A guest post at Watts Up With That
Originally blogged at Realclimategate
Judith Curry has tackled the ‘Hide the Decline’ issue at her blog Climate Etc. The issue is that data was hidden from policymakers (and the public) so as to present a ‘simpler’ message… and other data spliced in to perhaps give a very different message?
Remember it is all about the idea of ‘unprecedented’ global warming because the politicians, media and public were warned by graphs like this….
Tree ring data – Thermometers spliced in – tree ring data truncated
Tree Ring Data alone – with deleted data reinstated
In the video link (30 mins in ) in Judith Curry’s article the second graph is how ‘all scientists at Berkeley’ would present the data. The whole video is well worth watching.
The fact that the proxies temperature decline when the thermometer readings are going up, would indicate that they are NOT a good proxy for past temperature. As temp reconstructions proxies (tree rings) were used to explain or ‘sell’ the idea that modern temperatures were ‘unprecedented’ so global warming ‘must’ be down to humans and that policy makers should something now.
I think even the most unscientifically trained politician, person in the media and member of the public can now see the problem with proxies, especially if you look at the 2 graphs above.. The screen captures are from the video Judith Curry links to (part I):
No point talking here about it here, go to where the debate is. http://judithcurry.com/2011/02/22/hiding-the-decline/
At the Bishop Hill blog, at least one scientist has chimed in to support Professor Judith Curry
Professor Jonathon Jones (Physics – Oxford University)
People have asked why mainstream scientists are keeping silent on these issues. As a scientist who has largely kept silent, at least in public, I have more sympathy for silence than most people here. It’s not for the obvious reason, that speaking out leads to immediate attacks, not just from Gavin and friends, but also from some of the more excitable commentators here.
Far more importantly most scientists are reluctant to speak out on topics which are not their field. We tend to trust our colleagues, perhaps unreasonably so, and are also well aware that most scientific questions are considerably more complex than outsiders think, and that it is entirely possible that we have missed some subtle but critical point.
However, “hide the decline” is an entirely different matter. This is not a complicated technical matter on which reasonable people can disagree: it is a straightforward and blatant breach of the fundamental principles of honesty and self-criticism that lie at the heart of all true science. The significance of the divergence problem is immediately obvious, and seeking to hide it is quite simply wrong. The recent public statements by supposed leaders of UK science, declaring that hiding the decline is standard scientific practice are on a par with declarations that black is white and up is down. I don’t know who they think they are speaking for, but they certainly aren’t speaking for me.
I have watched Judy Curry with considerable interest since she first went public on her doubts about some aspects of climate science, an area where she is far more qualified than I am to have an opinion. Her latest post has clearly kicked up a remarkable furore, but she was right to make it.
The decision to hide the decline, and the dogged refusal to admit that this was an error, has endangered the credibility of the whole of climate science. If the rot is not stopped then the credibility of the whole of science will eventually come into question.
Judy’s decision to try to call a halt to this mess before it’s too late is brave and good. So please cut her some slack; she has more than enough problems to deal with at the moment.
If you’re wondering who I am, then you can find me at the Physics Department at Oxford University. Feb 23, 2011 at 10:29 PM | Jonathan Jones