-mail from Ed Cook to Keith Briffa:

    “I just don’t want to get into an open critique
    of the Esper data because it would just add fuel to the MBH attack squad. They tend to work in their own somewhat agenda-filled ways.” The E-mails show several climate scientists doubting the MBH dismissal of the MWP, but there was little of this in public. From Keith Briffa in 1999 as they prepare the IPCC TAR:

    “I know there is pressure to present a nice tidy story as regards ‘apparent unprecedented warming in a thousand years or more in the proxy data’ but in reality the situation is not quite so simple. We don’t have a lot of proxies that come right up to date and those that do (at least a significant number of tree proxies ) 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.”

    This refers to the divergence problem, which was ignored in the IPCC TAR. Briff in 1999 was concerned about pressure to present the data showing ‘unprecedented’ warming, which hardly sounds like a conversation to make the science “straightforward enough to grasp but not deceptive”. In fact it sounds like agenda oriented science and Briffa was concerned.

    It would be a positive thing to look to present things in a straightforward but not deceptive manner, and hopefully the tribalism and agenda oriented science will come to an end and that can occur. But that is one of the most important issues to come from those E-mails, the framing of results while withholding key aspects in a deceptive manner.


  4. While the divergence issue is known in the literature it doesn’t show up in climate reconstructions because of the decision to “hide the decline”.

    Horsecrap.

    Divergence in the paleo record doesn’t show up either because it doesn’t exist or it is ‘hidden’ in the noise of possible low frequency damping from the ‘short segment length curse’. Although, empirically, since 20th century divergence is not an ubiquitous feature in all stands, one might think there would be some stronger evidence for prior divergence, if, indeed, it does exist. Briffa et al. 2008 goes a long way toward eliminating the noise, don’t you think?

    One might think it would be evident in comparison to other regional proxies as well. Apparently not, or the geniuses at ClimateFraudit would be on it like white on rice, don’t you think?

    No divergence yet found, and certainly not enough in what uncertainty remains to demand a re-write of multi-proxy reconstructions. As if multi-proxy reconstructions weren’t robust enough even without dendro. Still, one might wish to see latitudinal transect studies at boreal tree lines like the altitude ones done by Saltzer, et al. in the White Mountains.

    Oops! Another one of St. Steve’s favorite hobby-horses reduced to sawdust.


    • > Horsecrap.

      More of that from you, lb. Sigh…

      > Divergence in the paleo record doesn’t show up
      > either because it doesn’t exist or it is ‘hidden’
      > in the noise of possible low frequency damping
      > from the ’short segment length curse’.

      It shows up in the modern end of the paleo record, but how can it be judged if there was such a divergence in the early record where there is no instrumental measurement for comparison?

      > Although, empirically, since 20th century
      > divergence is not an ubiquitous feature in all
      > stands, one might think there would be some
      > stronger evidence for prior divergence, if,
      > indeed, it does exist.

      Again, without an instrumental record to compare we only see divergence in the late 20th century. Was there a divergence during previous warm periods? Until it is understood what caused the divergence we can’t know, so we are left with using a “trick” to “hide the decline”.

      > Briffa et al. 2008 goes a long way toward
      > eliminating the noise, don’t you think?

      Well no, of course not. Briffa 2008 used just 5 series from Northwest Eurasia and found no divergence between instrumental temperature and tree growth trends. This includes Taimyr which had a divergence problem in previous Briffa studies, and this divergence problem vanished in Briffa 2008 with the addition of Avam 400 km to the West and selected Schweingruber data. Taimyr moved from a divergent series to non-divergent with this addition. We also see the often used Yamal series with it’s distinct hockey stick shape.

      What does this tell us about divergence? I suppose it shows that we can add selected data to any series with a divergence until it vanishes, or we can use the “trick” of adding in instrumental data to “hide the decline”. Or as a third option we can use the lb method of pretending there is no divergence problem.

      Try D’Arrigo et al. 2008 on the divergence problem.


      • Esper & Frank 2009 CC addresses the divergence problem also.



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