The Great Climate Change Hoax and Email Theft and Fraud

By December 5, 2009 February 24th, 2013 Deniers and Delayers

Prime Minister Brown is quite upset at the hysteria being caused by the theft and fraud committed and being committed by and because of the East Anglia University email theft and ensuing fraud. Here is his quote on the subject from the Guardian on the 4th: "With only days to go before Copenhagen we mustn’t be distracted by the behind-the-times, anti-science, flat-earth climate skeptics… We know the science. We know what we must do. We must now act and close the 5bn-tonne gap. That will seal the deal."  (This is quite a colorful statement to have come from Prime Minister Brown…)

I continue to see this one quote in the media hype about the email theft and fraud.  It talks about the "trick" that Michael Mann used to demonstrate the temperature relationship that he is famous for in the climate science world.  I am an engineer most of the time, at least in the past, and us engineers have lots of “tricks” that we use in our professional work. These "tricks" are nothing more than interesting and effective ways to reveal information  They have nothing to do with deceit or treachery, they are simply novel ways of doing something.

I new that this was what was being referred to in the media hype and was immediately appalled at the deceit of, not only the perpetrators of this illegally inspired negative propaganda, but of the guile of the media to honor the accusation with ink and air time. Worse, in the several dozen popular media pieces I have read since the theft, I have never seen a single explanation of what the "trick" was.  The media once again, through appalling ignorance and what appears to be premeditated sensationalism, has helped to perpetrate the Great Climate Change Hoax in their frighteningly broad show of ignorance of basic investigative journalism.

The game these contrarians are playing with science is astonishingly dangerous. The lack of basic investigational skills portrayed by virtually the entire media industry is nothing short of journalistic manslaughter.

What Dr. Mann did was to leave out a portion of the data that he used from one data source (numerous data sources were used in his temperature analysis). The reason that he did not use this data was because, in a later publication, the scientists responsible for publishing the original data recommended that the data in question not be used in any future analysis.  It is not uncommon for a dataset to be revised in this manner. To use the data – after the data’s responsible authors had said that the data should not be used, would be completely irresponsible on the part of Dr. Mann.  Because of the lack of investigational skills of the media, the fraud being perpetrated by the climate contrarian froth and  fervor, remains unchecked.

The following is a detailed academic explanation of the "trick" that Mike made (Dr. Michael Mann, director of Earth Sciences at Penn State). I lifted this paragraph from Real Climate and their first post about the email theft.

"No doubt, instances of cherry-picked and poorly-worded “gotcha” phrases will be pulled out of context. One example is worth mentioning quickly. Phil Jones in discussing the presentation of temperature reconstructions stated that “I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the 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 paper in question is the Mann, Bradley and Hughes (1998) Nature paper on the original multiproxy temperature reconstruction, and the ‘trick’ is just to plot the instrumental records along with reconstruction so that the context of the recent warming is clear. Scientists often use the term “trick” to refer to a “a good way to deal with a problem”, rather than something that is “secret”, and so there is nothing problematic in this at all. As for the ‘decline’, it is well known that Keith Briffa’s maximum latewood tree ring density proxy diverges from the temperature records after 1960 (this is more commonly known as the “divergence problem”–see e.g. the recent discussion in this paper) and has been discussed in the literature since Briffa et al in Nature in 1998 (Nature, 391, 678-682). Those authors have always recommend not using the post 1960 part of their reconstruction, and so while ‘hiding’ is probably a poor choice of words (since it is ‘hidden’ in plain sight), not using the data in the plot is completely appropriate, as is further research to understand why this happens.