It’s interesting that over the years the skeptics who didn’t believe “the science was settled” on man-made global warming were raked over the coals. They were called heretics and compared to 9/11 twoofers. But now they don’t seem so crazy.
OVER the past 15 years air temperatures at the Earth’s surface have been flat while greenhouse-gas emissions have continued to soar. The world added roughly 100 billion tonnes of carbon to the atmosphere between 2000 and 2010.
…The mismatch between rising greenhouse-gas emissions and not-rising temperatures is among the biggest puzzles in climate science just now. It does not mean global warming is a delusion. Flat though they are, temperatures in the first decade of the 21st century remain almost 1°C above their level in the first decade of the 20th. But the puzzle does need explaining.
The above article hammers the IPCC and their alarmist predictions from years ago. Predictions of rising oceans, melting ice, and cities destroyed. Predictions that were wrong, have always been wrong, and when called out on it the alarmists went into survival mode.
How did they try to survive and stay relevant?
By hiding information that directly refutes their theories. No one knew about their smudging of fact until the ClimateGate emails came out and specifically in the “trick…hide the decline” email. First some history prior to that email:
The trick email had its roots in the 1998 Mann and Briffa temperature reconstructions. Both were submitted independently in 1997 within only a few days of one another and published in 1998 within only a couple of months of one another. Both drew on very large tree ring networks, but their later 20th century results were diametrically opposite. Mann’s went sharply up, while Briffa’s went down. Disguising this inconsistency rather than explaining it led to much of the strange history in this field.
The Briffa reconstruction was based on densities from an extremely large network collected in the early 1990s by Fritz Schweingruber from over 400 sites in northern Canada, Siberia etc selected beforehand as being temperature-limited due to altitude or latitude. To this day, it remains by far the largest sample of this type. Despite relatively little centennial variability, Briffa’s reconstruction had a noticeable decline in the late 20th century, despite warmer temperatures. In these early articles, the decline was not hidden.
For most analysts, the seemingly unavoidable question at this point would be – if tree rings didn’t respond to late 20th century warmth, how would one know that they didn’t do the same thing in response to possible medieval warmth – a question that remains unaddressed years later.
The famous Mann reconstruction was published in April 1998, a month before Mann received his PhD. Mann also used a tree ring network of over 400 sites. But instead of limiting the network to temperature-limited sites, Mann included everything, even precipitation limited sites in the US southwest. Mann even included Graybill’s bristlecone pines, which had a pronounced 20th century growth pulse that the authors argued was due to CO2 fertilization rather temperature. Instead of using averages like Briffa, Mann used principal components – or rather his own adaptation of the method – a method that enhanced the contribution of bristlecones. In its first muddy version as shown here, it gave little hint of its later iconic status.
Contact between Jones and Mann commenced around this time. The first letters are polite. In the fall, Jones, Mann, Briffa and Overpeck correspond about the merits of paleoclimate proxies and how to attract attention to the field.
September 1998 brought very different fortunes to Mann and Briffa. Despite his very junior status – only a few months from his PhD – Mann got a big boost by being appointed one of only eight Lead Authors of the important chapter 2 of the forthcoming IPCC Assessment Report. Briffa, on the other hand, despite practicing in the field for many years, was facing the bleak prospect of unemployment at the start of the new year:
Mann to Jones, Sep 17 1998: I share Phil’s concern about getting things “straightened out” before the IPCC report. As one of the lead authors on the “observed climate variation and change” chapter for the 3rd assessment report
Briffa to Bradley, Sep 18, 1998: Also I must write my application to NERC for a fellowship – if this fails Sarah and I are unemployed after December as things stand. God knows there is little chance of success but the application must be in be the end of September and I have not started it yet. This is a big deal for me and I am putting you down as my primary suggested scientific referee.
A few weeks after his IPCC appointment, Mann submitted an extension of his reconstruction back to 1000, including the first recognizable version of the famous hockey stick. It was published in February 1999, fortuitous timing since 1998, with its huge El Nino, been exceptionally warm. Mann wasted no time incorporating 1998 temperature into his graphic, and introduced the now familiar phrases that the “1990s were the warmest decade of the millennium, with 1998 the warmest year so far”. Co-author Hughes proclaimed the long-sought demise of the Medieval Warm Period. The findings caused a sensation both in the scientific and popular press.
Mann’s newfound prominence enabled him to escape the precarious life of a post-doc, receiving a faculty position at the University of Virginia a couple of months later.
In May 1999, Briffa published the first assessment of Mann’s results, containing what, to my knowledge, is the first spaghetti graph of reconstructions. In this graphic, there is a new Briffa version – the one in pale blue – one which coheres much more closely to Mann’s. For the first time, values after 1960 were deleted. In retrospect, this article was the first bite of the poison apple of hide the decline. It seems to originate in an effort to minimize the 20th century discrepancy between the two reconstructions, since Briffa, like Mann, also believed that the 20th century was anomalously warm.
You can imagine what happened next. Mann, being the arrogant blowhard he is, and now gaining power and prestige, made demands of Briffa that he withdraw any criticize of Mann’s work. He even sent a demand to Science magazine, the very prestigious journal where many peer reviewed papers appear, that they not continue to publish Briffa’s work writing “Better that nothing appear, than something unnacceptable to us“.
Mann’s supervisor at the time was aghast:
Bradley to Sciencemag Apr 18, 1999: I would like to diasassociate myself from Mike Mann’s view that “xxxxxxxxxxx” and that they “xxxxxxxxxxxxx”. I find this notion quite absurd. …As for thinking that it is “Better that nothing appear, than something unnacceptable to us” …..as though we are the gatekeepers of all that is acceptable.
Mann DOES believe he is the gatekeeper to all that is acceptable fact…..even when his supervisor dissociates himself from his stance he still tries to take credit for work he didn’t do:
Mann to Sciencemag, Bradley, Jones, Briffa May 12, 1999: Thanks all for the hard work and a job well done. I like to think that may feedback helped here–so I take some pride here as well.
Bradley to Briffa and Jones May 12, 1999: Excuse me while I puke.
Mann and the IPCC then begin to pressure the authors of chapter 2 to disregard Briffa’s work because
Otherwise, the skeptics have an field day casting doubt on our ability to understand the factors that influence these estimates and, thus, can undermine faith in the paleoestimates. I don’t think that doubt is scientifically justified, and I’d hate to be the one to have to give it fodder!
Briffa doesn’t agree at first but then relents to the pressure:
Matters settled down quickly, with Briffa apologizing to Mann for his temporary pangs of conscience. A couple of weeks later, Osborn (on behalf of Briffa) sent Mann a revised reconstruction, one with more “low-frequency” variability but with the characteristic decline.
In the graphic here, I’ve shown the different rhetorical effect of including the deleted data.
However, Mann’s spaghetti graph in the First Reviewer Draft a few weeks later had no inconvenient 20th century decline. It used what Jones later called Mike’s trick. While climate scientists later described the trick as “sophisticated”, its main element was very coarse – adverse data after 1960 was simply deleted. A second element of the trick was a little more subtle. Any smoothed series requires forward values to calculate the smooth. It appears that Mann substituted instrumental data for actual data after 1960 to calculate the smooth before truncating the smooth in 1960. This pulled up the end values of the smoothed series, further disguising the decline. The truncation was not reported and is not readily noticed in the tangle of spaghetti strands.
Then comes “trick…hide the decline” email a few weeks later. Of course no one knew about this email just yet, until ClimateGate. But a few years later, in the 3rd IPCC report, Mann’s “hockey stick” made its first appearance and became the defining image of the report, used widely by the media and alarmists. Thus began the hide the decline era of the IPCC, Mann, and other researchers.
Internally they were all saying that they didn’t know why there was decline after 1960 but it didn’t really matter so why not just hide it to quiet down the skeptics? This is a very simplified version of events that went on over a number of years but the end result was that….
They hid the decline.
Many people noticed and demanded to see internal communications between the authors, sending FOIA requests, which caused the authors to start deleting emails:
Jones to Mann, May 29, 2008: Mike, Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4? Keith will do likewise. …Can you also email Gene and get him to do the same? I don’t have his new email address. We will be getting Caspar to do likewise. …Cheers Phil
Mann to Jones, May 29, 2008: Hi Phil, … I’ll contact Gene about this ASAP. His new email is: [email protected] talk to you later, mike
But once the emails were released it all came to a head. It was proven that they used a “trick” to “hide the decline”. A decline that made their theories seem like gibberish.
As is almost always the case, the cover-up is always worse than the actual crime. If they had put out ALL the data, said they didn’t know why there is a decline, and let it stand as is none of this would of come to a head. But instead their feverish belief in man-made global warming could not take such a hit. So they covered it up.
And continue to do so. This time Shaun A. Marcott and friends moved data around by 100’s of years to hide the same thing that Mann and company were trying to hide.
In the end their continuing shenanigans have proven one thing, being a skeptic was not heresy. Instead being a skeptic was being a REAL scientist:
Freeman Dyson is a physicist who has been teaching at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton since Albert Einstein was there. When Einstein died in 1955, there was an opening for the title of “most brilliant physicist on the planet.” Dyson has filled it.
So when the global-warming movement came along, a lot of people wondered why he didn’t come along with it. The reason he’s a skeptic is simple, the 89-year-old Dyson said when I phoned him.
“I think any good scientist ought to be a skeptic,” Dyson said.
If climate scientists are unoffended by the failure to disclose adverse data, unoffended by the trick and not committed to the principles of full, true and plain disclosure, the public will react, as it has, by placing less reliance on pronouncements from the entire field – thus diminishing the coin of scientists who were never involved as well as those who were. This is obviously not a happy situation at a time when climate scientists are trying to influence the public and many have lashed out by blaming everyone but themselves, using the supposed exonerations by these ineffectual inquiries as an additional pretext.