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The most famous email so far
11-27-2009, 04:58 AM
Post: #1
The most famous email so far
The email that seems to be getting the most play is: “I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.”

The explanation given by Phil Jones et al reveals something I've not seen mentioned yet.

Link

Quote:The Skeptical Science website tries to further explain that “Mike’s nature trick” is the technique of plotting recent instrumental data along with the reconstructed data. And, “hiding the decline” refers to “the method of reconciling the divergence problem where tree ring proxies diverge from modern instrumental temperature records after 1960.” Most laypeople, however, will not know if this explanation is reasonable or fair. (Read more here: http://www.skepticalscience.com/CRU-emails-hacked.htm )

"Reconciling the divergence problem"...what does that mean? Well...correct me if I'm wrong, it means the tree rings were not showing what actual temperature readings were showing, right?

Which means one (or both) of them are wrong. We of course know that our temperature readings pre-satellite have problems as well, but this certainly is not a vote of confidence for the accuracy of tree-ring data. Just the admission out loud that you are willing to splice data from one source onto data from another source with different levels of accuracy and call it a true reconstruction is amazing.

And I'll bet we don't have to guess which direction the "reconciliation" went, do we? That's where the "hide the decline" part comes in.
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11-27-2009, 06:40 AM
Post: #2
RE: The most famous email so far
Remember also, that the tree-ring data that Mann and Briffa both used was "selective" data as well.

They are using "cherry picked" trees, rather than an entire set, in order to show what they want shown. Not to mention trees in a "cherry picked" location that show what they want shown.

Most laypeople will know that this selectivity is neither reasonable or fair.

"“the method of reconciling the divergence problem where tree ring proxies diverge from modern instrumental temperature records after 1960.” - implies to me that there are times when what the selected tree-ring data shows does not match up with what really happened. Instead of simply brushing over this, has the difference been clearly examined and explained? It would seem that this is proof that the selected tree-ring data does not reflect what was happening globally, does it not?

I know you think you understand what you thought I said,
but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant!
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11-27-2009, 07:28 AM
Post: #3
RE: The most famous email so far
(11-27-2009 06:40 AM)JohnWho Wrote:  "“the method of reconciling the divergence problem where tree ring proxies diverge from modern instrumental temperature records after 1960.” - implies to me that there are times when what the selected tree-ring data shows does not match up with what really happened. Instead of simply brushing over this, has the difference been clearly examined and explained? It would seem that this is proof that the selected tree-ring data does not reflect what was happening globally, does it not?
One also shouldn't rule out the possibility that the tree rings are right and the measured temps are wrong. Not saying that is the likely conclusion, but just that it should not be completely ruled out. Depends on the year. We didn't exactly have "global" measurements pre-satellite era.
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11-27-2009, 07:38 AM
Post: #4
RE: The most famous email so far
(11-27-2009 07:28 AM)HarpoSpoke Wrote:  One also shouldn't rule out the possibility that the tree rings are right and the measured temps are wrong.

No, I am inclined to reject that, unless we are talking specifically about the local regional temperatures of the tree sample.

Also, I would reject that unless it is using the largest sample of tree-ring data available for that local study, instead of a "cherry picked" small group of data. Even then, there could be other possibilities.

Also, could the divergence not be related to something else other than local temperature?

I know you think you understand what you thought I said,
but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant!
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11-27-2009, 07:45 AM
Post: #5
RE: The most famous email so far
(11-27-2009 07:38 AM)JohnWho Wrote:  
(11-27-2009 07:28 AM)HarpoSpoke Wrote:  One also shouldn't rule out the possibility that the tree rings are right and the measured temps are wrong.

No, I am inclined to reject that, unless we are talking specifically about the local regional temperatures of the tree sample.

Also, I would reject that unless it is using the largest sample of tree-ring data available for that local study, instead of a "cherry picked" small group of data. Even then, there could be other possibilities.

Also, could the divergence not be related to something else other than local temperature?
Soo many variables. What year we are talking about, how many trees, etc. Your last point is the most likely answer. Tree rings are risky for "measuring" temps.
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11-27-2009, 10:55 AM
Post: #6
RE: The most famous email so far
I read that alibi err explanation. I don't think it washes. They describe "trick" and being a good solution to a problem. But, how is adding real temperature data a solution to a problem?

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11-27-2009, 03:56 PM (This post was last modified: 11-27-2009 03:57 PM by John L.)
Post: #7
RE: The most famous email so far
(11-27-2009 07:45 AM)HarpoSpoke Wrote:  
(11-27-2009 07:38 AM)JohnWho Wrote:  
(11-27-2009 07:28 AM)HarpoSpoke Wrote:  One also shouldn't rule out the possibility that the tree rings are right and the measured temps are wrong.

No, I am inclined to reject that, unless we are talking specifically about the local regional temperatures of the tree sample.

Also, I would reject that unless it is using the largest sample of tree-ring data available for that local study, instead of a "cherry picked" small group of data. Even then, there could be other possibilities.

Also, could the divergence not be related to something else other than local temperature?
Soo many variables. What year we are talking about, how many trees, etc. Your last point is the most likely answer. Tree rings are risky for "measuring" temps.

As an anthropologist, I am well versed in the science of "Relative Dating". Relative dating is the most commonly used science, and it is highly accurate, if used properly.

Also, relative dating is done through several different processes, which act in concert with each other, in order to form a quite accurate picture. This also applies to climate science. Some dating can tell you what was going on within each quarter/season, including lake/ocean sediment. Tree ring data is just one means of verifying the data from other sources.
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11-27-2009, 04:06 PM
Post: #8
RE: The most famous email so far
@JohnL -

so, would localized tree ring data provide information on a local or regional area specifically?

I know you think you understand what you thought I said,
but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant!
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11-27-2009, 04:22 PM
Post: #9
RE: The most famous email so far
(11-27-2009 03:56 PM)John L Wrote:  Relative dating is the most commonly used science, and it is highly accurate, if used properly.

Talk about "beating about the bush".
What are you on about. ? I specifically refer to, in relation to climate science,
" it is highly accurate, if used properly. "
Then you further mention tree rings.................................

If, however you are referring to human history, (ie, you wrote -" As an anthropologist " )
then this could get interesting.
Are you going to offer any explanation of the human graves in Northern Greenland during the MWP perchance. ?
Please do not go down the "it was regional" route, because there are too many to list here
who will quote so many papers / evidence for any given date that the "regional" effect was actually global.
Oh, go on then, name a date, Mr. Anthropologist.

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed
(and hence clamorous to be led to safety)
by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H. L. Mencken.

The hobgoblins have to be imaginary so that
"they" can offer their solutions, not THE solutions.
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11-27-2009, 04:27 PM
Post: #10
RE: The most famous email so far
Well, JohnL did say
Quote:Tree ring data is just one means of verifying the data from other sources.

So, I would assume the reciprocal is true - "other sources" are just one means of verifying data from tree ring data, too.

I know you think you understand what you thought I said,
but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant!
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11-27-2009, 04:52 PM
Post: #11
RE: The most famous email so far
(11-27-2009 04:22 PM)Derek Wrote:  
(11-27-2009 03:56 PM)John L Wrote:  Relative dating is the most commonly used science, and it is highly accurate, if used properly.

Talk about "beating about the bush".
What are you on about. ? I specifically refer to, in relation to climate science,
" it is highly accurate, if used properly. "
Then you further mention tree rings.................................

If, however you are referring to human history, (ie, you wrote -" As an anthropologist " )
then this could get interesting.
Are you going to offer any explanation of the human graves in Northern Greenland during the MWP perchance. ?
Please do not go down the "it was regional" route, because there are too many to list here
who will quote so many papers / evidence for any given date that the "regional" effect was actually global.
Oh, go on then, name a date, Mr. Anthropologist.

Two things:

1: what is your point/contention?

2: you forgot to say the magic word.
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11-27-2009, 04:57 PM
Post: #12
RE: The most famous email so far
But, was I right?

I know you think you understand what you thought I said,
but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant!
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11-27-2009, 08:11 PM (This post was last modified: 11-27-2009 08:11 PM by ajmplanner.)
Post: #13
RE: The most famous email so far
Pardon my ignorance, but if tree ring data was supposed to represent average GLOBAL temperatures, wouldn't one have to take data from randomly selected trees over the entire surface of the Earth in order to arrive at a statistically valid conclusion? Where did this infamous Mann tree data come from? And since the Earth is 75% ocean, where the last time I looked there weren't any trees growing, except on islands scattered here and there, how can tree data be used at all as a proxy for average global temperatures?
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11-27-2009, 08:27 PM
Post: #14
RE: The most famous email so far
The way I'm reading it, this NCDC map is showing where they have tree ring data.

Not only doesn't it cover the Oceans - Smile - it is obviously heavily weighted in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly the US and Europe.

I know you think you understand what you thought I said,
but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant!
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11-27-2009, 10:22 PM
Post: #15
RE: The most famous email so far
(11-27-2009 08:11 PM)ajmplanner Wrote:  Pardon my ignorance, but if tree ring data was supposed to represent average GLOBAL temperatures, wouldn't one have to take data from randomly selected trees over the entire surface of the Earth in order to arrive at a statistically valid conclusion? Where did this infamous Mann tree data come from? And since the Earth is 75% ocean, where the last time I looked there weren't any trees growing, except on islands scattered here and there, how can tree data be used at all as a proxy for average global temperatures?

I am with you. I am obviously ignorant. How does any proxy study suggest what is happening on a global scale? Whether it is tree ring, ice core, sediment studies. They all seem to provide a snap shot look on a specific location only.

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11-28-2009, 01:43 AM
Post: #16
RE: The most famous email so far
John L

1) - It was your point you were trying to make. Please make it again as it is not very clear at the moment. I was merely trying to expand on what I thought you were trying to say,
by using an example of known human history, namely graves in Northern Greenland.

2) - "Hockey Stick" - or is that two words... (OK, so it ain't the magic word, more like scientific fraud really..)

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed
(and hence clamorous to be led to safety)
by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H. L. Mencken.

The hobgoblins have to be imaginary so that
"they" can offer their solutions, not THE solutions.
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11-28-2009, 10:39 AM (This post was last modified: 11-28-2009 10:44 AM by HarpoSpoke.)
Post: #17
RE: The most famous email so far
(11-27-2009 03:56 PM)John L Wrote:  
(11-27-2009 07:45 AM)HarpoSpoke Wrote:  Soo many variables. What year we are talking about, how many trees, etc. Your last point is the most likely answer. Tree rings are risky for "measuring" temps.

As an anthropologist, I am well versed in the science of "Relative Dating". Relative dating is the most commonly used science, and it is highly accurate, if used properly.

Also, relative dating is done through several different processes, which act in concert with each other, in order to form a quite accurate picture. This also applies to climate science. Some dating can tell you what was going on within each quarter/season, including lake/ocean sediment. Tree ring data is just one means of verifying the data from other sources.
The dating may not be the problem. It's knowing how accurate a temperature picture you can get from that date.

And if we can have a high level of trust in tree rings, then that puts the intersection with the measured temps in question. If there is a "divergence", why immediately assume it is the tree rings that are wrong? At least throw out the possibility that the measurements have problems as the null hypothesis. The further back in time we go as a matter of fact, the more sketchy the measured temps get.

Just the fact that they apparently immediately discarded the null in favor of the data that supported their view should raise eyebrows.
(11-27-2009 08:11 PM)ajmplanner Wrote:  Pardon my ignorance, but if tree ring data was supposed to represent average GLOBAL temperatures, wouldn't one have to take data from randomly selected trees over the entire surface of the Earth in order to arrive at a statistically valid conclusion? Where did this infamous Mann tree data come from? And since the Earth is 75% ocean, where the last time I looked there weren't any trees growing, except on islands scattered here and there, how can tree data be used at all as a proxy for average global temperatures?

This is why I look with a very skeptical eye toward measured temps pre-1980 that are presented as "global".

It seems we know much less than we are willing to admit.
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11-28-2009, 10:55 AM
Post: #18
RE: The most famous email so far
(11-27-2009 08:11 PM)ajmplanner Wrote:  Pardon my ignorance, but if tree ring data was supposed to represent average GLOBAL temperatures, wouldn't one have to take data from randomly selected trees over the entire surface of the Earth in order to arrive at a statistically valid conclusion? Where did this infamous Mann tree data come from? And since the Earth is 75% ocean, where the last time I looked there weren't any trees growing, except on islands scattered here and there, how can tree data be used at all as a proxy for average global temperatures?

They use a sampling method to apply the data to rest of the planet,but is a weak case to build on.

Take the case of the famous Bristlecone data,where these long lived trees grow in very high altitude regions were frost is a common occurrence in the summer months.Dr. Mann used such data and applied it to NORTH AMERICA!

I brought that angle up once at Climate Audit 3 years ago and they failed to understand what I was getting at,that the data CAN NOT be applied to North America temperature data trends,on the grounds that where the Bristlecone pine trees are growing represents less than 1% of the growing area of North America.

They do not present even a minimum representative sample of such a large area,such as N. America.

It is our attitude toward free thought and free expression that will determine our fate. There must be no limit on the range of temperate discussion, no limits on thought. No subject must be taboo. No censor must preside at our assemblies.

–William O. Douglas, U.S. Supreme Court Justice, 1952
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11-28-2009, 01:50 PM
Post: #19
RE: The most famous email so far
(11-28-2009 10:55 AM)Sunsettommy Wrote:  They use a sampling method to apply the data to rest of the planet,but is a weak case to build on.

I agree that "they" do, SST.

However, I'm not so sure that JohnL does and until he returns to further explain his position, I'd reserve judgement.

I know you think you understand what you thought I said,
but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant!
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11-29-2009, 02:59 AM
Post: #20
RE: The most famous email so far
Friends:

I suspect that the most damning email may turn out to be one from me.

While examining the leaked mails Willis Essenbach has uncovered and circulated an email I sent 6 years ago but I had forgotten. I copy it here and following that I explain its significance. Please note its original circulation list and contents, especially its final sentence.

The email was:

From: RichardSCourtney@aol.com
To: t.osborn@uea.ac.uk, m.allen1@physics.ox.ac.uk, Russell.Vose@noaa.gov

Subject: Re: Workshop: Reconciling Vertical Temperature Trends

Date: Sun, 23 Nov 2003 18:42:59 EST

Cc: trenbert@cgd.ucar.edu, timo.hameranta@pp.inet.fi, Thomas.R.Karl@noaa.gov, ceforest@mit.edu, sokolov@mit.edu, phstone@mit.edu, ekalnay@atmos.umd.edu, richard.w.reynolds@noaa.gov, christy@atmos.uah.edu, roy.spencer@msfc.nasa.gov, benjie.norris@nsstc.uah.edu, kostya@atmos.umd.edu, Norman.Grody@noaa.gov, Thomas.C.Peterson@noaa.gov, sfbtett@metoffice.com, penner@umich.edu, dian.seidel@noaa.gov, trenbert@ucar.edu, wigley@ucar.edu, pielke@atmos.colostate.edu, climatesceptics@yahoogroups.com, aarking1@jhu.edu, bjorn@ps.au.dk, cfk @lanl.gov, c.defreitas@auckland.ac.nz, cidso@co2science.org, dwojick@shentel.net, douglass@pas.rochester.edu, dkaroly@ou.edu, mercurio@jafar.hartnell.cc.ca.us, fredev@mobilixnet.dk, seitz@rockvax.rockefeller.edu, Heinz.Hug@t-online.de, hughel@comcast.net, jahlbeck@ab

Dear All:

The excuses seem to be becoming desperate. Unjustified assertion that I fail to understand “Myles’ comments and/or work on trying the detect/attribute climate change” does not stop the attribution study being an error. The problem is that I do understand what is being done, and I am willing to say why it is GIGO.

Tim Allen said;
In a message dated 19/11/03 08:47:16 GMT Standard Time, m.allen1@physics.ox.ac.uk writes:
“I would just like to add that those of us working on climate change detection and attribution are careful to mask model simulations in the same way that the observations have been sampled, so these well-known dependencies of nominal trends on the trend-estimation technique have no bearing on formal detection and attribution results as quoted, for example, in the IPCC TAR.”

I rejected this saying:
At 09:31 21/11/2003, RichardSCourtney@aol.com wrote:
“It cannot be known that the ‘masking’ does not generate additional spurious trends. Anyway, why assume the errors in the data sets are geographical and not?. The masking is a ‘fix’ applied to the model simulations to adjust them to fit the surface data known to contain spurious trends. This is simple GIGO.”

Now, Tim Osborn says of my comment;
In a message dated 21/11/03 10:04:56 GMT Standard Time, t.osborn@uea.ac.uk writes:
“Richard’s statement makes it clear, to me at least, that he misunderstands Myles’ comments and/or work on trying the detect/attribute climate change.
As far as I understand it, the masking is applied to the model to remove those locations/times when there are no observations. This is quite different to removing those locations which do not match, in some way, with the observations – that would clearly be the wrong thing to do. To mask those that have no observations, however, is clearly the right thing to do – what is the point of attempting to detect a simulated signal of climate change over some part of (e.g.) the Southern Ocean if there are no observations there in which to detect the expected signal? That would clearly be pointless.”

Yes it would. And I fully understand Myles’ comments. Indeed, my comments clearly and unarguably relate to Myles comments. But, as my response states, Myles’ comments do not alter the fact that the masked data and the unmasked data contain demonstrated false trends. And the masking may introduce other spurious trends. So, the conducted attribution study is pointless because it is GIGO. Ad hominem insults don’t change that.
And nor does the use of peer review to block my publication of the facts of these matters.

Richard

The context of the email may not be clear so I explain that as follows.

Climate change ‘attribution studies’ by CRU and IPCC use computer models to assess possible causes of global climate change. Known effects that cause climate change are input to a computer model of the global climate system, and the resulting output of the model is compared to observations of the real world. Anthropogenic (i.e. man-made) global warming (AGW) is assumed to be indicated by any rise in average global temperature (mean global temperature, MGT) that occurred in reality but is not accounted by the known effects in the model.

Clearly, any error in determinations of changes to MGT provides incorrect attribution of AGW.

The various determinations of the changes to MGT differ and, therefore, there is no known accurate amount of MGT change. But the erroneous MGT change was being input to the models (garbage in, GI) so the amount of AGW attributed by the studies was wrong (garbage out, GO) because ‘garbage in’ gives ‘garbage out’ (GIGO). The attribution studies that provide indications of AGW are GIGO.

I and others attempted to publish a discussion paper that attempted to explain the problems with analyses of MGT.

However, the compilers of the MGT data sets frequently alter their published data of past MGT (sometimes they have altered the data in each of several successive months). Hence, my paper on these matters was submitted for publication but always contained incorrect MGT data because the MGT data kept changing. The MGT data always changed between submission of the paper and completion of the peer review process. Thus, the frequent changes to MGT data sets prevented publication of our paper.

Whatever you call this method of preventing publication of a paper, you cannot call it science.

But the blocking of publication happened.

1. I can show the work was presented to journals for publication.
2. I can show it was rejected by the journals.
3. I can show some rejections were for silly reasons
(e.g. Nature “we publish original data and do not publish comparisons of data sets”.
4. I can show that strange coincidences prevented publication
(e.g. each time the work was submitted for publication the MGT data sets changed so the paper
(a) was rejected because it analysed incorrect data
or
(b) had to be withdrawn to correct the data it contained.)

But I cannot say who or what was behind this.

It should be noted that the AGW attribution studies are wrong in principle for two reasons.

Firstly, they are ‘argument from ignorance’.

Such an argument is not new. For example, in the Middle Ages experts said, “We don’t know what causes crops to fail: it must be witches: we must eliminate them.” Now, experts say, “We don’t know what causes global climate change: it must be emissions from human activity: we must eliminate them.” Of course, they phrase it differently saying they can’t match historical climate change with known climate mechanisms unless an anthropogenic effect is included. But evidence for this “anthropogenic effect” is no more than the evidence for witches.

Secondly, they use an attribution study to ‘prove’ what can only be disproved by attribution.

In an attribution study the system is assumed to be behaving in response to suggested mechanism(s) that is modelled, and the behaviour of the model is compared to the empirical data. If the model cannot emulate the empirical data then there is reason to suppose that the suggested mechanism is not the cause (or at least not the sole cause) of the changes recorded in the empirical data.

It is important to note that attribution studies can only be used to reject hypothesis that a mechanism is a cause for an observed effect. Ability to attribute a suggested cause to an effect is not evidence that the suggested cause is the real cause in part or in whole. (To understand this, consider the game of Cludo. At the start of the game it is possible to attribute the ‘murder’ to all the suspects. As each piece of evidence is obtained then one of the suspects can be rejected because he/she can no longer be attributed with the murder).

But the CRU/IPCC attribution studies claim that the ability to attribute AGW as a cause of climate change is evidence that AGW caused the change (because they only consider one suspect for the cause although there could be many suspects both known and unknown).

Then, in addition to those two pieces of pure pseudo-science – as the paper I attempted to publish demonstrates – the attribution studies use estimates of climate changes that are known to be wrong! And – as I explain above – it proved impossible to publish the paper.

So, I think there is clear evidence that the CRU clique has corrupted the peer review and publication systems for scientific papers that dispute their claims.

All the best

Richard
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